The Power of Independent Thinking

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Mary L.G. Theroux on KPCC on Repeal of the "Maximum Family Grant" Welfare Rule
Posted: Mon. February 23, 2015

Independent Institute Senior Vice President Mary L. G. Theroux was a guest on KPCC radio to discuss California's effort to repeal the "maximum family grant" rule for welfare recipients with children. Families that have more children while on welfare do not receive an increase in their grant. This could be reversed by a new law proposed by Calif. State Senator Holly Mitchell, who was also a guest on the show.

Recorded: Mon. February 23, 2015
Experts: Mary L. G. Theroux
Type: Radio
Issues: Civil Liberties/ Human Rights, Crime, Culture/ Society, Education, Family, Labor and Employment, Public Health/ Consumer Protection, Regulation and Deregulation, Taxes, Welfare, Women’s Issues

The U.S. War on Terrorism: Myths and Realities
Posted: Mon. February 16, 2015

"Nothing will be the same after September 11." This is the view offered since the announcement of the war on terrorism, a "permanent war" declared with an ill-defined objective and unclear enemies. At this upcoming Independent Policy Forum and based on his new book, Theater of War, Lewis H. Lapham will instead discuss with intelligence and wit why the recent behavior of the U.S. government is consistent with that of past administrations. Politicians have long fostered pork, corporate welfare, government surveillance, and global interventionism that have created a more dangerous world. Now, we face the prospects of a major war in Iraq combined with the Orwellian USA PATRIOT Act, TIPS domestic spying program, Department of Homeland Security, incarcerations without charge or trial, militarized domestic law enforcement and airport security, and national ID cards.

Until recently, hearing skeptics of the "permanent war" has largely been a rarity. For example, as Lapham points out: "Ted Koppel struck the preferred note of caution on November 2 when introducing the Nightline audience to critics of the American bombing of Afghanistan: 'Some of you, many of you, are not going to like what you hear tonight. You don't have to listen.'" Unpopular, informed opinions seldom appear on the network news, and since the destruction of the World Trade Center, dissenting voices have been few and far between. However, Lewis Lapham is a major exception, questioning the motive, feasibility and morality, as well as the imperial pretension, of an infinite and dangerous, U.S. global-war crusade.

This special program with Lewis Lapham and a distinguished panel of journalists, Alan W. Bock, Jonathan Marshall, Seth Rosenfeld, and Paul H. Weaver, discusses the "U.S. War on Terrorism: Myths and Realities."

Recorded: Tue. September 24, 2002
Experts: Lewis H. Lapham, Seth Rosenfeld, Paul H. Weaver
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Terrorism and National Crises

Peter Thiel | Developing the Developed World
Entrepreneurship, Liberty, and the Future

Posted: Thu. February 12, 2015

Entrepreneur and Author Peter A. Thiel spoke at a luncheon sponsored by the Independent Institute on January 27, 2015. He shared insights from his new book Zero to One on how to create true innovations in “the world of atoms”—not just “digits and bits”—and how to foster a peaceful, prosperous and freer future marked by globalization in a world of limited resources.

Recorded: Tue. January 27, 2015
Experts: Peter A. Thiel
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Antitrust, Competition, and Monopoly, Bureaucracy and Government, Business, Civil Liberties/ Human Rights, Corporate Welfare, Culture/ Society, Economic History and Development (U.S.), Economic Policy, Education, Energy, Free Market Economics, Freedom, Government Power, Government Secrecy, Health Care, History (U.S), Labor and Employment, Law Enforcement, Political Ideology and Philosophy, Politics, Privacy, Public Health/ Consumer Protection, Regulation and Deregulation, Science, Technology

P.J.'s Economics 101
Posted: Fri. February 6, 2015

With his numerous books, articles and essays about politics, war and social disorder under his belt, it was only a matter of time until P.J. O'Rourke found his way to the subject of his new book, "Eat the Rich." In "Parliament of Whores," he lampooned the entire U.S. government. "All the Troubles in the World" attacked the pandemic worries of the politically correct; and this time – it's the economy, stupid! What is wealth and how do we get it? Or as he asks, "Why do some places prosper and thrive while others just stink?"

As most people (along with many "experts") try to fathom the volatility of financial markets and the complexities of global economies, the man who Time magazine has called "one of America's most hilarious and provocative writers" brings it all into perspective. Who else but P.J. could provide this primer on Wall Street: "In order to understand the stock market we have to realize that, like anything enormous and inert, it's fundamentally stable, and like anything emotion-driven, it's volatile as hell."

But he doesn't stop there. Embarking from Wall Street, P.J. takes us on a hilarious and enlightening worldwide tour of the foibles of governments from Russia to Tanzania, from Albania to Shanghai, and from Hong Kong to Havana, and revisits college economics courses, counteracting them with his own version of Econ 101.

The result is the world's only astute, comprehensive and comic presentation of the basic principles of economics that will truly make you laugh on purpose.

