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It’s with much sadness that we learned the news this week that Distinguished Professor of Free Enterprise and “bleeding-heart libertarian” Steven Horwitz passed away after his long battle with multiple myeloma.

Professor Horwitz with his wife Sarah Skwire (photo Judd Weiss)

Tributes have been flowing thick and fast and for good reason. Steven was an inspiration to many, and his personal vision was to get us closer to a world “in which all 7.5 billion of us can all sit under our vines and fig trees, and none shall make us afraid”.

This after all is why we who advocate for the free-market, classical liberalism and libertarianism do what we do. We want to make the world a better place, and we believe that personal and economic freedom is the best way achieve those ends.

Steven touched many lives with his personal outreach as the following testimonials illustrate:

“Steve was a great man, with an immense legacy in developing and advocating a modern form of liberalism that is both emancipatory and humane.” Mikayla Novak

“Steve inspired us with his positivity about how the work of exploring ideas can bring about prosperity for all. He was particularly interested in seeking how best to empower those who have been historically marginalized. Steve was a passionate scholar, teacher, colleague and friend, and he will be greatly missed. May his memory be a blessing.” Institute for the Study of Political Economy

“He made the people around him better—even when we only got to be ‘around him’ online. Farewell, Steve. Your memory is a blessing. It always will be.” Art Carden

On December 17, 2019 Steven addressed the Center for Liberal Studies Annual Prometheus Awards Dinner at which he was presented with the Prometheus Award for the promotion of Economic Literacy.

In his acceptance speech he outlined his belief that economic literacy is the key to a peaceful and cooperative society:

“The reason to care about economics, and the reason to study it, is not just to understand material well-being, but instead it’s about a much bigger picture: how we cooperate in a world of strangers and diversity, and how we turn that cooperation into better and longer and more peaceful lives for more people.”

I urge you all to read his speech for yourselves as a reminder of what we are seeking to achieve when we promote freedom and prosperity, and the importance of economic literacy which “is all about helping people to understand this grand story of human progress by explaining both the underlying processes and institutions that make it“.

More of Professor Horwitz’ writings can be found on his website.

Our condolences go out to his wife Sarah, his children and all those that were close to him.

We invite your responses, feedback and suggestions. Please write in the comments box below. If this article resonates with you, please SHARE with your all your contacts.

4 Comments

  • By sharing this, you have done a service, not only to Steve Horwitz’s memory, but to all those who are introduced to the life and thought of a real humanitarian who patiently explained how liberalism — free trade, limited government, respect for rights and toleration of differences — is the only path to peace, prosperity, and indefinite progress.

  • Thank you for this, Ron. I didn’t know much about Steve, glad I do now. What a fantastic guy. I will read some of his stuff. It seems like what attracts him to classic liberalism/libertarianism is largely what attracts me. I can see that it’s economic freedom and literacy, combined with all the other literacies and freedoms, and with them (most importantly!) personal responsibility that has enabled me to live the good and full-filling life that I have. A lot of it is due to my parents and ancestors, who carried these same values. So it needs to be a cultural thing too, not just a personal thing. It needs to pass down through the generations, to
    “build up” in society over time and generations.

    Probably one of my foremost thoughts is that I would love others to have these “things” that I have had, especially those who seem trapped in poverty or are just not very well off and so have limited life choices, and often those whom life seems to have pushed around. So maybe I am a “bleeding heart libertarian” too. I know I am not a (Ayn) Randian Libertarian – her view is so shallow and immature, and ignored social and cultural matters.

    Cheers from “The East of the Great Dividing Desert”.

  • Dear Ron,

    Just out of the blue I noticed this email from you that I had not yet had time to open and when I did, I was completely bowled over by the presentation that Steven had given in Athens in 2019. He makes the case that I try and make but so much more effectively than I ever could, and I am going to adopt it as one of the texts that I make much use of when I am speaking myself and in helping others make the case much more effectively when armed with Steven’s thoughts and words.

    You are one of the few people that send me things like this that I really treasure. I don’t know how you get to know all this stuff, all these pieces and to somehow know where you have them all stored so you can make use of them but I for one am very grateful to you for it.

    Best wishes. Linda x

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