Acton University, with alumni from over 100 countries worldwide, inspires many to defend liberty and promote virtue throughout the world. Garreth Bloor, a leader in the Acton Institute’s network and an AU alumnus, serves as an inspiration, as he has dedicated much of his life to defending freedom globally.
I interviewed Bloor about his current work as the president of the Canada-Africa Chamber of Business. I find his story to seek freedom and uphold human dignity an inspiring one and hope you do as well.
Bloor first attended Acton University in 2006 when he was living in South Africa and studying at the University of Cape Town, but his fight to defend liberty started at a much younger age.
Growing up in South Africa, when and how were you introduced to classical liberalism, and how did that inform your career path?
My introduction to classical liberalism was through the work of Temba Nolutshungu, an anti-apartheid leader who was deeply involved in the negotiations for South Africa’s constitutional democracy, especially property rights for all.
Mr. Nolutshungu would later take me under his wings as a mentor, after we engaged at a conference in Kenya on economic freedom in Sub-Saharan Africa when I was still teenager. He has played an important role in my life ever since, particularly when working on regulatory reform in local government. I was supported in leading the repeal of over 300 outdated pieces of legislation, almost all of which had been created under apartheid and based on the premise of excluding millions from an open-market economy under their variant of National Socialism, which has rightly been declared a crime against humanity.
As an entrepreneur and someone who has spoken on entrepreneurship around the world, what would you say is the role of the entrepreneur in cultivating a free society?
The entrepreneur creates communities of free people through their businesses, which in turn constitute part of the fabric of the civic life that is vital to free societies.
The conditions required for real entrepreneurship that grows businesses in response to the needs of the market are conditions that are important for overall freedom for all people: open markets, rule of law and limits on the discretionary power of government, which all too often violates human rights and the ability to earn a living.
How has the Acton Institute impacted your career and the work you have done first in South Africa and now at the Canada-Africa Chamber of Business?
Acton brings together thinkers from across various faith and philosophical traditions to consider the moral and ethical dynamics in the key economic questions of the day. I know of no other organization that has brought together discussions on the nexus of the common good, human dignity and economic freedom as successfully as the Acton Institute.