P. J. O’Rourke

Bestselling Author, Humorist and Political Satirist

Author, Eat the Rich: A Treatise in Economics

David J. Theroux

Founder and President, The Independent Institute

Recorded: Thu. October 29, 1998
Experts: P. J. O’Rourke
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Economic History and Development (U.S.), Economic Policy, Economists, Free Market Economics

Losing the Race? Black Progress, Freedom, and Independence
Posted: Fri. February 6, 2015

The Civil Rights revolution was a pinnacle of American history, freeing African Americans from centuries of disenfranchisement. Yet, according to linguist John McWhorter, it has had a tragic side effect. As racism recedes as a serious obstacle to black advancement, many black Americans have been misled into a self-destructive ideological detour. Has affirmative action fostered the cults of Victimology, Separatism, and Anti-Intellectualism? Have false assumptions and low expectations conditioned black students for low achievement? If racism is to be dealt a final death blow, what strategies must Americans – black and white – pursue?

Recorded: Fri. March 30, 2001
Experts: John H. McWhorter
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Race Issues

Developing the Developed World
Entrepreneurship, Liberty, and the Future

Posted: Wed. February 4, 2015

In his #1 New York Times bestselling book, Zero to One, Peter Thiel presents his often contrarian ideas about competition, progress, technology, and finding value in unexpected places—to build a future that we have yet to dream, but that may someday become reality. In “Developing the Developed World” he brings these ideas to life, including his insights on how to create true innovations in “the world of atoms”—not just “digits and bits”—and how to foster a peaceful, prosperous and freer future marked by globalization in a world of limited resources.

Peter Thiel is Founder and Managing Member of Clarium Capital Management, LLC; Co-Founder of Paypal, Palantir Technologies, Mithril Capital Management, and Valar Ventures; Managing Partner of Founders Fund; and past President of Thiel Capital International and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Confinity, Inc. He has been a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, and he is the author of the books:

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, Or How to Build the Future (with Blake Masters)

The Diversity Myth: Multiculturalism and Political Intolerance on Campus (with David O. Sacks)

He co-founded PayPal in 1998, led it as CEO, and in 2002 sold it to eBay and founded Clarium Capital Management, a global macro fund. In 2004 he made the first outside investment in Facebook, where he serves as a director. The same year he co-founded Palantir Technologies, a software company that harnesses computers to empower human analysts in fields like security and global finance. He has provided early funding for LinkedIn, Yelp, RoboteX, Spotify, and dozens of successful technology startups. He is a co-founder and partner at Founders Fund, a venture capital firm that has funded companies like SpaceX and Airbnb. And in 2012 he co-founded Mithril Capital Management, an international technology investment fund.

Mr. Thiel started the Thiel Fellowship, which ignited a national debate by encouraging young people to put learning before schooling, and he leads the Thiel Foundation, which works to advance technological progress and long-term thinking about the future. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University, where he received an A.B. in philosophy and a J.D. from the Stanford University School of Law. He further co-produced the film, "Thank You for Smoking," he was rated a master by the United States Chess Federation, and he received the Innovation Award from "The Economist" in 2010.

Recorded: Tue. January 27, 2015
Experts: Peter A. Thiel
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Antitrust, Competition, and Monopoly, Bureaucracy and Government, Business, Civil Liberties/ Human Rights, Corporate Welfare, Culture/ Society, Economic History and Development (U.S.), Energy, Free Market Economics, Freedom, Government Power, Health Care, History (U.S), Labor and Employment, Law Enforcement, Political Ideology and Philosophy, Politics, Privatization, Public Health/ Consumer Protection, Regulation and Deregulation, Science, Technology, Trade

Is the U.S. Provoking an Arms Race in Space?
Posted: Mon. February 2, 2015

February 12, 2008

The Independent Institute, Oakland, CA

The 1967 Outer Space Treaty designated space for peaceful purposes as “the province of all mankind.” Virtually all spacefaring nations now favor a new treaty to accommodate major changes in geopolitics and military technology. The United States, however, has blocked negotiations, citing potential threats to U.S. “rights, capabilities, and freedom of action.” Some self-proclaimed “space warriors” even argue that U.S. military dominance in orbital space will be the only guarantee for international peace. But in Twilight War: The Folly of U.S. Space Dominance, Mike Moore, former editor of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, argues that such American exceptionalism, “Will not guarantee American security; it will guarantee conflict, and possibly, a new cold war.” Come join us for a stimulating forum on what could be the most crucial national security issue of this century.

Mike Moore is Research Fellow at The Independent Institute, former editor of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and author of the book, Twilight War: The Folly of U.S. Space Dominance. He is the author of many articles on national security, conflict resolution, nuclear weapons and proliferation, space weaponry, and related topics. Mike has spoken at many professional conferences and meetings sponsored by scientific organizations and policy institutes.

Recorded: Tue. February 12, 2008
Experts: Mike M. Moore
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Science, Technology

Against Leviathan: Government Power and a Free Society
Posted: Mon. February 2, 2015

September 29, 2004

Oakland, CA

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.

Robert Higgs

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

David J. Theroux

Founder and President, The Independent Institute

Recorded: Wed. September 29, 2004
Experts: Robert Higgs
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Bureaucracy and Government, Civil Liberties/ Human Rights, Democracy, History (U.S), Political Ideology and Philosophy, Politics