On January 6, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered an address to Congress that would become known as the Four Freedoms speech. As the world marched toward war, FDR reminded Americans of the importance of freedom from fear, freedom from want, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech.
In this issue of The Catalyst, we take a look at what freedom means today, 75 years after the famous call to action. We have asked contributors from numerous perspectives to share their thoughts on what freedom from fear, freedom from want, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech means in our contemporary world.
Their opinions do not necessarily represent the Bush Institute’s view, but we do believe that ideas matter. As we said at the outset of this journal, ideas help solve problems, lead to action, and embolden leaders.
In this issue, you will hear from: George W. Bush. Tony Blair. Leon Panetta. Jim Lehrer. Michael Hayden. Melanie Kirkpatrick. Geoffrey Canada. Jonathan Sacks. Timothy Keller. Katrina Lantos Swett. Mustafa Akyol. James Glassman. Oscar Biscet. Those leaders, activists, writers, and journalists are among our contributors, along with Bush Institute experts Kenneth Hersh, Amanda Schnetzer, and Miguel Howe. You also will hear from Jeffrey Engel, director of SMU’s Center for Presidential History, who sets up the issue with the backdrop for the Four Freedoms address.
These subjects take on special relevance today as debates at home and abroad revolve around how open we want our societies to be. How we interpret these freedoms will go far in answering that question.
A special note of thanks goes to Amanda Schnetzer and Lindsay Lloyd of the Bush Institute’s Human Freedom initiative, as well as Catherine Jaynes of the Bush Institute’s Presidential Leadership Scholars program and Education Reform initiative. Catherine popped up before one meeting and suggested focusing on freedom’s meaning today, Amanda linked the idea to FDR’s address, and Lindsay suggested numerous authors you see in this edition.