The purpose of Atlas’s Teach Freedom Initiative is to identify and assist Intellectual Entrepreneurs within universities who wish to create and develop academic centers that are dedicated to promoting the principles of free market enterprise, constitutionalism, and enlightened citizenship.
Atlas’s traditional focus on independent think tanks, outside of academia, has been a consequence of the hostility to market-oriented ideas that exists within the large majority of universities, as well as the unsuccessful experiences of some university-based centers, which saw funding hijacked or faculty pressured away from their founding missions.
But, Atlas has never given up on the possibility of advancing the principles of the free society in major universities. Indeed, we believe it is essential that friends of freedom gain back this ground, and we have been collaborating for several years with friends at the John Templeton Foundation, Earhart Foundation, Liberty Fund, and several centers at George Mason University, among others, to restore ideological balance within the academy.
While it remains challenging for proponents of the free society to get a fair hearing in many leading universities, we are extremely encouraged by the success of recent efforts, such as the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, the Political Theory Project at Brown University, and the Program in Politics and Economics at George Mason University, among others.
We see a clear need for more “Atlas-type” work with respect to academic centers – that is, working methodically to replicate successful models so that universities in the United States and abroad are populated by centers that are respectful of market-oriented ideas. Atlas is actively fundraising so it can devote more resources to core activities within its Teach Freedom Initiative: