The Power of Independent Thinking

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Secrecy, Freedom and Empire: Lessons for Today from Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers
Posted: Mon. March 16, 2015

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, Ellsberg—fully expecting to spend the rest of his life in prison—smuggled 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 insider’s 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, Ellsberg’s 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.”

Sr. Fellow Ivan Eland, author of "Recarving Rushmore," appears on the Lars Larson radio show
Posted: Mon. March 9, 2015

Sr. Fellow Ivan Eland, author of the newly updated book "Recarving Rushmore," appears on the nationally syndicated Lars Larson radio show to discuss how he ranks the U.S. Presidents in terms of peace, prosperity and liberty. The updated version of the book includes President Barack Obama.

Peter A. Thiel | Courage Is In Far Shorter Supply Than Genius
Posted: Fri. February 27, 2015

In this clip from "Peter Thiel | Developing the Developed World: Entrepreneurship, Liberty, and the Future," Peter Thiel describes how courage to stand out from the crowd is in far shorter supply than great minds.

The Political Economy of Drones
Posted: Fri. February 27, 2015

Research Fellow Abigail Hall joins the Larry Conners USA radio show to talk about the use of drones both domestically and internationally. What are the implications of the use of drones by law enforcement and military? Hall, who has written her dissertation on the subject, talks about the ramifications of the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) also known as drones.

New Opportunites for Excellence in a Freer World
Posted: Thu. February 26, 2015

Change is today's constant in any industry you can name. Half of the Fortune 500 companies in 1980 fell off the list by 1990, and the trend is accelerating. And although during this period American business as a whole created 20 million new jobs, the Fortune 500 lost over 3 million jobs. Today's global marketplace is demanding radical business change to survive.

Ten years after his landmark book, In Search of Excellence, Tom Peters will draw upon his newest book, Liberation Management, to direct business toward this revolutionary restructuring. Any business firm must increasingly be in the knowledge extraction, integration, and application business. Today's biggest companies are dismembering themselves, voluntarily, in record numbers in order to compete. Management is flattening organizations, linking everyone into every function and then directly to the consumer. In his presentation, Tom Peters will show why centralized bureaurcarcies can no longer excell. The new "knowledge workers" must be "liberated" to operated in fast, non-bureaucratic, information-networking teams. Workers must become self-starters with employers facilitating the new entrepreneurship. Business Strategy will be conducted by moderate-size, highly accaountable, units that are very, very close to the marketplace. And through this "marketizing of the firm," governement bureaucracies must be curtailed in their constraints on entrepreneurship.

From computers to chemicals, railroads to financial services, farming to telecommunications, the old structures are crumbling as the biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution continues apace. And those who adapt will see a new era of prosperity.

The Reality and Legacy of the Iraq War
Posted: Tue. February 24, 2015

The elections in Iraq have not resolved the main problems there—a constitutional crisis, continued terrorism, a potent Sunni rebellion, and fighting between religious and ethnic groups that could result in a full-blown civil war. Is the Iraq war a hopeless quagmire that has been lost, or can the U.S. still foster a united, peaceful and prosperous Iraq? If the latter, how can this be achieved? Should the Iraqi constitution be revised and, if so, how? Should the U.S. withdraw its forces-with Iraq partitioned-or use the threat of withdrawal to pressure Iraqi groups into a negotiated settlement? Should the U.S. extract troops rapidly, pull them out gradually, stay the course with current Bush administration policy, or escalate its involvement? This very timely policy forum, featuring Mark Danner and Ivan Eland, will address these critical issues.

Should CA Welfare Recipients Receive Increased Benefits When They Have More Children?
Posted: Tue. February 24, 2015

Independent Institute Senior Vice President Mary L. G. Theroux joins the discussion on the Gil Gross radio on Talk910 in San Francisco.

John R. Graham Discusses Obamacare's Failings on KTRS
Posted: Tue. February 24, 2015

Sr. Fellow John R. Graham appeared on the Larry Conners USA radio show to talk about the failings of the Affordable Care Act and how it is costing people more money than originally thought. Graham also discusses the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court Case "King vs Burwell" that may strike down Obamacare in states that have not set up their own health care exchanges.