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Support for a free, open society is predicated on understanding and valuing its foundational principles. Unfortunately, understanding and even awareness of such ideas and principles are being lost. In today’s world most people, particularly the young, do not have the time or inclination to read the original works of thinkers such as F.A. Hayek, Milton Friedman, Adam Smith, David Hume, or others instrumental in the development of classical liberalism. This intellectual decay has been worsened by the information revolution that demands ever shorter summaries, as well as by the changes in university curricula that all but ignore classical liberalism.

Based on an incredibly successful prototype developed by the Institute for the vital insights of F.A. Hayek, Essential Scholars will make accessible the central ideas of the key scholars who have contributed to our understanding of and appreciation for a free and open society. In total, 18 scholars or groups of scholars will be covered in modules centered around a dedicated, mobile-friendly website that includes a short, accessible book written by a recognized expert, and supporting videos. Materials will be free and shareable on social media.

The website, which will also hold previously-developed modules on Hayek and Adam Smith, will be provided on a Creative Commons license, to facilitate the use of its contents by other organizations. Based on the Institute’s experience with its Essential Hayek project, it is expected that numerous translations of the books and videos will result.

Marketing will be a major part of the program. Each book will be distributed through the Institute’s global networks of think tanks and educational organizations, and substantial efforts will be placed on ongoing social media promotion. Making these ideas accessible to the next generation is the best hope for a renewed appreciation and support for a free and open society.