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Free Thoughts

English, Political, 1 season, 476 episodes, 3 days, 2 hours, 53 minutes
About
A weekly show about politics and liberty, featuring conversations with top scholars, philosophers, historians, economists, and public policy experts. Hosted by Aaron Ross Powell and Trevor Burrus.
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Coming Soon: The Liberty Exchange

Coming soon, a brand new podcast from Libertarianism.org... Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/2/20233 minutes, 14 seconds
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Fighting Government Secrecy (with Patrick Eddington)

The Jones Act biases American shippers and shipbuilders at the expense of international competition, passing higher prices onto consumers and kneecapping free trade. The Cato Institute (and others) have been urging the government to reform this protectionist policy for several years now. But new findings prompt us to ask; how could such an ordinary task for a think tank constitute treason?Cato Institute Senior Fellow Patrick Eddington joins Trevor today to explain how the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) sheds light onto the dark and hidden memos, documents, and recommendations shuffled between bureaucrats behind closed doors—when it can. But how did FOIA come about? What is the process involved? And how do agencies avoid complying with requests? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/21/202252 minutes, 34 seconds
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When Is Democracy Undemocratic? (with Emily B. Finley)

The rise of global populism reveals a tension in Western thinking about democracy. Warnings about the "populist threat" to democracy and "authoritarian" populism are now commonplace. However, as Emily B. Finley argues in The Ideology of Democratism, dismissing "populism" as anti-democratic is highly problematic. In effect, such arguments essentially reject the actual popular will in favor of a purely theoretical and abstract "will of the people."On today’s episode, Emily Finley and Trevor sit down to trace a line from Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Thomas Jefferson to Woodrow Wilson and John Rawls, point out the flaws in deliberative democratic practices, and try to find a way to conceive of a better democratism—one without mob rule. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/14/202246 minutes, 9 seconds
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Floods, Nuclear Power, and Wages (with Peter Van Doren)

The illustrious, ingenious, notorious PVD is back with us once again. Today, he and Trevor sit down to discuss dilemmas of flood damages following Hurricane Ian, the viability of subsidies for nuclear energy, and minimum wage increase’s effects on workers’ wages.Peter references the following:The National Flood Insurance Program: Solving Congress’s Samaritan’s Dilemma by Peter Van DorenHurricane Ian’s Toll Is Severe. Lack of Insurance Will Make It Worse.Subsidies to Nuclear Power in the Inflation Reduction Act by David Kemp and Peter Van DorenHow Important are Minimum Wage Increases in Increasing the Wages of Minimum Wage Workers? by Jeffrey Clemens and Michael R. Strain Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/7/202249 minutes, 45 seconds
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How the 14th Amendment Changed America (with Randy Barnett and Evan Bernick)

Adopted in 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment profoundly changed the Constitution, giving the federal judiciary and Congress new powers to protect the fundamental rights of individuals from being violated by the states. Yet, according to Randy Barnett and Evan Bernick in their new book The Original Meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment: Its Letter and Spirit, the Supreme Court has long misunderstood or ignored the original meaning of the amendment’s key clauses, covering the privileges and immunities of citizenship, due process of law, and the equal protection of the laws.On today’s episode, they join us to answer questions as simple as; what is the fourteenth amendment, and why is it possibly one of our most important? As well as more complex ones, including; does the equal protection clause guarantee positive rights? And what can libertarians learn from the anti-slavery Republicans who wrote the 14th Amendment? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/30/202252 minutes, 17 seconds
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Free Market: The History of an Idea (with Jacob Soll)

After two government bailouts of the US economy in less than twenty years, free market ideology is due for serious reappraisal. In his new book Free Market: The History of an Idea, MacArthur Fellow and USC professor Jacob Soll details how we got to this current crisis, and how we can find our way out by looking to earlier iterations of free market thought. He helps us answer questions such as; what role did early market theorists believe that states had in building and maintaining free markets? How do many get John Stuart Mill, John Locke, and Adam Smith wrong? And what do stoicism, Christianity, friendship, and love have to do with free markets? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/23/202255 minutes, 38 seconds
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Can Public Schools Work? (with Neal McCluskey)

American public schooling was established to unify diverse people and prepare citizens for democracy. Intuitively, it would teach diverse people the same values, preferably in the same buildings, with the goal that they will learn to get along and uphold government by the people. But intuition can be wrong; significant evidence suggests that public schools have not brought diverse people together, whether from legally mandated racial segregation, espousing values many people could not accept, or human beings simply tending to associate with others like themselves.Neal McCluskey, Director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom and author of the forthcoming book The Fractured Schoolhouse: Reexamining Education for a Free, Equal, and Harmonious Society, joins the show today to explain how the fear of community balkanization, the panic over critical race theory and “gender ideology”, and reactions to the COVID-19 crisis have only further driven rifts between the right and left on the topic of education. But how many of these are new problems, and how many are simply old ones in new forms? In the end, we may be forced to ask; is the intractable problem of not agreeing on what “our” children should learn solvable? And if not, is funding public education even worth it? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/16/202253 minutes, 13 seconds
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Why More People Means More Wealth (with Marian Tupy and Gale Pooley)

Generations of people have been taught that population growth makes resources scarcer. In 2021, for example, one widely publicized report argued, “The world's rapidly growing population is consuming the planet's natural resources at an alarming rate . . . the world currently needs 1.6 Earths to satisfy the demand for natural resources . . . [a figure that] could rise to 2 planets by 2030.” But is that true?Today’s guests, Marian Tupy and Gale Pooley, authors of the new book Superabundance: The Story of Population Growth, Innovation, and Human Flourishing on an Infinitely Bountiful Planet analyzed the prices of hundreds of commodities, goods, and services spanning two centuries, and found that resources became more abundant as the population grew. The two sit down with Trevor to answer questions like; how can we innovate enough to cover the resources needed for 8 billion people? How sustainable is our current mode of sustained innovation? And how is the total sum of atoms different than the sum total of knowledge? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/9/202253 minutes, 4 seconds
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Racial Classification in America (with David Bernstein)

Americans are understandably squeamish about official racial and ethnic classifications. Nevertheless, they are ubiquitous in American life. Applying for a job, mortgage, university admission, citizenship, government contracts, and much more involves checking a box stating whether one is Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, or Native American.David Bernstein’s new book, Classified: The Untold Story of Racial Classification in America, attempts to illuminate these “crude classifications”, showing how the government’s formalizing and flattening of racial categories led to the forming of new interest groups, anti-discrimination policy, and complicated, ever-evolving definitions. But rather than attack affirmative action, it asks: if we’re going to classify people by race, what is the goal? How do the tools we use to do so accomplish it? And what can we do going forward to do so in a better way? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/2/202251 minutes, 18 seconds
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The Statrix: How Government Warps Our Perception of the World (Rerun)

We’re taking a break this week, but in the meantime, enjoy this treasure from the Free Thoughts vault where Trevor explains the “Statrix”, how government warps our perception of the world around us, and how it disproportionately affects the poor.Trevor mentions the recent spate of track problems and fires that have been plaguing Washington D.C.‘s metro system, which led to the creation of this website, ismetroonfire.com. He also explains this song by the Kingston Trio, which was meant to a protest fare increases on Boston’s public subway system.Here’s a series of articles by Megan McArdle on Washington D.C.‘s streetcar project, written in 2009, 2014, and 2015 (the project was originally slated to be completed in 2006 and is still not fully rolled out today, in 2016). Trevor also mentions our podcast episode with Randal O’Toole, “Transportation, Land Use, and Freedom,” James Tooley’s book “The Beautiful Tree: A Personal Journey Into How the World’s Poorest People are Educating Themselves,” and NeuCare, a new way to think about medical care. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/26/202256 minutes, 10 seconds
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Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the Drug War (with Johann Hari)

We’re taking a break this week, but in the meantime, enjoy this treasure from the Free Thoughts vault with writer and journalist Johann Hari to discuss his book Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs. In it, he seeks to answer questions such as; what was the U.S. government’s original motivation behind drug prohibition? How has the way we view addiction changed over time? What happens when a country—or a state—decriminalizes drugs? What about hard drugs? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/19/20221 hour, 1 minute, 58 seconds
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The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge (with Matt Ridley) (Rerun)

We’re taking a break from new episodes for a couple of weeks, but in the meantime, enjoy this treasure from the Free Thoughts vault where Matt Ridley joins us t to discuss his book, The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge (2015). In it, he theorizes that much of the order we see in the natural world and in human culture and society is the result of unplanned, bottom‐up, emergent evolution. Is there a way to introduce these evolutionary pressures to government? Is there a bias to thinking that the world operates by design, from the top down? Does this bias have an origin in our evolutionary psychology? Is it reflected in how we view history?Ridley’s newest book, The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge (2015).Ridley’s bestselling book is an optimistic look at progress and economic history: The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves (2011).Also from Matt Ridley, The Origins of Virtue: Human Instincts and the Evolution of Cooperation (1998). Libertarianism.org has a video from 1983 of professor and Nobel laureate Friedrich Hayek talking about cultural evolution and the origins of tradition in society.Ridley mentions the ideas and management practices of Mike Bracken, the UK government’s former digital chief. Here’s an extended interview with Bracken about his ideas for government and why he chose to leave. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/12/202241 minutes, 45 seconds
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Black Liberation Through the Marketplace (with Rachel Ferguson and Marcus Witcher)

Rachel Ferguson and Marcus Witcher’s new book, Black Liberation Through the Marketplace: Hope, Heartbreak, and the Promise of America, chronicles the achievements and failures of market-based attempts to achievement liberation for the Black community throughout American history. From the great shame of slavery to the racist roots of the minimum wage, their liberal examination uncovers both stumbles and strides in the quest for truly equal human flourishing, and urges readers to resist tribalism from the Right and Left. The authors sit down with Trevor to examine the importance of the black church and civil society, explain some differences between common law and enlightenment conceptions of property rights, and more modern manifestations of racially charged, government sanctioned means of discrimination. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/5/20221 hour, 48 seconds
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How Evil are Politicians? (with Bryan Caplan)

What is the difference between demagoguery and political strategy? It may be tough to tell, but Bryan Caplan, Professor of Economics at George Mason University and author of the new collection How Evil Are Politicians?: Essays on Demagoguery has a few ways to help tell the difference. Plus; what does Spiderman have to do with the "evil" nature of politicians and why should we focus on them instead of the voters who give them power? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/29/202252 minutes, 15 seconds
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Inflation! (with Norbert Michel)

What can hurricanes teach us about supply side shocks? Norbert Michel, vice president and director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives, joins the show to explain the Consumer Price Index, how the Federal Reserve responds, and how its period of “Great Moderation” was a better time. Plus: why should we have expected the rate of inflation to increase? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/22/202243 minutes, 2 seconds
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What’s Wrong with Zoning (with M. Nolan Gray)

One border libertarians might be curious about lies between what zoning is and what zoning is not. M. Nolan Gray, author of the new book, “Arbitrary Lines: How Zoning Broke the American City and How to Fix It” joins the show to explain the roots of our zoning regulations, clarify if overpopulated cities are the real problem, and describe how cities like Houston, Texas are adapting. Plus; where do we go from here? Is the complete abolition of zoning the end goal? What progress is left on the table by our current way of doing things? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/15/202250 minutes
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Forensic Frauds and Criminal Justice (with M. Chris Fabricant)

How did bite mark analysis become one of the most misunderstood forms of forensics evidence in our criminal justice system? M. Chris Fabricant of the Innocence Project is leading the fight to bring accurate scientific analysis to the courtroom. He joins Trevor to explain how junk science, a reliance on expert witness testimony, and scientifically illiterate juries drive wrongful convictions and help create a sense of legitimacy for what he calls, “poor people science.” Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/8/202252 minutes, 43 seconds
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Conservatism Vs. The Right (with Matthew Continetti)

Where has the right gone wrong? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/1/202247 minutes, 34 seconds
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The Socialist Temptation (with Iain Murray)

Socialism isn’t what is used to be. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/27/202243 minutes, 27 seconds
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A Conversation About Guns (with Clark Neily)

Why are gun-targeting policies ineffective and impractical, and what can we do instead to stop gun violence, while still respecting everyone’s rights? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/17/202248 minutes, 10 seconds
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Why Did America Invade Iraq? (with Michael Mazarr)

A story of faithful foreign policy failure. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/10/202256 minutes, 24 seconds
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Seven Deadly Economic Sins

Is the “right” life the same for you as it is for others? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/3/202245 minutes, 4 seconds
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What Broke American Health Care?

Why does your employer pay for your health coverage? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/27/202249 minutes, 9 seconds
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Big Tech & Free Speech

Why are we talking about “Big Tech” now in a way we we weren’t 5 years ago? Cato’s own Matthew Feeney and Will Duffield join Trevor to discuss how the 2016 election changed the political landscape, the value of moderation, and how digital infrastructure influences a platform’s power. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/20/202253 minutes, 15 seconds
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Real Economics (with Peter Boettke)

Peter Boettke’s liberal lineage in the academy illuminates his economic expertise. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/12/202255 minutes, 14 seconds
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Justice Before the Law (with Michael Huemer)

Is it true that, “an unjust law is no law at all?” Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/6/202251 minutes, 18 seconds
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Why Privacy Matters (with Neil Richards)

Privacy may seem simple, but it’s much harder to define than it seems. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/29/202249 minutes, 20 seconds
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Free Speech, A History (with Jacob Mchangama)

Where does our idea of free speech come from and why is it so powerful? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/22/202251 minutes, 57 seconds
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The ABCs of Inflation

Not to burst your bubble—but inflation is at the highest it has been for the past 40 years. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/15/202254 minutes, 8 seconds
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Growing up in the USSR

Was the USSR an evil empire? Cathy Young thinks the answer is quite simple—yes. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/8/202250 minutes, 23 seconds
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The DNA of War (with Andrew Heaton)

Andrew Heaton presents “International Relations Theory for Dummies” (his words, not ours). Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/1/202255 minutes, 18 seconds
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Poverty in the Golden State (with Michael Tanner)

California has had solid economic growth recently, pockets of vast wealth, and an extensive social safety net—yet it also has the highest poverty rate of all 50 states. What makes California so strange in terms of poverty and inequality? Michael Tanner joins Trevor to breakdown the many causes influencing the various forms of poverty in The Golden State. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/25/202245 minutes, 7 seconds
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Labor Econ Versus the World (with Bryan Caplan)

Bryan Caplan joins Trevor to explain how everything from immigration, education, workplace issues, and more are all part of labor economics (and why that matters). Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/18/202253 minutes, 11 seconds
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American Terror After 9/11 (with Spencer Ackerman)

Spencer Ackerman joins Trevor to discuss how the events of September 11th, 2001 changed terrorism from “something some people do” into “something some people are”; creating an opportunity for authoritarian violence, unfettered surveillance, and nationalist populism to grow. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/11/202250 minutes, 30 seconds
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Aaron's Farewell to Free Thoughts

After nearly a decade of hosting Free Thoughts, this is Aaron’s last episode. Trevor sits down with him to discuss how they met, how they’ve changed since then, and what they hope listeners take away from their time together. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/4/202253 minutes, 56 seconds
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Is Nuclear Power Worth It? (with Peter Van Doren)

The "Notorious PVD" sits down with Aaron and Trevor to discuss his knowledge of nuclear regulation, gas taxes, roving motorcycle gangs, and the purpose of intellectual inquiry. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
2/25/202251 minutes, 11 seconds
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The Philosophy of Honesty (with Christian Miller)

Everyone values honesty, but figuring out just what it entails can be difficult. In today's episode, we're joined by philosopher Christian Miller to discuss what it means to be honest and which features of our environment can push us towards dishonesty. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
2/18/202252 minutes, 18 seconds
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The Allure of the “Natural” (with Alan Levinovitz)

Natural foods. Natural medicine. Natural living. They all sound good, and lots of people tell us we need more of them, and that government policy should support them. The trouble is, as guest Alan Levinovitz explains, nailing down just what counts as "natural" is awfully difficult, and that difficulty leads to a lot of bad thinking--and bad laws. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
2/11/202242 minutes, 38 seconds
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How to Protect Our Elections (with Walter Olson and Andy Craig)

Are elections really under more threat than they have been? Is there more fraud than there used to be? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
2/5/202251 minutes, 24 seconds
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How Prisons are Governed (with David Skarbek)

Why are prisons so different from nation to nation? And how are these institutions governed internally and externally? David Skarbek sits down with Trevor and Aaron to explore differing methods of incarceration, the issues with each method, and how, or if, a prison can be considered “successful.” Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
1/28/202248 minutes, 44 seconds
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How The Force Can Fix The World (with Stephen Kent)

The Star Wars saga isn't just an epic story of galactic conflict. It's also a moral parable, exploring virtues, and probing questions of how to live, and how to live with each other. Stephen Kent, author of How the Force Can Fix the World: Lessons on Life, Liberty, and Happiness from a Galaxy Far, Far Away. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
1/21/202252 minutes, 58 seconds
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Punishment Without Trial (with Carissa Byrne Hessick)

Carissa Byrne Hessick joins the podcast to discuss the fact that 97% of convictions in the United States every year are the result of people pleading guilty, often via a plea bargain, rather than having a trial before a jury of their peers. How did we get to a situation where the vast majority of criminal convictions come prior to any trial taking place? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
1/14/202255 minutes, 51 seconds
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Rerun: Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future

Johan Norberg joins Trevor this week to talk about the notion of progress and gives us all a few reasons to look forward to the future.Why is there a systemic bias towards pessimism when hard data shows the world is getting better and better every day? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
1/7/202252 minutes, 58 seconds
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Rerun: Why Can't You Email Your Doctor?

Dr. Ryan Neuhofel joins us this week to talk about his practice, NeuCare, which is a very different way to approach primary care medicine in the United States.What is direct primary care? How should health insurance work, and how is it broken in our health care system today? How do primary care doctors currently get paid? Why is managed health care so expensive? Is direct primary care part of what a free market in medicine might look like? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/31/202152 minutes, 58 seconds
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Rerun: Lessons from a Bank-Robbing Law Professor

Shon Hopwood joins us this week to tell about his journey from bank robber to federal prisoner to U.S. Supreme Court practitioner and Georgetown law professor.What’s it like in federal prison? How did Hopwood become a jailhouse lawyer? If people do in fact “age out” of criminal activity, then what should our prison system look like? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/24/202146 minutes, 21 seconds
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Tech Panic (with Robby Soave)

Not so long ago, we embraced social media as a life‐​changing opportunity to connect with friends and family from across the world. But now, many people are choosing to see or argue the negative impact of social media and large tech companies. Robby Soave provided a comprehensive overview of this phenomenon in his new book, Tech Panic. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/17/202154 minutes, 10 seconds
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Do Markets Make Us Worse? (with Ginny Choi)

Individuals like to argue that as we engage in market activity, the more likely we are to become selfish & corrupt. Even Adam Smith, who famously celebrated markets, believed that there were moral costs associated with life in market societies. Ginny Choi explains that successful markets require and produce virtuous participants. Markets serve as moral spaces that both rely on and reward their participants for being virtuous. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/10/202146 minutes, 47 seconds
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A Libertarian in Government (with Mark Calabria)

Mark Calabria is the former director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates and supervises Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks. During his service at the agency, Calabria led the response to COVID-19, as well as laid the groundwork for a removal of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from government conservatorship.Prior to his heading of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Calabria served as chief economist to Vice President Mike Pence. In that role, he led the vice president’s work on taxes, trade, labor, financial services, manufacturing, and general economic issues, including serving as a key member of the team that enacted the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, and on the team that crafted the United States‐Mexico‐Canada trade agreement. Calabria served as the vice president’s primary representative for the U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/3/202154 minutes, 21 seconds
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Rerun: Remaining Grateful with Steven Horwitz

Steve knows the world has truly gotten better for human beings. Not enough people recognize or appreciate that. We hope that this episode inspires you to help a neighbor or call a friend.How does gratitude compare to resentment? Do we have the mental space to be thinking about the welfare of everyone else? How different are you on social media compared to real life? Why do GoFundMe’s work? Is the demand curve for chemotherapy vertical? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/26/202152 minutes, 37 seconds
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Nationalism in America

Samuel Goldman highlights three pillars of mid-twentieth-century nationalism, all of which are absent today: the social dominance of Protestant Christianity, the absorption of European immigrants in a broader white identity, and the defense of democracy abroad. Most of today's nationalists fail to recognize these necessary underpinnings of any renewed nationalism, or the potentially troubling consequences that they would engender. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/19/202152 minutes, 11 seconds
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Regulation Games (with Peter Van Doren)

Fan favorite Peter Van Doren returns to the show to share with us his wealth of knowledge not only in regulation, but in many other areas of failed government oversight.  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/12/202150 minutes, 8 seconds
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The Drug War in Mexico (with Benjamin T. Smith)

Benjamin T. Smith uncovers the origins of the drug trade in Mexico and how this illicit business essentially built modern Mexico, affecting everything from agriculture to medicine to economics―and the country’s all-important relationship with the United States. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/5/202151 minutes, 44 seconds
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Blind Injustice (with Mark Godsey)

Godsey explores distinct psychological human weaknesses inherent in the criminal justice system—confirmation bias, memory malleability, cognitive dissonance, bureaucratic denial, dehumanization, and others—and illustrates each with stories from his time as a hard-nosed prosecutor and then as an attorney for the Ohio Innocence Project.Why do people become prosecutors? What sorts of relationships do prosecutors have with judges? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/29/202148 minutes, 39 seconds
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How to Fix African Poverty (with Magatte Wade)

Magatte Wade argues that the most unique challenge we face is that the world has come to perceive that Africans themselves are not capable of creating prosperity—and require charity in order to survive. The combination of negative perceptions of Africans, combined with widespread ignorance regarding the need for economic freedom is a toxic combination. And Wade is working to change not only the perception, but also provide opportunities for Africans to prosper. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/22/202145 minutes, 36 seconds
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Undoing Drugs (with Maia Szalavitz)

Maia Szalavitz writes that drug overdoses now kill more Americans annually than guns, cars, or breast cancer. But the United States has tried to solve this national crisis with policies that only made matters worse. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/15/202147 minutes, 22 seconds
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America’s War Propaganda (with Chris Coyne and Abby Hall)

Christopher Coyne and Abigail Hall delve into case studies from the War on Terror to show how propaganda operates in a democracy. From the darkened cinema to the football field to the airport screening line, the U.S. government has purposefully inflated the actual threat of terrorism and the necessity of a proactive military response. This biased, incomplete, and misleading information contributes to a broader culture of fear and militarism that, far from keeping Americans safe, ultimately threatens the foundations of a free society. How should we define propaganda? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/8/202154 minutes, 28 seconds
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Is Section 230 a Problem? (with Jeff Kosseff)

Jeff Kosseff exposes the workings of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which has lived mostly in the shadows since its enshrinement in 1996. Because many segments of American society now exist largely online, Kosseff argues that we need to understand and pay attention to what Section 230 really means and how it affects what we like, share, and comment upon every day. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/1/202146 minutes, 38 seconds
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What Happened in Afghanistan (with Sahar Khan)

It’s true that for the first time in 20 years, there is no US military presence in Afghanistan. But Sahar Khan suggests that the war is not really over. Throughout this episode they discuss what happened in Afghanistan over the last 2 decades and why the United States kept troops on the ground there longer than anticipated.  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/24/202157 minutes, 48 seconds
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America's Political Instability

Strange things happen to parties that can win while getting fewer votes. For one thing, they’re driven to be more radical. Another is that a victorious party can still feel like a persecuted minority because they actually are the minority. And this phenomenon is running rampant in the United States. Andy Craig discusses how we can relieve pressure from our cracking political system.  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/17/202146 minutes, 52 seconds
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Don't Do Your Own Research (with Julian Sanchez)

Many people have developed some level of skepticism about mainstream news media. By not trusting the news your alternative is to conduct your own research on certain topics. However, no one is capable of researching every possible domain without somehow relying on someone else's interpretation of the issue at hand.Why don't people trust the news or the government? Why should you not conduct your own research? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/10/202146 minutes, 44 seconds
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How Covid Changed the School Choice Debate (with Corey DeAngelis)

Corey DeAngelis comes on the podcast to breakdown the different components of school choice and how it has evolved in the last 2 decades. In summary, DeAngelis believes that families have the best information about what their children need when it comes to education. This isn't a debate about private vs. public schools, but rather a debate about where money can best be spent for each and every student.What is the difference between an education savings account and a school voucher? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/3/202157 minutes, 36 seconds
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What's Next for Criminal Justice Reform (with John Pfaff)

John Pfaff describes how the pandemic lockdown helped push down many crimes, but last year saw an unprecedented spike in homicides nationwide, likely more than twice the largest previous one-year rise. The spike in homicides will surely alter the politics of reform, now and in the years ahead.Was there a COVID crime wave? Are shooting underreported or over-reported? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/27/202154 minutes, 52 seconds
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Thinking Philosophically (with Michael Huemer)

Michael Huemer spends the show addressing many controversial philosophical questions; How can we know about the world outside our minds? Is there a God? Do we have free will? Are there objective values? What distinguishes morally right from morally wrong actions?Why do people question the value of general philosophical knowledge? Why should people try to be rational? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/20/202150 minutes, 4 seconds
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What is Corporate Social Responsibility? (with Don Boudreaux)

