Dear IPA Members
“Dr Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t say ‘I have a nightmare’.”
That’s a wonderful insight. So obvious and so true. Change comes from optimism and hope, not fear and pessimism.
I read that comment the other day and I thought it captures exactly what we do every day at the Institute of Public Affairs.
Because I wasn’t sure whether other people would find it as powerful as I did and whether it was the right way to start my 2019 Christmas Letter to IPA members, I asked my fourteen-year-old son about it. I told him what I proposed to do and he said he liked it. And then he said something really interesting – he said nightmares don’t offer solutions. And he said that’s the problem with Greta Thunberg.
Optimism and hope provide the opportunity for change. Back in 2016 as part of research conducted for the IPA’s Generation Liberty program, we surveyed 1,000 young Australians between the ages of 16 and 25 about their attitude to political and philosophical ideas such as ‘fairness’, ‘human rights’, ‘free enterprise’, ‘socialism’, ‘capitalism’, ‘conservatism’, and ‘opportunity’. Can you guess which idea young people were most positive about? It was ‘opportunity’ by a long way. 86% of young people were positive about ‘opportunity’ while only 40% were positive about ‘free enterprise’ and 28% were positive about ‘capitalism’. Our challenge is to have young people understand that only free enterprise can provide the opportunity they seek.