Malcolm "Steve" Forbes, Jr. to Antony Fisher:
“You are an extraordinary fellow who is having an enormous impact on much of the civilized world. It must be heartening to you how much your institutes are influencing public debates!”
June 1, 1987
"Communism (and Fascism) are poison for the people-Socialism is the cup they are given to drink it from.” Antony Fisher
". . . above all I must express my debt to Prof. F. A. Hayek who inspired my original interest in economic research thirty years ago on who has ever since encouraged me by his example and teachings to hold firm to the faith that it is the battle of ideas which will decide the future prospects of the free society." (1974)
Antony was studying and writing about economics before the founding of the IEA. In or before 1948 he wrote:
On Sound Money:
"Paper currencies are not foolproof and can be used to conceal unpleasant facts; on the other hand a gold currency cannot be tampered with by politicians. It cannot be devalued. It is therefore the best safeguard the public can have, for it has intrinsic value and if the public lose confidence in their politicians they can exercise an economic vote any minute of any day and pocket or hide their money."
"Many studies need to be made. We need a series of studies by different and perhaps young academics elucidating monetary problems. History, logic and modern experience seem to indicate quite clearly that governments shouldn't be in the money business. If it is true, that case has to be made many times over in many books based in many universities. It must indeed become the fashion. We need choruses and not a solo if we are to influence public opinion and ultimately public policy." (The Mess: Its Cause and Cure, 16 May 1980, Bahamas Princess Hotel)
Early in the history of Atlas, Antony was fundraising to lead a program to promote sound money. In 1985, a few months before I arrived to Atlas, he wrote to a potential donor: “I have been offered $50,000 towards the cost of a publication on the history of money. I believe that one of the most effective ways of teaching economics would be a television series telling the story of money, going back 4,000 years. It would interest a whole cross section of the public in many countries.” (March 22, 1985) The donor, a major philanthropist to many Libertarian, arts and medical causes, never donated to Atlas directly. During the years after that letter, US monetary policy became less inflationary. Things changed during the beginning of this century. In 2009, Atlas was able to start an important effort to promote sound money, www.soundmoneyproject.org. In 2017 Atlas passed the social media aspects of the project to the American Institute of Economic Research https://www.aier.org/sound-money-project
On Rule of Law and Morality:
“the government has a duty to see that it bases its laws on the accepted moral principles. Starting again from the basis that “we should do as we would be done by,” all laws made should apply equally to each individual in the state, as well as to the government itself. This is known as the Rule of Law and it is one of the principles of democracy. Without it democracy is no longer democracy.” (Case for Freedom, p. 8).
Quotes from Antony Fisher
Introduction to Fisher's book "The Case for Freedom" (1948-1949)
"I have found myself writing this booklet as the result of a study of politics and economy, a study which had its origin in a very ordinary background. Very few people before the war took much interest in such matters and as I was not one of the few, it was only natural that my knowledge of them should be as limited as my interest. However a series of events helped to start me thinking and I set out to study these things for myself; my knowledge may not have increased in relation to the study but as the overall picture cleared a little, I found myself writing down my findings."
My service as a pilot in the R.A.F., a short spell at the Air Ministry, the General Election of 1945, a subsequent By-Election, and my return to civilian employment and a chance to travel, have all played their part in stirring up my thoughts. These events together with the reading of many books and papers, particularly Adam Smith's “The Wealth of Nations,” Karl Marx’s “Capital” and the official Report of the Communist Spy Trial in Canada have all taught me many things, but one conclusion became increasingly obvious, and that is that there is a relationship between sound legislation, prosperity and peace, a relationship that seems to have been forgotten, and because of this one major communist weapon-the false economy-is not seen for what it is. If my conclusions are correct then there is a positive answer to our problems. The object of this book is to put at least my main conclusions on paper. I hope that the reader will find my statements understandable; I do believe they make sense.
"The problem has been developing for many years: a sort of economic alcoholism in which society has depended upon government to solve all its problems. Governments have promised to do away with unemployment, to eradicate poverty, to mitigate the pain of old age and sickness, even to ease the consequences of banking and business mistakes. Such irresistible promises! It was exactly what everyone wanted. We became economic alcoholics, dependent on government, and have had no concept of who will pay the price for this happy addiction." (from a speech at Athens College in 1984)
Fisher on bailouts
"It is idiocy to re-negotiate loans to governments so they may continue making the same mistakes, or “bail out” banks so their shareholders never discover and correct bad banking procedures. But this is all part of government profligacy. We don’t face up to mistakes; we just throw more money at them." (from a speech at Athens College in 1984)
"Even the most cursory study of the history of the human race provides evidence of constant human failure, leading to violence and men's inhumanity to man. Those who have lived through the most recent expressions of this violence-- the second world war, the wars in Korea and Vietnam, the Castro revolution, the Russian invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia, and the Chinese purges-- will know something of the stress, the pain, the fear, and the hysteria that such devastating explosions produce in man." (1978)
More from Fisher on Think Tanks and Universities
"new understanding has to come from independent individuals who can give sufficient time to intellectual study. . . one person, can suffice to move government to make correct policy decisions. The essential ingredient is deep understanding, which in turn can be achieved only by dedicated concentration and research."
Antony was a religious person until the end, as Gerald Frost writes: “Each day began with one hour’s reading from the works of Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, and selected texts from the Bible. . . .Antony remained a Christian Scientist until his death, attended Christian Science services throughout his life and accepted teachings uncritically, without seeking to force his convictions on others. Following the example of his mother, for the remainder of his life, whatever worldly distractions there might be, the first hour of his day was spent reading the Bible and Mrs Baker Eddy’s text.” Fisher wrote: ""My efforts have been mainly concerned with economic understanding, but I appreciate only too well that if there is no religious teaching in a home, then maybe the home begins, at least in the second perhaps third generations, to deteriorate." Antony Fisher, November 30, 1978