The reality is that when businesses respond to market prices and wages in ways that maximize share values they generally promote the welfare of a far larger number of stakeholders than when businesses discount the importance of share values in order to intentionally promote the welfare of stakeholders. Don Boudreaux joins the podcast to discuss the difference between stakeholder capitalism and shareholder capitalism and how they both relate to corporate responsibility.What are the differences between shareholders and stakeholders? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/13/202148 minutes, 41 seconds
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How to Govern Internet Platforms (with Neil Chilson)

As governments and tech platforms seek to address the concerns driving the “techlash,” Neil talks about the lessons that provide guidance on how to avoid the worst pitfalls that could adversely affect efforts to improve the human condition online.What is "legibility"? What concerns drive the “techlash” and what should platforms and governments do to address them? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/6/202148 minutes, 29 seconds
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Libertarianism & Egalitarianism (with Daniel Shapiro)

Daniel Shapiro examines how major welfare institutions, such as government-financed and -administered retirement pensions, national health insurance, and programs for the needy, actually work. Comparing them to compulsory private insurance and private charities, Shapiro argues that the dominant perspectives in political philosophy mistakenly think that their principles support the welfare state.What is the difference between option luck and brute luck? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/30/202151 minutes, 19 seconds
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Where College Students Stand (With Clay Routledge and John Bitzan)

Clay Routledge and John Bitzan conducted a survey of college students to assess their perception of viewpoint diversity and campus freedom; human progress and beliefs about the future; and student attitudes toward entrepreneurship, capitalism and socialism, and how college is influencing their views.  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/23/202149 minutes, 48 seconds
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What is Neoliberalism? (with Kevin Vallier)

There is much disagreement about what being a neoliberal actually means. It's generally believed to be a philosophical view that a society’s political and economic institutions should be robustly liberal and capitalist, but supplemented by a constitutionally limited democracy and a modest welfare state. But that certainly leaves room for much interpretation.How does neoliberalism relate to utilitarianism? What is the relationship between neoliberalism and democracy? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/16/202153 minutes, 23 seconds
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The Ideas of Thomas Sowell (with Jason Riley)

Jason Riley describes Thomas Sowell as one of the great social theorists of our age. In Sowell’s career, spanning more than a half century, he has written over thirty books, covering topics from economic history and social inequality to political theory, race, and culture. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/9/20211 hour, 6 seconds
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Rise of the Warrior Cop (with Radley Balko)

Radley Balko argues that over the last several decades, America's cops have increasingly come to resemble ground troops. The consequences have been dire: the home is no longer a place of sanctuary, the Fourth Amendment has been gutted, and police today have been conditioned to see the citizens they serve as an other—an enemy. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/2/202155 minutes, 21 seconds
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Why Government Fails (with Chris Edwards)

Federal policies rely on top‐down planning and coercion. That tends to create winners and losers, which is unlike the mutually beneficial relationships of markets. Not to mention the government cannot comprehend the complexity of our society on a local level. Chris Edwards returns to the show to discuss the failures of government.What is logrolling? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/25/202149 minutes, 9 seconds
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Dissenters, Deserters, and Objectors to America’s Wars (with Chris Lombardi)

Before the U.S. Constitution had even been signed, soldiers and new veterans protested. Dissent, the hallowed expression of disagreement and refusal to comply with the government’s wishes, has a long history in the United States. Soldier dissenters, outraged by the country’s wars or egregious violations in conduct, speak out and change U.S. politics, social welfare systems, and histories.What happened to deserters? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/18/202145 minutes, 57 seconds
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Seeking Truth in the Misinformation Age (with Jonathan Rauch)

Disinformation. Trolling. Conspiracies. Social media pile-ons. Campus intolerance. On the surface, these recent phenomenons appear to have little in common. But together, they are driving an epistemic crisis: a multi-front challenge to America’s ability to distinguish fact from fiction and elevate truth above falsehood.What is truth? Is truth the same thing as knowledge? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/11/202149 minutes, 54 seconds
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Getting Environmentalism Right (with Michael Shellenberger)

Carbon emissions peaked and have been declining in most developed nations for over a decade. Deaths from extreme weather, even in poor nations, declined 80 percent over the last four decades. And the risk of Earth warming to very high temperatures is increasingly unlikely thanks to slowing population growth and abundant natural gas.What do we mean by alarmism? What’s really behind the rise of apocalyptic environmentalism? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/4/202150 minutes, 51 seconds
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Stoic Wisdom (with Nancy Sherman)

An expert in ancient and modern ethics, Sherman relates how Stoic methods of examining beliefs and perceptions can help us correct distortions in what we believe, see, and feel. Her study reveals a profound insight about the Stoics: they never believed, as Stoic popularizers often hold, that rugged self-reliance or indifference to the world around us is at the heart of living well. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/28/202152 minutes, 2 seconds
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Reopening Muslim Minds (with Mustafa Aykol)

Diving deeply into Islamic theology, and also sharing lessons from his own life story, Mustafa Aykol reveals how Muslims lost the universalism that made them a great civilization in their earlier centuries. He especially demonstrates how values often associated with Western Enlightenment ― freedom, reason, tolerance, and an appreciation of science ― had Islamic counterparts, which sadly were cast aside in favor of more dogmatic views, often for political ends. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/21/202153 minutes, 51 seconds
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More Immigration, More Freedom (with Chandran Kukathas)

Immigration is often seen as a danger to western liberal democracies because it threatens to undermine their fundamental values, most notably freedom and national self‐​determination. Chandran Kukathas argues that the greater threat comes not from immigration but from immigration control. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/14/202157 minutes, 20 seconds
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Does the FDA Save Lives? (with Peter Van Doren)

FDA reviewers have strong incentive to restrict access to new drugs and other therapies until there is extensive evidence that the therapies are safe. These incentives work against patients suffering painful or terminal diseases that have no effective therapy. And throughout the COVID-19 pandemic the FDA was continually in the spotlight for its poorly handling many potential COVID-19 remedies.Why do we have an FDA? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/7/202154 minutes, 24 seconds
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War is Stupid (with John Mueller)

It could be said that American foreign policy since 1945 has been one long miscue; most international threats - including during the Cold War - have been substantially exaggerated. The result has been agony and bloviation, unnecessary and costly military interventions that have mostly failed.John Mueller joins the show to explain how, when international war is in decline, complacency and appeasement become viable diplomatic devices and a large military is scarcely required. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/30/202151 minutes, 5 seconds
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Economics in One Virus (with Ryan Bourne)

Have you ever stopped to wonder why hand sanitizer was missing from your pharmacy for months after the COVID-19 pandemic hit? Why some employers and employees were arguing over workers being re-hired during the first COVID-19 lockdown? Why passenger airlines were able to get their own ring-fenced bailout from Congress?Ryan Bourne answers all of these questions in his latest book, Economics in One Virus. He helps to explain everything from why the U.S. was underprepared for the pandemic to how economists go about valuing the lives saved from lockdowns. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/23/202156 minutes, 20 seconds
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How Textiles Made the Modern World (with Virginia Postrel)

The story of humanity is the story of textiles -- as old as civilization itself. Since the first thread was spun, the need for textiles has driven technology, business, politics, and culture. Virginia Postrel joins the show to discuss how textiles are the most influential commodity in world history.What can the history of textiles teach us about innovation? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/16/202154 minutes, 13 seconds
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Fighting the Foreign Policy Establishment (with Justin Logan)

The foreign policy establishment in D.C. is stubborn. In fact, there is so much consensus about America's interests' abroad that it's rare that meaningful debate occurs. But, it shouldn't be like that. There should be room for realists and restrainers in foreign policy. Justin Logan comes back on the podcast to discuss how foreign policy should be regularly scrutinized because right now that doesn't happen enough.Who is in the foreign policy establishment? How is the debate on foreign policy different in DC compared to academia? What is realism in foreign policy? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/9/202149 minutes, 49 seconds
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Who Messed with Texas's Electricity (with Peter Van Doren)

Alternating current electricity systems require that demand equals supply in real-time. Any supply-demand imbalance must be remedied in minutes to avoid collapse of the system that would take weeks to repair. And the Texas system was very close to collapse. So why did the Texas blackouts occur when the weather was bitter cold?Could a free market electricity system work? What is the rate of return on regulated utilities? Why are all power companies monopolies? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/2/202148 minutes, 12 seconds
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Why It's OK to Want to Be Rich (with Jason Brennan)

In Jason Brennan's new book, Why It’s OK to Want to Be Rich, he shows that the moralizers have it backwards. He argues that, in general, the more money you make, the more you already do for others, and that even an average wage earner is productively “giving back” to society just by doing her job. In addition, wealth liberates us to have the best chance of leading a life that’s authentically our own. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/26/202147 minutes, 32 seconds
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Making Fun of Dictators (with Bassem Youseff)

Bassem Youseff joins the show to talk about his experience hosting the show, El-Bernameg (The Show), a satirical news program in Egypt, from 2011 to 2014. Youseff is often described as the Egyptian Jon Stewart because his program garnered over 40 million viewers. In 2013, Time named Youseff one of the 100 most influential people in the world.Why are dictators humorless? Do you think that America has a healthy political satire climate? What caused the Arab Spring? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/19/202139 minutes, 21 seconds
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GameStop & the Mysteries of the Stock Market

A stock market professional joins the show to discuss how investors and hedge fund managers work differently. In recent stock market news, we had a front seat to witness the short-selling of small companies, like Gamestop. We discuss why short-selling happens and how technology has changed accessibility to the stock market.What is a stock? What is a corporation? What is a hedge fund? How has the stock market changed in the last 30 years? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/12/20211 hour, 6 seconds
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Does Trade Harm National Security? (with Scott Lincicome)

The resurgent of “security nationalism" extends far beyond the limited theoretical scenarios in which national security might justify government action, and it suffers from several flaws. “National security” has long been invoked to justify government policies intended to support manufacturing in case of war or another emergency.How are free trade and national security related? What is a trade deficit? How do global supply chains work? Did the U.S. make China in to a dangerous country? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/5/202146 minutes, 31 seconds
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Immigration's Economic Impact (with Alex Nowrasteh)

Economic arguments favoring increased immigration restrictions suggest that immigrants undermine the culture, institutions, and productivity of destination countries. But is this actually true? Alex Nowrasteh breaks the economic impact of immigration down for us by pulling data from history as well as from policies that other countries use to control immigration.What happens if we open up immigration? What is a founder effect? Why do people want to come to America? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
2/26/202144 minutes, 36 seconds
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Drug Use for Grown Ups (with Carl Hart)

Carl Hart is one of the world’s preeminent experts on the effects of so-called recreational drugs on the human mind and body. Dr. Hart is open about the fact that he uses drugs himself, in a happy balance with the rest of his full and productive life as a colleague, husband, father, and friend.What is the difference between an illicit drug and medicine? Who decides which drugs are illicit and which are not? Why do we treat drugs users, depending on the drug, differently? How is alcohol different than illicit drugs? And how is it the same? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
2/19/202146 minutes, 10 seconds
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Did the New Deal End the Great Depression? (with George Selgin)

George Selgin believes that the New Deal failed to bring recovery because, although some New Deal undertakings did serve to revive aggregate spending, others had the opposite effect, and still others prevented the growth in spending that did take place from doing all it might have to revive employment.What does it mean when the economy shrinks? What were some goals of the New Deal? How did the New Deal fail to reach its goals? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
2/12/202155 minutes, 18 seconds
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Trust in a Polarized Age (with Kevin Vallier)

Americans today don't trust each other and their institutions as much as they once did. The collapse of social and political trust has arguably fueled our increasingly ferocious ideological conflicts and hardened partisanship. But, Kevin Vallier explains how all is not hopeless. restores faith in our power to reduce polarization and rebuild social and political trust.What is social trust? Do we still have trust in democracy? How do you develop your sense of trust? What's a democratic norm? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
2/5/202145 minutes, 41 seconds
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The 2020 Election and the Capitol Insurrection (with Walter Olson)

Walter Olson, senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies, comes on the show to discuss the fallout of the 2020 election culminating with the Capitol insurrection on January 6, 2021. They discuss how institutions like congress faired during the Trump administration, how and when election fraud concerns should be addressed, as well as the 'whataboutism' of people comparing the capitol insurrection to 2020 protests.What is objective morality? How could we improve our voting systems? How did our institutions hold up in the face of violence? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
1/29/202150 minutes, 26 seconds
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How Technology is Changing Education (with Andy Matuschak)

Andy Matuschak joins the show to discuss how different learning models will help students in different ways. They discuss how students best remember material and how we should consider cognitive science when constructing a teaching technique.What is the purpose of primary school? Why do we group children by age for learning in school? What is the best way to learn from flashcards? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
1/22/202151 minutes, 37 seconds
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Are Monopolies a Problem? (with Peter Van Doren)

Fan favorite, Peter Van Doren, comes back to the show to discuss how the concept of a monopoly has changed throughout history. People certainly don't like the idea of a monopoly, but before we claim a company as a monopoly we need to make sure we know what market they exist in. There is always competition that exists, but sometimes it's hard to nail down.What is a trust? What are the technical concerns of a monopoly? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
1/15/202150 minutes, 16 seconds
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Open Societies & Human Progress (with Johan Norberg)

The freedom to explore and exchange - whether it's goods, ideas or people - has led to stunning achievements in science, technology and culture. As a result, we live at a time of unprecedented wealth and opportunity. So why are we so intent on ruining it? Johan Norberg explores these ideas and more throughout this episode.How new is openness? Were early civilizations open? How do open societies progress faster than closed? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
1/8/202146 minutes, 35 seconds
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(Re-Release): The Story of Money in the United States

George Selgin joins Aaron and Trevor for a discussion on money and banking in the United States.What is money? How did the government become so deeply ingrained in the production and supply of our money, and why? What is the Federal Reserve, and what does it actually do? What would the U. S. look like with a competitive currency system? And what about Bitcoin? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
1/1/20211 hour, 3 minutes, 37 seconds
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(Re-Release): Equality of Capabilities, or Equality of Outcomes?

In this episode Aaron Ross Powell and Trevor Burrus talk about egalitarianism with Professor Elizabeth Anderson. Should we be concerned about an equal distribution of resources in a society? An equal distribution of outcomes? Is it a bad thing for some people to be worse off than others through no fault of their own? And whose job is it to enforce such distributions—government or markets?This was originally released on May 5th, 2014. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/25/20201 hour, 2 minutes, 17 seconds
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Fixing Supreme Court Nominations (with Ilya Shapiro)

Ilya Shapiro joins the show to take us through the various eras of the Supreme Court. He also explains how the process of nominating someone to the Supreme Court has changed since the founding.What does the Constitution say about the Supreme Court? Did Marbury v. Madison in 1803 and the rise of judicial review change some of the calculus for confirmation hearings? What is judicial review? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/18/202053 minutes, 36 seconds
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America's Revolutionary Mind (with C. Bradley Thompson)

C. Bradley Thompson's work is inspired by John Adams and his reflection on the nature of the American Revolution. Adams answered the question “What was the revolution?” by saying, “The Revolution was not the war for independence. The Revolution was in fact a revolution in the minds of the American people". Learning this, Thompson discusses the moral revolution that occurred in the minds of the people in the fifteen years before 1776.How did Isaac Newton and Francis Bacon, two scientists, influence the American Revolution? How do you discover moral laws of nature? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/11/20201 hour, 40 seconds
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The Comedy of Politics (with Andrew Heaton)

Andrew Heaton is a comedian, author, and political satirist. On this episode he explains how, in the last four years, many funny & talented individuals have stepped away from comedy because they do not feel it is an appropriate moment in time to make jokes. But, the power of laughter is often underestimated.  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/4/202053 minutes, 15 seconds
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The Property Species (with Bart Wilson)

Bart J. Wilson explores how humans acquire, perceive, and know the custom of property, and why this might be relevant to understanding how property works in the twenty-first century.What is experimental economics? How does property work? What chaos ensues when property rights do not exist? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/27/202046 minutes, 49 seconds
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The Conservative Liberalism of Burke, Smith, and Hume (with Dan Klein)

Daniel Klein explains how on regular issues of policy reform—presupposing a stable integrated polity— Hume, Smith, and Burke were liberal in the original political meaning of “liberal.” Thus, on policy reform, although they accorded the status quo a certain presumption (as any reasonable person must), the more distinctive feature is that they maintained (even propounded, most plainly in Smith’s case) a presumption of liberty in matters of policy reform.How are Hume, Smith, and Burke similar? How did Burke, Hume, and Smith interact? What is the difference between polity and policy? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/20/202050 minutes, 21 seconds
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The Art of Gender (with Jason Kuznicki)

Jason Kuznicki describes two common theories of gender, both of which have viable critiques. He goes on to describe a theory of gender that is neither essentialist nor constructivist, but something else entirely – a liberal and individualist account of gender.What is the difference between sex and gender? What’s an essentialist account of gender? What’s a constructionist account of gender? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/13/202045 minutes, 42 seconds
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The Ethics of Capitalism (with John Thrasher)

John Thrasher discusses a framework for comparing the economic systems of capitalism, feudalism, and socialism, and their roles in a range of contemporary issues, such as climate change, competitive consumption, unemployment, taxation, social inequality, global trade, and intrusion of markets into taboo areas.Why do people dislike capitalism? Why did people think capitalism was a good idea to begin with? What is the difference of capitalism and free markets? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/6/202054 minutes, 20 seconds
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The Politics of Genetic Enhancement (with Jonathan Anomaly)

Jonathan Anomaly takes seriously the diversity of preferences parents have, and the limits of public policy in regulating what could soon be a global market for reproductive technology. He argues that once embryo selection for complex traits happens it will change the moral landscape by altering the incentives parents face.What will happen in the next 10-20 years with CRISPR? What is embryo selection? Is there a way to enhance morality genetically? Should there be mandatory enhancements? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/30/202051 minutes, 9 seconds
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The Free Spirits of Liberalism (with Steven Pittz)

Steven Pittz defines what a free spirit is in addition to detailing how liberalism affects our ability to connect to our spirituality. Some argue that liberalism has detached us from a sense of meaning, but is that true?Has liberalism made us detached from spiritualism? What is spiritual fullness? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/23/202049 minutes, 31 seconds
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How America Could Fall (with David French)

Two decades into the 21st Century, the U.S. is less united than at any time in our history since the Civil War. We are more diverse in our beliefs and culture than ever before. But red and blue states, secular and religious groups, liberal and conservative idealists, and Republican and Democratic representatives all have one thing in common: each believes their distinct cultures and liberties are being threatened by an escalating violent opposition.How has polarization changed in the last decade? What role does status play in society today? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/16/202053 minutes, 58 seconds
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Can We Evolve Beyond Government? (with Max Borders)

Max Borders is a futurist who believes humanity is already building systems that will “underthrow” great centers of power. He believes that decentralization holds great promise. This decentralization will revolutionize we live and interact with eachother.Was the movement in to hierarchy part of human nature? What is holacracy? What is the social singularity? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/9/202054 minutes, 10 seconds
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It’s Okay to Ignore Politics (with Chris Freiman)

Chris Freiman addresses new objections to political abstention. Because participating in politics is not an effective way to do good, Freiman argues that we actually have a moral duty to disengage from politics and instead take direct action to make the world a better place.Is abstaining from politics permissible? Is it impossible to ignore politics? Why should we care about the quality of someone's vote if it doesn't matter anyway? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/2/202047 minutes, 9 seconds
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The Philosophy of Gerald Gaus (with Kevin Vallier and Chad Van Schoelandt)

We invited Kevin Vallier and Chad Van Schoelandt to the show to talk about their teacher and mentor, Gerald Gaus. Gerry was not like a lot of public reason types who are just trying to identify the conditions for something as abstract and distant as a well‐ordered society. Gaus started very much from where we are in a way that is much more like Hayek than Rawls.How do you justify rules? How do you understand morality in order to make rules? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/25/202052 minutes, 28 seconds
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Zoning Ruins Everything (with Emily Hamilton)

When you drive through any major U.S. city you will notice that there are areas filled with shops, restaurants, and office buildings, but one block over is solely single-family residential housing. Zoning regulations have stopped the redevelopment process in many of the highest demand parts of the country. But cities like Houston are finding that without zoning regulations there is more affordable housing.What is market urbanism? Are people fleeing cities? Why did the interstate highway system grow so large? What is a commercial corridor? Why have our cities developed in the way that they have? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/18/202051 minutes, 28 seconds
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The Experience of Policing (with Renée Mitchell)

Renee J. Mitchell is an expert in policing research with a professional background in law enforcement. As a 22‐​year member of the Sacramento Police Department, she served in patrol, detectives, recruiting, schools, and the Regional Transit System. Trevor and Aaron ask her about her experience as a police officer and how police culture varies widely throughout the United States.What is the purpose of the police union? What is police culture like and how does it vary across the United States? How is SWAT different than the general police? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/11/202059 minutes, 8 seconds
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Capitalism and its Critics (with Michael Munger)

Michael Munger, explains the benefits, and in fact the necessity, of capitalism in organizing human cooperation at scale, and urges the consideration of some problems inherent in capitalism. Munger claims every flaw in markets is worse under socialism.Unless you are willing to advocate monarchism, or actual communist dictatorship, markets and democracy are the only two mechanisms we have for organizing society. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/4/202053 minutes, 41 seconds
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Rothbardian Anarchism (with Cory Massimino)

Murray Rothbard was, at the very least, one the top three libertarian thinkers in the 20th century. He was a prolific writer as the author of dozens of books, articles, and essays. Cory Massimino joins the show to discuss Rothbard's brand of anarchism.What does it mean to be paleoconservative? What is the New Left? What do they believe? Who influenced Murray Rothbard? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/28/202050 minutes, 46 seconds
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What is Free Speech? (with Adam Gurri)

Classically speaking, freedom of speech refers to freedom from state censorship. There are three distinct questions that the current debate over “free speech” runs together in a sloppy fashion: is the state engaging in acts of censorship? Are social sanctions against speech or beliefs too harsh? Is our media ecosystem sufficiently open? Failure to disentangle these questions has resulted in the current abysmal state of the conversation.What is cancel culture? Why has the free speech debate resurfaced with such fury? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/21/202051 minutes, 24 seconds
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Explaining Postmodernism (with Akiva Malamet)

Postmodernism is a serious view with important implications. Postmodernism can be used to think through questions about nature of morality, science, and social institutions—yielding answers that both challenge and help advance libertarianism and the case for a free society.What is postmodernism? Does postmodernism deny objective reality? How did Kant influence postmodernism? What is consciousness and what is the nature of our experience? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/14/202048 minutes, 58 seconds
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Climate Change Panic (with Bjorn Lomborg)

Climate change is real, but it does not pose the apocalyptic threat that we have all been told time and again. When you use bad science, and even worse economics, it creates a panic and that very panic is a problem we see with global warming.What is the problem with climate alarmism? What’s the scientific value in making a model that assumes nobody will respond to incentives? Are there benefits to global warming in some places? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/7/202055 minutes, 57 seconds
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Unpacking Constitutional Law (with Randy Barnett & Josh Blackman)

In Randy Barnett and Josh Blackman's latest book, they write about the 100 Supreme Court cases everyone should know. Their hope is that their book will help teachers and professors teach constitutional law in an organized fashion. They cleanly laid out the history of constitutional law to illustrate how doctrine has shifted over time.Could we have ended up in a different place if we did not interpret the Constitution in the way that we have for over 2 centuries? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/31/202050 minutes, 41 seconds
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What Divides Us (with Emily Ekins)

Emily Ekins comes back on the show to talk about her latest polling work that included many questions about an individuals' locus of control. The discussion ultimately comes down to how can we improve the happiness and meaning in our own lives and those around us.Do you have a favorable view of capitalism or socialism? Are there different types of envy? How does personal responsibility play a role in how you view politics? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/24/202049 minutes, 9 seconds
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You Are (Probably) Not a Good Person (with Christian Miller)

Most people think of themselves as a largely decent human being. We also think of our friends and family members as at least decent people. No one is a saint, but many people we interact with are honest, kind, and humble. But, Christian Miller discovers in his book that if you look at recent psychological studies closely many people regularly fail to acknowledge significant character flaws.Do you believe yourself to be a virtuous person? What do we expect of virtuous people? What is the difference between a virtue and a vice? Do we naturally move to help people? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/17/202054 minutes, 31 seconds
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The Use and Abuse of Moral Talk (with Justin Tosi and Brandon Warmke)

We want to be seen as taking the moral high ground not just to make a point, or move a debate forward, but to look a certain way — incensed, or compassionate, or committed to a cause. Another word for this type of discourse is grandstanding. Justin Tosi and Brandon Warmke join the show to talk about how grandstanding affects our day to day political discourse.As politics gets more and more polarized, people on both sides of the spectrum move further and further apart when they let grandstanding get in the way of engaging one another. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/10/202052 minutes, 31 seconds
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Black Lives and Guns (with Nicholas Johnson)

From Frederick Douglass's advice to keep "a good revolver" handy as defense against slave catchers to the armed self-protection of Monroe, North Carolina, blacks against the KKK chronicled in Robert Williams's Negroes with Guns, it is clear that owning firearms was commonplace in the black community.Do blacks have a different view on gun control? Who was Don Kates and how did he fight for the second amendment? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/3/20201 hour, 2 minutes, 9 seconds
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Bleeding Heart Libertarianism: A Retrospective (with Matt Zwolinski)

