Friday, April 25, 2008

The Emerson Institute for Freedom and Culture -- Mission Statement

My wife, Anna, and I will be setting up a nonprofit organization we are tentatively calling "The Emerson Institute for Freedom and Culture" -- a think tank to promote the creation of a naturally classical culture. Below is our mission statement. I would appreciate any feedback, recommendations, etc. on it.

The Emerson Institute for Freedom and Culture

Mission Statement

The Emerson Institute for Freedom and Culture is working to change the culture by promoting progressive natural classicism in the arts and humanities.

Censors of every ideology know the power of the arts and humanities. Culture emerges from the people, who are influenced by the culture. Politicians follow the people; the laws they pass are shaped by their perception of what the people want. Thus, if any long-term support for free markets and personal liberty is to occur, the changes must be made in the culture rather than with the politicians. If we have a culture which promotes freedom, truth, beauty, meaning, value, and virtue, we will have people who will support freedom, truth, beauty, meaning, value, and virtue in their lives as a whole, including in their politics. The top will be changed by changes at the bottom.

Cultures, economies, and free societies are all complex systems. Complex systems have bottom-up self-organization, evolve, are polycentric hierarchies, and involve nonlinear feedback loops. Such systems are generative of growth, freedom, value, meaning, and virtue. Thus, we seek to help create this kind of natural culture, one that is a complex, nonlinear, self-organizing, flexible hierarchy that will allow for greater freedom and creative innovation, limit power, and reduce coercion in favor of mutually beneficial exchange and assent. We also seek to oppose all attempts to create a simple, linear, coercive, rigid, egalitarian culture that makes people weak, passive, irresponsible, lacking in self-control, easily led, incapable of independent thought, nihilistic, and prone to engage in crime and self-destructive behavior – all of which makes a society conducive to the acceptance of totalitarianism.

Any real and lasting societal change must start in the culture – in the arts and humanities. If the people are to believe in freedom, truth, beauty, meaning, value, and virtue, then our arts and humanities must create or reconstruct freedom, truth, beauty, meaning, value and virtue in works which address themselves to the average person and not just to the specialist. In other words, we must support works that provide a counterpoint to those postmodern works which promote a simplistic, irrational, unbeautiful, nihilistic worldview that undermines rather than reinforces the creative freedom inherent in the world. Through journals and newsletters, articles and books, scholarly panels, media appearances, and special projects, EIFC strives to reflect the reality of the world as a self-organizing, nonlinear, creative, hierarchical, complex, emergentist system conducive to freedom.
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