One of the many highlights of attending Cato Institute events is the opportunity to hear President and CEO John Allison talk about liberty and freedom. John has a unique view in that he was the Chairman and CEO of BB&T. Under his guidance, BB&T’s assets grew from $4.5 billion to $152 billion, and he’s been recognized by the Harvard Business Review as one of the top 100 most successful CEOs in the world over the last decade. It’s one thing to believe in liberty and freedom and quite another to apply it successfully in the real world. Here’s a recent excerpt of his thinking. Allison writes:
It is often said that libertarians line up with conservatives on economic issues and with liberals on civil liberties. This is a misleading concept. Many conservatives are pro-business (crony capitalist). Libertarians are not pro-business, we are pro-free markets. Liberals, unfortunately, have rationalized that the best way to advance civil liberties is to deny civil liberties to those who do not share their beliefs. Libertarians, on the other hand, are uncompromising advocates of civil liberties for all. Our position is logically consistent and integrated.
The intellectual foundation for the “libertarian moment” is the growing realization, especially among young people, that libertarian philosophy is fundamentally different than that of conservatives and liberals and provides a genuinely transformative alternative that can create a more successful society that supports human flourishing. Libertarianism is by far the closest modern philosophy to classical liberalism (Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness) that inspired America’s Founding Fathers and that somehow got lost in the “Progressive” tide that began in the early 1900s.