Matt Zwolinksi returns to the show to discuss what’s next now that the Bleeding Heart Libertarian blog has ended its’ after a nine year run. He starts by describing how the blog came to be and what he learned about libertarianism and its’ history. Zwolinski hopes that people think of libertarianism and social justice as not incompatible and that we can work to forge political alliances, not just with people on the right who wanna shrink government, but also with people on the left who want to reduce inequality.What is a “Bleeding Heart Libertarian”? How does the Bleeding Heart Libertarian movement fit into the broader libertarian tradition? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/26/202052 minutes, 42 seconds
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The Power of Voting with Your Feet (with Ilya Somin)

Individual voters have little chance of making a difference, and they also face strong incentives to remain ignorant about the issues at stake. But, “Voting with your feet,” avoids these common pitfalls. There are three types of “voting with your feet” that, when acting concurrently, are mutually reenforcing.What is “footing with your feet”? When you “vote with your feet”, does your vote matter more? How can we expand foot voting? How could we open migration to make voting with your feet more affordable and appealing? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/19/202052 minutes, 14 seconds
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Who Broke Congress? (With Rep. Justin Amash)

U.S. Representative Justin Amash from the 3rd Congressional District of Michigan has been in Congress since 2011 and in that time period he has seen many of his colleague chose party over principles. In 2019, he announced that he was leaving the Republican Party. He views the two-party system as an existential threat to American politics and institutions.Do Congressmen have principles? Did Trump corrode the Republican Party? Do Congressmen friends with each other even if they are on opposite sides of the aisle? Are there incremental ways we can make Congress accountable again? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/12/202048 minutes, 31 seconds
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Our Criminal Injustice System (with Jason Brennan and Chris Surprenant)

The American criminal justice is a truly a mess. Cops are too violent, the punishments are too punitive, and we imprison more people than any other country in the world. However, violent crime in the U.S. is very centralized in certain metro areas.Is the Unites States one of the most violent countries in the Western World? Why did the U.S. militarize our police force? Are police in the U.S. more violent than police of other countries? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/5/202052 minutes, 10 seconds
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Are Social Networks Censoring Conservatives? (with John Samples & Matthew Feeney)

Matthew Feeney and John Samples join the show today to talk about how private companies are moderated their vast social networks. Recently, Facebook announced its' new Oversight Board and Cato Institute's very own, John Samples, is one of the members. The Board will effectively take final and binding decisions on whether specific content should be allowed or removed from Facebook and Instagram.Are big tech companies censoring conservative viewpoints? How should we talk about conservative bias? Can governments censor private companies? Does Facebook have to be transparent about what content they moderate? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/29/202058 minutes, 30 seconds
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The Radio Right (with Paul Matzko)

When you list successful government censorship campaigns, like the Alien and Sedition Acts and the Comstock laws, the censorship of right-wing radio in the 1960s should be right up there in the pantheon of the most egregious acts of government censorship in American history. Paul Matzko, author of The Radio Right, talks about this and more throughout the episode.How has our mainstream media changed over time? Have Americans always mistrusted the media? Why were many radio personalities in the 1960s also members of the clergy? What were the Polish ham boycotts? What is the Fairness Doctrine and how did affect the radio landscape? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/22/202058 minutes, 23 seconds
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When Innovation Breaks the Rules (with Adam Thierer)

Beyond boosting economic growth and raising our living standards, evasive entrepreneurialism can play an important role in constraining unaccountable governmental activities that often fail to reflect common sense or the consent of the governed.What moves the needle for progress? How has the sharing economy exposed grotesque regulatory barriers? Could this be a moment of freedom and liberation, or are we gonna get a surveillance state out of this pandemic? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/15/202049 minutes, 23 seconds
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Forgotten Libertarians (with Paul Meany)

For too long history was just the study of great men, but with the rise of intellectual history we have focused more on how people have changed their ideas over time. In another sense, studying history is about studying the struggle for power. The host of Portraits of Liberty, Paul Meany, joins the show to highlight historical thinkers who may not have been strictly libertarian, but argued for a freer world. Portraits of Liberty celebrates a broader historical libertarianism.What is valuable about studying intellectual history? Why do certain philosophers get completely forgotten? What is the difference between tradition and truth? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/8/202048 minutes, 49 seconds
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The Covid-19 Economy

Ryan Bourne and Diego Zuluaga come back to the show to talk about how fiscal and monetary policy are changing drastically to respond to COVID-19. We are operating in a world of radical uncertainty. We are still unsure of how many people have been infected by the novel coronavirus. Every uncertainty affects how the stock market responds. However, it is reasonable to expect the American economy to boom back strongly in 1-3 years.How is the COVID-19 recession different than the 2007-2009 financial crisis? What industries are hurt the most by COVID-19? How do you define an economic recession? Is the market a discovery mechanism? Should individuals receive direct support from the government? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/1/202056 minutes, 21 seconds
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Is Homeschooling Dangerous? (with Kevin Currie-Knight)

Kevin Currie-Knight comes back to the show to discuss different methods of homeschooling and how parents are handling the education of their children during the coronavirus pandemic. Many homeschooling families recognize that children learn when the children are guiding the learning, but that cannot happen when a school is sending home material. The more choice kids have in their learning, the better the learning outcomes.What is the difference between homeschooling and un-schooling? How has homeschooling changed since the 1830s? Should we force students to learn certain subjects or classics? Should students only be taught subjects that have value later in life? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/24/202058 minutes, 26 seconds
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Libertarianism and Copyright (with Radu Uszkai)

Radu Uszkai joins the show today to talk about if the case against intellectual property can be strengthened by appealing to the work of F.A. Hayek. Intellectual property is deeply rooted in our understanding of our own creativity. Intellectual property rights and copyright actually emerge as a result of creative revolutions. The copyright story of Mickey Mouse is probably the best-known. Throughout this episode they discuss the role of copyright in the movie industry, fashion industry, and more.Is intellectual property actually property? What is Hayekian skepticism? What did Hayek think of copyright? Why are incentives important? What is the difference between plagiarism and copying? Is copyright protection necessary for creativity? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/17/20201 hour, 1 minute, 59 seconds
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How Innovation Works (with Matt Ridley)

Matt Ridley joins the show today to talk about his new book, How Innovation Works. Ridley describes innovation as the main event of the modern age. But innovation is still very hard for us as a society to wrap our heads around because it doesn’t just appear on its’ own. Ridley argues that we need to see innovation as an incremental, bottom-up, fortuitous process that happens to society as a direct result of the human habit of exchange.How has innovation transformed public health? What is the difference between an invention and an innovation? Is innovation slowing down? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/10/202053 minutes, 13 seconds
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Must Politics Be War? (with Kevin Vallier)

Americans are far less likely to trust their institutions, and each other, today compared to decades past. This collapse in social and political trust arguably fuels our increasingly ferocious ideological conflicts and hardened partisanship.What’s the basis for people to trust each other? How do you measure social trust? What is reflective equilibrium? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/3/202055 minutes, 18 seconds
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The Nationalism Problem (with Stephanie Slade)

Stephanie Slade joins the show to talk about her new cover story for Reason Magazine; Against the New Nationalism. Her piece starts by noting how Richard Lowry, the author of The Case for Nationalism, argues that there is no real difference between nationalism and patriotism. We discuss how conservative nationalists argue that we lost sight of how to be a moral people, and we need the government to get us back on track.What is nationalism? Is nationalism patriotism? Are Americans proud of their country? What is the nationalism conservatism movement? What threat does nationalism pose? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/27/202048 minutes, 10 seconds
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Politics Makes Us Worse

While we practice social-distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, Aaron and Trevor remind us that there’s something about politics itself that is harmful to us and makes us worse people. If you think the political debate is rancorous now, just imagine what it’ll be like when it determines even more of our lives, as we become more and more connected.What effect does politics have on our lives? How has politics evolved? How do political parties pin people against each other? How do you engage in politics? Is politics bitter by nature? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/20/202052 minutes, 14 seconds
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Do We Have a Duty to Vote? (with Julia Maskivker)

Julia Maskivker believes not only that we should vote, but that we must vote. Even when confronted with two unappealing candidates, or with ballot propositions whose effects we will barely feel, or with the fact that our single vote might never tip an election, we must vote.Do we have a duty to vote or do we have a duty instead to vote well? What is the purpose of voting? What is voter fatigue? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/13/202055 minutes, 11 seconds
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Overdoing Democracy (with Robert Talisse)

Democracy can be a good thing, but if forced into places and situations where it fits poorly, like a Thanksgiving dinner, then maybe we should rethink its limits. We discuss the nature and purpose of democracy and whether democratic politics is an end in itself or whether democracy exists for a purpose with Robert Talisse.Is it possible to have too much democracy? Does too much democracy damage the very goals for which we have democracy in the first place? How has our partisanship seeped in to other areas of our lives? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/6/202052 minutes, 28 seconds
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Innovation and Creative Destruction (With Arthur Diamond)

Entrepreneurs disrupt industries and throw equilibria out of whack, but where would the modern world be without entrepreneurs? The economics of innovation is particularly important to understand at a time when more politicians on both the right and the left are calling for industrial policy. Such proposals raise the question can and should entrepreneurship and innovation be planned? Arthur Diamond joins the show to talk about how good policy could actually encourage innovation.How do innovators think about the world? Is there a way to predict what the next big innovation will be? Should we let innovators be free? Why did no one predict the creation of the internet? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
2/28/202054 minutes, 56 seconds
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Medicalization of Birth & Death (with Lauren K. Hall)

Over a century ago most Americans gave birth and died at home, with minimal medical intervention. But today, most Americans today begin and end their lives in hospitals. Over time policies have forced people away from community-based providers, like birth centers, and toward more costly care in fully-equipped hospitals. Lauren K. Hall joins the show today to talk about the medicalization of birth and death.Has our health care system gone too far? Do we receive too much care? What is the purpose of hospitals? Do we standardize health care too much? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
2/21/202053 minutes, 33 seconds
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The Evolution of Cooperation (with Nicholas A. Christakis)

What is human nature? It’s a question that’s intrigued philosophers for as long as there’s been philosophy. It’s also where quite a lot of political philosophy begins, imagining how our nature would have us live in a world before government.How and why do humans cooperate? Why do we interact with people at all? Is there an issue with freedom of assembly? What kind of society is good for us to live together successfully? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
2/14/202046 minutes, 55 seconds
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Bitcoin: Boom or Bust?

George Selgin and Diego Zuluaga are back on the show today to talk about the potential of bitcoin. Throughout the conversation they discuss how bitcoin has had it’s up and downs, but this fluctuation does not indicate whether bitcoin is a successful alternative money.How old is Bitcoin? Does the price of Bitcoin tell us anything meaningful? Is Bitcoin a meaningful money alternative? Where is Bitcoin accepted as payment? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
2/7/202051 minutes, 53 seconds
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Why We are Wrong About Nearly Everything (with Bobby Duffy)

Bobby Duffy draws on his research into public perception across more than forty countries, offering a sweeping account of the stubborn problem of human delusion: how society breeds it, why it will never go away, and what our misperceptions say about what we really believe.How do we consume information differently now than we did in the 1950’s? How do we gain knowledge about the world around us? Why are Americans high in confidence but low in true knowledge? Are Americans creating false beliefs from false information?Further Reading:Why We’re Wrong About Nearly Everything: A Theory of Human Misunderstanding, written by Bobby DuffyCrime, terrorism and teen pregnancies: is it all doom and gloom? Only in our minds, written by Bobby DuffyRelated Content:Who Elected Donald Trump?, Free Thoughts PodcastHow the Media Really Works, Free Thoughts PodcastSocial Media’s Moral Panic, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
1/31/202050 minutes, 14 seconds
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Rebuilding America (with Yuval Levin)

Yuval Levin argues that we do not need to tear down our current institutions and restart from nothing, but it is definitely a time to re-commit to make our institutions trustworthy once again. And by institutions he means from the military to church groups and everything in between. He argues that we can then use these trustworthy institutions to provide the form and structure we need to really be free.What counts as a institution? Is there a decline in the public trust of institutions? Are institutions failing across the board? When is distrusting an institution a good thing? Should we work to make institutions more trustworthy?Further Reading:A Time to Build: From Family and Community to Congress and the Campus, How Recommitting to Our Institutions Can Revive the American Dream, written by Yuval LevinHow did Americans lose faith in everything?, written by Yuval LevinBeyond the Welfare State, written by Yuval LevinRelated Content:Stuck in Political Nostalgia, Free Thoughts PodcastThe Collapse of the Local Community, Free Thoughts PodcastBig Business Loves Big Government: Cronyism in American Politics, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
1/24/202046 minutes, 12 seconds
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Can Science Save Us? (with Peter Van Doren)

There are many contentious areas in science because groups are looking for universal truths that validate their preconceived beliefs. Peter Van Doren comes back to the show today to talk about the role of science in the policy world. We look to scientists to conduct research that may better inform our policy decisions, but at the same time we have to make sure the science is trustworthy.How should we use scientific evidence to make decisions? What kind of environmental regulation should there be? How much politics go in to scientific evidence? What is the role of science in policymaking?Further Reading:Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the California Waiver, written by Peter Van DorenEPA’s scientific advisers warn its regulatory rollbacks clash with established science, written by Juliet EilperinTrump proposes change to environmental rules to speed up highway projects, pipelines and more, written by Juliet EilperinAnti-vaxxers surge past rate allowed by herd immunity: Gallup, written by Tiana LoweHistory of the Clean Water Act, EPARelated Content:The Politics of Science, Free Thoughts PodcastScience Doesn’t Need Public Funding, Free Thoughts PodcastCapitalism Can Save the Environment, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
1/17/202050 minutes, 9 seconds
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The Politics of Science (with Terence Kealey)

Scientific research is the time-honored key to objective knowledge. In the past it was funded pluralistically, but today certain portions of the market for knowledge are dominated by a single buyer, namely the government. This is especially true in the research fields that impinge on the regulatory sphere, such as pollution and climate change.What’s wrong with science today? What sciences can you trust? How are scientists incentivized? Are scientists just obsessed with getting published? How is science publicly funded?Further Reading:Scientocracy, written by Patrick J. Michaels and Terence KealeyMore Breakfast Science to Sink Your Teeth Into, written by Terence KealeyMore Proof That Breakfast Is a Dangerous Meal, written by Terence KealeyRelated Content:Science Doesn’t Need Public Funding, Free Thoughts PodcastBias in Scientific Research, Free Thoughts PodcastThe Moral Arc of Science and Reason, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
1/10/202041 minutes, 40 seconds
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Exploring Wealth Inequality

The political left seems to think that wealth inequality undermines democracy. There are many reasons why this fear is incorrect. The political views of the wealthy are not homogeneous, and on many issues, they track the views of the rest of the population. Many political leaders consider wealth inequality to be a major economic and social problem. Ryan Bourne and Chris Edwards join the show to talk about their new study that tackles this issue from multiple fronts.How do we measure inequality? Has wealth inequality gotten drastically worse in the last decade? What is a wealth tax? What is cronyism?Further Reading:Exploring Wealth Inequality, written by Chris Edwards and Ryan BourneA Wealth Tax Is a Tax on Business, written by Chris EdwardsTop Wealth Is Business Assets, written by Chris EdwardsThe Forbes 400: The Definitive Ranking Of The Wealthiest Americans, edited by Luisa Kroll & Kerry A. DolanDownsizing the Federal GovernmentSurvey of Consumer FinancesRelated Content:Wealth Tax Advocates Muddle Stocks and Flows, written by Steven HorwitzTaxation: How the Government Funds Itself, Free Thoughts PodcastAre Taxes a Democratic Alternative to Charity?, written by David S. D’Amato Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
1/3/202045 minutes, 25 seconds
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Tyranny of Public Health (with Jacob Sullum)

Jacob Sullum goes beyond the debate on legalization or the proper way to win the “war on drugs,” to the heart of a social and individual defense of using drugs. He believes that the conventional understanding of addiction, portrayed as a kind of chemical slavery in which the user’s values and wishes do not matter, is also fundamentally misleading.How does someone defend heroin use? Is alcohol more addictive than opioids? What are the expectations that surround marijuana use? What can and can’t make drug use dangerous? Does marijuana actually make people violent? What is the benefit of legalizing some illegal drugs?Further Reading:Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use, written by Jacob SullumTell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence, written by Alex BerensonFor Your Own Good: The Anti-Smoking Crusade and the Tyranny of Public Health, written by Jacob SullumRelated Content:Is the DEA Trippin’? (with Rick Doblin), Free Thoughts PodcastChasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, Free Thoughts PodcastHow Drug Prohibition Caused the Opioid Crisis, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/27/20191 hour, 2 minutes, 53 seconds
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Foreign Policy and the Trump Doctrine

Christopher Preble and John Glaser talk about how Donald Trump’s rise in the Republican primaries and eventually to the presidency represented an astonishing break with the foreign policy consensus that had prevailed from Harry Truman to Barack Obama. And they detail this more extensively in their book, Fuel to the Fire: How Trump Made America’s Broken Foreign Policy Even Worse, which is a comprehensive explanation of how Trump’s “America First” mentality was more a campaign slogan than a coherent vision of American grand strategy and foreign policy.How did Donald Trump change the messaging on foreign policy? Does the public support an adventurous foreign policy? What does the military think of Trump’s rhetoric? Does President Trump have a foreign policy doctrine? Is Trump obsessed with status and prestige? How is Donald Trump erratic?Further Reading:Fuel to the Fire: How Trump Made America’s Broken Foreign Policy Even Worse (and How We Can Recover), written by Christopher A. Preble, John Glaser, and A. Trevor ThrallTrump Clears Three Service Members in War Crimes Cases, written by Dave PhilippsSpecial Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World, written by Walter Russell MeadThe Jacksonian Revolt, written by Walter Russell MeadRelated Content:Peace, War, and Liberty: Understanding U.S. Foreign Policy, written by Christopher PrebleThree Arguments Against War, written by Jason KuznickiUnderstanding U.S. Foreign Policy, Free Thoughts PodcastFree Thoughts/Power Problem Crossover: Are Libertarians Isolationists?, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/20/201949 minutes, 21 seconds
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Government-Created Segregation (with Richard Rothstein)

The Color of Law, written by Richard Rothstein, has been described as the “powerful and disturbing history” of how American governments deliberately imposed racial segregation on metropolitan areas nationwide. He helps us understand twentieth-century urban history. A history that provides insight as to why our cities are still facing residential issues today.When the government created segregated housing systems, did they think it would persist much through the 20th century? What obstacles did blacks face in the Jim Crow era when they were buying a house?Related Content:The Color of Law, written by Richard RothsteinThe Road Not Taken, written by Stephen Menendian and Richard RothsteinFrom Ferguson to Baltimore, written by Richard RothsteinFurther Reading:Black History and Liberty, written by Jonathan BlanksLooking Back to Look Forward: Blacks, Liberty, and the State, written by Jonathan BlanksWhy Aren’t There More Black Libertarians?, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/13/201941 minutes, 14 seconds
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Becoming a Whistleblower (with Patrick Eddington)

Patrick G. Eddington’s tenure at the CIA spanned the transition from the Cold War to the new era of American interventionism in the Persian Gulf and the Balkans. In his book, Long Strange Journey: An Intelligence Memoir, he tackles a whole slew of questions; Why was President George H.W. Bush so surprised that Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait? Did America’s intelligence community fail to warn him of the threat, or did he ignore their predictions of an invasion? Why did the CIA and the Pentagon deny so vehemently for so long that sick Desert Storm veterans were exposed to Iraq’s chemical agents?Should we be weary of surveillance technology that our foreign intelligence uses overseas? What if that technology was used domestically? What is it like to work with America’s intelligence community? What was Gulf War syndrome? How do you become a whistleblower?Further Reading:Long Strange Journey: An Intelligence Memoir, written by Patrick EddingtonThe Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam DeceptionCrisis of Conscience: Whistleblowing in an Age of Fraud, written by Tom MullerRelated Content:The CIA Listens to Free Thoughts, Free Thoughts EpisodeThe Inhumanity of Torture, Free Thoughts EpisodeDeconstructing the Surveillance State, Free Thoughts Episode Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/6/20191 hour, 28 seconds
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The Case for Open Borders (with Bryan Caplan & Zach Weinersmith)

Bryan Caplan and Zach Weinersmith join the show today to talk about their non-ficton graphic novel; Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration.American policy-makers have long been locked in a heated battle over whether, how many, and what kind of immigrants to allow to live and work in the country. Those in favor of welcoming more immigrants often cite humanitarian reasons, while those in favor of more restrictive laws argue the need to protect native citizens.Why is immigration a horrible injustice that no one seems to be talking about? Why do we frame immigration as charity? How do you change people’s minds on immigration?Further Reading:Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration, written by Bryan CaplanThe Case against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money, written by Bryan CaplanThe Myth of the Rational Voter, written by Bryan CaplanLook to Milton: Open borders and the welfare state, written by Robert RectorRelated Content:You Are Now Free to Move About the Planet, Free Thoughts PodcastThe Truth About Immigration, Free Thoughts PodcastMyths and Facts of Immigration Policy, written by Alex Nowrasteh Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/29/201955 minutes, 23 seconds
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How to be Epicurean (with Catherine Wilson)

Catherine Wilson teaches us that there is more to Epicureanism than eating, drinking, and being merry. Epicureanism is not an excuse for having a good time, it stresses the importance of living a good life. Epicureans maintain a philosophy that promotes reason, respect for the natural world, and respect for fellow human beings.What is Epicureanism? Who was Epicurus? How did Epicureans become utilitarians? Is Epicureanism just utilitarianism? Was Epicurus an atheist? What is the scope of Epicurean influence?Further Reading:How to be Epicurean, by Catherine WilsonUsing Epicurean Philosophy for Finding Happiness, written by Jodi ClarkeEpicureanism at the Origins of Modernity, written by Catherine WilsonRelated Content:Buddhist Ethics Does Not Advocate State Action, written by Aaron Ross PowellStoicism, Encyclopedia of LibertarianismEpicureanism, Encyclopedia of Libertarianism Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/22/201950 minutes, 15 seconds
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The War on Tobacco (with Jacob Grier)

 The cigarette is the most lethal consumer product in history, but how has smoking changed in the last 30 years? Smoking is banned from many restaurants, bars, parks, and places of work. The moral panic has ensued around smoking and the fear is only increasing. But, what if there is a better way for smokers to have what they want without burdening them with regulations?Why did the cigarette take over the tobacco world? Should there be places that people should go to enjoy smoking tobacco together? How did second hand smoke become a property rights issue? Why is smoking so stigmatized? What is thirdhand smoke? Does anyone want a safer cigarette?Further Reading:The Rediscovery of Tobacco: Smoking, Vaping, and the Creative Destruction of the Cigarette, written by Jacob GrierKing James I, A Counterblaste to Tobacco, 1604Christopher Hitchens on Audio, Cato At LibertyChristopher Hitchens May Be Dying Of Cancer, But He Has No Regrets About Smoking And Boozing, written by Joe PompeoBarbara Ehrenreich Doesn’t Have Time for Self-Care, Isaac ChotinerRelated Content:Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, Free Thoughts PodcastIs the DEA Trippin’? (with Rick Doblin), Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/15/201949 minutes, 59 seconds
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Why Liberalism Works (with Deirdre McCloskey)

According to Deirdre McCloskey the greatest challenges that humankind faces are tyranny and poverty. McCloskey is a firm believer that if we were to return to true liberal values it would be good for everyone. For examples of true liberal values she refers to philosophers Locke, Smith, Voltaire, and Wollstonecraft.What is the connection between liberalism and democracy? How is liberalism non-coercive? What fights should libertarians prioritize? How can you be principled advocate for the poor? Who influenced Deirdre McCloskey?Further Reading:Why Liberalism Works: How True Liberal Values Produce a Freer, More Equal, Prosperous World for All, written by Deirdre McCloskeyThe magic washing machine, Hans Rossling TED TalkBourgeois Dignity: A Revolution in Rhetoric, written by Deirdre McCloskeyRelated Content:The Bourgeois Era, Free Thoughts PodcastLiberalism 1.0, Free Thoughts PodcastA Review of Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World by Deirdre McCloskey, written by David S. D’Amato Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/8/201957 minutes, 11 seconds
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Finding Meaning in an Age of Individualism (with Clay Routledge)

Clay Routledge joined the show today to talk about how our society has become increasingly individualistic, and how we are still learning the consequences of that. It is human nature to look for some sort of meaning in life. We are social animals, but that isn’t what makes us particularly unique. What makes us unique is that we maintain cultures and practices that make us seem, at least in part, larger than ourselves.Why do we search for meaning in our lives? How do we know if our life actually means something? Do people feel lonelier than the used to? Why is Western society becoming more secular?Further Reading:Human ProgressSupernatural: Death, Meaning, and the Power of the Invisible World, written by Clay RoutledgeWhy do we feel nostalgia?, Ted-Ed Talk by Clay RoutledgeRelated Content:The Collapse of the Local Community (with Tim Carney), Free Thoughts PodcastDo Socialists Mean Well?, written by Grant BabcockNo Man Is an Island (Not Even Libertarians), written by Aaron Ross Powell Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/1/201945 minutes, 4 seconds
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From the Magna Carta to Brexit (with David Starkey)

