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The Great Hope: Essays on Character and Liberty Paperback – July 11, 2013
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About the Author
Lawrence W. (“Larry”) Reed became president of FEE in 2008. Prior to that, he was a founder and president for twenty years of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Michigan. He also taught Economics full-time and chaired the Department of Economics at Northwood University in Michigan from 1977 to 1984. He holds a B.A. degree in Economics from Grove City College (1975) and an M.A. degree in History from Slippery Rock State University (1978), both in Pennsylvania. He holds two honorary doctorates, one from Central Michigan University (Public Administration—1993) and Northwood University (Laws—2008). A champion for liberty, Reed has authored over 1,000 newspaper columns and articles, dozens of articles in magazines and journals in the U. S. and abroad. His writings have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, Baltimore Sun, Detroit News and Detroit Free Press, among many others. He has authored or co-authored five books, the most recent ones being “A Republic—If We Can Keep It” and “Striking the Root: Essays on Liberty.” He is frequently interviewed on radio talk shows and has appeared as a guest on numerous television programs, including those anchored by Judge Andrew Napolitano and John Stossel on FOX Business News. Reed has delivered at least 75 speeches annually in the past 30 years—in virtually every state and dozens of countries from Bulgaria to China to Bolivia. His best-known lectures include “Seven Principles of Sound Policy” and “Great Myths of the Great Depression”—both of which have been translated into more than a dozen languages and distributed worldwide. His interests in political and economic affairs have taken him as a freelance journalist to 81 countries on six continents. He is a member of the prestigious Mont Pelerin Society and an advisor to numerous organizations around the world. He served for 15 years as a member of the board (and one term as president) of the State Policy Network. His numerous recognitions include the “Champion of Freedom” award from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and the “Distinguished Alumni” award from Grove City College. He is a native of Pennsylvania and a 30-year resident of Michigan, and now resides in Newnan, Georgia.
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The collected essays are, in fact, short articles written by Reed for a small town newspaper, whose readers turn out to be an especially appropriate audience. As Max Borders points out in his introduction, "The small towns of America are simply holding on to these values [of liberty and character] for us while the rest of the country wanders in the wilderness for a while. So true! And nothing characterizes that wilderness more than the current sorry state of our bloated governmental bureaucracy and the corrupt political process that feeds it. Reed writes, "Have you noticed how mean and nasty campaigns for high office have become? Why would a genuinely good person subject himself to the ugliness of it all?" Reed goes on to quote Lord Acton's adage that "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." To which Reed then adds his own corollary: "Power attracts the corrupt."
Then this gem: "Big government, by its very nature, is dirty and dishonest. That's the kind of people it attracts, and that's what concentrated power is all about." Harsh words, indeed. But words that need to be heard. As do these essays. Collectively, they paint a realistically sobering, yet remarkably hopeful, picture. Savor them. Be inspired by them. Then roll up your sleeves and get to work. There is much to be done!
NOTE: I view this short book as an appetizer of sorts, to get a taste of Reed's thinking and contributions to the cause of liberty. I highly recommend all of his work, but particularly his recent and substantive "A Republic--If We Can Keep It," coauthored with Burton Folsom.