- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 24, 2001

As American fighter pilots attacked Taliban targets in Afghanistan last week during the first phase of Operation Enduring Freedom, the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) was celebrating the intellectual fight for freedom on the home front.
Thursday's 40th-anniversary gala at the Monarch Hotel featured Secretary of the Interior Gale A. Norton amid a patriotic blend of fine food and solemnity.
"We have a renewed opportunity to showcase freedom around the world," Mrs. Norton said of the nation's struggle against the al Qaeda terrorist network.
The svelte, silver-haired Mrs. Norton also praised IHS for taking a long-term perspective on public policy.
The institute, once based in Menlo Park, Calif., and now operating out of George Mason University, awards more than $400,000 a year in scholarships to students worldwide.
"The seeds they planted are starting to take root," she said. "In order to make permanent change, you have to work with students."
Syndicated columnist Walter E. Williams, IHS Chairman Charles G. Koch, Republican Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas and his wife, Wendy L. Gramm of the university's Mercatus Center, were among the guests applauding freedom while dining on sea bass and baby lamb chops.
Before the main course, Mr. Gramm, who recently announced his retirement from the Senate, lauded IHS for helping secure limited government and maximum freedom for four decades.
"The struggle to preserve and enhance human liberty is as old as mankind," Mr. Gramm said.
The nation's current war, he noted, puts that battle in stark terms.
"It's important that we remain Athens and not Sparta," he said, referring to the ancient clash between the democracy-loving Athenians and the warlike Spartans. "It's always a danger in these circumstances [of war]."
IHS Vice President for Academic Affairs Paul Edwards said his organization's outlook has changed markedly since its inception.
"In 1961, the effort was to gather the remnants of people interested in liberty, a small number of scholars," Mr. Edwards said. "Now, IHS sees its mission not [to be] a ghetto for people interested in liberty, but a place where we can identify talented young people who share these ideals and launch them in their intellectual careers."
Promoting such concepts isn't easy, though.
"Economic concepts are difficult to report on in a compelling way," he said. "We've got to do a better job to make people see the truly interesting stories out there, how free institutes can solve problems better."
Mr. Williams cast a more ominous note, warning the crowd that freedom goes against "the normal state of human affairs," which is "arbitrary abuse and control by others."
"If liberty dies in the U.S., it will be dead everywhere," he said. "With organizations like IHS making the moral case why people should be free, we might have a chance."

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