David Starkey explains the origins of UK Parliament so that we can understand how it differs from the U.S. government. He claims that Parliament is not too dissimilar from Congress. However, one key difference from the system in the UK and our own is the position of Prime Minister. Unlike our President, the Prime Minister is not subject to a general election for that specific position. Towards the end of the episode they also discuss what is going on with Brexit.What is English common law? Is English government known for being too nice? What impact did the Magna Carta have on the structure of the English government? Why doesn’t the separation of powers in government work?Further Reading:David Starkey explains simple but infuriating reason behind Brexit impasse, written by Martina BetDr. David Starkey - Uncut: Assaults on Brexit, British Identity & History, So What You’re Saying Is ShowSix Wives of Henry VIII, BBC DocumentaryDavid Starkey’s Magna CartaRelated Content:Magna Carta Influence in the U.S. Constitution, written by David EdwardsThe Ancient Rights of Englishmen, written by David EdwardsRadical Weirdness in the English Civil Wars, podcast with Anthony Comegna and Caleb O. Brown Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/25/201949 minutes, 4 seconds
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How Mao Broke China (with Frank Dikötter)

After the economic disaster of the Great Leap Forward that claimed tens of millions of lives from 1958–1962, an aging Mao Zedong launched an ambitious scheme to shore up his reputation and eliminate those he viewed as a threat to his legacy. He called this The Cultural Revolution. Trevor and Aaron ask Frank Dikötter about Mao’s legacy and how he came to power, which leads to a larger discussion about the nature of dictatorships.Where did Mao come from? What is the history of the Communist Party of China? What happened in China during the Great Leap Forward? Why does communism lead to millions of deaths? Why do dictators hate ideology? How unfree is daily life in China?Further Reading:How to Be a Dictator: The Cult of Personality in the Twentieth Century, written by Frank DikötterMao’s Little Red BookThe Cultural Revolution: A People’s History, 1962―1976, written by Frank Dikötter‘The Cultural Revolution: A People’s History, 1962-1976,’ by Frank Dikotter, book review in the New York TimesRelated Content:China: The Annihilation of Human Rights, written by David HartChinese Communism and the Economic Revolution, written by Leonard P. LiggioFifty Years after the Cultural Revolution, written by David Boaz Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/18/201947 minutes, 23 seconds
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What is Liberalism? (with Helena Rosenblatt & Daniel Klein)

Helena Rosenblatt and Daniel Klein debate the origins of liberalism. Rosenblatt believes that Klein misuses Adam Smith. However, there is no way to know how Adam Smith would have acted in today’s political climate.What is liberalism? What is the political meaning of liberalism? How old is the idea of liberty? Was Edmund Burke thought of himself as a conservative? Is it a mistake to think that libertarians are part of the liberal tradition? At what point for example, does John Locke become called a liberal?Further Reading:The Lost History of Liberalism, written by Helena RosenblattLiberty Between the Lines in a Statist and Modernist Age, written by Daniel KleinThe Wealth of Nations, Adam SmithRelated Content:Was Adam Smith a Libertarian?, written by Paul MuellerSelf-Interest and Social Order in Classical Liberalism: Thomas Hobbes, written by George H. SmithThe Levelers: Libertarian Revolutionaries, written by Nicholas Elliott Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/11/201951 minutes, 21 seconds
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Being Nice and Self-Reliant: A New England Libertarianism (with Dan Moller)

It is often assumed that libertarianism depends on thinking that property rights are absolute, or on fetishizing individual liberty. But, Dan Moller argues that the foundations of libertarianism lie in widely shared, everyday moral beliefs, especially regarding restrictions on shifting our burdens onto others.What does it mean to shift burdens? Where do rights come from? Why do some people find redistribution of wealth appealing? Why is utilitarianism self-deception? How utopian should you be in your political philosophy?Further Reading:Governing Least: A New England Libertarianism, written by Dan MollerLocke and Nozick on the Justification of Property, written by Matt ZwolinskiRelated Content:A Libertarian Model of the Social Safety Net, written by David S. D’AmatoGovernment Money and Bureaucratic Control, written by Grant BabcockA Libertarian Perspective on the Modern American Welfare State, written by Michael D. Tanner Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/4/201943 minutes, 31 seconds
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The Ascent of Jacob Bronowski (with Timothy Sandefur)

Timothy Sandefur comes back to the show to talk about John Bronowksi. Bronowski had a wide array of interests. He invented smokeless coal and was a friend to Leo Szilard, the inventor of the atomic bomb. In fact, he led the mission to assess the aftermath of the atomic bomb in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There was not much this famous scientist, philosopher, and poet didn’t do and Sandefur was the first author to write a biography of him.Who was John Bronowski? Why was Bronowski a socialist? Should politics stay out of science? What scientific research was conducted by the Nazis?Further Reading:The Ascent of Jacob Bronowski: The Life and Ideas of a Popular Science Icon, written by Timothy SandefurFrederick Douglass: Self-Made Man, written by Timothy SandefurThe Ascent of Man, BBC DocumentaryThe Disestablishment of Science: I, written by John BronowskiRelated Content: Science Doesn’t Need Public Funding, Free Thoughts PodcastBias in Scientific Research, Free Thoughts PodcastWhat Role Should Science Play in Public Policy?, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/27/201948 minutes, 5 seconds
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Talking Across Political Divides (with Arnold Kling)

We welcome Arnold Kling back on to the show to talk about the new edition of Three Languages of Politics. He hits on how many people talk about politics within certain axes. Progressives operate on a oppressed vs. oppressor axis, conservatives on a barbarism vs. civilization axis, and libertarians on a coercion vs. liberty axis. These axis bind us to a frame of mind that is not conducive to talking to individuals of an opposing viewpoint. If we are aware of our own frame of mind and those of others, we could be better communicators of our ideas.How do we talk about politics? How should we talk about politics? Why do Trump supporters believe they are being oppressed by the elite? What is pluralism?Further Reading:Dunbar’s Number: A Key To Networking, written by Ken MakovskyBook Forum on the Three Languages of Politics Held at the Cato InstituteMedia Bias and Asymmetric Insight, written by Arnold KlingRelated Content:[The Three Languages of Politics](The Three Languages of Politics, Free Thoughts Podcast), Free Thoughts PodcastThe Three Languages of Politics, Third Edition, written by Arnold KlingHow We Polarize Ourselves, written by Arnold Kling Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/20/201952 minutes, 9 seconds
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Why is Populism So Popular? (with Tom Palmer)

There is no doubt that we are in a global tend of authoritarian populism. Tom Palmer joins the show today to discuss how populism comes in many kinds of poison. He points to our disorderly immigration system as one of the reasons that populist rhetoric thrives in the United States. As there is more havoc at the border, it is perceived as an invasion rather than a flaw in our system. Do you think that the Republican Party is the new Populist Party? What is populism? Is there a clear distinction between democracy and populism? What is the idea of the ‘loyal opposition’?Further Reading:Animal Farm, written by George OrwellThe Terrifying Rise of Authoritarian Populism, written by Tom G. PalmerThe Virtue of Nationalism, written by Yoram HazonyRelated Content:What’s Wrong with National Conservatism?, Free Thoughts PodcastVice in The Virtue of Nationalism, written by Akiva MalametIs Liberalism in Danger?, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/12/201947 minutes, 18 seconds
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How the World's Poorest are Educating Themselves (with James Tooley)

While researching private schools in India for the World Bank, and worried he was doing little to help the poor, James Tooley wandered into the slums of Hyderabad’s Old City. Shocked to find it overflowing with tiny, parent-funded schools filled with energized students, he set out to discover if schools like these could help achieve universal education.Do private schools exist across the world in the poorest of areas? In third world countries, how do you find private schools? Are there low-cost private schools? How much does teacher engagement matter in education?Further Reading:The Beautiful Tree: A Personal Journey Into How the World’s Poorest People are Educating Themselves, written by James TooleyLow-Cost Schools Are Transforming Africa, written by Tom Vander ArkRelated Content:The Education Apocalypse: How It Happened and How to Survive It, Free Thoughts PodcastPrivate Lives and Public Education, written by Jason KuznickiThe State of State Education in America, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/6/201954 minutes
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What's Wrong with National Conservatism?

The National Conservatism Movement is trying to continue Trumpism long after Trump is out of the White House. Recently, they held a conference in D.C. in order to streamline their message. The keynote speakers were Tucker Carlson, John Bolton, Josh Hawley, Peter Thiel, and Yoram Hazony, whose speech announced that “today is our independence day”. In this episode, Aaron Ross Powell, Paul Matzko, Jason Kuznicki, & Matthew Feeney analyze Josh Hawley’s America’s Epicurean Liberalism by defining what it means to be an American. What is the religious angle to national conservatism? What civic virtues does Joshua Hawley value? What does it mean to be American? Should society have a purpose?Further Reading:America’s Epicurean Liberalism, written by Joshua D. HawleyPlanned Parenthood v. CaseyThe Man Behind National Conservatism, written by Daniel LubanRelated Content:Social Media’s Moral Panic (with Milton Mueller), Free Thoughts PodcastWhat Senator Hawley Gets Wrong about American Identity, written by Aaron Ross Powell Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/30/201946 minutes, 44 seconds
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Young Radicals in the Age of Trump (with Robby Soave)

Since the 2016 election, college campuses have erupted in violent protests, demands for safe spaces, and the silencing of views that activist groups find disagreeable. Robby Soave has gone in to the trenches to catalog these young radicals in order to better understand the climate at universities across America.When did college campuses become sites of harsh public discourse? How has the culture around safety changed on college campuses? Is there a crisis on college campuses? Are we chilling our professors in order to not hurt students’ feelings? What is intersectionality? Why are students claiming that their professors are triggering their PTSD?Further Reading:Panic Attack: Young Radicals in the Age of Trump, written by Robby SoavePenn law professor faces backlash, petition to resign over ‘repugnant’ comments on race and immigration, written by Owen DaughertyDo controversial figures have a right to speak at public universities?, written by Holly Epstein OjalvoCampus Rights, FIRERelated Content:The Coddling of the American Mind (with Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff), Free Thoughts PodcastCampus Freedom, Free Thoughts PodcastConformist Students Fear Disagreement, written by Natalie Dowzicky Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/23/201945 minutes, 38 seconds
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Social Media's Moral Panic (with Milton Mueller)

As social media platforms grow it is apparent that they will never be able to make decisions that will appease everyone. We should also recognize that calls for government-induced content moderation will make these platforms battlegrounds for a perpetual intensifying conflict over who gets to silence whom.What is a moral panic? Why are people panicked over fake news? How addictive is social media? What is Section 230 and what implications does it have for social media companies? What is a social media platform?Further Reading:Challenging the Social Media Moral Panic: Preserving Free Expression under Hypertransparency, written by Milton MuellerFalse Assumptions Behind the Current Drive to Regulate Social Media, written by John SamplesWhat Senator Hawley Gets Wrong about American Identity, written by Aaron Ross PowellRelated Content:What Made the Internet Possible?, Building Tomorrow PodcastFree Speech Online: Unfriended, Building Tomorrow PodcastThe Problem with “Fake News”, written by Ryan Khurana Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/16/201949 minutes, 23 seconds
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Remaining Grateful with Steve Horwitz

Steve knows the world has truly gotten better for human beings. Not enough people recognize or appreciate that. We hope that this episode inspires you to help a neighbor or call a friend.How does gratitude compare to resentment? Do we have the mental space to be thinking about the welfare of everyone else? How different are you on social media compared to real life? Why do GoFundMe’s work? Is the demand curve for chemotherapy vertical?Further Reading:Suicide of the West, written by Jonah GoldbergRelated Content:Teaching Economics (with Steve Horwitz), Free Thoughts PodcastThe Dismal Science, Liberty Chronicles PodcastThe Two Sides of Every Regulated Economic Exchange, written by Steve HorwitzThe Best Work/Family Arrangements Come from Families, Not Governments written by Steve Horwitz Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/9/201951 minutes, 54 seconds
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Education in the Marketplace (with Kevin Currie-Knight)

Kevin Currie-Knight joins our podcast to talk about the libertarian case for markets in education. His book, Education in the Marketplace, explores the variety of arguments that libertarians have made in the past as well as the impact that they each have had on the ever-evolving education systemWhat is the government’s role in education? How decentralized did our school system use to be? When did our K-12 education system get so structured? When did we first start seeing grade levels for schooling? Who was Albert Jay Nock?Further Reading:Our Enemy, the State, written by Albert Jay NockEducation in the Marketplace: An Intellectual History of Pro-Market Libertarian Visions for Education in Twentieth Century America, written by Kevin Currie-KnightThe Case against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money, written by Bryan CaplanRelated Content:The Case Against Education, Free Thoughts PodcastPrivate Lives and Public Education, written by Jason KuznickiThe State of State Education in America, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/2/201954 minutes, 53 seconds
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Tyranny Comes Home (with Chris Coyne and Abigail Hall)

Many Americans believe that foreign military intervention is central to protecting our domestic freedoms. But Christopher J. Coyne and Abigail R. Hall urge engaged citizens to think again. Overseas, our government takes actions in the name of defense that would not be permissible within national borders. Emboldened by the relative weakness of governance abroad, the U.S. government is able to experiment with a broader range of social controls.How do military contractors benefit greatly from U.S. militarism? What is “the boomerang effect”? What is the relationship between domestic citizens and political institutions in the time of increased militarization? What is the interventionist mindset? When did we develop our first SWAT team?Further Reading:Tyranny Comes Home: The Domestic Fate of U.S. Militarism, written by Christopher Coyne and Abigail HallLudwig von Mises on War and the Economy, written by Christopher Coyne and Anne Rathbone Bradley“Tyranny Comes Home” Book Panel, Mercatus CenterTyranny Surveillance State: When Tyranny Comes Home, Mercatus Original VideoRelated Content:The Birth of American Imperialism (with Stephen Kinzer), Free Thoughts PodcastHenry Hazlitt, Encyclopedia of LibertarianismDeconstructing the Surveillance State, Free Thoughts PodcastThe CIA Listens to Free Thoughts, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/26/201952 minutes, 33 seconds
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Celebrating 300

It’s been almost 6 years since we started recording Free Thoughts. We take today to look back on our 300 hours of recording. Nora Powell hosts Trevor and Aaron to discuss how we are fighting for freedom through podcasting. Are you a libertarian because of our show? Please reach out to us so we can meet you and thank you.We would like to thank all of our listeners for staying loyal and engaged each and every week. Cheers!Related Content:Free Thoughts on Free Thoughts: 200 Episodes and Counting, Free Thoughts PodcastPolitics and Community, Free Thoughts PodcastThe Problem of Political Authority, Free Thoughts PodcastWealth, Poverty and Politics: An International Perspective, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/19/201948 minutes, 36 seconds
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Eugenics and the Immigration Act of 1924 (with Daniel Okrent)

Daniel Okrent joins the show to talk about his new book, The Guarded Gate, which tells the tells the story of the scientists who argued that certain nationalities were inherently inferior, providing the intellectual justification for the harshest immigration law in American history. Brandished by the upper class Bostonians and New Yorkers—many of them progressives—who led the anti-immigration movement, the eugenic arguments helped keep hundreds of thousands of Jews, Italians, and other unwanted groups out of the US for more than 40 years.What was the Chinese Restriction Act? What is eugenics? When was eugenics applied to certain racial groups? Who was Samuel Gompers? What scientific reasoning did eugenists use? Did the Nazi’s follow American scientists? What does eugenics and birth control have in common? Further Reading:The Guarded Gate: Bigotry, Eugenics, and the Law That Kept Two Generations of Jews, Italians, and Other Europeans out of America, written by Daniel OkrentWhen the government used bad science to restrict immigration, written by David A. HollingerThe Passing Of The Great Race; Or, The Racial Basis Of European History, written by Grant MadisonRelated Content:Science vs. Politics: Vaping, Eugenics, and Other Policy Questions, written by Helen DaleIlliberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics, and American Economics in the Progressive Era, Free Thoughts PodcastGenetics, Encyclopedia of Libertarianism Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/12/201937 minutes, 54 seconds
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Cracks in the Ivory Tower (with Jason Brennan & Phil Magness)

Universities aim to be centers of learning that find the best and brightest students, treat them fairly, and equip them with the knowledge they need to lead better lives. But Jason Brennan and Phillip Magness join us today to show how American universities fall far short of this ideal.What is the purpose of college? What are academics getting out of university life? What do students want from their university experience? What is a wage premium? Are students actually learning skills they need? Do employers think that college graduates are lacking writing skills? What is wrong with student evaluations? What would it take to actually measure teacher effectiveness? How is tenure a barrier to entry to the academic field?Further Reading:Cracks in the Ivory Tower: The Moral Mess of Higher Education, written by Jason Brennan and Phillip Magness‘Cracks in the Ivory Tower’, written by Scott JaschikWhen All Else Fails: The Ethics of Resistance to State Injustice, written by Jason BrennanRelated Content:College: Too Costly, Too Little Learning, Too Much Underemployment, Free Thoughts PodcastCracks in the Ivory Tower: A Dispiriting Assessment of Higher Education, written by Aeon SkobleThe Education Apocalypse: How It Happened and How to Survive It, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/5/201956 minutes, 33 seconds
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Stranger Thoughts

Hello fellow Stranger Things fans! We have a doozy here for you today, as we launch our exciting new project. If you didn’t think we were hip before, think again! Our first show on pop culture, coincides with the release of Stranger Things Season 3. How convenient! Most of us would much rather be playing Dungeon & Dragons and fighting off demodogs rather than working. Guest, Ellie Hamlett, joins hosts Natalie Dowzicky and Landry Ayres to dive in to the many ’80s references made throughout the show. We do not claim to be experts in all things Stranger, but being a super fan must count for something. Stay tuned to the very end where Landry Ayres, newly appointed game host, puts the pressure on Ellie and Natalie to name as many movies from the 1980s as they can. Enjoy!If you like the format of this show, please be sure to leave us comments on our social media platforms. We look forward to exploring more hidden dimensions with you soon! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/3/201933 minutes, 53 seconds
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Idealizing the Government: Political Philosophy for the Real World (with Chris Freiman)

Chris Freiman joins us today to argue that the liberal egalitarian rejection of free market regimes rests on a crucial methodological mistake. Liberal egalitarians regularly assume an ideal “public interest” model of political behavior and a nonideal “private interest” model of behavior in the market and civil society.Why do we need the state? What is the free rider problem? What is ideal theory? How did Rawls mix ideal and non-ideal theory when analyzing institutions? What kind of state would we have in a perfectly just world? What kinds of institutional designs is Rawls aiming at? How is voting an expressive behavior?Further Reading:Unequivocal Justice (Political Philosophy for the Real World), written by Christopher FreimanRawls, Ideal Theory, and the Public Goods Argument for the State, written by Christopher FreimanA Theory of Justice, Post-Trump Edition, written by Christopher FreimanRelated Content:A (Revised) Theory of Justice, written by Brian KogelmannThe Federalist No. 10, written by James MadisonThe Virtue of Justice, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/28/201945 minutes, 26 seconds
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How Did the Western World Get Rich? (with Stephen Davies)

How did the modern dynamist economy of wealth and opportunity come about? The processes of transformational changes could have started many times in history - but they first became sustained in North-West Europe about 240 years ago. The question of why this happened in that particular place and time is one that has exercised generations of scholars.What is modernity? What is a ‘civilization’? What is considered ‘western civilization’? What is the moral economy? How could you make a living before the Enlightenment? Are there different kinds of modernity? What is economic nationalism?Further Reading:The Wealth Explosion: The Nature and Origins of Modernity, written by Stephen DaviesThe Great Realignment: Understanding Politics Today, written by Stephen DaviesHow the World Got Modern, written by Stephen DaviesRelated Content:David Hume Encyclopedia entryHume and the Politics of Enlightenment, Free Thoughts PodcastThe Politics of Modernism, written by David S. D’Amato Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/20/201947 minutes, 50 seconds
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How America Gullibly Supported Bogus Foreign Democratic Movements (with Ted Galen Carpenter)

Over the last forty years, there is a distressing history of foreign insurgent groups being able to manipulate U.S. policymakers and opinion leaders into supporting their cause. Frequently, that support goes far beyond rhetorical endorsements to include financial and even military assistance to highly questionable individuals, organizations, and movements. Sometimes those efforts have even entangled the U.S. military in bloody, unnecessary, and morally dubious wars, as in Kosovo, Iraq, Libya, and Syria.What is a freedom fighter? Why did we consider so many different groups to be freedom fighters? Is foreign policy messy? Should we be allies with reprehensible people to fight the evils of communism? Who was Jonas Savimbi and what was his role with the U.S. in Angola?Further Reading:Gullible Superpower: U.S. Support for Bogus Foreign Democratic Movements, written by Ted Galen CarpenterIs America a Gullible Superpower?, written by Hunter DeRensisSmart Power: Toward a Prudent Foreign Policy for America, written by Ted Galen CarpenterRelated Content:Three Arguments Against War?, written by Jason KuznickiWhat Are the Risks of Terrorism?, Free Thoughts PodcastUnderstanding U.S. Foreign Policy, Free Thoughts PodcastAmerica’s Authoritarian Alliances, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/14/201942 minutes, 31 seconds
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How Petty Misdemeanors Get Seriously Punished (with Alexandra Natapoff)

This week we welcome Alexandra Natapoff to discuss the various problems with how misdemeanors are handled. Eighty percent of criminal cases filed in our countries are misdemeanors. There are so many places in the misdemeanor system where wrongful convictions are definitely taking place. The system lacks rigor and continues to be sloppy because of it. How powerful is the misdemeanor phenomenon? In the state system, do people think they get a fair trial for a misdemeanor? Is it a big deal to get a misdemeanor? Are misdemeanor fines a source of revenue? Who is profiting off of the state misdemeanor systems? What are the main ways to get a misdemeanor? What is probable cause?Further Reading:Punishment Without Crime: How Our Massive Misdemeanor System Traps the Innocent and Makes America More Unequal, written by Alexandra NatapoffBusted, by Ryan Gabrielson and Topher Sanders at ProPublicaMisdemeanors Matter #2: Alexandra Natapoff on a Legacy of Injustice, Center For Court InnovationRelated Content:Thin Blue Lies: How Pretextual Stops Undermine Police Legitimacy, Free Thoughts PodcastThe Problem of Police Misconduct, Free Thoughts PodcastCruel Alternatives: Respect for Law or Respect for Justice, written by Aeon Skoble Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/7/201940 minutes, 10 seconds
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For the Throne: Our Watch Has Ended (with Ilya Somin)

                                                                                                                                                  “The Iron Throne” Photo Courtesy of HBO.comNow that we all have had time to digest the ending of Game of Thrones, we invited Ilya Somin on to the show to do an in depth analysis of not only the ending, but the show in its’ entirety. We cover the political economy of Westeros, possible reasons for the years of economic stagnation, the role of a revolutionary, and the dangers of absolute power.Does Game of Thrones accurately depict how an absolute monarchy worked during medieval times? Does political ignorance occur throughout Game of Thrones? How can we explain economic stagnation in Westeros? Should dragons stimulate economic development? Is Dany a Castro-style Lenin revolutionary? How is ruling different than conquering? Why didn’t the Game of Thrones characters decide to create a democracy at the end?Further Reading:Reflections on “Game of Thrones”, written by Ilya Somin‘This was abysmal’: Nearly 1 million disgruntled ‘Game of Thrones’ fans demand a final season remake, written by Timothy BellaThe Best Takes On Daenerys’ Controversial Decision On ‘Game Of Thrones’, written by Pang-Chieh HoRelated Content:Power and Ideology, written by Douglas HayThe Lust for Power, written by George H. SmithJedi Libertarianism: Lessons on the Nature of Evil from Star Wars, written by Michael F. Cannon Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/30/201943 minutes, 19 seconds
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New Conspiracism and Modern Politics (with Russell Muirhead)

Russell Muirhead joins us to discuss the difference between conspiracism and conspiracy theory and how it has influence modern political discussions. Classic conspiracy theory insists that things are not what they seem and gathers evidence—especially facts ominously withheld by official sources—to tease out secret machinations. The new conspiracism is different. There is no demand for evidence, no dots revealed to form a pattern, no close examination of shadowy plotters. Dispensing with the burden of explanation, the new conspiracism imposes its own reality through repetition (exemplified by the Trump catchphrase “a lot of people are saying”) and bare assertion (“rigged!”).What makes a theory a conspiracy theory? What is ‘conspiracism’? What is the difference between gossip and news? What are the foundations of society and how are they fragile? Do people care about facts?Further Reading:A Lot of People Are Saying, written by Russell Muirhead and Nancy L. RosenblumThe Promise of Party in a Polarized Age, written by Russell MuirheadConspiracy Without the Theory, written by Russell Muirhead and Nancy L. RosenblumWhy conspiracy theories are getting more absurd and harder to refute, written by Sean IllingRelated Content:The Problem with “Fake News”, written by Ryan KhuranaIn the Pursuit of Self Government, Does Quality News Matter?, Anthony Comegna and Caleb O. BrownThe Coddling of the American Mind, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/24/201946 minutes, 5 seconds
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In Defense of Big Business (with Tyler Cowen)

