Yesterday was a sad day for economic freedom worldwide. John Blundell, the great free-market institution builder, passed away at the age of 63. Blundell played a critically important role in the global movement for free-markets and liberty and left a legacy of institutional impact that all libertarians should aspire to. The Atlas Network wrote, “He celebrated the quiet behind-the-scenes work that often matters more than what’s most visible to a general audience.” Here at SFL, we send our condolences to the Blundell family and all those touched by his inspiring life. The world is a more free place because of Mr. Blundell.
Blundell was a movement builder who understood the importance of institutions in crafting a global movement towards liberty and free markets. Blundell worked for and with the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Institute for Humane Studies, the Fraser Institute, the Mont Pelerin Society, the Institute for Justice, and perhaps most importantly, the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. His fingerprints can be seen on free-market think tanks across the globe. Blundell was also a writer who penned a biography of Margaret Thatcher and the influential Waging the War of Ideas.
Blundell was a serious thinker when it came to social change and his work has lit a fire in our students to do the same. Any casual reader of this blog will recognize the bounty of blogs SFL publishes on social change, public opinion, Hayek, Alinsky, and the climate of political opinion. Recognizing the importance of social change strategy is a lesson we can take from Blundell, who did his best to ensure long-term lasting influence for libertarian ideas and not just quick temporary victories. Blundell channeled Hayek when he wrote in Ideas:
“Over the long run, it is a battle of ideas, and it is the intellectual – the journalist, novelist, filmmaker and so on, who translates and transmits the ideas of the scholars to the broader public – who is critically important. He is the filter who decides what we hear, when we hear it, and how we hear it.”
Blundell’s contributions are seen throughout Students For Liberty. We use his writings from Waging the War of Ideas in our leadership training across multiple continents. In a statement yesterday, the Atlas Network noted, “He celebrated bold leadership on behalf of the principles that will be vindicated over the long-term.” SFL will continue to ensure bold leadership training to all our students in order to carry on the Blundell legacy. In addition, his latest book, Ladies For Liberty: Women Who Made a Difference in American History, serves as inspiration for our Women For Liberty program and blog series. Blundell’s international outlook and work with the Atlas Network provided a template for how to craft an internationally focused organization. In short, SFL is forever grateful to Mr. Blundell for his work in advancing a free society and a free academy.
Free markets have pulled billions of people around the world from the evils of abject poverty. But while it’s important to celebrate Hayek, Mises, and Friedman, it’s also critical to take note of those behind the scenes in promoting markets and liberty. Mr. Blundell made an indispensable contribution to the ideas of freedom. As we continue to ‘wage the war on ideas,’ let us remember John Blundell. Rest peacefully.
For the IEA obituary, please click here.
For the Atlas obituary, please click here.