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
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.
Friedrich A. Hayek (1899-1992) left such a profound mark on economic and political thought that The New Yorker has called the 20th century, "The Hayek Century." After converting to free-market capitalism and classical liberalism in the 1920s, Hayek became one of socialism's and statism's staunchest critics. His 1944 bestseller, The Road to Serfdom, warned of central government planning's authoritarian, and even totalitarian, tendencies- and helped reignite worldwide interest in the philosophy and practice of freedom. Although Hayek's 1974 Nobel Prize in Economic Science brought renewed interest in his ideas, it wasn't until the collapse of the Soviet Bloc (which Hayek predicted) that his vast writings on economics, political philosophy, law, history, culture, and other fields became broadly recognized as essential to achieve a prosperous, humane and free society. Biographer Alan Ebenstein and economist Charles Baird shed light on Hayek's seminal legacy and the rebirth of freedom.