In much of the non-English-speaking world, access to the basic documents of libertarian thought and new libertarian ideas was, until recently, quite limited. Many people had never had the opportunity to read the classic works of freedom.
The Cato Institute has now launched three foreign-language websites—in Arabic, Spanish, and Russian—to help bring the ideas of liberty to people everywhere.
Cato's Spanish-language website, www.elcato.org, was launched in 1998. ElCato.org features Spanish translations of Cato studies and reports, along with special features by Latin American contributors on issues of relevance to Spanish speakers around the world. The site is popular with journalists, academics, and lay readers in Latin America and Europe, garnering more than 65,000 hits each month. ElCato.org was cited more than 500 times in Spanish-language media in 2005.
Cato is also bringing the "lamp of liberty" to the Arabic-speaking world with www.misbahalhurriya.org (www. lampofliberty.org). Launched in October 2005 as an initiative of Cato's Byrne Project on Middle East Liberty, the website has made the works of Adam Smith, Frederic Bastiat, John Stuart Mill, E A. Hayek, and many others available in Arabic for the first time. Contributors to the site include Shafeeq Gabra, president of American University in Kuwait, whose column tackles issues such as economic liberty and political reform in the Middle East. The site contains Arabic translations of important essays, policy papers, and studies. In addition, Cato's Arabic team is translating such economics textbooks as Common Sense Economics by Cato scholars James Gwartney, Richard L. Stroup, and Dwight Lee and The Economic Way of Thinking by Paul Heyne.
At www.cato.ru, Russian-speaking friends of liberty can find in one location hundreds of full-text books, as well as essays, policy studies, interviews, and reports that explain and apply libertarian policies to the post-Soviet world. The site has cooperated on-line with popular Russian news sites, notably Polit.ru, and has garnered coverage in the Russian media for such Cato products as the Economic Freedom of the World report. Cato.ru has received more than 18,000 visitors since its launch in September 2005. The site was made possible by a startup grant from the Templeton Foundation, and ongoing funding is being sought.
According to Kimon Sargeant, vice president of the Templeton Foundation, "The Cato Institute's much-needed website will serve an invaluable role encouraging a greater appreciation of the importance of the free enterprise system and the values that enable it to flourish in Russia."
Spreading liberty throughout the world requires speaking to individuals in their own languages. By combining new technology, the greatest works of classical liberal thought, and targeted studies of issues of international interest, Cato hopes to enable millions or even billions more people around the globe to enjoy the benefits of freedom.