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
Why has Africa, despite its rich history, cultures, and abundant resources, largely remained in the grip of dictatorship, starvation, genocide and war? How can this tragic legacy of colonialism, socialism, and plutocracy be replaced with the welfare of economic liberalization, individual rights, and the Rule of Law? Based on his new book, "Africa in Chaos," award-winning economist George Ayittey will examine the record of American statism and the revolution for free-market societies.
George B. N. Ayittey
Professor of Economics, American University
Author, Africa in Chaos and Africa Betrayed
David J. Theroux
Founder and President, The Independent Institute
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.