From fingerprinting to criminal sentencing, from lawyer licensing to judicial selection, and from eminent domain to wealth transfers via class-action lawsuits, how do perverse incentives impact the law and what reforms would create a more just and efficient legal system?
The Second Amendments right to keep and bear arms has been among the most controversialand least understoodrights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Did the Founders intend to safeguard an individual right or a collective right?
Each year, the U.S. government spends over $30 billion on the drug war and arrests more than 1.5 million people on drug-related charges. Currently more than 318,000 people are behind bars in the U.S. for drug violationsmore than the number of people incarcer-ated for all crimes in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain combined. Have current drug laws deterred drug abuse and reduced crime? What are the real costs of this countrys war on drugs? Is there a link between the homicide rate and the amount of resources given to drug prohibition? Please join us as Boston University economist Jeffrey Miron (author of the major new book, Drug War Crimes) and former San Jose police chief, Joseph McNamara, examine these questions and explore real alternatives to Americas War on Drugs.
Jeffrey A. Miron
Boston University Professor of Economics and author of the new book, Drug War Crimes: The Consequences of Prohibition. His articles on Drug Policy have appeared in Social Research, Boston Globe and the London Observer. He received his Ph. D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Joseph D. McNamara
Research Fellow, Hoover Institution. Former Chief of Police, San Jose, CA and Kansas City, MO. He has published articles in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other publications. He has been a commentator for NPR and has appeared on Meet the Press, Good Morning America, Sixty Minutes, and other programs.
Ethan A. Nadelmann
Founder and Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the leading organization in the United States promoting alternatives to the War on Drugs. Dr. Nadelmann received his Ph.D. and J.D. from Harvard University and a Masters degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics. His speaking and writings on drug policy have attracted international attention and appeared in Science, American Heritage, National Review, and others.
Drug abuse is a serious problem, but the "War on Drugs" shows no sign of being won and has come with a heavy price tag. Critics say that its side effects- increased taxes, increased crime and corruption here and abroad, loss of civil liberties, decreased health, prison overcrowding, discrimination against African Americans and other groups, and the diversion of resources away from other problems- are even worse for society than the drugs themselves. Many public officials share this sentiment but fear political reprisals if they speak out. However, Judges James Gray and Vaughn Walker, having witnessed the Drug War up close, believe that the time has come to testify publicly about its ill effects- and to outline bold, new approaches to the drug problem.
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.
With the recent school massacre in Littleton, Colorado; the shootings of Jewish children in Los Angeles; and rampant drive-by shootings and other atrocities, what can and should be done to protect the innocent against violence in American society? Can government protect the citizenry against gun-related violence? What is the record of individual self-defense against violence in Britain and the U.S.? In this very timely Independent Policy Forum, acclaimed historian Joyce Lee Malcolm and civil rights attorney Don Kates will examine gun laws, violence, and rights.
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.