Tyler Cowen joins us to discuss his new book; Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero. Throughout the conversation, Trevor and Aaron ask Tyler about crony capitalism, how Trump engages with big businesses, and the role of CEO’s. Cowen believes that big businesses are actually given a pretty unfair reputation as they create much more value than they are given credit for.Why is big business coming under heavier fire recently? How big is “big business”? Do CEO’s cheat more or less than others? Do you people like going to work and should they? How should big businesses interact with the federal government? How big is the finance world and is it too big? Why is a healthy financial sector important? If big business is good, why is it widely unliked?Further Reading:Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero, written by Tyler CowenConscious CapitalismBig Business Isn’t Big Politics, written by Tyler CowenMarginal RevolutionRelated Content:Why We’re Too Complacent, Free Thoughts PodcastHow Taxation Affects Income Inequality, Free Thoughts PodcastIs Capitalism Pro-Business?, Learn Liberty video with Steven Horwitz Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/17/201942 minutes, 39 seconds
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Objections to Libertarianism (with Eric Mack)

Eric Mack joins our show again to talk about common objections to libertarianism by dissecting John Rawls view of libertarianism. Many people have reservations about libertarianism because they see it as lacking compassion, but in the long-run people who are on the lowest rung of society do better in a free market system. Some others argue that there isn’t enough substance to libertarianism to live your life in that way, but Eric Mack consistently challenges that point of view throughout the episode. What are the objections to libertarianism? Why was John Rawls not a libertarian? What is the “difference principle”? Does free market economics raise the standard of living? How would libertarians help the ‘worst-off’? Are libertarians lacking compassion? What is a just society?Further Reading:Libertarianism (Key Concepts in Political Theory), written by Eric MackAnarchy, State, and Utopia, by Robert NozickRelated Content:Arguments for Liberty, edited by Aaron Ross Powell and Grant BabcockA Rawlsian Case for Libertarianism, written by Kevin VallierArguments for Liberty: Rawlsianism, Free Thoughts PodcastThe Intellectual Tradition of Libertarianism (with Eric Mack), Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/10/201951 minutes, 45 seconds
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The Politics of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Now that Endgame has been released, we invited Jacob T. Levy to discuss the series as a whole. We talk about how it is possible to analyze the movies through a political lens, but it is important to remember that the message of many of these movies is metaphorical.Is Tony Stark a war monger? What does the Avengers series say about coercion and the abuse of power? What does society look like under the conditions of radical human ability? How should society function with extreme inequalities? Do super hero movies typically have a clean energy story? How do super heroes relate to liability insurance?Further Reading:Movie Review: Avengers: Endgame, written by Kurt LoderReview: What “Avengers: Endgame” Could Have Been, written by Richard BrodyThe Politics of “Avengers: Endgame”: Thanos, Iron Man, and the Malthusian extreme, written by Matthew RozsaRelated Content:10 Tips to Facilitate Collective Action from Elinor and Vincent Ostrom, written by Jayme LemkeAnarchism Versus Limited Government Abolitionism, written by George H. SmithUnbundling the State, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/3/201951 minutes, 45 seconds
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Understanding U.S. Foreign Policy

Has the United States been a force for liberty around the world? Should it be? And if so, how? To answer these questions, Christopher A. Preble, in his new book, traces the history of U.S. foreign policy from the American Founding to the present, examining the ideas that have animated it, asking whether America’s policy choices have made the world safer and freer, and considering the impact of those choices on freedom at home. Preble explains the need to question the assumptions that drive American foreign policy in the modern era―especially the assumption that American politicians can and should forcibly remake the international order to suit their desires. What did Hayek think about foreign policy? What is the difference between preventive war and preemption? What should we do about genocide? What was the original purpose of the U.S. military and how has that changed over time?Further Reading:The Power Problem: How American Military Dominance Makes Us Less Safe, Less Prosperous and Less Free, written by Christopher PrebleThe Pentagon’s Accounting Problem, written by Christopher PrebleEnding the War in Afghanistan, written by Christopher PrebleRelated Content:Check back to the website on April 30, 2019 to download a free copy of Christopher A. Preble’s new book; Peace, War, and Liberty: Understanding U.S. Foreign PolicyLibertarianism and War, featuring Christopher A. PrebleThree Arguments Against War, written by Jason KuznickiFree Thoughts/Power Problem Crossover: Are Libertarians Isolationists?, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/26/201949 minutes, 35 seconds
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Unbundling the State (with Jason Kuznicki)

Jason Kuznicki joins us again to discuss the problem of political authority. His new book, Technology and the End of Authority: What is Government For?, examines the relationship between the state and technology over time. Technological developments may make the state more or less necessary over time, which is a consideration that is relatively new in the history of political philosophy, but increasingly important.What is the state? What is a nation? What is the difference between ‘the state’ and government? Why do libertarians oppose coercion? How has the state evolved over time? What is the ‘bundle theory’ of the state?Further Reading:Technology and the End of Authority: What is Government For?, written by Jason KuznickiMax Weber’s Theory of the Modern State, written by Andreas AnterThe Republic, written by PlatoRelated Content:Recognizing the State for What It Is, written by Aaron Ross PowellUnderstanding the Modern State, written by David S. D’AmatoPrivate Lives and Public Education, written by Jason Kuznicki Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/19/201953 minutes, 50 seconds
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The Birth of American Imperialism (with Stephen Kinzer)

No matter how often we debate America’s role in the world, we are not throwing around original ideas. This debate resurfaces each time we decide whether or not to intervene in a foreign country. It was the main discussion amongst Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, and William Randolph Hearst who favored imperial expansion while other notable intellectuals; Mark Twain and Andrew Carnegie valued restraint. Stephen Kinzer joins us today to discuss how this original debate unfolded.What is manifest destiny? Who were the expansionists in 1898? Who was Henry Cabot Lodge? Who was William Randolph Hearst? What was Teddy Roosevelt’s view on war? How did the U.S. acquire Puerto Rico and Guam? What is plutocracy?Further Reading:The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire, written by Stephen KinzerJohn Winthrop Dreams of a City on a Hill, 1630Theodore RooseveltThe Spanish-American War in the Philippines and the Battle for Manilla, American ExperienceRelated Content:The World Wide Revolution, Liberty Chronicles PodcastImperialism, written by Stephen DaviesThe Conquest of the United States by Spain, written by William Graham Sumner Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/12/201949 minutes, 54 seconds
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Quitting the Border Patrol (with Josh Childress)

Joshua Childress joins us today to explain why his growing dissatisfaction of his Customs Border Patrol work led him to resign. He thought he was joining a line of work that was deterring violent actors from entering the United States, but he quickly realized that the people he encountered on the border on a daily basis were not threatening and weren’t fitting the narrative he had been told.What is it like to be a Customs Border Patrol (CBP) agent? How do you train and prepare to become a CBP agent? Who do CBP agents stop at the southern border of the United States? Do migrants understand their constitutional rights? When do CBP agents separate children from their families?Further Reading:Why I Quit the Border Patrol, written by Joshua ChildressThis Border Patrol Agent Resigned After Changing His Mind About Immigration, ReasonTVRelated Content:You Are Now Free to Move About the Planet, Free Thoughts PodcastTrump’s Immigration Crackdown, Free Thoughts PodcastThe Libertarian Argument for Open Borders, written by Grant Babcock Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/5/201949 minutes, 1 second
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How Taxation Affects Income Inequality (with Phil Magness)

Throughout the history of America, we have used a variety of methods to tax the income of the public. Prior to the World War II only a fraction of the population actually made enough money to reach a taxable threshold. However, during and after the war, that threshold was lowered so much that about 90% of the population qualified for taxes to be automatically deducted from their paycheck. With that being said, there was also more deduction opportunities than their are today to avoid a large tax bill.What assumptions do we make about income inequality? Is economic inequality inherently bad? How high is income inequality in the U.S.? What is a marginal tax rate? What is tax planning? What is modern monetary theory and what is it missing?Further Reading:Anti-Piketty: Capital for the 21st Century, edited by Jean-Philippe Delsol, Nicolas Lecaussin, & Emmanuel MartinCapital in the Twenty-First Century, written by Thomas PikettyRelated Content:What Paul Krugman Got Wrong About Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s 70% Tax Rate, written by Michael MakoviTaxation: How the Government Funds Itself, Free Thoughts PodcastA Libertarian Approach to the Green New Deal, Building Tomorrow Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/29/201946 minutes, 46 seconds
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Happy (Belated) Birthday James Madison!

James Madison would have turned 268 on March 16, 2019 so we dedicated a whole episode to him! Even though Madison was not a great president (be sure to check out our upcoming profile of him as part of our Everything Wrong with the President’s Series), he was a great American. He was skeptical about who he trusted, which made him ever-cautious of who to create alliances with. Also, he would be disappointed to learn that war has become a permanent backdrop to the conduct of federal affairs.Is impeachment a key remedy according to James Madison? What did James Madison think about going to war? What did Madison think of having a standing army? What did James Madison think of the Electoral College?Further Reading:Indispensable Remedy: The Broad Scope of the Constitution’s Impeachment Power, written by Gene HealyRepeal, Don’t Replace, Trump’s War Powers, written by Gene Healy and John GlaserRemembering James Madison, written by John SamplesRelated Content:The Federalist No. 10, written by James MadisonJames Madison’s Vision of Liberty, written by John SamplesJames Madison and the Simple Truths of Classical Liberalism, written by Donald Kochan Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/22/201946 minutes, 46 seconds
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Liberty and the African American Experience (with Jonathan Blanks)

Jonathan Blanks returns to our show to discuss how different versions of liberty were promoted by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X during the Civil Rights Movement. Malcolm X was very weary of trusting authority, which is seen as a favorable trait by libertarians. The discussion then shifts to whether or not racism has improved since the Civil Rights Movement and how that affects how we view law enforcement.How is Malcolm X portrayed to the American public? Is the American government hypocritical? Was Malcolm X a libertarian? What type of liberty did Malcolm X promote? What qualifies as police harassment? Why do police have a higher presence where more crimes are committed? Do people generally trust the police? Have we made any progress when it comes to racism?Further Reading:The Autobiography of Malcolm X, written by Malcom XLawsuit: Car Passenger Tased 11 Times, Criminally Charged Asking Officer “Why”, written by Jonathan BlanksAbuse of Force: Body Camera Shows Man Tased 11 Times by Glendale Officers, written by Dave BiscobingFIRST STEP Passes Senate, written by Jonathan BlanksRelated Content:Black History and Liberty, written by Jonathan BlanksLooking Back to Look Forward: Blacks, Liberty, and the State, written by Jonathan BlanksWhy Aren’t There More Black Libertarians?, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/15/201947 minutes, 40 seconds
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The Collapse of the Local Community (with Tim Carney)

Tim Carney joins us to discuss the premise of his book; how the decline of the American dream it is not purely the result of economics as the left claims, but the collapse of the institutions that made us successful, including (but not limited to): marriage, church, and civic life. While the well-educated and wealthy elites still enjoy strong communities, most blue-collar Americans lack strong communities and institutions that bind them to their neighbors.Why is Donald Trump’s innaguration speech labelled “America’s carnage” speech? How has the collapse of local communities affected the American people? What is economic mobility? Why has the decline of the Church occurred? What is the main institution of civil society? What adds to increased involvement in the community?Further Reading:Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse, written by Tim CarneyCan Trump Fix ‘Alienated America’?, written by Alexandra DesanctisHow Will Alienated America Save For Retirement?, written by Elizabeth BauerRelated Content:Libertarianism & Christianity, Free Thoughts PodcastPolitics and Community, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/8/201945 minutes, 7 seconds
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The Intellectual Tradition of Libertarianism (with Eric Mack)

Revisiting the root of our ideas in freedom and liberty, Eric Mack argues that everyone has a claim to liberty because it represents the possibility to live a valuable life. With that being said, people believe in varying degrees of liberty, even libertarians. Mack believes that libertarians encompass a wide spectrum of thought ranging from classical liberal to anarchists. What is libertarianism? What are the fundamental principles of justice? What is a political good? Are anarchists libertarians? Are classical liberals libertarians? Are all libertarians against coercion? Who is Herbert Spencer?Further Reading:Libertarianism (Key Concepts in Political Theory), written by Eric MackThe Libertarian Mind, written by David Boaz10 Books Every Libertarian Should Read, written by Madsen PirieRelated Content:A Natural Rights Case for Libertarianism, written by Eric MackArguments for Liberty, edited by Aaron Ross Powell & Grant BabcockWhat is Libertarianism?, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/1/201956 minutes, 4 seconds
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Overparenting & Bad Public Policy (with Lenore Skenazy)

Lenore Skenazy let her son ride the metro by himself at the age of nine after studying the map with him in order to prepare. Unbeknownst to her, this caused great unrest and scrutiny from a variety of parenting groups, so much so that she decided to write a book and start a project on letting your kid grow to be self-reliant.Should children ride the NYC subway by themselves? When did children stop having unsupervised and unstructured time? What did ‘strange danger’ do to change the way we parent? What are the consequences of over-parenting?Further Reading:Let Grow Website, founded by Jonathan Haidt, Peter Gray, Lenore Skenazy, and Daniel SchuchmanThe Fragile Generation, written by Lenore Skenazy and Jonathan HaidtFree-Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry), written by Lenore SkenazyJonathan Haidt Lets His 9-Year-Old Daughter Walk to School Alone for the First TimeLet Grow projectRelated Content:The Coddling of the American Mind, Free Thoughts PodcastConformist Students Fear Disagreement, written by Natalie Dowzicky Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
2/22/201947 minutes, 14 seconds
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Is There Any Justification for Paternalistic Policies? (with Christopher Snowdon)

Drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes are legal activities, but politicians use the law in order to discourage people from doing these things that may seen as poor for your health. This is inconsistent with John Stuart Mill’s famous principle that people should be free in the sense that they should be able to do whatever they like as long as they are not harming others.What is paternalism? Should we take care of those who do not know any better for themselves? Are there different types of paternalism? What is considered coercion? Should the government enforce vaccinations for the purpose of collective action? Should the government worry about public health?Further Reading:Killjoys: A Critique of Paternalism, written by Christopher SnowdenNudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, written by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. SunsteinRelated Content:“Libertarian” Paternalism?, Free Thoughts PodcastPaternalism and Barbarism, written by Aaron Ross PowellAgainst Paternalism, written by Neera K. Badhwar Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
2/15/201942 minutes, 49 seconds
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A Duty to Resist (with Candice Delmas)

In Candice Delma’s book A Duty to Resist she highlights a theory of resisting injustice as a duty in of itself. This specific duty could require breaking the law. She also defends uncivil disobedience and where it is limited in feasibility. Throughout this episode she makes us question how far we should go in order to fight an injustice. Delmas argues that the duty of justice, the principle of fairness, the Samaritan duty, and political association impose responsibility to resist under conditions of injustice.What is civil disobedience? How did John Rawls shape our understanding of civil disobedience? What is a just society? What are the principles of justice? Should disobedience always be civil?Further Reading:A Duty to Resist, written by Candice DelmasSamaritanism and Civil Disobedience, written by Candice DelmasRelated Content:Resisting the State Injustice, Free Thoughts PodcastDo We Have a Duty to Obey the Government?, Free Thoughts PodcastWhat’s Fairness Got to Do With Obeying the Law?, written by Aaron Ross Powell Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
2/8/201953 minutes, 2 seconds
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The FDA Ruins Everything You Eat (with Baylen Linnekin)

As the American “foodie” culture grows, it will clash more and more with previously established USDA and FDA rules and regulations since they typically promote uniformity. The USDA has taken it upon themselves to enforce standards of identity laws which allows them to basically enforce cosmetic standards. These laws encourage farmers to produce foods that are uniform and look gorgeous, but neither of these measurements have anything to do with the quality or taste of the product. Throughout history the FDA has certainly made the food we eat safer, especially now that it can perform a mandatory recall of any food that they know contains an illness, but that was not always the case.How does the USDA affect the way that we produce food in the U.S.? Should USDA laws and regulations be imposed subjectively by inspectors? Can you challenge USDA regulations? What is the Food Safety Modernization Act? Does regulating how we produce food actually make food safer to consume? Should the FDA have a preemptive or reactive approach when it comes to food? Should farmers receive subsidies?Further Reading:Biting the Hands that Feed Us: How Fewer, Smarter Laws Would Make Our Food System More Sustainable, written by Baylen J. LinnekinThe State of Food Freedom Around the Globe, written by Baylen LinnekinDeregulation of Local Foods Is a Winning Idea That’s Spreading, written by BaylenRelated Content:How Food Regulations Make Us Less Healthy, featuring Daniel J. D’AmicoRegulations Gone Wrong, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
2/1/201944 minutes
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The Unintended Consequences of Drug Prohibition (with Jeff Miron)

As more states aim to legalize marijuana, whether it be for recreation or medicinal purposes, there is an on-going talk debate about if public policy should determine what pleasures are okay to indulge in and which ones are not. Jeff Miron joins us today to discuss drug prohibition actually hurts the naive drug user the most. Are drugs an economic good? What is the economic logic of prohibition? How much does drug prohibition cost? Did alcohol use go down during prohibition? Are drug companies trying to make their products more addictive in order to drive revenue?Further Reading:The Budgetary Effects of Ending Drug Prohibition, written by Jeffrey MironData Confirm That Marijuana Decriminalization is Long Overdue, written by Jeffrey Miron and Sietse GoffardRelated Content:Is the DEA Trippin’?, with Rick Doblin, Free Thoughts PodcastHow Drug Prohibition Caused the Opioid Crisis, Free Thoughts PodcastThe Case for Legalizing Hard Drugs, written by Jarrett Wollstein Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
1/25/201941 minutes, 26 seconds
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Is Trump Deregulating? (With Peter Van Doren)

Peter Van Doren argues that consumers correctly consider fuel costs when making vehicle-buying decisions. However, CAFE standards cannot be justified as correcting some sort of consumer failure to appreciate fuel savings. The idea that CAFE reduces carbon emissions is slightly more reasonable, but it is a very indirect, inefficient and regressive method. For these reasons, it is difficult to not side with Trumps’ negative view of CAFE.What is CAFE? How does regulation affect markets? How did Richard Nixon use price controls? Is Trump the great deregulator?Further Reading:Regulation without Results, written by Peter Van DorenCAFE Standards, written by Peter Van DorenRelated Content:Regulations Gone Wrong, Free Thoughts PodcastThe Implications of Behavioral Economics, Free Thoughts PodcastWhat Role Should Science Play in Public Policy?, Free Thoughts Podcast  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
1/18/201949 minutes, 50 seconds
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Can We Reduce the Footprint of the Fed? (with George Selgin)

Prior to the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve had a long-standing policy of maintaining a minimal footprint on the credit system. According to Selgin, the Fed use to be a “lean and mean” player in the credit system. However, on the eve of the 2008 financial crisis they made some changes to decades’ old policies that they believed would aid the financial instability of the country at the time. In retrospect, we can now deeply analyze where the Federal Reserve misstepped. What is the Federal Reserve? What are mandatory reserves? What is the chevron deference? What did emergency lending have to do with the 2008 financial crisis? Is the Fed more constrained than private banks?Further Reading:Floored!: How a Misguided Fed Experiment Deepened and Prolonged the Great Recession, written by George SelginAnniversary of a Fed Blunder, written by George SelginInterest on Excess Reserves: The Hobie Cat Effect, written by George SelginThe Fed’s Recent Defense of Interest on Reserves, written by George SelginRelated Content:How the Federal Reserve Works, Free Thoughts PodcastThe Gold Standard Won’t Be Coming Back, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
1/11/201955 minutes, 27 seconds
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Resisting State Injustice (with Jason Brennan)

Everyone has their own moral judgements and in many cases they can be and are misapplied. Jason Brennan explains how his new book When All Else Fails is not a call to resist all governments, but more of an exposure to how we apply our moral judgements unequally.What is the rule of self defense? Is it okay to act in self-defense against a government agent? If your government is illegitimate, is it virtuous to resist? What is the moral parity thesis? What is the difference between authority and legitimacy?Further Reading:When All Else Fails: The Ethics of Resistance to State Injustice, written by Jason BrennanThe Ethics of Killing in War, written by Jeff McMahanAgainst Democracy, written by Jason BrennanRelated Content:A Moral Pluralist Case for Libertarianism, written Jason BrennanAgainst Democracy, Free Thoughts PodcastDo We Have a Duty to Obey the Government?, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
1/4/201951 minutes, 31 seconds
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The World is Getting Better (with Marian Tupy)

Human Progress is not linear. The curve of human progress is a jagged one. Many of us are convinced that the world is worse, but as Tupy explains, that is due to one of our many biases. It seems as though our memory of bad events outweighs our memory of all the good we see on a daily basis. For example, what took you 60 minutes of work to buy in 1980 took only 21 minutes of work to buy in 2017.What is the goal of humanprogess.org? Why do we notice bad occurrences throughout our lives more than good ones? What is negativity bias? Why is everyone so convinced that the world is getting worse if that is not what the statistics show?Further Reading:Human Progress websiteSimon Abundance IndexThe Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, written by Steven PinkerRelated Content:The State of Humanity: Steadily Improving, written by Julian L. SimonThe Reality of Moral Progress, written by David BoazProgress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/28/201855 minutes, 29 seconds
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Is Wall Street Overregulated? (with Todd Zywicki)

Zywicki starts off by simply explaining what a bank is and what it does. It is surprising how many people don’t actually know what their bank does for them. Early in life you are a borrower in order to buy a house or a car, later in life you become a lender to that same bank. Unfortunately, there has been so much regulation in the American banking system that there is no room for innovation which caused the phase out of mom & pop neighborhood banks.What is a bank? What is Glass-Steagall? How much risk should banks take? How should a regulator address our bank system? What is a money-market fund? What is Dodd-Frank and did it get rid of bail outs?Related Content:Public Choice Concepts and Applications in Law (American Casebook Series), written by Maxwell Stearns and Todd ZywickiThe Law and Economics of Consumer Debt Collection and Its Regulation, written by Todd ZywickiThe Big, Fat Fed Has Diet Problems, written by George Selgin“The Newsroom”: Season 1, Episode 6: Bullies, HBO SeriesFurther Reading:The Specter of Wall Street, Free Thoughts PodcastGoing for Broke: Deficits, Debt, and the Entitlement Crisis, Free Thoughts PodcastIs Bankruptcy Law Bankrupt?, written by William H. Meckling Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/21/201850 minutes, 3 seconds
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Why Being Poor is Expensive (with Ryan Bourne)

Ryan Bourne joins us today to discuss the intricate hardships that the poor in the United States are experiencing. Some suggest that the United States should raise the national minimum wage, thinking that will solve some issues of the impoverished. Others believe that the poor have different buying and spending habits than the rest of the population.What do poor people spend a majority of their money on? How does regulation of services actually hurt the poor? How does coning affect housing prices? Should we raise the minimum wage to a ‘living wage’?Further Reading:Government and the Cost of Living: Income-Based vs. Cost-Based Approaches to Alleviating Poverty, written by Ryan BourneThe Regressive Effects of Child-Care Regulations, written by Ryan Bourne in Regulation MagazineRelated Content:Bringing Wealth to the Poor (with Michael Tanner), Free Thoughts PodcastLibertarianism and the Poor, written by Matt ZwolinskiPeople, Not Ratios: Why the Debate Over Income Inequality Asks the Wrong Questions, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/14/201852 minutes, 58 seconds
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Bringing Wealth to the Poor (with Michael Tanner)

Michael Tanner joins us for a well-rounded conversation about what drives poverty in the U.S. including; felony convictions, lack of education, and housing policies. Tanner claims that in the U.S. there is no rational design behind our welfare programs, and that it is a conglomerate of special interests. The poorest Americans are among the wealthiest in the world, but that doesn’t mean that poverty does not exist in the U.S.How does the right and left vary on their ideas about how to alleviate the poor? How do incentives play into their rationale? Is there a racial aspect to how people view the welfare sate? Does redistribution of money work? How much does having a felony conviction diminish your earning potential? How does housing policy affect poverty?Further Reading:The Inclusive Economy: How to Bring Wealth to America’s Poor, written by Michael D. TannerThe Many Reasons to Be Thankful, written by Michael D. Tannerhttps://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/many-reasons-be-thankfulGlobalization’s Great Triumph: The Death of Extreme Poverty, written by Johan NorbergMaslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, written by Sam McLeodDon’t Muddy the Waters on Falling Global Poverty, written by Ryan BourneRelated Content:Libertarians and the Poor, Free Thoughts PodcastThe Libertarian Case for Basic Income, written by Matt ZwolinskiWealth, Poverty and Politics: An International Perspective, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/7/201847 minutes, 43 seconds
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Teaching Economics (with Steve Horwitz)

