Today, Germany has a new voice dedicated to advancing the ideas of a free society. Launched in Berlin on Feb. 2, Prometheus – Das Freiheitsinstitut (Prometheus – The Liberty Institute) is a think tank dedicated to individual freedom, the strengthening of civil society, free-market economics, the rule of law, and the dismantling of paternalistic regulation — thereby contributing to the building of a free society.
After the devastation of World War II, Germany’s post-war economy flourished because the nation adopted many principles of limited government and free markets. In recent years, though, Germany has lacked outspoken voices for those ideas — especially in parliament, which is leading the country steadily toward increased state control.
Frank Schäffler, a Prometheus founder, spent eight years from 2005 through 2013 promoting freedom within the German Bundestag. After his Free Democratic Party lost parliamentary representation, Schäffler has refocused his efforts on the long-term systematic revival of classical liberal ideas in Germany. The Prometheus Institute is devoted to explaining to the public how freedom is crucial for the continued prosperity and civil peace of German society. Schäffler is also the author of several books, most recently Nicht mit unserem Geld!: Die Krise unseres Geldsystems und die Folgen für uns alle (Not With Our Money!: The Crisis of Our Monetary System and the Consequences for Us All).
“Modern Germans have created a free and prosperous nation, but like economic capital, moral and legal capital can be eroded,” said Tom G. Palmer, Atlas Network’s vice president for international programs. “For Germany — and Europe — to continue to enjoy prosperity, freedom, and peace it is vital to renew that capital, that is to say, the rule of law, protection of property, limited government, and toleration. I am profoundly impressed by the team of the Prometheus Institute and am committed to working closely with them in coming months and years.”
Prometheus co-founder Clemens Schneider was previously a fellow of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. Through another of Atlas Network's partners, the Friedrich A. von Hayek Society, he co-founded the Woche der Freiheit (Freedom Week), a classical liberal program for German-speaking students.
Schäffler and Schneider chose the Greek mythical figure of Prometheus as the symbol for their new organization because his story represents the liberation of human beings from dependency. The fire that Prometheus brought showed people that they were capable of self-responsibility and freedom. Prometheus – The Liberty Institute aims to rekindle that fire in the hearts and minds of the German people.
“Germany is one of the largest economies in the world,” said David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute. “A country such as that needs an organization committed to true liberalism. I look forward to seeing the Prometheus Institute's work.”