The gala reception and presentation of the Thomas S. Szasz Awards for Outstanding Contributions to the Cause of Civil Liberties to Robert Higgs and Robert Spillane, followed by a special forum featuring Dr. Higgs on Liberty and Leviathan, based on his acclaimed book, Depression, War, and Cold War (Oxford University Press).
Thomas S. Szasz
The Thomas S. Szasz Award is a tribute conferred annually by the Center for Independent Thought for the avocation of civil liberties and to encourage others to work to protect personal autonomy from state encroachment.
Senior Fellow, The Independent Institute.
Winner, 2006 Thomas S. Szasz Award, General Award.
Author, Depression, War, and Cold War, Against Leviathan, and Crisis and Leviathan.
Professor of Management Macquarie University Australia.
Winner, 2006 Thomas S. Szasz Award, Professional Award.
Andrea Millen Rich
President, Center for Independent Thought
David J. Theroux
Founder and President, The Independent Institute
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
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.
Robert Higgs speaks at a Future of Freedom Foundation conference in 1995 on the ratchet effect- the idea that governments tend to grab power during emergencies but do not cede it completely after each crisis abates- and gives his own analysis of what it might take to slow the growth of government in the 21st century.
In this lecture from 1987, Robert Higgs speaks about governments' tendency to bend or suspend individual rights during emergency situations. He reviews the history of this in the United States and questions whether the U.S. Constitution is strong enough to protect private rights in the face of an unending string of national crises.