The newest addition to the libertarianism.org editorial staff, Steve Horwitz, joins us to debunk some global myths about economics. We dive into how good economics is about tracing out the patterns of unintended consequences that emerge from the choices individuals make in the face of uncertainty and based on the information and incentives created by the price system.Are people interested in economics? Is economics rooted in individual choice? What was the study of economics prior to 1920? What does “constrained optimization” mean? What are the biggest global myths about economics? Should we worry about the increase in economic inequality?Further Reading:WTF?!: An Economic Tour of the Weird, written by Peter LeesonHuman Progress WebsiteMicrofoundations and Macroeconomics: An Austrian Perspective, written by Steven HorwitzRelated Content:The False Feminist Economics Methodenstreit: Competition versus Cooperation, written by Mikayla NovakThe Austrian Tradition in Economics, Free Thoughts Episode Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/30/201849 minutes, 32 seconds
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Free Thoughts/Power Problem Crossover: Are Libertarians Isolationists? (with Trevor Thrall and Emma Ashford)

Trevor Thrall and Emma Ashford from Power Problems Podcast join us to discuss the nuance differences between isolationists, non-interventionists, and pragmatic realists. When it comes to foreign policy, the way U.S. officials make decisions is largely based off the fact that the United States maintains and all-volunteer military. This military is the most powerful in the world, considering the U.S. spends more on defense than the next seven countries combined. There are many reasons for this, but at the forefront is the American desire to remain #1 or the superpower in the eyes of the rest of the world. What is the difference between an isolationist and a pragmatic realist? When do policymakers decide when intervention is necessary? What are real threats? What is John Bolton’s philosophy on foreign affairs? What is the main role of our military? Do we have an obligation to keep America safe, but not all humans safe? Are U.S. policymakers only responsible for Americans? Or the entire Western world? What is the interplay between technology, news, public opinion, and military strategy? Is joining the military the only way to serve your country? Further Reading:Power Problems, by the Cato InstituteThe Future of Conservative Foreign Policy, Power Problems PodcastThe Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy, written by Stephen WaltPsychology of a Superpower: Security and Dominance in U.S. Foreign Policy, written by Christopher J. FettweisRelated Content:Is America the Most Fearful Country in the World?, written by Natalie DowzickyWhen is it appropriate to go to War?, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/23/201845 minutes, 11 seconds
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What are State Constitutions Good for? (with Hon. Jeffrey Sutton)

Honorable Jeffrey S. Sutton is a judge for the United States Court of Appeals in the Sixth Circuit. His book 51 Imperfect Solutions is framed around four stories which he uses to illustrate the interplay between state and federal constitutions. The four stories are; school funding, the exclusionary rule, eugenics, and mandatory flag salutes. Sutton believes that many of the state constitutions are actually closer to codes than constitutions. Many states have constitutions that are so long that most residents of that state have not read them in their entirety. The original states have much smaller constitutions that are rather similar in tone and language to the federal Constitution.What is the interplay between the federal Constitution and the state constitution? What is the exclusionary rule? What role should the state play in comparison to the federal government? Do states know best when it comes to funding education? Is the Supreme Court always “right” when it comes to interpreting the Constitution?Further Reading:The United States Once Sterilized Tens of Thousands — Here’s How the Supreme Court Allowed It, written by Trevor Burrus51 Imperfect Solutions, written by Hon. Jeffrey S. SuttonRelated Content:Constitutional Controversies, written George H. SmithThe Constitution in Practice: From Liberty to Leviathan, Free Thoughts PodcastThe Conscience of the Constitution, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/16/201854 minutes, 23 seconds
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The Public Creation of the Corporate Health Care System (with Christy Ford Chapin)

Starting in the 1930’s, the American Medical Association (AMA) reluctantly agreed to accept a health insurance model because they feared the federal government would overreach into the health care sphere. They decided that the best way to protect themselves was to have only the insurers finance health insurance. A huge component of this was that every physician would be paid for each service they provided during a patients’ visit. Essentially, the AMA drove health care costs up by incentivizing physicians to provide any relevant tests because they would be paid for every service during each appointment. To the physician, they were charging a faceless third party somewhere, for each service, rather than thinking they are charging their patients for each service. Therefore, costs were already a huge problem before Medicare passed in the 1965. Today, we have to look at how hospitals and doctors are incentivized in order to analyze our overall health care system. Essentially, the AMA enabled government intervention in the health care system, when they originally agreed upon the creation of a health insurance market to prevent government interference.When was the discovery of germ theory and how did it change the sphere of health care? How did the American Medical Association increase the professionalization of doctors? Are we rationing health care or are we over-providing it? What percentage of the GDP does the U.S. spend on health care? Do we demand more out of health insurance than insurance can handle?Further Reading:Ensuring America’s Health: The Public Creation of the Corporate Health Care System, written by Christy Ford ChapinThe History of Germ Theory, written by Jemima HodkinsonHow does health spending in the U.S. compare to other countries?, by Bradley Sawyer and Cynthia CoxPresident Johnson signs Medicare bill on July 30, 1965, written by Andrew GlassRelated Content:Health Care without Health Insurance, Building Tomorrow PodcastWhy Can’t You Email Your Doctor, Free Thoughts PodcastHow to Fix Health Care, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/9/201854 minutes, 52 seconds
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Derailed: The False Promises of Trains, Subways, and Light Rail (with Randal O'Toole)

There tends to be cost overruns when the government undertakes a grand infrastructure project. This is exactly what happened when the government contracted companies to build the railways across the United States in the 19th century. Randal O’Toole stresses that with the introduction of the automobile to America, it allowed everyone to travel. Prior to the automobile boom, only the middle-class & the wealthy could afford to travel via railways. Today, there is a misperceived notion that European passenger trains run more efficiently than American trains, but that is not actually the case. Even though trains are not more energy efficient than cars, the United States actually has the most effective rail system in the world because it is privately owned. What was the biggest financial & political scandal of the 19th century? Did the First Transcontinental Railroad help settle the West? When was the golden age of railroad travel? Have train rides always been overpriced? What role does nostalgia play in maintaining our rail systems?Further Reading:Romance of the Rails: Why the Passenger Trains We Love Are Not the Transportation We Need, written by Randal O’TooleWhy Passenger Trains Don’t Work in Europe, written by Randal O’TooleThe Coming Transit Apocalypse, written by Randal O’TooleRelated Content:Is Public Transportation Worth It?, Free Thoughts PodcastRandal O’Toole Discusses Privatizing Transit, Capitol Hill briefing held on July 14, 2011 Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/2/201850 minutes, 36 seconds
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Understanding Impeachment (with Gene Healy)

The concept of impeachment was not new at the time of the Constitutional Convention. The Framers thought including the ability to impeach the Chief Magistrate to the Constitution was extremely important. However, today it is hard to picture in our polarized political climate that there would ever be a super majority in the Senate in order to impeach and remove a president.Were there debates about including impeachment in the Constitution at the Constitutional Convention? What is the scope of the impeachment clause? What does the process of impeachment look like? What level of incompetence could be grounds for impeachment?Further Reading:Democrats Abandon the Constitution, written by David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. CaseyIndispensable Remedy: The Broad Scope of the Constitution’s Impeachment Power, written by Gene HealyNixon v. U.S.Related Content:America’s Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power, Free Thoughts PodcastKing Obama, King Trump: The Dangers of an Imperial Presidency, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/26/201857 minutes, 56 seconds
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Emerging Tech (with Matthew Feeney)

Like economic policy, it can be hard to judge the relative freedom of tech policy. Depending on the tech policy we are referring to, the United States is still a massive hub and innovator. That is not to say that we do not have current regulations that may inhibit innovation of certain emerging tech sectors. Naturally, with new technology, comes fear of the unknown and we have to make sure that we do not succumb to those fears. Listening to fears could result in limiting our ability to develop the tech to the fullest extent.How do we address the federalism question when it comes to tech policy? When it comes to emerging tech, are we forced to imagine threats? Should we be concerned about the level of pervasive private surveillance? What threat do Amazon, Google, and Facebook pose since they centralize our data?Further Reading:Permissionless Innovation, written by Adam ThiererTechnopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology, written by Neil PostmanOf Rockets and Robotics: The Regulation of Emerging Aerial Technology, The Cato InstituteRelated Content:Killer Drones or Delivery Drones, Building Tomorrow PodcastIs China beating the U.S. at Innovation?, Building Tomorrow PodcastWelcome to the Sharing Economy, Free Thoughts PodcastIn the Economy of the Future, You Won’t Own Your Kitchen, written by Pamela J. Hobart Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/19/201846 minutes, 7 seconds
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Regulation Magazine Fall 2018 (with Peter Van Doren)

 If you are a regular listener of Free Thoughts, you are surely familiar with Free Thoughts fan favorite Peter Van Doren. Today, Peter Van Doren joins us for special bonus episode of Free Thoughts to discuss the latest issue of Regulation Magazine. If you like what you hear, you can check out Regulation online by heading to cato.org/regulation.What percent of American consumer expenditures actually end up in China? Is trade to blame for the disappearing manufacturing jobs? Why does the federal government own so much land in the West?Further Reading:Cato Regulation Magazine Fall 2018Related Content:Is Public Transportation Worth it? (with Peter Van Doren), Free Thoughts PodcastRegulation Magazine, Summer 2018 (with Peter Van Doren), Free Thoughts PodcastPeter Van Doren vs. MS-13, Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/17/201814 minutes, 22 seconds
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Understanding Pakistan (with Sahar Khan)

 Sahar Khan explains the complicated history of Pakistan, and its’ relationship with the U.S., from its designation as an independent country from Great Britain in 1947.Is a majority of Pakistan Muslim? What is the difference between a Sunni Muslim and a Shi’a Muslim? Do they get along? Are their other divisions between Muslims? What is the government structure of Pakistan? Did September 11th, 2001 change the relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan? What military groups does Pakistan sponsor? Was the Taliban ever a political party?Further Reading:Libertarians Shouldn’t Accept the Case for Colonialism, written by Sahar KhanPakistan’s Youth: An Untapped Resource by Pakistan’s Political Parties, written by Sahar KhanThe Stalemate: Implications of Afghanistan’s Stalled Peace Process on U.S.–Pakistan Relations, written by Sahar KhanRelated Content:America’s Authoritarian Alliances, Free Thoughts PodcastGovernment, War, and Libertarianism, written by Justin Logan Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/12/201847 minutes, 39 seconds
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The Coddling of the American Mind (with Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff)

America has roughly 4500 institutions of higher education. In a majority of those institutions, there aren’t any students shouting down, sometimes violently, guest speakers. These widely-publicized events tend to occur in left-leaning parts of the country, most notably the Northeast and the Western seaboard. However, heightened levels of anxiety and depression within student populations is readily visible across the country. Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt join us to discuss their theory, which is explained in great detail throughout their book The Coddling of the American Mind, of why this trend is occurring among the iGen generation and how parents, school administrators, and the students themselves can help mitigate its’ effects.What is the justification that students use to oppose speakers, demand speech codes, and request trigger warning policies? Do students overuse the word “trauma”? What is the new kind of student activism and how is it toxic to educational institutions? How widespread is this issue? What is the mental health state of students who are attending college now, as part of the iGen generation? What role does social media play in this young “mental health crisis”?Further Reading:The Coddling of the American Mind, article in the Atlantic, written by Greg Lukianoff & Jonathan HaidtThe Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, written by Jonathan HaidtUnlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate, written by Greg LukianoffFIRE websiteHeterodox Academy websiteRelated Content:Campus Freedom, Free Thoughts EpisodeCampus Censorship and the End of American Debate, Free Thoughts Episode Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/5/201848 minutes, 41 seconds
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The Many Myths About Adam Smith (with Jesse Norman)

Jesse Norman believes that many books about Adam Smith miss two key parts of his work. The first being some technical consequences associated with Smiths’ work on economics. The second is that he was part of the Scottish Enlightenment, which was not a result of questioning religion, as the Enlightenment in other parts of the world was. Norman explains how Adam Smith’s life progressed to the point of where he produced The Wealth of Nations. Norman thinks of Smith as not only the father of economics, but also the father of social psychology.What is Smith’s policy impact today? What was the intellectual environment was Smith in? When was the Scottish Enlightenment? How was the Scottish Enlightenment different than the French Enlightenment? What was the relationship between David Hume and Adam Smith? Why is the Theory of Moral Sentiments often ignored? What is an “impartial spectator” according to Smith?Further Reading:Adam Smith: Father of Economics, written by Jesse NormanThe Condensed Wealth of Nations and The Incredibly Condensed Theory of Moral Sentiments, written by Eamonn ButlerAdam Smith InstituteRelated Content:Was Adam Smith a Libertarian?, written by Paul MuellerThe Ideas of Adam Smith, Free Thoughts EpisodeHow Adam Smith Can Change Your Life, Free Thoughts Episode Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/28/201845 minutes, 12 seconds
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Laughing about Politics (with P.J. O'Rourke)

P.J. O’Rourke offers comedic relief about the state of our politics from his unique journalistic perspective influenced by the “sunshine” of the 1960s. O’Rourke has worked for many notable publications such as the National Lampoon and Rolling Stone Magazine. He has had two New York Times #1 Bestsellers; Parliament of Whores and Give War a Chance. He is currently a correspondent for the Atlantic as well as the H.L. Mencken Research Fellow at the Cato Institute.Why does show business and left-wing politics have an affinity for each other? What happened to politics in the 1960s? How did the baby boomers ruin the world? What does O’Rourke think of the state of journalism today? Are we more divided today, as a society, than we were in the latter half of the 1960s?Further Reading:None of My Business, written by P.J. O’RourkeAll the Trouble in the World: The Lighter Side of Overpopulation, Famine, Ecological Disaster, Ethnic Hatred, Plague, and Poverty, written by P.J. O’RourkeIt’s Worse than Vulgar, It’s Trendy, written by P.J. O’RourkeRelated Content:Is Liberalism in Danger?, Free Thoughts EpisodeHarambe to Trump: 2016 was the Worst, Free Thoughts EpisodeKing Obama, King Trump: The Dangers of an Imperial Presidency, Free Thoughts Episode Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/21/201830 minutes, 51 seconds
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How Superpowers See the World (with Christopher Fettweis)

Chris Fettweis joins us this week to discuss his book Psychology of a Superpower: Security and Dominance in U.S. Foreign Policy. Fettweis argues that as a country, Americans, tend to be so fearful of our perceived enemies that we are willing to spend much more on national security measures than is neccessary. Ultimately, we may end up doing more harm than good.What is unipolarity? Is the United States the most fearful country in the world? Do we spend more money on national security because of that fear? Is the world safer than it was during the Cold War? If so, why do people have nostalgia for the Cold War? What is the “enemy image” problem and do we need an enemy in order to continue interactions abroad? Does everyone value human life in the same way?Further Reading:Psychology of a Superpower: Security and Dominance in U.S. Foreign Policy, written by Chris FettweisChristopher J. Fettweis on his book Psychology of a Superpower, Cato AudioLosing Hurts Twice as Bad: The Four Stages to Moving Beyond Iraq, written by Christopher FettweisRelated Content:When is it appropriate to go to war?, Free Thoughts EpisodeHow much should we worry about ISIS?, Free Thoughts EpisodeThree Arguments against War, written by Jason Kuznicki Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/14/201849 minutes, 38 seconds
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Is Public Transportation Worth It? (with Peter Van Doren)

Do enough people benefit from public transportation considering the amount of money poured into those politically-driven endeavors? Peter Van Doren joins us this week to break down this issue. The percentage of people who use public transit on a daily basis is higher, for obvious reasons, in urban areas. However, even in a city like Washington, D.C., only “700,000 people use the public metro rail system in comparison to the 5 million who commute downtown by car.” Van Doren argues that mass transit spending grew the most under the Nixon presidency because it made the most political sense. Unfortunately, that mindset tends to persist today.How would you define public transit? What does all the money we spend on public transit actually do? Why are there always more calls for public transit? Why are we fixated on public transit options like trains? Why is there a negative connotation associated with public buses?Further Reading:Report: 98 Percent Of U.S. Commuters Favor Public Transportation For Others, from the OnionThe Urban Transportation System: Politics and Policy Innovation, written by Alan A. AltshulerRegulation MagazineRelated Content:Transportation, Land Use, and Freedom, Free Thoughts EpisodeWho will build the roads?, Free Thoughts EpisodeRide-Sharing Services Aren’t a Problem, They’re a Solution, written by Aeon SkobleUncle Sam, the Monopoly Man: Paying for Roads, written by William Wooldridge   Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/7/201847 minutes, 52 seconds
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Was the Buddha a Libertarian? (with Matthew J. Moore)

Matthew J. Moore discusses how Buddhism may align with libertarian tendencies; most importantly the need to think for yourself. At the core of Buddhism is the hope or want to escape from suffering, with that being said it is grounded on four noble truths. In traditional Buddhist teaching, there are gods, but they’re all mortal. The universe according to the Buddha has no beginning and no end, and they will all eventually die and be reincarnated.Matthew J. Moore elaborates on the Buddhist political theory that is more substantiative than simple absolute monarchy. When Buddha talks about politics, Moore claims that it always goes back to a deeper level that there is no self. The Buddha believes that your self is an “ongoing project” and that very fact creates many social disruptions, distractions, and tensions. What could Buddhist politics look like in practice? Moore argues that the Buddha believes that you shouldn’t put a ton of thought or hope in to political duties- you should do them, but it should not be the element of your life that makes you feel “free”. Ultimately, Moore argues when it comes to politics and Buddhism, “the quality of your experience matters and the quality of your intention matters.”Who is the Buddha? Is Buddha thought of as a divine person, as a spiritual being like Jesus, or like one of the Hebrew prophets? Is he a philosopher and not divine? Why would Buddhism have something to say about political theory? Does the Buddha believe that there are human rights?Further Reading:Buddhism and Political Theory, written by Matthew J. MooreReasons and Persons, written by Derek ParfitRelated Content:The Effects of Liberty on Religion, written by Adam SmithLibertarianism and Christianity, Free Thoughts EpisodeA Muslim Case for Liberty, Free Thoughts EpisodeReligion and Liberty, Encyclopedia of Libertarianism.org Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/31/201851 minutes, 32 seconds
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Can we ever downsize government? (with Chris Edwards)

Chris Edwards joins us this week to discuss the politics that goes into attempting to minimize the federal deficit. The Federal Government determines the federal budget, however there is not a balanced-budget requirement, which leads to the growth of the federal deficit. The Federal Government does two main “things” according to Edwards; they produce stuff and they transfer income. Obviously, national defense is one of the main things that the Federal Government produces. If they were to cut that production- it would have an immediate effect on defense programs and initiatives. Whereas if you cut from other programs, like those regarding housing, you would cut direct benefits to people.Over half of the federal budget goes to entitlement programs. Social Security alone has turned into a trillion dollar endeavor. Edwards suggests that if budget cuts were made across the board then it would be perceived as fair to all programs and it would be a step in the right direction.Why is it difficult for the Federal Government to cut any kind of spending? Why do federal programs always cost more than they are projected to? What is a special interest? Is there ever a point where we should really care about the federal debt? Who is lending the U.S. money? Should we have a balanced-budget requirement, if so, how would we enforce it?Further Reading:Downsizing the Federal Government websiteOpportunity Zones Fuel Corruption, written by Chris EdwardsTax reform 2.0 can alleviate Americans’ chronic saving problem, written by Ernest Christian and Chris EdwardsRelated Content:Building a Better Government, Free Thoughts EpisodeChoose Your Own Government, Free Thoughts EpisodeTaking Government Unseriously, Free Thoughts Episode Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/24/201843 minutes, 28 seconds
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The Moral Collapse of Evangelical America (with Rob Schenck)

Reverend Rob Schenck joins us this week to discuss not only his book Costly Grace: An Evangelical Minister’s Rediscovery of Faith, Hope, and Love, but also his career in the evangelical world and how it morphed into continued political engagement. Schenck, at the age of eighteen, decided that he would live his life in the service of God. He elaborates on how his religious life can be divided into three separate awakenings and how over the past few years he has come to see how politicized the evangelical community has become. After meeting President Ronald Reagan, Schenck became mesmerized by Reagan’s “presidential glow”, which inspired him to take his religious career into the political sphere. He notes how the Roe v. Wade decision invited the evangelical world into the sphere of politics. Up until Roe, many states had differing laws about abortion, but the Supreme Court decision allowed evangelicals to come together to form a stable pro-life movement.When did evangelicals become present in the political discussion? Why were evangelicals so “gun-ho” to get rid of Roe v. Wade? Does Trump represent a cliff that evangelical America fell off of? Why did Trump choose to align with evangelicals?Further Reading:‘My Third Conversion’: Rev. Rob Schenck On Why He Took On Gun Control, from NPR. Rev. Rob Schenck’s websiteCostly Grace: An Evangelical Minister’s Rediscovery of Faith, Hope, and Love, written by Rob SchenckThe Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute websiteRelated ContentLibertarianism and Christianity, Free Thoughts EpisodeFreethought and Freedom: Early Christianity and the Modern Libertarian Movement, Excursions Episode Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/17/201847 minutes, 55 seconds
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Should We Fear 3D Printed Guns? (with Matthew Larosiere)

Matthew Larosiere joins us to discuss how his interest in the design and development of weapons is controversial. Larosiere argues that most people agree that everyone should be able to defend themselves. However, most people do not understand that “aimed fire” is actually more effective than peppering bullets hoping to hit your target. The “aimed fire” technique is actually the most utilized military tactic because it results in a higher level of precision and accuracy. Larosiere also touches on how 3D-printed guns have been in the spotlight in recent news. The outrage about 3D-printed guns arose because many people did not understand that, in the United States, there is no law against manufacturing your own gun, in your home, for personal use. There are, of course, laws that prevent the sale and exportation of homemade guns, but it is not illegal to have a hobby, need, or want to manufacture your own gun.Why would anyone own a gun? What is the most effective mechanism to defend yourself? What is the difference between an automatic and semiautomatic weapon? What is a bump stock? Does magazine capacity matter at all? Is there something wrong with collecting things that inflict harm on others?Further Reading:The fight over 3D-printed gun plans has nothing to do with the Second Amendment, written by Matthew LarosiereYes, Washington, The First Amendment Even Protects Firearm Blueprints, written by Ilya Shapiro and Matthew LarosiereLosing Count: The Empty Case for “High-Capacity” Magazine Restrictions, written by Matthew LarosiereRelated Content:Rigth to Print Arms, Building Tomorrow EpisodeGuns and Mass Shootings, Free Thoughts Episode Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/10/201849 minutes, 13 seconds
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Helping Refugees in an Era of Nationalism (with Adam Bates)

Adam Bates, from the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), joins us this week for our 250th episode to talk about how the Muslim ban, which President Trump initiated during his first week in office, inspired him to change his work focus from criminal justice reform to refugee relief.Bates addresses how the Administration is “overtly hostile” towards refugees. In our current political climate, it is an extremely trying time for refugee law, but also to be a refugee. The Refugee Act of 1980 allows the President to decide each year what the refugee cap is for the following year. President Trump set the lowest cap in the last 38 years at 45,000 refugees for the 2018 fiscal year. We have only resettled 16,000 refugees so far this year. We are incredibly far away from our maximum capacity of refugees.What is a refugee by definition? Are there exceptions to this definition? What is “temporary-protected status”? How is an asylum-seeker different than a refugee? How does the refugee process work? Which countries are accepting the most refugees? Is the United States really the “beacon on the hill” that we think we are?Further ReadingsIRAP response to the travel banUNHCR defines what types of refugess they classifyPresident Donald Trump advocated last year for dropping the refugee cap.Related ContentThe Truth About Immigration, Free Thoughts EpisodeTrump’s Immigration Crackdown, Free Thoughts EpisodeImmigrants and Guns: Different Issues, The Same Bad Arguments, written by Trevor Burrus Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/2/201845 minutes
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Cato, Congress, and the Realities of Governing (with Jeff Vanderslice and Matt Weibel)

What tends to drive Congress’ institution overall? Where do organizations like Cato fit into the legislative process? What is the difference between the work that think tanks like Cato do, and that work of the Hill and lobbyists? Who is writing the actual legislation that might become law?Further Readings/References:The Statrix: How Government Wraps Our Perception of the World - Free Thoughts PodcastWashington’s Five Tricks - Free Thoughts PodcastThe Distinction Between Governance and Government - Free Thoughts PodcastBuilding a Better Government - Free Thoughts Podcast  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/27/201853 minutes, 26 seconds
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The Sad History of the FCC (with Thomas Hazlett)

Thomas Hazlett joins us for a discussion on the history of the U.S. government’s regulation of the airways. Efforts to liberate the radio spectrum have generated so much progress, ushering in smartphones, social media, podcasts and online media providers. But the battle for reform is not even half won.Further Readings/References:Check out the book: The Political Spectrum: The Tumultuous Liberation of Wireless Technology, from Herbert Hoover to the SmartphoneLearn more about Thomas HazlettCheck out our new podcast on emerging technology Building Tomorrow  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/20/201846 minutes, 14 seconds
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When FDR Took Americans’ Gold (with Sebastian Edwards)

Sebastian Edwards joins us today to discuss why we abandoned the gold standard. Edwards recently published American Default: The Untold Story of FDR, the Supreme Court, and the Battle over Gold.On April 5, 1933, FDR ordered Americans to sell all their gold holdings to the government. This was followed by the abandonment of the gold standard and the devaluation of the dollar. American Default is the story of this forgotten chapter in America’s history.Further ReadingsLearn More about Sebastian EdwardsRead the book American Default: The Untold Story of FDR, the Supreme Court, and the Battle over GoldThe Gold Standard Won’t Be Coming Back - Free Thoughts Podcast  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/13/201857 minutes, 59 seconds
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Regulation Magazine, Summer 2018 (with Peter Van Doren)

If you are a regular listener of Free Thoughts, you are surely familiar with Free Thoughts fan favorite Peter Van Doren.  Today, Peter Van Doren joins us for special bonus episode of Free Thoughts to discuss the latest issue of Regulation Magazine. If you like what you hear, you can check out Regulation online by heading to cato.org/regulation. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/9/201813 minutes, 18 seconds
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Trump’s Immigration Crackdown (with Alex Nowrasteh)

Alex Nowrasteh joins us today to discuss the state of immigration in President Trump’s America.Further ReadingsThe Truth About Immigration (with Alex Nowrasteh) - Free Thoughts PodcastYou Are Now Free to Move About the Planet (with Alex Nowrasteh - Free Thoughts Podcast Understanding Immigration - The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/6/201844 minutes, 10 seconds
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Introducing Building Tomorrow!

