Full Video of The Independent Institutes 2011 25th Anniversary Gala for Liberty held November 15, 2011. Part 1: Introductory Remarks and Tribute to Robert Higgs Part 2: Tribute to Mario Vargas Llosa Part 3: History of The Independent Institute and Fund for the Future Part 4: Tribute to Lech Walesa Part 5: Special Tributes, Sponsors, and Credits
What is fundamentally wrong with government today? Since 2001, despite low inflation, federal spending has increased by a massive 28.8%, creating the largest deficits in U.S. history and the highest rate of government growth since the "guns-and-butter" presidencies of Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson. At the same time, federal agencies have been given new powers to secretly search anyone's property and intercept phone, Internet, and other communications, as well as inspect health and financial records. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, economist and historian Robert Higgs alone predicted this explosion of government power, as politicians have again taken full advantage of a frightened American public.
At this special Independent Policy Forum based on his new book, Against Leviathan, Dr. Higgs will present an unflinchingly critical analysis of the abuse of government power, including pork, the welfare state, protectionism, trampling on the Bill of Rights, and governmental responses to a continuing stream of "crises," including foreign wars, both hot and cold. Dr. Higgs combines an economist's analytical scrutiny, an historian's respect for the facts, and a refusal to accept the standard excuses and cruelties of government officialdom.
Senior Fellow in Political Economy for The Independent Institute and Editor of the Institute's quarterly journal, The Independent Review: A Journal of Political Economy
Author, Against Leviathan: Government Power and a Free Society
Daniel Ellsberg began his Vietnam-era career as a U.S. Marine company commander, a Pentagon official, and a staunch supporter of U.S. global interventionism. But, in October 1969, Ellsbergfully expecting to spend the rest of his life in prisonsmuggled out of his office and made public a seven-thousand-page top secret study of decision making in Vietnam, the Pentagon Papers. At this upcoming Independent Policy Forum, Ellsberg will tell the story of his becoming the most important whistle-blower of the last fifty years, risking his career and his freedom to expose the deceptions and delusions of U.S. leaders from Truman onward.
Based on his new book, Secrets, Ellsberg provided an insiders view of the secrets and lies that have shaped decades of U.S. foreign policy to the present. His exposure began on his first day at the Pentagon, August 4, 1964, which was also the day of the infamous Gulf of Tonkin incident. In time, the more he learned from top decision-makers, confidential documents, and reports of secret maneuvers, the more skeptical he became about the conduct and impact of U.S. foreign policies.
The release of the Pentagon Papers set in motion a chain of events that included a landmark Supreme Court decision, the arrest and trial of Ellsberg, the crimes of Watergate, and the end of the Nixon presidency and the Vietnam War.
As the U.S. pursues the current War on Terrorism, Ellsbergs insights into governmental intoxication with power could not be more timely or important.
This special evening with Daniel Ellsberg and a distinguished panel of scholars, Barton J. Bernstein, Edwin B. Firmage, David R. Henderson, and Jonathan Marshall discussed Secrecy, Freedom and Empire: Lessons for Today from Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers.
To outsiders, its initials once stood for No Such Agency. To its employees, they stood for Never Say Anything. Today the public knows that the ultra-secret National Security Agency manages the nations spy satellites, but few know exactly why the NSA is the most powerful U.S. intelligence agencyor its roles in the Cold War, the hunt for Osama bin Laden, and Echelon, the worldwide NSA spying operation that, many charge, is illegally monitoring innocent citizens. No outsider knows more about the NSA than investigative journalist James Bamford, who began to research it before most members of Congress had even heard of it. In this talk, Mr. Bamford explained why he believes the NSA is a dangerous, two-edged sword.
The great question of Pearl Harbor: what did U.S. government officials know and when did they know it? Ithas been argued for years. After decades of Freedom of Information Act requests, Robert Stinnett was finally able to examine the long-hidden evidence, shattering every shibboleth of Pearl Harbor. He finds that not only was the attack expected, it was deliberately provoked through an eight-step program devised by the Navy for President Franklin Roosevelt. Could Pearl Harbor have neither been an "accident" nor a mere "failure" of U.S. intelligence nor a "brilliant" Japanese military coup? Could the tragedy at Pearl Harbor have been a carefully orchestrated design, initiated at the highest government levels in order to galvanize a peace-loving American public to go to war? Robert Stinnett will discuss this startling issue in detail.
Robert B. Stinnett
Former Journalist, Oakland Tribune and BBC.
Author of the books, George Bush: His World War II Years and Day of Deceit: The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor.
In 1989, during a large peaceful student demonstration in Beijings Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government deployed its military to massacre hundreds of unarmed students and other civilians in order to stop a growing movement for democratization and individual freedom. Since then, tens of thousands who have spoken out have been imprisoned, tortured and killed, and the government has refused to even admit that such atrocities have occurred. This special Independent Policy Forum will feature three outstanding experts, including two of the leaders of the original Chinese student movement. They will discuss the events then and since, the current movement in china for freedom, and the implications of current Chinese government policies for Americans.