Youth and Hope
We recently held an awards ceremony for the 4th annual Caminos de la Libertad para Jóvenes, an event that celebrates the youthful expression of freedom. I’m proud of this program because it fosters reflection on freedom among youth throughout the Americas. This past year we received 1,866 entries from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Spain, the United States, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela.
Today, it’s fashionable to be a pessimist. Modern society general applauds negative attitudes. However, there are still optimists around. These are the rational optimists who argue that current living conditions on the whole are better than ever in history. It’s not me saying this; it’s authors like Peter Diamandis and Matt Ridley, who make well-constructed arguments in some of their writings, which I have commented on in the past.
The future foreseen by science fiction writers as recently as a half century ago is already here, and it has surpassed the expectations of the most optimistic in many areas. Education, science, technology, trade, and individual freedoms allow us to enjoy a new standard of living, much superior in many ways than what even the richest and most powerful had in the past.
For example, a smartphone, which is really a computer, can give anyone in the world access to more information than the president of the United States had only 40 years ago. We are living in a time of infinite possibilities.
There are obviously reasons to be pessimistic about modern society. Bu we shouldn´t let ourselves be overcome by negativism. A person who cannot visualize a better world will not make the effort necessary to build it. The only way that humanity is going to continue moving ahead is if we continue expanding individual freedoms that allow us to innovate, invest, trade, and be creative.
That is why it is fundamental to understand and defend freedom. The entries we received in multiple mediums at Caminos de la Libertad showed us that young people understand this perfectly; their optimism and will to fight for freedom give us hope. We have seen the enormous transformative power of youth in Egypt, Spain, Libya, Cuba, and, more recently, in Venezuela.
The Caminos de la Libertad para Jóvenes Contest was created precisely to generate greater awareness about the role that individual freedoms play in the advancement of humanity: without freedom to create, there is no place for innovation or progress.
With their participation and proposals, this group of young people has already contributed to building a better world. The existence of enthusiastic youth who believe in freedom gives me great hope for the future.