A Brighter Future for FEE
future suddenly looks much brighter for The
Foundation for Economic Education (FEE).
The venerable libertarian institution, founded by Leonard E. Read
in 1946, appointed Dr.
J. Brooks Colburn as its new Interim President on October 21, as
part of its efforts to refocus on its original mission: to educate
people who want to improve themselves by learning about liberty.
long ago, the future didnít seem so bright.
When Mark Skousen became
FEE president in 2001, he promised, amid much self-produced fanfare, to
turn the institution from a quiet haven for serious students of serious
ideas, to an attention-seeking, noise-making, state-friendly club for
the mindless masses. In short, he
wanted to water down the message to spread it among more people.
a former FEE intern, I was concerned about what was happening to the
organization that had played a vital role in my own intellectual
development. My concern turned to
alarm when Mr. Skousen went so far as to invite
So I wrote an article about it, ďA Great Institution In Freefall,Ē and posted it on this website.
hours, I began receiving e-mails from around the world in response to my
piece. I heard from present and
former FEE Trustees, staff, and interns;
supporters and old friends of Leonard Read; individuals in academia
(from professors to department heads); businessmen; captains of
industry; writers; and talk show hosts, among many others.
Almost all said the same thing: we agree.
of this did not go unnoticed by FEEís Board of Trustees. As I later
learned, my articles were distributed to each one of them. As it turned
out, most of them were less than enthusiastic about receiving the
ďhonorĒ of Rudy Giulianiís presence as wellóand about Mr.
Skousenís agenda for FEE generally. Presumably the people who read my
piece and threatened to withdraw their financial support from FEE had
some influence upon them as well.
in October, the Trustees decided that FEE needed to get back on the
track Leonard Read wanted it to be on. They
cancelled the Giuliani event, and fired Mr. Skousen.
Still, with some help from his friends, Mr. Skousen had the Giuliani event on his own, and got the desperately desired photo-op that cost him his job.
Iíve been told by various sources who are in a position to know, that my articles played a role in setting these events into motion. If thatís true, then Iím glad I could be of service to the cause of liberty, and to the institution to which I owe so much.
And, as a writer, Iím encouraged to know that the power of one manís pen can, in fact, make a real difference in the real world.
donít know much about Dr. Colburn, apart from what
is posted on FEEís site. But
Iím sure if FEE keeps on as it has always kept on (save for a brief
aberration or two), it will continue to reach young minds looking for
truth and, through the impact of its own simply delivered words,
continue to make the world a better place.
December 15, 2002
© 2002 J. H. Huebert