In June 2008 the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a landmark ruling on the Second Amendment individual right to keep and bear arms with its Heller v. District of Columbia decision. Two years later, in June 2010, a second historic decision squeezed through the highest court in the land.
On September 16, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, actor and director Andy Garcia, and entrepreneur William K. Bowes, Jr. were honored at the Independent Institutes A Gala for Liberty. Each honoree received the Alexis de Tocqueville Award in recognition of their contributions to advancing the ideas and ideals of liberty, entrepreneurship, innovation, and peace.
In the 1960s, civil rights victories dealt a blow to racial discrimination, and yet 40 years later many blacks remain left behind. Has affirmative action sabotaged the gains of the civil rights movement? What is the role of personal accountability in improving the standing of minority groups?
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.
Begun in the 1960s, government affirmative action policies are now in retreat in California, Washington, Florida, and many other states and localities in the U.S. Will such changes end America's racial divide or merely intensify it? Can the American Dream be colorblind or are racial preferences necessary to right the wrongs of past discrimination? Is affirmative action a force for fairness and justice or instead merely a "feel good" policy that cloaks the real barriers to social and economic advancement for the most disadvantaged? Ward Connerly and William Bagley, two distinguished members of the Board of Regents at the University of California, will debate this very timely and crucial issue.