The battle for free societies
28 February 2022
Many classical liberals dedicate their professional lives to making their societies freer, fairer, and more prosperous. We are battling bad ideas that would impoverish our neighbours, we are combatting populists who would dismantle our liberal-democratic institutions, and we are outlining ideas for a world where merit and morals based on the ideas of freedom contribute to a better life for all.
Whilst the battle of ideas is essential to lay the foundations for a better future, all progress can be lost in a matter of moments. We can build the most freedom minded societies, campaign for the best regulatory reforms, and implement the most successful tax models, but if our society will be attacked by an autocratic tyrant then all our efforts will be for nothing.
Ukrainian cities are under siege. As these words are written, Kyiv is being bombarded by Russian rockets, Ukrainian children & women are fleeing the country by the hundreds of thousands, and brave men – young and old – are fighting for every inch of their neighbourhood. Families who dreamt about a new family holiday a few months ago, are now walking dozens of kilometres to find safety from the murderous regime of their Eastern neighbour. A 44-years old former actor has now turned into Europe’s most eminent political leader, a president with more skin in the game than any of his European counterparts can imagine.
Putin’s Russia has publicly stated its foreign policy goal; namely to the dismantle a free and independent Ukraine which it regards as a ‘fake country’. Through revisionist history, aggressive contemporary foreign policy, and its military might, we are witnessing in front of our eyes how a deranged idea can turn into a hellish reality.
Peace has a price. Our Ukrainian friends are paying the highest price of all. But we cannot outsource all the costs to them. Not only because our moral compass, but also because of brutal realities. The mantra ‘Georgia yesterday, Ukraine today, and the Baltics tomorrow’ cannot turn into a dystopian reality. Imperial aggression led to unimaginable horrors in the 20th century. The same mistakes cannot be repeated in Europe again, so we need to adopt all economic and political measures to avoid that.
It’s rare that we call on governments to do more, but on this occasion, we believe that Europe and the free world should be united in implementing wide-spread economic sanctions on the Russian regime and politically completely isolate the aggressors. Otherwise following generations will rightly accuse us of knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Adam Bartha, Director of EPICENTER, Belgium
Admir Čavalić, Director of Association Multi, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Richard Durana, PhD, Director of INESS, Slovakia
Benjamin Dousa, CEO of Timbro, Sweden
Fredrik Erixon, Director, European Centre for International Political Economy, Belgium
Alexander Hammond, Director of IATP, UK
Eric Herrera, President of The Ostrom Institute, Spain
Máté Hajba, Director of Free Market Foundation, Hungary
Gia Jandieri, Founder of New Economic School, Georgia
Andreas Jürgens, CEO of Freedom Today, Germany
Jorge Jraissati, Director of Alumni, Students for Liberty, Spain
Jan Krepelka, Director of Laissez-Faire Institute, Switzerland
Zoltán Kész, Director of Operations at Civitas, Hungary
Barbara Kolm, Director of Austrian Economics Center, Austria
Elena Leontjeva, President of the Lithuanian Free market Institute, Lithuania
Andy Mayer, Chief Operating Officer of the IEA, UK
Christian Nasulea, Director of Institute for Economic Studies – Europe, Romania
İsrafil Özkan, Secretary General of the Freedom Research Association, Turkey
Frederik Roeder, Managing Director, Consumer Choice Center, Germany
Juan Sáenz-Diez, Head of the Centre for Free Economic Thought of EBS, Estonia
Clemens Schneider, Director of Prometheus – Das Freiheitsinstitut, Germany
Alexander Skouras, President of KEFiM, Greece
Krassen Stanchev, Board Member of the Institute for Market Economics, Bulgaria
Agata Stremecka, President , Civil Development Forum, Poland
Juan Pina, Secretary General of Fundación para el Avance de la Libertad, Spain
André Pinção Lucas, Director of +Liberdade, Portugal
Martin Pánek, Director of Liberalni Institut, Czechia
Lasse Pipinen, Director of Libera, Finland
Cécile Philippe, President of Institut économique Molinari, France
Zef Preci, Executive Director of ACER, Albania
Marek Tatala, CEO of Economic Freedom Foundation, Poland
Richard Zundritsch, Board Member of Friedrich A. v. Hayek Institut, Austria
EPICENTER publications and contributions from our member think tanks are designed to promote the discussion of economic issues and the role of markets in solving economic and social problems. As with all EPICENTER publications, the views expressed here are those of the author and not EPICENTER or its member think tanks (which have no corporate view).