The Power of Independent Thinking

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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Although comedian George Carlin's infamous routine, "Seven Words You Can't Say on TV," has become outdated, today many ideas are considered too 'politically incorrect' to discuss in polite society.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

The Real Abraham Lincoln: A Debate
Posted: Fri. January 23, 2015

Many Americans consider Abraham Lincoln to be the greatest president in history. His legend as the Great Emancipator has grown to mythic proportions as hundreds of books and a monument in Washington, D.C., extol his heroism and martyrdom. Is Lincoln’s reputation deserved? Lincoln defender Harry V. Jaffa (author of the new book, A New Birth of Freedom) will argue that Lincoln was a model statesman who stuck by high-minded principles as he fought to promote liberty. Lincoln critic Thomas DiLorenzo (author of the new book, The Real Lincoln) will argue that Lincoln was a calculating politician who waged the bloodiest war in American history not to free the slaves, but in order to build an empire that rivaled Great Britain’s. Was Lincoln a great hero or a villain? Did he honor the promise of America—or betray it?

Recorded: Tue. May 7, 2002
Experts: Thomas J. DiLorenzo, Harry V. Jaffa
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: History (U.S)

Big Brother is Watching
Posted: Fri. January 23, 2015

To outsiders, its initials once stood for “No Such Agency.” To its employees, they stood for “Never Say Anything.” Today the public knows that the ultra-secret National Security Agency manages the nation’s spy satellites, but few know exactly why the NSA is the most powerful U.S. intelligence agency—or its roles in the Cold War, the hunt for Osama bin Laden, and Echelon, the worldwide NSA spying operation that, many charge, is illegally monitoring innocent citizens. No outsider knows more about the NSA than investigative journalist James Bamford, who began to research it before most members of Congress had even heard of it. In this talk, Mr. Bamford explained why he believes the NSA is a dangerous, two-edged sword.

Recorded: Thu. June 6, 2002
Experts: James Bamford
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Constitutional Law, Defense and Foreign Policy, Democracy, Freedom, Government Waste/Pork, History (U.S), Law Enforcement, Politics, Technology, Terrorism and National Crises