Sir Anthony Fisher: The Battle for Ideas for Freedom

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Antony Fisher never knew his father. He was killed by a sniper’s bullet in Gaza during World War One when Antony was two years old.

Antony and his brother Basil served as pilots in the Royal Air Force in World War Two. They were part of the few in Winston Churchill’s memorable phrase about the battle of Britain.

Antony Fisher was devoted to the principles of free markets and free societies. Yet after the war was won, Fisher felt his nation was creeping towards the policies he and his brother helped fight against.

His devotion to freedom became even stronger upon reading The Road to Serfdom and meeting its author, F. A. Hayek.

And, after achieving success as a chicken farmer entrepreneur, Fisher founded the Institute of Economic Affairs in London, which gradually gained credibility and laid the intellectual groundwork for what later became the Thatcher Revolution of the 1980s.

Fisher was, for the second time, saluted by a British Prime Minister as one of the few involved in the country’s rescue.

Recognizing his contribution to prosperity in Britain, Fisher was knighted by Queen Elizabeth shortly before his death in 1988.

Sir Antony Fisher truly was one of the few, but his legacy goes on for the benefit of the many.

In 1981, Fisher founded what was then called the Atlas Economic Research Foundation to institutionalize this process of helping start up new think tanks.

Today, Atlas Network connects more than 470 independent think tanks in more than 90 countries.

While the think tank movement has grown significantly over the years, the spirit of Atlas Network’s work remains the same as that which motivated Antony Fisher…

To win the long-term policy battles that will shape history, we need intellectual entrepreneurs to create credible institutes, well-managed and independent of vested interests, and that use sound business practices to advance sound public policy ideas.

Sir Antony Fisher’s life was dedicated to freedom. He knew that the battle of ideas for freedom was a noble one, but that it would require eternal vigilance. That is why Atlas Network carries on Fisher’s tradition through its support of partners around the world.