“We stand today on the edge of a New Frontier — the frontier of the 1960s, the frontier of unknown opportunities and perils, the frontier of unfilled hopes and unfilled threats. … Beyond that frontier are uncharted areas of science and space, unsolved problems of peace and war, unconquered problems of ignorance and prejudice, unanswered questions of poverty and surplus.”
More than half a century has passed since John F. Kennedy uttered those dramatic words at the 1960 Democratic National Convention, yet we face many of those same “unknown opportunities and perils” today. Unfilled hopes have led to violent threats on one hand and ineffective entitlements on the other. The problems that lead to war remain unsolved because genuine solutions remain untried. Despite powerful evidence in Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea and the like that dictatorial socialism leads inevitably to an equal sharing of misery, America is leaning further toward socialism than ever before. And while we have made much progress in race relations, an undercurrent of privilege and prejudice continues to foment discontent.
At FreedomFest we take seriously the rising threats to our freedoms. Like you, we’re worried about the way onerous regulations and rising taxes will affect our businesses. We’re concerned about threats to free speech and a resistance to civil and open debate. We resist attacks on our Constitutional rights– rights that were once declared inalienable. We see a weakening of civil rights around the world, and worry that there is no safe place of refuge.
America was long considered the last frontier in terms of western expansion and open territory. Now the globe seems filled, and not with freedom. We can’t escape any longer—we have to stand in the place where we are and fight to restore our freedoms by using logic, persuasion, and ever-expanding technology.
Fortunately, we also have access to those “uncharted areas of science and space” that Kennedy referenced so long ago. Armed with intelligence and creativity, scientists and innovators continue to explore new frontiers that can change and improve our world.
Think of the innovations we have seen in health care over the past twenty years. Prosthetic limbs have become tools for daily living. Cancer is no longer a death sentence. Spinal cord injuries can be repaired. Macular degeneration can be slowed and even stopped. The Bionic Woman is no longer a television character but a real and practical possibility.
The twentieth century was the era of transportation technology; instead of traveling by horse, boat and foot, we began traveling by trains, planes and automobiles. Commercial air travel was available a mere twenty years after the Wright brothers flew their plane at Kitty Hawk. Driverless cars are the next great innovation in transportation, and the moon doesn’t seem that far away any more.
Meanwhile, this is the era of communications technology. Who would have thought twenty years ago that we would soon be carrying around in our pockets virtually all the information available in the world—and all the music in our vast collections as well? Or that we could trade and shop in a virtually cashless exchange? What will be the next great transformation?
In the same decade that JFK gave his New Frontiers speech, Gene Roddenberry imagined new frontiers in outer space, where new philosophies could be explored. Fittingly, he named the space ship “Enterprise.” What new philosophies will guide the next generation? Will they boldly go where no one has gone before, seeking for new solutions to old problems, or will they return to the vital lessons of human interaction that were taught by the likes of Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman and others?
We stand at the crossroads. Can liberty be restored? Or have we already gone too far?
Join us as we explore new frontiers and new solutions in the fight between ignorance and wisdom, poverty and abundance, prejudice and open-mindedness, disease and good health, tyranny and freedom.
“Exploring New Frontiers,” FreedomFest 2017, July 19-22, Paris Resort, Las Vegas.
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