Today marks a new chapter in the history of the Cato Institute. Ed Crane, president of the libertarian think tank since it’s founding, has retired from his position. His replacement, former BB&T Bank president John Allison, has taken over. Mr. Crane will be missed
I was an intern under the Crane Administration early last year, and had the pleasure of meeting him a few times. He came in and gave us interns a lecture on what Cato was all about, cracking jokes about jacuzzi’s and seat sizes. (Ever watched a movie where a higher up makes a joke, starts laughing, everyone else starts laughing, and then he glares at everybody and they all shut up? Yeah, it was like that.)
What is great about Ed Crane is that he didn’t give in to crazy conspiracy theories or tight ideologies. Mr. Crane is all about individual liberty, smaller government, and not meddling in every country we feel like. He isn’t dogmatic, he doesn’t let himself be shaped by outside ideologies, or hold fast to any sort of dogma. He is just a simple libertarian; if you really want adjectives, then you can say he’s a libertarian minarchist, or the other way around. (It doesn’t matter.)
That’s the beauty of Cato, really, and Mr. Crane’s leadership. It was truly non-partisan because it was non-dogmatic. As long as you generally held to the idea that, on government, less is more, and generally held that across the board, you were accepted at Cato. That’s what we need more of in the liberty movement. We need fewer purity tests, or demonstrations of fealty to rigid ideologies. No more of this “Well you’re not a libertarian because you fail to bow at the altar of Murray Rothbard” (or Milton Friedman, for that matter.)
While libertarians warmly welcome Mr. Allison to his position at the Cato Institute, let us not forget what Mr. Crane has done for libertarianism. He has made it known in the most statist city in the world, made it palatable for thousands, if not millions of people, and most importantly has shown us a way that will lead us to general acceptance, if not now, then most certainly in the future. Mr. Crane has showed that simple liberty is the best message.
We will miss you, sir. Godspeed and safe journeys.