Building Tomorrow Podcast explores the ways technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship enable private individuals to build a free, wealthy, and peaceful world.Subscribe to Building Tomorrow here! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/5/20181 second
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An Ecological Theory of Free Expression (with Gary Chartier)

Gary Chartier joins us for a conversation on freedom of expression. He just published his new book An Ecological Theory of Free Expression.  Chartier argues for an “understanding of expressive freedom as rooted and realized in a complex set of social ecosystems that merit protection on multiple grounds and applies it provocatively to a range of contemporary issues.”Further ReadingsMore about Gary ChartierMore work by Gary ChartierLiberty Chronicles: The Corporation Problem (with Gary Chartier) Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/29/201848 minutes
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Beyond the Sea: The Possibilities of Seasteading

Find the book here: Seasteading: How Floating Nations Will Restore the Environment, Enrich the Poor, Cure the Sick, and Liberate Humanity from PoliticiansMore about Joe QuirkLearn more about Seasteading here Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/22/201850 minutes, 12 seconds
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Our Fragile National Ego: Foreign Policy and the Struggle for Prestige

Status, Prestige, Activism and the Illusion of American Decline by John GlaserFree Thoughts Podcast - Close America’s Overseas Bases (with John Glaser)Free Thoughts Podcast - Is the Iran Deal a Good Deal? (with John Glaser)Encyclopedia of Libertarianism - Foreign Policy Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/15/201845 minutes, 20 seconds
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Pharmaceutical Freedom (with Jessica Flanigan)

This week Jessica Flanigan joins us to discuss the rights of self-medication; rights to purchase and use unapproved treatments, prohibited drugs, and pharmaceuticals without a prescription. As Jessica describes in her most recent publication in Cato Unbound, “For most patients, rights of self-medication needn’t change how they make medical decisions. After all, rights of self-medication do not preclude patients from consulting with physicians or using only government-certified drugs. But if patients had rights of self-medication they would be free to make intimate and personal decisions about their bodies that reflected their values rather than the values of a physician or public official.”Further Readings/References:Pharmaceutical Freedom: Why Patients Have a Right to Self Medicate Book by Jessica FlaniganMore about Jessica FlaniganRespect Patients’ Choices to Self-Medicate by Jessica Flanigan Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/8/201858 minutes, 22 seconds
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Hamilton v. Madison (with Jay Cost)

Jay Cost joins us to discuss his new book The Price of Greatness: Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and the Creation of American Oligarchy. In the history of American politics there are few stories as enigmatic as that of Alexander Hamilton and James Madison’s bitterly personal falling out. Jay Cost is the first to argue that both men were right—and that their quarrel reveals a fundamental paradox at the heart of the American experiment.Further Readings/References:More about Jay Cost here.Free Thoughts Podcast: Big Government and the Rise of American Political Corruption (with Jay Cost).Jay Cost, The Price of Greatness: Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and the Creation of American Oligarchy (book). Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/1/201858 minutes, 14 seconds
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Tomorrow 3.0: Uberizing The Economy (with Mike Munger)

Mike Munger joins us to discuss his new book Tomorrow 3.0: Transaction Costs and the Sharing Economy. We discuss the future of the sharing economy,  the role of the middle man, and the fundamental economic concept of transaction costs.Further Readings/References:Tomorrow 3.0: Transaction Costs and the Sharing EconomyLearn more about Mike Munger here. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/25/201852 minutes, 20 seconds
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The Future of Money (with Diego Zuluaga)

Diego Zuluaga joins us for a discussion on cryptocurrencies. We also discuss fiat money, Gresham’s law and the difference between blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Further ReadingsYour World on the Blockchain - Free Thoughts PodcastContracts and Cryptography - Free Thoughts PodcastIs Bitcoin the Future of Money? - Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/18/201848 minutes, 22 seconds
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Trade War! (with Dan Ikenson)

Dan Ikenson joins us to answer one important question: is the United States in a trade war? We also discuss the future of trade policy and trade policy regulation.  Further Readings/References:Free Trade - Encyclopedia of Libertarianism.orgHow Free Trade Creates Wealth - Free Thoughts PodcastSpecialization and Trade: A Re-introduction to Economics Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/11/201845 minutes, 52 seconds
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What’s Facebook Done With My Data? (with Will Duffield)

Will Duffield joins us to discuss Cambridge Analytica and the future of social media. What is Cambridge Analytica? What is Facebook doing with all this data? Should we expect more regulation of online advertising or nationalized social media platforms?Further Readings/References:Free Thoughts Podcast: Free Speech Online (with Will Duffield) Free Thoughts Podcast: Nothing Is Secure (with Julian Sanchez)Free Thoughts Podcast: The Internet Doesn’t Need to Be Saved (with Peter Van Doren) Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/4/201851 minutes, 52 seconds
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Peter Van Doren Vs. MS-13

Peter Van Doren joins us again to discuss his time on federal jury duty. On February 20th, 2018, Van Doren reported to the Federal District Court and was selected for jury duty. It was an MS-13 murder case involving an ongoing criminal conspiracy. We discuss conspiracy law, the nature of jury duty and the qualms of the criminal justice system. Further Readings/References:More about Peter Van DorenCato book Jury NullificationNancy MacLean and the Lazy Jury Fallacy by Trevor BurrusAn Essay on the Trial by Jury: Juries vs Representative Democracy by Lysander Spooner Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/27/201855 minutes, 44 seconds
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Ayn Rand: An Introduction (with Eamonn Butler)

Eamonn Butler joins us to discuss his new book Ayn Rand: An Introduction. Why does Rand’s work remain so influential? Her thinking still has a profound impact, particularly on those who come to it through her novels, Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead—with their core messages of individualism, self-worth, and the right to live without the impositions of others. Eamonn Butler is the Director of the Adam Smith Institute. In this episode, we discuss Ayn Rand, her work as a fiction author, and her fascinating life and history.  Further Readings/References:Find Ayn Rand: An Introduction now available on www.libertarianism.orgMore about Eamonn Butler.More about Ayn Rand.More on Objectivism.Excursions into Libertarian Thought - Series on Ayn Rand and Altruism Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/20/201850 minutes, 46 seconds
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Speak Freely (with Keith E. Whittington)

Keith E. Whittington joins us this week to discuss his new book Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech. Whittington argues that universities must protect and encourage free speech because vigorous free speech is the lifeblood of the university.  We discuss free speech on campus, the use of trigger warnings and how universities can promote freedom of thought and ideological diversity.Further Readings/References:Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free SpeechMore work by Keith E. Whittington Campus Freedom - Free Thoughts PodcastCampus Censorship and the End of American Debate Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/13/201846 minutes, 50 seconds
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WTF?! Economics (with Peter T. Leeson)

Peter T. Leeson joins us to talk about his new book WTF?!: An Economic Tour of the Weird. Peter T. Leeson is the Duncan Black Professor of Economics and Law at George Mason University. We discuss some of the world’s strangest customs and behaviors; everything from convicting insects of crimes in a court of law to wife sales. How can this be rational economic behavior?Further Readings/References:WTF?!: An Economic Tour of the Weird by Peter T. LeesonMore work by Peter T. Leeson Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/6/201848 minutes, 35 seconds
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Understanding Common Law (with John Hasnas)

John Hasnas joins us this week to discuss the evolutionary process of common law. What is common law? Is it a completely random process? If common law is so great, why is there so much legislation?Further Readings/References:More about John Hasnas“Common Law” - The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism.orgNatural Law: Origins of Common Law Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/30/201847 minutes, 27 seconds
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Forensics, Pseudoscience and Criminal Injustice (with Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington)

Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington join us to discuss forensic science and the criminal justice system. We also discuss structural racism, Mississippi’s inadequate death investigation system and the relationships between police, prosecutors and forensic scientists.Further Readings/References:The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist: A True Story of Injustice in the American SouthThe Changing Role of Criminal Law - Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/23/201838 minutes, 15 seconds
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Frederick Douglass: Self-Made Man (with Timothy Sandefur)

Timothy Sandefur joins us for a conversation on Frederick Douglass. We also discuss the abolitionist movement, Douglass’s relationship with President Abraham Lincoln and how Frederick Douglass fits in with subsequent leaders of the black civil rights movement. Timothy Sandefur is the author of Frederick Douglass: Self-Made Man. Further Readings/References:How Libertarians Ought to Think About the U.S. Civil War by Timothy SandefurFrederick DouglassSlavery in AmericaMore on Drapetomania Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/16/201849 minutes, 9 seconds
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Why Are Cops Unaccountable? (with Jay Schweikert and Clark Neily)

Jay Schweikert and Clark Neily join us for a conversation on law enforcement and accountability. We also discuss qualified immunity and how technology is helping to combat police misconduct.The Problem of Police Misconduct - Free Thoughts Podcast Thin Blue Lies: How Pretextual Stops Undermine Police LegitimacyClark NeilyJay Schweikert Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/9/201854 minutes, 21 seconds
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Is the DEA Trippin'? (with Rick Doblin)

Rick Doblin joins us to gives us a primer on the medical uses of psychedelics. Rick Doblin is the Founder and Executive Director for MAPS; the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. We discuss the War on Drugs, how those suffering from PTSD are benefiting from psychedelics and how the DEA could hinder the research surrounding psychedelics and marijuana.Rick DoblinMAPS - Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic StudiesDrug Prohibition -  Encyclopedia of Libertarianism.orgIllicit Drugs - Encyclopedia of Libertarianism.orgChasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs - Free Thoughts Podcast Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/2/201857 minutes
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The Pope’s Politics

Robert Whaples joins us for a conversation on the Pope’s earnest call to build a truly compassionate society. Pope Francis’s fervent support for uplifting the poor and protecting the environment has inspired far-reaching discussions worldwide.  But what is the most effective way to fight poverty? And what value does a religious perspective offer in addressing moral, political, and economic problems?Further Readings/References:Pope Francis and the Caring SocietyRobert WhaplesLaudato si’ Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
2/23/201843 minutes, 22 seconds
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The Case Against Education

Bryan Caplan gives us the case against traditional education and how employers reward workers for costly schooling they rarely if ever use, and why cutting education spending is the best remedy. Why have decades of growing access to education have not resulted in better jobs for the average worker but instead in runaway credential inflation?Further Readings/References:The Case against EducationEncyclopedia of Libertarianism: EducationFree Thoughts Podcast: The Education ApocalypseFree Thoughts Podcast: The State of State Education More about Bryan Caplan’s work Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
2/16/201852 minutes
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Contracts and Cryptography

Kate Sills joins us for a conversation on smart contracts and the future of blockchain technology. We also discuss how Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency platforms are using smart contracts to ensure a more secure network, the DAO implosion and the future of cryptography.More about Kate Sills http://katelynsills.com/Free Thoughts Episode: Your World on the BlockchainEncyclopedia of Libertarianism: Voluntary Contract EnforcementEncyclopedia of Libertarianism: Contractarianism/Social Contract Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
2/9/201853 minutes, 12 seconds
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How the Media Really Works

Cato Institute Vice President of Communications Khristine Brookes joins us to discuss the ever-changing world of news and media. How has social media changed the way we consume news? Are traditional news sources eventually going to die out?Further Readings/References:Cato Institute Media Highlights Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
2/2/201848 minutes, 37 seconds
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Choose Your Own Government

Tom W. Bell joins us for a Live Free Thoughts to talk about the emerging trend of bottom up governments. Private providers increasingly deliver services that political authorities formerly monopolized, inspiring greater competition and efficiency. We discuss this quiet revolution that is transforming governments with the potential to bring more freedom, peace and prosperity to people everywhere.Further Readings/References:Watch the full Cato Institute event with Tom W. Bell; Your Next Government?: From the Nation State to Stateless NationsFind Tom’s book here;  Your Next Government?: From the Nation State to Stateless Nations Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
1/26/20181 hour, 1 minute, 40 seconds
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Trump’s Assault on America’s Institutions

John Samples joins us to discuss how the Trump presidency is challenging America’s institutions. Political institutions in America are designed to stop someone like a populist or a demagogue; someone not fit for presidency. We discuss how America’s institutions have fared thus far, with a president that refuses to follow the norms, and if we should expect more celebrity presidents.Show notes and Further ReadingsMatthew mentions that on Friday, January 12th Trump had just said something disparagingRoss Douthat, The Tempting of the Media (2017)The Claremont Institute, The Flight 93 Election (2016) Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
1/19/201848 minutes, 35 seconds
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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Emma Ashford gives us a primer on Saudi Arabia, the oil-rich Middle Eastern nation that is also one of the last remaining absolute monarchies in the world.We talk about the history of the Saudi royal family, Saudi Arabia’s importance in Islam, the discovery of oil in Saudi Arabia after the first World War, the country’s legal system and culture, American-Saudi relations over the years, and what’s next for the kingdom as its rulership passes to a new generation.Show Notes and Further ReadingHere’s the photo Ashford references, of Franklin Delano Roosevelt meeting Ibn Saud in 1945.Here’s Thomas Friedman’s quite obsequious and gushing article about meeting Mohammad bin Salman.Other Free Thoughts episodes on the Middle East, radical Islamic terrorism, and oil-producing nations:“How Much Should We Worry About ISIS?” with Emma Ashford“Is the Iran Deal a Good Deal?” with Emma Ashford and John Glaser“What Are the Risks of Terrorism?” John Mueller and Mark G. Stewart Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
1/12/201844 minutes, 49 seconds
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Guns and Mass Shootings

David Kopel joins us again to discuss firearms, gun violence, mass shootings, and whether a gun-free America is possible or desirable. Are there more mass shootings than ever before? What, if anything, can be done about them?We also discuss the differences between mass shootings and spree killings, popular gun control methods in other countries around the world, the definition of an “assault weapon,” gun storage and safety, and we debunk common myths about gun ownership.Show Notes and Further ReadingDavid B. Kopel, The Truth About Gun Control (2013)John R. Lott, Jr., More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws (2010)Other Free Thoughts episodes on guns, gun control, and the Second Amendment:“The Right to Keep and Bear Arms” with David B. Kopel“The Second Amendment at the Supreme Court” with Alan Gura Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
1/5/201851 minutes, 14 seconds
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How the Federal Reserve Works

George Selgin joins us again on Free Thoughts for a conversation about the origins and role of the Federal Reserve.What is the Federal Reserve? What does it do, and what authority does it have? Why was the Fed created, and what was it’s role in the 2008 financial crisis?Show Notes and Further ReadingHere is Selgin’s newest study on the founding of the Federal Reserve.Here are our previous Free Thoughts episodes with Selgin:The Story of Money in the United StatesThe Gold Standard Won’t Be Coming Back Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/29/201757 minutes, 55 seconds
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Free Speech Online

Will Duffield joins us this week to talk about the freedom of speech in the internet era. How has the shift to digital communication changed interpretations of the First Amendment?We discuss the implications of lower barriers to entry for ownership of the mechanisms for distribution of speech, draw a distinction between speech gatekeepers and speech enablers, think about whether big web companies are beginning to act like states, and have a conversation about “fake news.”Show Notes and Further ReadingHere’s the Youtube video Aaron mentions about software that can manipulate mouth and lip movement in video.Our Free Thoughts episode with Brock Cusick on the blockchain. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/22/201752 minutes, 46 seconds
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How Conscious Capitalism Can Solve Global Poverty

Michael Strong joins us this week to talk about the role that capitalism and social entrepreneurship play in alleviating global poverty.We also discuss special economic zones, startup cities, the right of exit, mechanisms of public choice, and seasteading.Show Notes and Further ReadingStrong is the author of Be the Solution: How Entrepreneurs and Conscious Capitalists Can Solve All the World’s Problems (2009) and The Habit of Thought: From Socratic Seminars to Socratic Practice (1997).Strong’s articles “Naomi Klein, Young Earth Creationist” and “Towards a Hierarchy of Moral Outrage”.Here’s our Free Thoughts episode with Bruce Benson.John Hasnas’s essay “The Obviousness of Anarchy”.  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/15/201757 minutes, 29 seconds
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How the Powerful Captured the Economy

Brink Lindsey and Steven M. Teles join us to discuss four pathological policy regimes they say are responsible for the slow growth and high inequality that’s plagued the US economy in the twenty-first century.The case studies presented in Lindsey and Teles’s new book highlight how financial regulation, occupational licensing, intellectual property, and zoning and land use policies have been captured by the powerful and politically-connected to enrich themselves at others’ expense.Show Notes and Further ReadingLindsey and Teles’s book is The Captured Economy: How the Powerful Enrich Themselves, Slow Down Growth, and Increase Inequality (2017). Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/8/201749 minutes, 7 seconds
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Punk Rock Politics

Dr. Frank of The Mr. T Experience joins us this week to talk about the politics of punk rock. What is punk rebelling against? Is it inherently political?Why do anti-authoritarian, counter-cultural movements so often reject free markets and libertarianism?Show Notes and Further ReadingThe Mr. T Experience on Spotify, iTunes, and Amazon Music.Dr. Frank’s young adult novels are King Dork (2006), Andromeda Klein (2009), and King Dork Approximately (2014).The song in this episode’s outro is “Institutionalized Misogyny” by The Mr. T Experience from the album Yesterday Rules (2004). Used with permission. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/1/201755 minutes, 40 seconds
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How the Right Lost Its Mind

Charles J. Sykes joins us this week for a discussion on the origins of the populist, pro-Trump Right.What happened to the conservative intellectual infrastructure that was so robust in William F. Buckley, Jr.’s time? Why does it seem like politics now is more about attitude and tribal loyalty than ideas and discourse? How do groups like the Tea Party and media personalities like Ann Coulter fit into this narrative?Further ReadingSykes’s new book is How the Right Lost Its Mind (2017).Libertarianism and Trump, Free Thoughts Episode.“Should Twitter Ban Donald Trump?” is Really a Question About Government Legitimacy, written by Aaron Ross PowellTrump’s Assault on America’s Institutions, Free Thoughts Episode Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/24/201748 minutes, 10 seconds
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Do Employers Rule Our Lives?

Elizabeth Anderson joins us to talk about her new book, Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk About It).How has the nature of employment changed throughout history? Is the typical American workplace a dictatorship? Do we need a worker’s bill of rights?Show Notes and Further ReadingAnderson’s book is available here.Here’s our previous episode with Prof. Anderson, on egalitarianism and the distribution of resources in a society. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/17/201753 minutes, 38 seconds
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Your World on the Blockchain

Brock Cusick joins us this week to talk about the decentralized blockchain technology that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies run on, and about bitcoin itself: how does bitcoin work? What makes it valuable?Why is there a finite amount of bitcoin? What happens when all of the bitcoin is mined? What’s next for cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology? Will the government step in to regulate this? Can it?Show Notes and Further ReadingBack in 2014 we invited Timothy Lee on the show to give us a primer on bitcoin. If you bought a single bitcoin the day this episode was released, that bitcoin is worth $6,734.66 more today (as of 11/9/17)! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/10/201756 minutes, 11 seconds
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The Implications of Behavioral Economics

Peter Van Doren joins us once more on the podcast, this time for a discussion on Richard Thaler’s work in behavioral economics.What’s the difference between behavioral economics and more traditional neoclassical economics? Is the goal of behavioral economics really to implement consumer preferences? Are “nudges” paternalistic and insulting, or do they merely—as behavioral economists would say—create default conditions to correct the influence of cognative biases that stop people from doing what they actually want to do anyway?Show Notes and Further ReadingListeners may be interested in our other Free Thoughts episodes with Peter Van Doren.Van Doren mentions this debate in Regulation between Jonathan Gruber and W. Kip Viscusi.This Crazy Mouse Won’t Leave Me Alone by Dan Deacon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.Shootin Stars by Aero Chord feat. DDARK provided by NoCopyrightSounds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTF5xgT-pm8 Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/3/201757 minutes, 49 seconds
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How Drug Prohibition Caused the Opioid Crisis

Jeffrey A. Singer joins us this week to talk about the ongoing opioid overdose epidemic in the United States. Why are there so many opioid users in the US?Specifically, what kinds of drugs are we talking about, fentanyl? Oxycontin? Is the overdose death problem a direct result of doctors over-prescribing opiates to patients for pain management?Show Notes and Further ReadingHere’s a Cato briefing event that features Singer: “A ‘Modern Plague’? How the Federal Government Should Address the Opioid Crisis.””Misdiagnosing the Opioid Crisis”; this article appeared in Inside Sources on September 27, 2017.Trevor mentions Jacob Sullum’s book Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use (2004).Listeners may also be interested in our Free Thoughts episode with Johann Hari, “Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.” Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/27/201749 minutes, 10 seconds
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Washington's Five Tricks

David Schoenbrod shares five specific tricks that politicians from both parties use to avoid public accountability. Is Washington more broken than people think?How can we more properly align our elected representatives’ incentives to keep them accountable? Does Congress have the willpower to change the rules of the game?Show Notes and Further ReadingSchoenbrod’s newest book is DC Confidential: Inside the Five Tricks of Washington (2017), and here is the book’s website. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/20/201741 minutes, 33 seconds
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Is the Iran Deal a Good Deal?

John Glaser and Emma Ashford join us this week for a discussion on the “Iran nuclear deal” that’s been in the news lately. What is this deal—what did the US and Iran agree to? How did it happen?Why did Iran agree to limit their nuclear program in the first place? What are their regional goals? Is Iran complying with the deal so far? What will President Trump do?Show Notes and Further ReadingHere’s Ashford and Glaser’s Policy Analysis, “Unforced Error: The Risks of Confrontation with Iran” and some associated content:“Alternatives to the Iran Deal Carry Too Much Risk” appeared in TIME on September 19, 2017.“The Iran Nuclear Deal: Assessing the Impact of Decertification,” a Cato Hill Briefing event.“Are There Alternatives to the Iran Nuclear Deal?,” a CatoConnects live event.“Iran, Decertification, and the Dangerous Alternatives,” a Cato@Liberty blog post by Ashford.“Overwhelming Resistance to Trump’s Plan to Scuttle the Iran Deal,” a Cato@Liberty blog post by Glaser. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/13/201752 minutes, 56 seconds
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The Real James Buchanan

Richard E. Wagner joins us for a discussion on life and thought of James M. Buchanan, who was one of the founders of public choice theory.Show Notes and Further ReadingWagner’s latest book is James M. Buchanan and Liberal Political Economy: A Rational Reconstruction (2017).A good portion of what we discuss in this episode deals with Nancy MacLean’s account of Buchanan in Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America (2017).Aaron mentions this article by Lee Fang in The Intercept, “Sphere of Influence: How American Libertarians Are Remaking Latin American Politics.” Buchanan and Gordon Tullock co-wrote The Calculus of Consent: Logical Foundations of Constitutional Democracy (1962), considered one of the landmark works of public choice theory.Our other podcast episode with Wagner gives a pretty good introduction to public choice theory, but listeners may also be interested in this episode on the same topic. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/6/20171 hour, 2 minutes, 45 seconds
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North Korea 101

Michael Malice joins us to give a primer on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. What’s North Korea like? Do the people there really believe the popular legends we’ve heard about the Kim family?Which is Kim Jong-un: a spoiled heir to a political dynasty, a paranoid lunatic with a big gun and 25 million hostages, or a coldly rational devious mastermind? Perhaps some combination of all three?Show Notes and Further ReadingFor more insight on how North Koreans and the Kim family see the world, we highly recommend Malice’s book, Dear Reader: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Kim Jong Il (2014). Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/29/201747 minutes
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Ten Things Political Scientists Know that You Don’t

Hans Noel joins us this week to share ten insights into how politics, campaigns, and political parties work.Is there such a thing as “the will of the people?” Why do political parties act the way they do? We also discuss Duverger’s Law, campaign finance, presidential elections, special interests, and grassroots movements.Show Notes and Further Reading“Ten Things Political Scientists Know that You Don’t” in Volume 8, Issue 3 of The Forum. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/22/201756 minutes, 1 second
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Lessons from the Anti-Federalists

William J. Watkins, Jr. joins us for a discussion on the Articles of Confederation and the ideas of the Anti-Federalists.Were the Articles of Confederation a failure? How did the country work under them and how is the US Constitution different? What can we learn from the Anti-Federalists?Watkins is a research fellow at the Independent Institute.Show Notes and Further ReadingWatkins’s book is Crossroads for Liberty: Recovering the Anti-Federalist Values of America’s First Constitution (2016).Trevor mentions this episode of Free Thoughts with Gary Gerstle. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/15/201746 minutes, 53 seconds
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What's the Right Number of Koala Bears?

