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Why Hope Is Essential to Latin America’s Future

Date: Monday, January 27, 2020 7:12 AM EDT

Hope Makes You Think

Reflect for a moment on the endless inventions that benefited humans. If their inventors hadn’t had hope, they would have stopped the very thought process that produced results. Nobody thinks much about possibilities if they focus on what they pre-determine is impossible.

Hope Wins Converts

It attracts others to your objective. It makes both your personality and your ideas magnetic. Nobody wants to sign up for a hopeless cause or work with people who exude discouragement.

Hope for Liberty's Future

Ultimately, no one knows the future, right? So what’s the point of giving up on it before it happens, before you’ve done your best to affect it for the better yourself? That’s exactly what the opposition wants you to do. Why accommodate them?

History is full of moments when liberty’s prospects appeared as dim as a 5-watt bulb. How about the freezing patriots in the winter of 1777-78 at Valley Forge? Consider the plight of British slaves before the anti-slavery movement began in the 1780s. Or recall the late 1940s: FEE was founded amidst a world that believed central planning was divinely-inspired because it seemed to have just won a major world war. Leonard Read would never have founded FEE and Mises would never have written Human Action if either one thought liberty’s future to be hopeless.

Big, positive changes that improve things have occurred often in history, usually at inauspicious moments, reinforcing the old adage that “it’s always darkest before the dawn.” Unpredictable constellations of personalities, events, and ideas appeared that not so long before seemed improbable if not unthinkable. Upon examination, it becomes apparent that these constellations did not materialize out of nowhere; they were made possible by people who never gave up because they had hope. The collapse of the old Soviet Union is a classic case in point.

I recently watched a good movie called The Aeronauts. It’s loosely based on the story of the pioneering English meteorologist James Glaisher. At a time (1862) when science scoffed at the notion that weather was predictable, he and an associate ascend to a height of at least 30,000 feet in a balloon to prove otherwise. They succeeded. At the conclusion of the film, the soft voice of a narrator declares:

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