And the Award Goes to … Liberty For All

2013 Templeton Award finalists

The Mackinac Center was honored to be one of six finalists for the 2013 Templeton Freedom Award, an annual prize given out by the Atlas Network that recognizes exceptional achievement in the global free-market think tank community. The Center was nominated for our role in Michigan becoming the nation’s 24th right-to-work state.

The Atlas Network was created by Sir Antony Fisher and serves a network of some 400 free-market think tanks in 80 countries. Fisher, often called “the Johnny Appleseed of the free-market movement,” also founded the Institute of Economic Affairs in London, the Fraser Institute in Canada and the Manhattan Institute in New York City.

Fisher was moved to his work after, as a young RAF pilot in World War II he read F.A. Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom.” He later was talked out of going into politics by Hayek. Instead the Nobel laureate told Fisher that society’s course would be changed by ideas.

The Templeton Award is given each November by the Atlas  Foundation at its Liberty Forum and Freedom Dinner.

As Executive Vice President Michael J. Reitz detailed in the last edition of IMPACT, the other finalists were:

  • The Centre for Civil Society in India was founded by Parth Shah in 1997 after he left a job at the University of Michigan to return to his native India. CCS leads the charge for education reform in India by promoting choice and innovation. Shah also attended the Mackinac Center’s Leadership Conference. 

  • The Centro de Investigación para el Desarrollo, A.C., in Mexico was recognized for advancing policies to improve Mexico’s prosperity and productivity. Its Mexico Productivity Index is credited with influencing the national discussion about Mexico’s economic policies.

  • The Istituto Bruno Leoni, named after the Italian classical liberal thinker, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. Its Liberalization Index annually ranks Italy and other European countries by comparing 16 sectors and evaluating the cost of excessive regulation, taxation and legal uncertainty.

  • The Texas Public Policy Foundation for its Right on Crime project, which promotes alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders and exposes the problem of over-criminalization in the U.S.

  • If Great Britain has a Tea Party movement, the TaxPayers’ Alliance in London is a ringleader. Launched in 2004, the TaxPayers’ Alliance is “arguably the most influential pressure group in the country” according to one British newspaper. The organization’s 2020 Tax Commission and Single Income Tax report are credited with reductions in levies and driving conversation about fiscal reform.

The panel of international judges ultimately gave the award to the TaxPayers’ Alliance, although during the ceremony as each finalist was introduced the Center received by far the loudest reception.

As President Joseph G. Lehman left the stage with the other finalists that night, he was greeted by Labor Policy Director F. Vincent Vernuccio with a high-five and a hearty “Joe, this only proves Mackinac hasn’t peaked yet!”