From ancient times to the present, politicians, bureaucrats, and interest groups have gained resources and control over the public by playing to peoples fears of various crises and by offering solutions that often only make problems worse.
For more than a century U.S. foreign policywhether conducted by Democrats or Republicanshas been based on the assumption that Americans interests are served best by intervening abroad to secure markets, fight potential enemies far from American shores, or engage in democratic nation building. But, what is the record of such policies, including now in Iraq?
What if North Korea and Iran become nuclear states? If the United States must live with a nuclear Iran and North Korea, what policies should it adopt? Furthermore, could the U.S. change its foreign policy to reduce the risk of nuclear proliferation to even more countries?
Richard K. Vedder and Ken Jacobs debate whether the rise of Walmart and similar big box retailers have been beneficial or harmful to the US economy.
Richard K. Vedder is Senior Fellow at The Independent Institute and Edwin and Ruth Kennedy Distinguished Professor of Economics and Faculty Associate, Contemporary History Institute, Ohio University. Professor Vedder is co-author (with Lowell Gallaway) of The Independent Institute book, "Out of Work," the recipient of both the Sir Antony Fisher International Memorial Award and Mencken Award Finalist for Best Book, and the Institute monograph, Can Teachers Own Their Own Schools?
Ken Jacobs is Chair of the U.C. Berkeley Labor Center, and a former member of the Mayors Universal Health Care Council in San Francisco. He is the Co-author od Declining Job-Based Health Coverage for Working Families in California and the United States, and Hidden Costs of Wal-Mart Jobs.
David J. Theroux is Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Independent Institute and Publisher of The Independent Review.
Wal-Marts detractors argue that Wal-Mart reduces living standards, hurts retail trade, disrupts communities, and relies on government programs to provide healthcare for many of its workers. Is Wal-Mart a force for good or evil?
Americas most provocative humorist, P. J. ORourke, has read pioneering economist Adam Smiths The Wealth of Nations, first published in 1776, so we dont have toand the results are as entertaining as they are enlightening.
Daniel Ellsberg began his Vietnam-era career as a U.S. Marine company commander, a Pentagon official, and a staunch supporter of U.S. global interventionism. But, in October 1969, Ellsbergfully expecting to spend the rest of his life in prisonsmuggled out of his office and made public a seven-thousand-page top secret study of decision making in Vietnam, the Pentagon Papers. At this upcoming Independent Policy Forum, Ellsberg will tell the story of his becoming the most important whistle-blower of the last fifty years, risking his career and his freedom to expose the deceptions and delusions of U.S. leaders from Truman onward.
Based on his new book, Secrets, Ellsberg provided an insiders view of the secrets and lies that have shaped decades of U.S. foreign policy to the present. His exposure began on his first day at the Pentagon, August 4, 1964, which was also the day of the infamous Gulf of Tonkin incident. In time, the more he learned from top decision-makers, confidential documents, and reports of secret maneuvers, the more skeptical he became about the conduct and impact of U.S. foreign policies.
The release of the Pentagon Papers set in motion a chain of events that included a landmark Supreme Court decision, the arrest and trial of Ellsberg, the crimes of Watergate, and the end of the Nixon presidency and the Vietnam War.
As the U.S. pursues the current War on Terrorism, Ellsbergs insights into governmental intoxication with power could not be more timely or important.
This special evening with Daniel Ellsberg and a distinguished panel of scholars, Barton J. Bernstein, Edwin B. Firmage, David R. Henderson, and Jonathan Marshall discussed Secrecy, Freedom and Empire: Lessons for Today from Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers.