Going on 30 years ago Lew Rockwell had an idea. The idea was to form an institute to celebrate the works of a forgotten scholar — Ludwig von Mises — and promote the study of Austrian economics, a school of economic thought that recognized freedom as paramount if society is to be prosperous, a school of thought that had been long forgotten, a school of thought that recognized the damage that government intervention causes.
For three decades Lew's big idea has carried on with the help of donors like you. Ideas may be free; however, teaching those ideas and implementing them are not. In 2011, Mises.org has enjoyed 1.2 million unique visitors each month. Lives and minds are changed by the thousands each and every day by Mises.org. And while the vast resources contained online at Mises.org are free to its users, the cost to keep it running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year is far from free.
The 800 articles, the 100 audio dailies, the 337 lectures and interviews in media, the 80 live video webcasts that were added just this year could not be created out of thin air the way the Fed creates money. Donors must forgo consumption and care enough about liberty and freedom to make all of this possible — and they have done so for three decades.
Many in the mainstream must believe that Austrian economics — Rothbard, Mises, Hazlitt, and Ron Paul — appeared from nowhere. Of course they haven't. It's taken 30 years of hard work by the Mises staff and sacrifice from our donors to elevate the ideas of liberty to the national stage.
Now is our time. Now is the time for the ideas of liberty to take hold. There is more interest in our ideas than ever before. The Institute held 16 conferences in 2011, attended not just by enthusiastic followers and students but those curious about ideas they hadn't heard about before: something other than the same old government prescriptions to solve the same old problems caused by government itself.
Book sales are a good indication of the interest level, and books sales continue to be strong. However, the Institute must work hard to keep up with consumer tastes. The world has changed. Not everyone prefers big, hardcover books. With the help of donors we've created new audiobooks, including editions of Human Action and Man, Economy and State. We've published over 150 ebooks and a number of new (and old) titles have been introduced or reintroduced in cheaper pocket formats to educate a new generation.
The Institute's newest program, the Mises Academy, has been a smashing success with over 30 classes offered, many with enrolments of over 200 students tuning in for lectures from all over the world.
None of this can occur for free. Although the message of free markets can be spread more efficiently and effectively than ever before, resources are required. Now is not the time to rest on our laurels. The ideas of Mises and Rothbard have captured the world's attention, and we must seize this moment.
Please help us make 2012, the Mises Institute's 30th anniversary, our most successful and productive year yet, leaving no stone unturned to advance the cause of free markets and liberty. With your help we can move mountains for freedom; and now is the time!