The Power of Independent Thinking

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The American Revolution and the Legacy of Liberty
Posted: Fri. January 23, 2015

With the words, “Give me liberty, or give me death,” Patrick Henry sounded the keynote of the American Revolution. After the Revolution, Henry and his supporters blocked the Constitution’s ratification until it bore the amendments known as the Bill of Rights. Mindful of these principles, the first generation of Americans reinvented themselves and their society. But how exactly did their values transform politics, economics, and culture in the new republic? Celebrated historians Joyce Appleby and Hans Eicholz discussed the passions and lives of these bold people and the legacy they bequeathed to future generations.

Recorded: Thu. September 7, 2000
Experts: Joyce O. Appleby, Hans Eicholz
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Freedom, History (U.S)

Will Strong Encryption Protect Privacy and Make Government Obsolete?
Posted: Fri. January 23, 2015

Many people have wondered how technological progress will affect political, economic, and civil freedoms. With the rise of encryption software, the National Security Agency's Echelon worldwide surveillance system, and the FBI's Carnivore e-mail snooping program, this subject is no longer the exclusive domain of speculative thinkers or futurists, it is the subject of intense public-policy debate. Will privacy-enhancing technology improve faster than privacy-threatening technology? Should the government mandate privacy standards? Should it enforce contracts in cyberspace, or would private law do a better job? Economist, physicist, and legal scholar David Friedman discussed these and related questions about technological change and the case for and against government involvement.

Recorded: Tue. April 24, 2001
Experts: David D. Friedman
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Bureaucracy and Government, Government Power, Law Enforcement, Technology

Friedrich Hayek and the Future of Liberty
Posted: Fri. January 23, 2015

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.

Recorded: Wed. May 16, 2001
Experts: Charles W. Baird, Alan O. Ebenstein
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Economic History and Development (U.S.), Economic Policy, Economists, Fiscal Policy/Debt, Public Health/ Consumer Protection

Truth and Propaganda in Politically Correct America
Posted: Fri. January 23, 2015

Although comedian George Carlin's infamous routine, "Seven Words You Can't Say on TV," has become outdated, today many ideas are considered too 'politically incorrect' to discuss in polite society. According to popular Los Angeles talk-radio host Larry Elder, many sacred cows- about racism and sexism, health care, welfare, education, the family, drug laws, the media, crime, gun control, and more- are soft-headed distortions that have worsened America's social problems. If "the truth shall make you free," then, says Elder, these myths need a serious reality check- before we forget what truth and freedom look like. Larry Elder discussed what's really wrong with America and how a free people, rather than an intrusive government, can fix it.

Recorded: Tue. August 14, 2001
Experts: Larry Elder
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Culture/ Society, Entertainment, Free Speech, Freedom

The Drug War on Trial: Two Judges Speak Out
Posted: Fri. January 23, 2015

Drug abuse is a serious problem, but the "War on Drugs" shows no sign of being won and has come with a heavy price tag. Critics say that its side effects- increased taxes, increased crime and corruption here and abroad, loss of civil liberties, decreased health, prison overcrowding, discrimination against African Americans and other groups, and the diversion of resources away from other problems- are even worse for society than the drugs themselves. Many public officials share this sentiment but fear political reprisals if they speak out. However, Judges James Gray and Vaughn Walker, having witnessed the Drug War up close, believe that the time has come to testify publicly about its ill effects- and to outline bold, new approaches to the drug problem.

Recorded: Wed. September 5, 2001
Experts: James P. Gray, Vaughn Walker
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Crime, Criminal Justice/ Prisons, Drugs (Illicit), Law Enforcement

Smarter Urban Growth: Markets or Bureaucracy?
Posted: Fri. January 23, 2015

Astronomical housing costs, suffocating traffic congestion, and pollution take a heavy toll on our quality of life. Are these problems the inescapable consequences of modern life or the results of poor government policies? Proponents of "smart growth" seek to correct them by replacing suburban living with high-density, urban living and public transit. Others seeks to extend and expand current public and private systems. But how smart are these and other approaches? Would market-based alternatives be preferable to create sustainable communities? Urban economists Randal O'Toole and Daniel Klein discussed innovative "smarter growth" solutions for affordable housing, transportation, land use, and the quality of life in our communities.

Recorded: Wed. October 3, 2001
Experts: Randal O’Toole
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Bureaucracy and Government, Land Use, Privatization, Property Rights, Regulation and Deregulation

Why Freedom Matters More Than Ever
Posted: Fri. January 23, 2015

David R. Henderson Associate Professor of Economics, Naval Postgraduate School Research Fellow, Hoover Institution Author, The Joy of Freedom: An Economist's Odyssey

David J. Theroux Founder and President, The Independent Institute

Recorded: Tue. December 4, 2001
Experts: David R. Henderson
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Freedom

Conning Americans: How Politicians Create Dependence on Government
Posted: Fri. January 23, 2015

"Dependence” on government has grown at unprecedented rates over the past 70 years. This ominous trend has coincided with the growth of centralized government power, which at its own discretion is used to regulate, manipuate, or prohibit. Driven by bipartisanship, bureaucracies, and interest groups, and accelerated by presidential ambitions, this trend has been so profound that few today can imagine life without government control. Economist and historian Charlotte Twight, one of the leading experts on politics and privacy, showed how special-interest politics created the income tax, Social Security, Medicare, surveillance of ordinary citizens, and other linchpins of the “dependence-state,” which in turn have made opposition to centralized control seemingly futile. She will then offer a strategy to reverse this trend in order to fulfill the promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Recorded: Wed. February 13, 2002
Experts: Charlotte Twight
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Bureaucracy and Government, Government Waste/Pork, Welfare