P.J. O'Rourke, a Member of the Board of Advisors for the Independent Institute, is Americas leading political humorist and the best-selling author of over twenty books. He spoke at an event held on February 13, 2014 at the Independent institute in Oakland, CA.
When pioneering television journalist John Stossel joined ABC-TV's "20/20" in 1981, his peers and an admiring public hailed him as a crusading consumer reporter. His hard-hitting, in-your-face exposes of con artists and corporate liars and crooks won him 19 Emmys and an avid following. But, could the use of government power and the Nanny State be the biggest scam of all?
In his new book, Give Me a Break, Stossel takes on a herd of sacred cows and examines how in the name of the "public interest," ambitious politicians and bureaucrats, intellectually lazy and opportunistic reporters, scaremongers, and predatory lawyers make life worse, especially for those most disadvantaged.
In this event John Stossel explained how his investigations of government waste, fraud and abuse; welfare for the rich; victimless crimes; self-serving interest groups; and sensationalist-media hyping (while ignoring real risks) reveal the crucial need to protect the civil and economic liberties of all people.
John Stossel, author of Give Me a Break. is co-anchor of ABC's "20/20." He also hosts ABC's "John Stossel Specials" for ABC television and radio, and ABCNews.com. In addition to having received 19 Emmy Awards, he has been honored five times for excellence in consumer reporting by the National Press Club. Among his other awards are the George Polk Award for Outstanding Local Reporting and the George Foster Peabody Award.
David J. Theroux is Founder and President of the Independent Institute.
Although comedian George Carlin's infamous routine, "Seven Words You Can't Say on TV," has become outdated, today many ideas are considered too 'politically incorrect' to discuss in polite society. According to popular Los Angeles talk-radio host Larry Elder, many sacred cows- about racism and sexism, health care, welfare, education, the family, drug laws, the media, crime, gun control, and more- are soft-headed distortions that have worsened America's social problems. If "the truth shall make you free," then, says Elder, these myths need a serious reality check- before we forget what truth and freedom look like. Larry Elder discussed what's really wrong with America and how a free people, rather than an intrusive government, can fix it.
Is global warming real, imminent, and a threat to human life? Have such predictions been established scientifically? The proposed Global Climate Treaty calls for extensive government controls to reduce fossil fuel use. Yet, there is no scientific consensus to support global-warming pessimism. Would the proposed massive 'carbon' taxes and other controls put our society- especially those most disadvantaged- at great risk? Based on his widely acclaimed book, renowned astrophysicist Fred Singer will separate fact from fiction in this raging global warming debate.
S. Fred Singer
President, Science and Environmental Policy Project
First Director, U. S. Weather Satellite Service
Author, Hot Talk, Cold Science: Global Warming's Unfinished Debate.
Has Hollywood the American dream factory become Hollywood the American nightmare factory? Is most of Hollywood just self-destructive as it ridicules censorship of TV violence, and in survey after survey, large majorities are registering a distaste for the entertainment industry's torrent of nihilistic, violent, and degrading work. Voting with their money, the public has largely turned such projects into financial ruin, while those films, TV, and other programs that embody values of individual achievement and humaneness are increasingly proving to be the real economic success stories.
For example, of the 1,100 films released since 1983, the average rating of the most financially successful film was PG, despite the predominance of R-rated films. In a recent Parents magazine pool, 72% rated TV as fair, poor, or terrible , and according to Gallup, only 3% of Americans believe TV conveys positive values, whereas 58% say they are often offended.
Employing meticulous research in American popular culture, Michael Medved, will draw upon his best-selling book, Hollywood vs. America, to present a comprehensive and devastating critique of why movies, popular music, and television have become dominated by brutality and a hatred for civility. Combining a passionate concern for the intellectual precision, Michael Medved will discuss how an industry can ignore the message of the market and lose touch with its audiences and the values of a free society.
In his talk, he will describe the Three Big Lies of Hollywood that have created this situation. Is Hollywood's self-destructive conduct rooted in a "political correctness" that scorns conventional America? Has an artistic disdain for "mere" commercial considerations blinded an industry into becoming prey to every peer pressure, arrogance, and emotional insecurity, and crackpot crusade to purge society?
Michael Medved and Hollywood vs. America are transforming the debate over popular culture, calling the bluff of a cynical media. Rejecting censorship as a dangerous offshoot of the assault on values, Medved demonstrates how public pressures can instead produce powerful results in bringing Hollywood into a business and cultural arena where beauty is not ridiculed; men, women, and children are not brutalize, and cruelty is not exalted.