The Heritage Foundation is the premier conservative think tank in the United States. Founded by Dr. Edwin Feulner some 40 years ago, pretty much from ground zero, Heritage has grown and developed under extremely talented leadership. Its high-quality publications, conferences and influential media presence have been a powerful force for good for all Americans who believe in free enterprise, limited government and the rule of law, while also recognizing the importance of a strong military presence in an unstable world. Its approach may be viewed as a bit too muscular by some libertarians, but it surely supplies an admirable counter-balance to the also formidable, if less muscularly-inclined Cato Institute.
Ed Feulner has been a remarkably successful President of the Heritage Foundation precisely because he has always known just where to tread along that delicate border between the world of ideas and the world of politics. Ed Feulner knows full well that good ideas last forever, whereas even the very best of politics is transient. Ronald Reagan is much revered in conservative circles and rightly so. But Reagan was able to influence policy only for a short span of time. He would not recognize the America of Barack Obama. By contrast, the ideas of Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek live on forever.
So all those of us who love individual liberty, free markets, limited government, private property rights and the rule of law – whether of the Heritage Foundation or the Cato Institute brand – will watch anxiously, as Jim DeMint assumes the mantle of leadership at the Heritage Foundation. Let us pray that the new President secures his feet on that delicate borderline as firmly as those huge shoes of Ed Feulner. For, if he fails so to do, and surely if he tips the balance towards politics rather than ideas, conservative political economy will take a huge long-term hit and the progressive movement will sadly benefit.
My personal thanks to Edwin Feulner – a conservative thinker and leader for all seasons. BRAVO!