|David R. Ferguson, Founder||Liberty Center
34100 Center Ridge Road
North Ridgeville, OH 44039
|Dennis Miller, President|
|Jack Dean Smith, Secretary-Treasurer|
|Mike Goldstein, Honorariums||(216) 327-5059|
|Ed Caldwell, Director|
Adam Ferguson wrote his classic work in sociology, the Essay on the History of Civil Society in 1767. He was a leading thinker of the Scottish Enlightenment of the eighteenth century, and was a friend of Adam Smith and David Hume. Born in 1723, he succeeded Hume in 1757 as librarian to the faculty of advocates, and in 1764 was appointed professor of natural philosophy at Edinburgh. He resigned from his professorship in l785, and in l792 published his collected lectures under the title, Principles of Moral and Political Science. He died on February 22, 1816.
Our mission is to promote a more complete understanding of Civil Society through activities which involve research, lectures, publications, special projects, and general outreach to the public. We support the voluntary, therefore peaceful, development of a free, beneficent, and prosperous Civil Society. AFI will sponsor scholars, who will serve as Fellows of the Institute in a number of interrelated disciplines.
A private non-profit and non-partisan educational organization, AFI is funded solely by private sector individuals and groups.
AFI membership should be sought by any individual or organization sympathetic to AFI's mission to promote the interdisciplinary study of Civil Society. This includes all those who believe that an atmosphere of uniform peace, equal justice, and individual liberty is the essence of a Civil Society in which each individual has the opportunity to develop to that person's God-given or natural potential. Our members believe that the advancement of society is the increasing sum of the actual achievements of individuals (both spiritual and material) within this potential.
Members also believe that the study of philosophy, economics, history and other disciplines, is rewarding in itself. Members make a commitment to study and discuss the works of thinkers such as Adam Ferguson and Adam Smith. Through an open exchange of ideas, information, and points of view, members will become better prepared to support their own individual opinions on how best to structure and maintain Civil Society.
"But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persever, being not hearers who forget but doers who act - they will be blessed in their doing." James 1:25
There is in every person a common impulse to cooperate with others in some mutually beneficial endeavor. We experience a feeling of satisfaction when our opportunities mesh in a win-win situation. A Civil Societarian knows from reading, reflection, and discussion that the system we call society was not designed by any human mind, and yet it provides an abundance of these opportunities. A Civil Societarian takes time to study history, philosophy, and economics because he knows that Liberty is always under attack and that only knowledge can protect him from the Sirens' song of authoritarianism. A Civil Societarian is a person who believes that individuals are the essence of any social system, and that sacrificing individuals for the so-called "good of society" has been the bane and shame of humanity. A Civil Societarian cares about the least advantaged. He knows that political power is often used to protect vested interests, thus diminishing the opportunities and expectations of the poorest members of society.
A Civil Societarian knows that, because of unintended consequences, a number of government programs cause more harm than good. The overall result is the creation of a permanent underclass, as the public sector reduces the private sector's ability to generate economic progress for all. A Civil Societarian knows that freedom is the road to both material and spiritual growth. Civil Societarians will not trade their freedom for security because this leads to the loss of both. Civil Societarians know that a great country is simply a place where individuals are free to do great deeds. A Civil Societarian is not willing to stand by and watch as this land we call America declines, like past civilizations whose people lost track of their Liberty and trusted their rulers more than they trusted themselves.
A Civil Societarian understands the purpose of the U.S. Constitution and stands against those who misinterpret and misunderstand this document as they slowly take away the freedom that it was designed to protect. A Civil Societarian is aware of the deterioration of morality, responsibility, and tolerance which are the foundations of a civil society. And, because he has taken the time to study and learn the lessens of Liberty, he knows that evil prevails when good men take no action. He knows responsibility properly resides in the individual, whose action is necessary to preserve a civil society.
A Civil Societarian wants to leave a legacy of hope and harmony, not one of hate and disintegration. Therefore, to be a Civil Societarian is to participate in the discovery and preservation of that Civil Society intended by the Creator for our benefit and enjoyment.