Guiding Principles

Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty Inc. (WILL) recognizes that the principles and institutions that have made America an exceptional nation were hard won and can be easily lost. WILL is therefore dedicated to a vigorous defense of these foundations as the basis of a free society.

Principled Support of Country and Community

WILL believes not just in freedom, but also in the richness of community and culture that are the basis of a well-lived life. WILL seeks to further those beliefs by supporting the research, litigation, policy, education, study, defense, and practice of the individual initiative and ordered liberty that leads to prosperity, strong families, and vibrant communities.

The core principles which inform WILL’s mission include:

Fidelity to the Constitution, with its principles of limited government, federalism, separation of powers, and individual liberties.
WILL believes that the political system envisioned by America’s founders is unique and extraordinary, and must be preserved “to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity” and to give American citizens room to solve problems effectively on their own. WILL stands firmly opposed to forces that would wrest control from individual citizens and instead vest authority in government, especially the national government. WILL also seeks to promote understanding of and respect for America’s democratic system and republican institutions, to support federalism, to uphold the rule of law, to protect the nation’s legal system from efforts to circumvent the Constitutional order, to protect the electoral process, to defend the rights of all individuals to political engagement in accordance with the rule of law, and to protect the basic liberties outlined in the Bill of Rights, including the freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
Commitment to free markets that allow for private enterprise, entrepreneurship, and voluntary exchange within the rule of law.
WILL believes that such an economic system recognizes the dignity and encourages the initiative inherent in all men and women. It further believes that such a system is most likely to result in a prosperous economy that improves the prospects for a good life for all citizens. WILL’s founder and supporters owe much of the success of WILL to a free enterprise system, and WILL works to ensure that this opportunity is available to future generations. WILL thus combats efforts to undermine economic freedom and seeks to protect organizations and projects that conduct research and educate the public and policymakers about the conditions necessary for economic growth and prosperity.
Commitment to the fundamental institutions of civil society that cultivate individuals capable of self-governance.
America has thrived because of the exceptional strength and vitality of its traditional, local institutions—families, schools, churches, neighborhoods, voluntary associations, and arts and cultural institutions—which cultivate individual character, strengthen community bonds, and encourage genuine citizenship. A strong family and religious freedom, in particular, have provided essential support for these character-forming and community-supporting functions that make intrusive government less necessary. WILL believes that these are the institutions most able and likely to guide behaviors, transform lives, and support a free society that is culturally vibrant and intellectually vigorous.
Dedication to the formation of informed and capable citizens.
WILL recognizes that our liberties are secure and will endure only insofar as Americans value and uphold the principles and institutions of American exceptionalism. Therefore, WILL informs and advises educational efforts to give citizens the character, habits, and knowledge needed to succeed in a free society, and WILL works to educate citizens and the government as to the principles, prudence, and institutions that are the basis for such freedoms.