Atlas Network, Washington DC | Week 1 – “To Litter the World with Free-Market Think Tanks”

Jack Williamson

“To litter the world with free-market think-tanks”
– Sir Anthony Fisher on Atlas Network’s mission.

My experience here at Atlas promises many things. To litter the mind with many resources on ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’. To walk amongst icons of freedom, to meet with passionate and professional intellectuals.

My first week at Atlas has delivered on these accounts. Though facing sub-freezing temperatures in the Capital, it has been a warm welcome here at 1201 L Street NW.

It is an honour and wonderful opportunity to meet with Atlas staff such as Dr. Tom Palmer and Kristina Crane.

Dr Palmer, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at the recent Mont Perelin meeting, is a strong presence. He has authored extensively on libertarian theory, including edits for ‘Why Liberty’ and ‘After the Welfare State’. These are popular handouts through Mannkal’s seminars and rightly so!

At my desk, I was soon delving into Cato Lecture Readings, in particular “The Purpose and Limits of Government” by Roger Pilon. We see that liberty is expressed through individual rights and these rights derived from Natural Law. The source of these rights thus are not granted by government but given upon birth. It is important to note that there is objectivity in these rights. The objective reasoning aligns Natural Law to other theories found in Nature. These theories, including Gradualism (biology) and Free Markets (economics), are well summarised here:

https://fee.org/articles/what-charles-darwin-owes-adam-smith/

Away from the desk, there was plenty happening. I ventured down the road to the International Coalition Meeting, hosted by ‘Americans for Tax Reform’. On the way, I ran into previous Mannkal Scholar Dan Press. At the meeting, there were many interesting updates on liberty from all over the world. It was an honour to briefly speak on both Mannkal and the political climate in Australia.

Outside of my time at Atlas, I have experienced amazing moments with the people of DC. I have a love for this place, Americans and their culture. It has been fruitful in conversation, resulting in new friends. I am also looking forward to catching up with previous Mannkal Scholars Sofie O’Mara and Dan Press, who both now work within DC.

If it is not too cold, my weekend plans will take me to the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah River. For reference:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vrEljMfXYo

I look forward, not only to continuing my learning and development here at Atlas but experience all that America has to offer!