Free thinkers everywhere lost a champion this year. Sir Antony Fisher, impresario of public policy institutes around the world, passed away at the age of 73. He died from a prolonged heart disorder, just a few weeks after being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for public service.
Fisher was a highly decorated RAF fighter pilot during the Battle of Britain. Having done his part to defend the freedom of his country from the external threat of Nazi Germany, he later took upon himself an even greater challenge: to stop his fellow Britons from surrendering what they had just fought so dearly to save—their freedom—in the political and intellectual march toward socialism.
With the profits from his chicken farm, Fisher founded London's Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in 1955. Though it started as a small, misunderstood group of classical liberal scholars, the IEA eventually earned so much respect and influence that Margaret Thatcher credited it with having created the climate of opinion that made possible her election.
With the IEA well established, in the late '70s Fisher expanded to become a full-time think-tank entrepreneur, assisting a worldwide network of over 40 free-market organizations in more than 20 countries. Prime Minister Thatcher gave the simplest, yet strongest, praise of Sir Antony and his colleagues at IEA: "They were the few. But they were right, and they saved Britain."