The Power of Independent Thinking

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Posted: Fri. January 23, 2015

Each year, the U.S. government spends over $30 billion on the drug war and arrests more than 1.5 million people on drug-related charges. Currently more than 318,000 people are behind bars in the U.S. for drug violations—more than the number of people incarcer-ated for all crimes in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain combined. Have current drug laws deterred drug abuse and reduced crime? What are the real costs of this country’s war on drugs? Is there a link between the homicide rate and the amount of resources given to drug prohibition? Please join us as Boston University economist Jeffrey Miron (author of the major new book, Drug War Crimes) and former San Jose police chief, Joseph McNamara, examine these questions and explore real alternatives to America’s “War on Drugs.”

Jeffrey A. Miron

Boston University Professor of Economics and author of the new book, Drug War Crimes: The Consequences of Prohibition. His articles on Drug Policy have appeared in Social Research, Boston Globe and the London Observer. He received his Ph. D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Joseph D. McNamara

Research Fellow, Hoover Institution. Former Chief of Police, San Jose, CA and Kansas City, MO. He has published articles in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other publications. He has been a commentator for NPR and has appeared on Meet the Press, Good Morning America, Sixty Minutes, and other programs.

Ethan A. Nadelmann

Founder and Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the leading organization in the United States promoting alternatives to the War on Drugs. Dr. Nadelmann received his Ph.D. and J.D. from Harvard University and a Masters degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics. His speaking and writings on drug policy have attracted international attention and appeared in Science, American Heritage, National Review, and others.

Posted: Fri. January 23, 2015

The recent unveiling of White House plans for PATRIOT Act II has raised concerns nationwide about the state of American civil liberties in a time of crisis. Since the attacks on September 11 and the enactment of the USA PATRIOT Act, the Bush administration has clashed with civil libertarians over allegations of constitutional violations and the excessive use of government powers. With an expansion of the PATRIOT Act now before Congress, what do the American people stand to gain or lose from its passage? Is the increased power of law enforcement a necessary response to terrorism or a reckless assault on our constitutional protections? Please join the Independent Institute’s Center on Peace & Liberty and our panel of distinguished experts as we examine the key issues in this crucial national debate.

Posted: Fri. January 23, 2015

with Michael Scheuer, author of "Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror."

hosted by David Theroux, founder and president of The Independent Institute

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?

Posted: Fri. January 23, 2015

For millennia, farmers all over the world have bred crops for their resistance to disease, productivity, and nutritional value. Over the past century, scientists have used increasingly more sophisticated methods for modifying crops at the genetic level. But only since the 1970s have advances in gene-splicing and other aspects of biotechnology upped the ante with the promise of dramatically improved agricultural products. Today, few topics have the power to inspire as much international furor and misinformation as the development and distribution of genetically altered foods. Is public resistance far out of synch with the potential risks? Please join us as Henry Miller, co-author of the new book The Frankenfood Myth, and Bruce Ames, U.C. Berkeley professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, address this critical 21st century issue.

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.

Posted: Fri. January 23, 2015

In 1989, during a large peaceful student demonstration in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government deployed its military to massacre hundreds of unarmed students and other civilians in order to stop a growing movement for democratization and individual freedom. Since then, tens of thousands who have spoken out have been imprisoned, tortured and killed, and the government has refused to even admit that such atrocities have occurred. This Independent Policy Forum featured three outstanding experts, including two of the leaders of the original Chinese student movement. They discussed the events then and since, the current movement in China for freedom, and the implications of current Chinese government policies for Americans.

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.