Ryan M. Yonk joins us this week for a discussion about how we think about ecology and the environment. We talk about various environmental regulations including the Clean Air Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Endangered Species Act.What counts as a “natural balance” in ecology? Is the ideal environment one with no human impact at all? What is “political entrepreneurship” and how do environmentalists use it to push for their policy goals?Show Notes and Further ReadingYonk is coauthor, along with Kenneth J. Sim and Randy T. Simmons, of Nature Unbound: Democracy vs. the Environment (2016).Trevor mentions this Free Thoughts episode, in which Van Doren suggests that the US government gift the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to the Sierra Club, effectively assigning them responsibility for any economic benefits that would come from drilling for oil there. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/8/201752 minutes, 46 seconds
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Rights and Radicalism

Grant Babcock joins us this week to talk about an essay he wrote in defense of natural rights-based libertarianism.What are natural rights? Are they intuitive? Is radicalism in defense of rights-based approaches to libertarianism effective? Is it necessary?Show Notes and Further ReadingThis episode of Free Thoughts was inspired by Grant Babcock’s “The Robustness of Natural Rights Libertarianism: A Reply to Lindsey,” which he wrote in response to Brink Lindsey’s essay “The Poverty of Natural Rights Libertarianism.” The episode references the following texts and previous episodes of Free Thoughts:The Late, Great Libertarian Macho Flash by Michael CloudTrevor mentions this Free Thoughts episode where we get into nitty-gritty details of social contract theory.Arguments for Liberty, edited by Aaron Ross Powell and Grant BabcockMurray Rothbard, “Do You Hate the State?”Matt Zwolinski, “Libertarianism and Pollution” (SSRN paper)Order without Law by Robert EllicksonGoverning the Commons by Elinor Ostrom“Why Libertarians and Conservatives Should Stop Opposing the Welfare State” by Brink Lindsey“The Structure of a Set of Compossible Rights” by Hillel SteinerTom Palmer reviewed Steiner’s book, An Essay on Rights.“The Basis and Content of Human Rights” by Alan Gewirth“Ordering Rights Consistently: Or What We Do and Do Not Have Rights To” by Roger Pilon Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/1/201756 minutes, 47 seconds
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Arguments for Liberty: Utilitarianism

Christopher Freiman joins us to talk about his Arguments for Liberty chapter on utilitarianism. What’s the utilitarian argument for libertarianism?What is utilitarianism? How does utilitarianism interact with rights-based approaches to morality? What are the rhetorical virtues of utilitarianism?Show Notes and Further ReadingYou can read Freiman’s Arguments for Liberty chapter in full here: “A Utilitarian Case for Libertarianism”Arguments for Liberty is available here as a free .pdf and in Kindle and e-Book formats. It’s also available in paperback on Amazon.Here are a few other selections from Libertarianism.org on utilitarianism.Other Free Thoughts episodes on Arguments for Liberty:Rawlsianism with Kevin VallierKantianism with Jason Brennan Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/25/201746 minutes, 8 seconds
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Free Thoughts on Free Thoughts: 200 Episodes and Counting

Our producer, Tess Terrible, interviews Aaron and Trevor for Free Thoughts’s 200th episode. How did Free Thoughts get started, and what have we learned along the way?Show Notes and Further ReadingWe’d like to thank Russ Roberts and his EconTalk podcast for providing some of the inspiration for this show, as well as all of our listeners. We hope you’ve enjoyed the show so far and look forward to another 200 episodes! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/18/201745 minutes, 12 seconds
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Close America's Overseas Bases

John Glaser joins us to talk about a policy shift that would save money and make the United States safer: closing some or all of America’s 800 overseas military bases.Where are these bases concentrated? Why does the military think they’re necessary? Would the world be a more dangerous place if the US wasn’t a global hegemon?Show Notes and Further ReadingIf you’re interested in this topic we encourage you to read Glaser’s policy analysis, “Withdrawing from Overseas Bases: Why a Forward-Deployed Military Posture Is Unnecessary, Outdated, and Dangerous” and his op-ed in Time, “Why We Should Close America’s Overseas Military Bases.”Other Free Thoughts episodes on foreign policy:“When Is It Appropriate to Go to War?” with Justin Logan“How Much Should We Worry About ISIS?” with Emma Ashford“America’s Authoritarian Alliances” with Ted Galen Carpenter and Malou Innocent“War Is the Health of the State” with Christopher A. Preble Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/11/201750 minutes, 34 seconds
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The Fate of the West

Bill Emmott joins us this week to talk about his new book, The Fate of the West: The Battle to Save the World’s Most Successful Political Idea (2017).Is the West in decline and if so, can we do anything about it? Is more inequality part of what’s causing this decline? Why aren’t Western economies aren’t as dynamic as they used to be?Show Notes and Further ReadingTrevor mentions these previous Free Thoughts episodes about free speech on college campuses:“Campus Freedom” with Robby Soave“Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate” with Greg Lukianoff Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/4/201746 minutes, 3 seconds
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Neoliberalism in the U.K.

Sam Bowman joins us this week to talk about political trends in the United Kingdom and in Europe more broadly. What’s a neoliberal, and how is that different from American libertarianism?What kinds of reforms are needed in European politics? Is there a connection between Brexit and Donald Trump’s election? What does a Trump presidency mean for the U.K.?Show Notes and Further ReadingHere’s the Adam Smith Institute’s website. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/28/201747 minutes, 47 seconds
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We Broke the First Rule of Fight Club

William Irwin joins us for a discussion about the novel Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk and the movie it inspired. Are consumer choices authentic choices? Where does Tyler Durden go wrong in his thinking?Show Notes and Further ReadingChuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club (1996) is a novel that’s well-worth reading if you haven’t yet. Here’s a link to the David Fincher movie (1999) starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, and Helena Bonham Carter.Here’s William Irwin’s essay, “Fight Club, Self-definition, and the Fragility of Authenticity.”He’s also written a short column for Libertarianism.org, “Free Market Fight Club.”Our other Free Thoughts episode with Irwin was a discussion on capitalism without consumerism. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/21/201749 minutes, 45 seconds
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Who Elected Donald Trump?

Emily Ekins has identified five different types of voters that elected Donald J. Trump the 45th President of the United States. Do these groups represent a big shift in American politics? In this episode we also discuss polling methodology and analysis. How reliable are public opinion polls and voter surveys?Show Notes and Further ReadingHere is the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group Ekins participated in.And here is her report on “The Five Types of Trump Voters.”Ekins also mentions FiveThirtyEight’s Pollster Ratings project. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/14/201745 minutes, 27 seconds
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Arguments for Liberty: Rawlsianism

Kevin Vallier joins us to talk about his Arguments for Liberty chapter on the ethical system of John Rawls. Does Rawls have value for libertarians?Show Notes and Further ReadingYou can read Vallier’s Arguments for Liberty chapter in full here: “A Rawlsian Case for Libertarianism”Arguments for Liberty is available here as a free .pdf and in Kindle and e-Book formats. It’s also available in paperback on Amazon.This lecture on distributive justice in our guide to political philosophy is a great place to start for those new to the thought of John Rawls. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/7/201755 minutes, 34 seconds
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Liberalism 1.0

Deirdre McCloskey has a few suggestions that she hopes will make libertarians more humane and empathetic. What sort of rhetorical tactics should libertarians use?In this episode, we also talk about the “slow socialism” of the New Left, inequality, whether an affluent liberal society sows the seeds of its own demise, and McCloskey’s personal ideological journey from “Joan Baez-style” Marxism to liberalism.Show Notes and Further ReadingThe essay that inspired this episode, “Manifesto for a New American Liberalism, or How to Be a Humane Libertarian,” can be found here on McCloskey’s website.Here’s a previous Free Thoughts episode with McCloskey on her excellent Bourgeois Era book series, which are linked below:The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce (2007)Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World (2011)Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World (2016) Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/30/201751 minutes, 30 seconds
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Markets in Everything?

Jason Brennan and Peter Jaworski think that anything you’re allowed to do for free, you should be able to do for money. That means things like buying and selling kidneys, children, sex, grades; even waiting in line. Are they right?What should you be able to buy and sell? What does it mean to pay someone for something?Show Notes and Further ReadingBrennan and Jaworski’s book is Markets without Limits: Moral Virtues and Commercial Interests (2015).Markets without Limits is partially a response to this book, What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets (2013) by Michael J. Sandel.One of our very first Free Thoughts podcast episodes was with James Stacey Taylor on this very same topic. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/23/20171 hour, 8 minutes, 30 seconds
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Lessons from a Bank-Robbing Law Professor

Shon Hopwood joins us this week to tell about his journey from bank robber to federal prisoner to U.S. Supreme Court practitioner and Georgetown law professor.What’s it like in federal prison? How did Hopwood become a jailhouse lawyer? If people do in fact “age out” of criminal activity, then what should our prison system look like?Show Notes and Further ReadingHopwood’s book is Law Man: My Story of Robbing Banks, Winning Supreme Court Cases, and Finding Redemption (2012).Here’s the New York Times article by Adam Liptak that Hopwood mentions, “A Mediocre Criminal, but an Unmatched Jailhouse Lawyer.” Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/16/201746 minutes, 21 seconds
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Private Schooling for Everyone

Robert Luddy joins us this week to talk about his ventures as the founder of several successful private schools in and around Raleigh, North Carolina. Could private education supplant public schooling?Show Notes and Further ReadingThales Academy, Franklin Academy, St. Thomas More AcademyHere’s a short video from Reason.tv’s Jim Epstein featuring Luddy and his work.Other Free Thoughts episodes on education and school choice:“Why Schools Haven’t Changed in Hundereds of Years” with Kevin Currie-Knight“Teaching School Choice to the American Education System” wth Jason Bedrick“The Education Apocalypse: How It Happened and How to Survive It” with Glenn Reynolds“The State of State Education in America” with Neal McCluskey Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/9/201746 minutes, 54 seconds
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Is Liberalism in Danger?

Jacob T. Levy says that the collapse of trust in institutional norms is what’s responsible for a new era of Trump-style authoritarian, “closed-society” populist politics here in America and around the globe.What explains the Trump phenomenon? How did we get President Trump? Just an electoral appetite for “shaking things up,” or is it something deeper? How does Trump think? How does he make decisions?Show Notes and Further ReadingOur other episode with Levy on his book “Rationalism, Pluralism, and Freedom” is required listening if you’re interested in what’s being played out in the political sphere these days.Levy also mentions this essay he wrote on identity politics, “The Defense of Liberty Can’t Do Without Identity Politics.” Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/2/201749 minutes, 16 seconds
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Stories from Putin's Economist

Andrei Illarionov joins us this week to tell us about growing up and studying economics in the Soviet Union, and about the years he spent as an economic policy advisor to Vladimir Putin.What inspired Illarionov to study economics? What was life in the Soviet Union like? What was it like studying economics in a Communist regime? How did prices work in the USSR? How did he first meet Vladimir Putin, and what does Putin want for Russia? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/26/20171 hour, 16 minutes, 35 seconds
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Nothing Is Secure

Julian Sanchez joins us this week for a discussion about online privacy in the era of mass data collection. When we’re online, what kind of data are we creating, and who’s watching us?We talk about data mining, ad blockers, the internet of things, developer keys, passwords and fingerprint security, encrypted messaging apps, and more.Further ReadingOther Free Thoughts episodes about online privacy:“Deconstructing the Surveillance State “with Julian Sanchez“The CIA Listens to Free Thoughts “with Patrick EddingtonSanchez mentions the browser ad-ons Ghostery and NoScript and the Tails operating system.He also mentions The Art of Invisibility: The World’s Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data (2017) by Kevin Mitnick. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/19/20171 hour, 3 minutes, 5 seconds
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The True Causes of Mass Incarceration

John Pfaff joins us this week to talk about the United States’s unusually high rate of incarceration. How many Americans are in prison or in jail? What did they do to get there?If we have roughly the same crime rate as we did in 1970, but have five times as many people in prison as we did then, what are those extra people in prison for?Show Notes and Further ReadingPfaff’s book is Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration—and How to Achieve Real Reform (2017).Other books mentioned in this episode:Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America (2015) by Jill LeovyLocking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America (2017) by James Forman, Jr.Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court (2010) by Amy BachListeners may also be interested in our Free Thoughts podcast episode with Bernard Kerik, “From Jailer to Jailed: Bernard Kerik’s Story.” Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/12/20171 hour, 5 minutes, 37 seconds
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Why We're Too Complacent

Tyler Cowen joins us this week to talk about the slowing pace of innovation and growth in the United States over the past few decades. Has American society become too complacent? What would a more dynamic society look like?Show Notes and Further ReadingCowen’s book on the subject is The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream (2017).Cowen refers to this study by Enrico Moretti and Chang-Tai Hsieh called “Why Do Cities Matter?,” which claims that “Lowering regulatory constraints in [major] cities to the level of the median city would expand their work force and increase U.S. GDP by 9.5%.”Trevor mentions this episode of Free Thoughts featuring Yuval Levin, “Stuck in Political Nostalgia.” Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/5/201749 minutes, 9 seconds
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The War on Sex Work

Elizabeth Nolan Brown joins us this week for a discussion about sex work. What’s the difference between sex trafficking and prostitution? How much sex trafficking is going on in the United States?Show Notes and Further ReadingMuch of Brown’s work at Reason focuses on sex work, here’s a reverse-chronological list of all the articles she’s written there.We talked in detail about Brown’s September 2016 Reason cover story, “The Truth About the Biggest U.S. Sex Trafficking Story of the Year.” Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/28/201746 minutes, 29 seconds
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Guantanamo Bay Is Still Open

Andrew Turner joins us to talk about his experience being stationed at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in 2009 and 2010.What is working at Guantanamo Bay like? Who are the detainees? How did they end up there? Are we ever going to be able to close the facilities there?Show Notes and Further ReadingHere’s the Vice News article by Jason Leopold that Turner was interviewed in, “Guantanamo’s Untold Trauma,” and the accompanying Vice News Tonight video.Turner’s Reddit AMA. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/21/201750 minutes, 57 seconds
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How Much Should We Worry About ISIS?

Emma Ashford joins us this week to discuss the rise of the Islamic State. How is ISIS different from Al Qaeda and other terror groups? Does it pose an existential threat to the Western world?Where did the Islamic State come from? What do they believe? Is America responsible for ISIS’s rise to power? What’s their end game? How will Trump “deal with” ISIS, and how is that different from Obama’s policies?Show Notes and Further ReadingAshford mentions the work of Dr. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross on understanding links between terrorist groups and lone-wolf attackers. This op-ed in Foreign Affairs is a good summation of that work. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/14/201747 minutes, 56 seconds
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Stuck in Political Nostalgia

Yuval Levin joins us to talk about political nostalgia and American individualism. Why do the political right and left both seem to be stuck yearning for the 1950s and early 60s?Why do baby boomers have such an outsized influence on American culture and politics? Did government work better in the 1950s and 60s? How has the country changed in the last half-century?Show Notes and Further ReadingLevin’s most recent book is The Fractured Republic: Renewing America’s Social Contract in the Age of Individualism (2016). Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/7/201748 minutes, 21 seconds
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Can Anarchy Work?

Peter T. Leeson joins us this week to discuss rational choice theory as it applies to self-governance. What happens in the absence of government?We discuss the difference between government and governance, what it means to be stateless, and how anarchy is perceived in the world today.Show Notes and Further ReadingLeeson’s book on this topic is Anarchy Unbound: Why Self-Governance Works Better Than You Think (2014).Leeson cites Ludwig von Mises’s Human Action: A Treatise on Economics (1949) as highly influential to his thinking.Here are a few other Free Thoughts episodes having to do with anarchy and self-governance:The Distinction Between Governance and Government with Edward StringhamThe Legacy of Roy A. Childs, Jr. with George H. SmithMust You Obey Government?The Problem of Political Authority with Michael Huemer Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/31/201748 minutes, 19 seconds
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The CIA Listens to Free Thoughts

Patrick G. Eddington joins us this week to tell us about the history of the Central Intelligence Agency, how the CIA operates, and what the new Wikileaks revelations mean for our privacy online.What does the CIA do, and how does it go about that? How close to reality does Hollywood get when portraying the CIA? What’s the difference between the CIA, the FBI, and the NSA? What have these new revelations told us about what the CIA is doing?Correction: Eddington states that the Privacy and Civil Liberites Oversight Board was composed of three Republicans and two Democrats under Obama; it was actually composed of two Republicans and three Democrats. Today, the only remaining board member is a Republican.Show Notes and Further ReadingEddington mentions Glenn Greenwald’s book No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State (2015).He also mentions a new study by our colleague Adam Bates, “Stringray: A New Frontier in Police Surveillance.”Here is the previous Free Thoughts episode we recorded with Eddington on the CIA’s torture program. Listeners may also be interested in this episode with Julian Sanchez, “Deconstructing the Surveillance State,” and this episode with Matthew Feeney and Adam Bates, “How New Technology Is Changing Law Enforcement.” Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/25/201758 minutes, 37 seconds
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Must You Obey Government?

Aaron and Trevor have a discussion about the political authority of the state. Should one obey the government? Is there a compelling reason to? Why does it matter?Show Notes and Further ReadingListeners interested in this topic should check out our episode of Free Thoughts with Michael Huemer on this topic, and this Guide lecture with Jason Brennan.Aaron mentions Socrates’ actions in Plato’s Crito, here is our Free Thoughts episode on that dialogue.Trevor talks about his lecture “The Statrix: How Government Warps Our Perception of the World.” Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/17/20171 hour, 1 minute, 13 seconds
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The Cato Institute at 40

Peter Goettler joins us this week to talk about his role at the Cato Institute, Cato’s history of 40 years of advancing liberty, and what’s next for public policy organizations more generally and for Cato specifically.What is a think tank, and what does it do? What does Cato do and how is it different? What’s the difference between being oriented towards politics and being oriented towards ideas and principles? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/10/201751 minutes, 6 seconds
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How Economists Think About Health Care

Peter Van Doren joins us this week to talk about health care economics. We talk about risk aversion, risk neutrality, expected value statements, guaranteed renewable care, the ACA as a health care redistribution program, and health-status insurance. How much should we spend on health care, and how would we know the answer to that question?Show Notes and Further ReadingVan Doren mentions “The Market for Lemons,” (1970) a fascinating concept and paper by George Akerlof.Mark Pauly’s 2003 paper “Incentive-Compatible Guaranteed Renewable Health Insurance” is mentioned several times in the episode.Van Doren also talks about John Cochrane’s writings on health-status insurance. Here is a Cato Policy Analysis from 2009 on the topic. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/3/201759 minutes, 36 seconds
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A Muslim Case for Liberty

Mustafa Akyol joins us this week to talk about Islam. Is there a Muslim case for liberty? How has Islam traditionally treated the principles of political liberalism?Show Notes and Further ReadingAkyol’s book is Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty (2013).He also mentions this op-ed he wrote in the Feb. 13th, 2017 edition of the New York Times, “What Jesus Can Teach Today’s Muslims.”Listeners may also be interested in this episode of Free Thoughts on libertarianism and Christianity. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
2/24/201746 minutes, 6 seconds
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The Libertarian Student Movement

Wolf von Laer joins us this week to talk about the movement for liberty on college campuses around the world.What are the biggest challenges to liberty for today’s university students? How difficult is it to communicate ideas on college campuses?Show Notes and Further ReadingListeners may be interested in our Free Thoughts episodes with Robby Soave and Greg Lukianoff on First Amendment rights on college campuses.The 10th International Students for Liberty Conference is February 17th-19th, 2017. More details here. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
2/17/201753 minutes, 47 seconds
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Taking Government Un-Seriously

Jeremy McLellan joins us this week to talk about his brand of politics and comedy. Does humor have a place in changing people’s political beliefs?You can find McLellan’s comedy on Twitter and Facebook. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
2/10/201749 minutes, 14 seconds
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The Truth About Immigration

Alex Nowrasteh joins us this week to talk about immigration in the wake of Donald Trump’s contentious executive order on the subject. Is immigration always good for a country?In this episode, we discuss economic arguments for and against immigration, the rate at which immigrants culturally and politically assimilate in the United States, and the real odds of a successful terrorist attack carried out by immigrants or refugees.Show Notes and Further ReadingFor a deeper understanding of Trump’s executive order restricting permanent immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries, we recommend this Vox article by Dara Lind and this New York Times op-ed by David Bier.Trevor mentions this Free Thoughts episode with John Mueller and Mark G. Stewart on the real risks of terrorism, and listeners may also be interested in the first episode we did on immigration with Alex Nowrasteh; it’s about the history of immigration in the US and the various laws governing it. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
2/3/201755 minutes, 32 seconds
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Liberaltarianism and Trump

Brink Lindsey joins us this week to talk about his idea for an alliance between liberals and libertarians in the age of Trump-style conservative populism.Where did the idea for liberaltarianism come from? How will Donald Trump’s presidency affect libertarians’ relationship with liberals and progressives?Show Notes and Further ReadingHere’s Brink Lindsey’s Vox article, “Liberals and libertarians should unite to block Trump’s extremism.”See also this article by Lindsey that appeared in the New Republic in 2006 that first coined the term “liberaltarian.”Here’s our previous Free Thoughts episode with Lindsey on income inequality.Lindsey mentions this book, The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth (2006), by Benjamin M. Friedman.Here is Lindsey’s 2015 study, “Low-Hanging Fruit Guarded by Dragons: Reforming Regressive Regulation to Boost U.S. Economic Growth.” Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
1/27/201748 minutes, 21 seconds
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King Obama, King Trump: The Dangers of an Imperial Presidency

Gene Healy joins us for a special Inauguration Day episode of Free Thoughts. We assess Barack Obama’s legacy as President of the United States and think about what we might expect in the coming years from President Trump.What will Obama’s presidential legacy be? How will recent expansions of executive power under Obama affect the actions of a Donald Trump administration?How hawkish has Obama’s foreign policy been? What happened to the anti-war movement during Obama’s presidency? Can we expect them to come back during a Trump administration?Show Notes and Further ReadingGene Healy’s article in the February 2017 issue of Reason is “Goodbye, Obama”.Other episodes of Free Thoughts that are mentioned in this episode:America’s Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power with Gene HealyWhat Are the Risks of Terrorism? with John MuellerHealy mentions Jack Goldsmith and Matthew Waxman’s “The Legal Legacy of Light-Footprint Warfare” (2016).He also mentions Party in the Street (2015) by Michael T. Heaney and Fabio Rojas, National Security and Double Government (2014) by Michael Glennon, and “The Two Presidencies” (1966) by Aaron Wildavsky. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
1/20/201754 minutes, 46 seconds
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Wages and Workers

Peter Van Doren joins us this week for a discussion on how wages are determined in a market economy.Is there a correlation between a worker’s productivity and the value they provide for society? Why has CEO pay increased so much lately? Should the government have a role in fixing unequal or unfair wages?Show Notes and Further ReadingVan Doren mentions this blog post by Robert Lawrence on the gap between real wages and labor productivity. See also this link for the same discussion (only with Canadian data) on the terms of trade between what workers make and what they consume.Here are papers by Kevin Murphy and Steven Kaplan on CEO pay.Van Doren also mentions The Homevoter Hypothesis: How Home Values Influence Local Government Taxation, School Finance, and Land-Use Policies by William Fischel. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
1/13/201750 minutes, 29 seconds
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Arguments for Liberty: Kantianism

Jason Kuznicki joins us to discuss his chapter on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant in our newest book, Arguments for Liberty.What’s Kant’s conception of the good, and what kind of government follows from that?Who was Immanuel Kant and what were his moral and political theories? What does Kant’s categorical imperative tell us about how to live a good life? How do we get from the categorical imperative to a form of government? And why are some libertarians seemingly anti-Kant?Show Notes and Further ReadingArguments for Liberty is available here as a free .pdf and in Kindle and e-Book formats. It’s also available in paperback on Amazon.For those interested in reading more of Kant’s work, Kuznicki recommends starting with Kant’s Idea of a Universal History from a Cosmopolitical Point of View, or Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason; both are in the public domain and are available for free download from Liberty Fund. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
1/6/201751 minutes, 11 seconds
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Harambe to Trump: 2016 Was the Worst

David Boaz joins us to recap 2016. Did we just have the worst year ever in American politics?Show Notes and Further ReadingHere’s our Free Thoughts episode on Donald Trump with Ben Domenech, recorded after Trump won the Republican primary but before he won the general election.Boaz mentions the current issue of Cato Policy Report, which features an article by Tom Palmer on the new resurgence of three threats: identity politics, populist authoritarianism, and radical political Islam.Boaz also mentions this article by Conor Friedersdorf, “Tyrant-Proof the White House—Before It’s Too Late.” Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/30/201652 minutes, 4 seconds
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The Gold Standard Won't Be Coming Back

George Selgin joins us for a discussion about the gold standard. How did America get off the gold standard, and is there any chance of the country returning to it? Would it be a good idea to revive the standard?Why gold in particular and not any other commodity? Is gold less valuable as money than in other applications, like electronics manufacturing?Show Notes and Further ReadingTrevor asks whether people in Venezuela have started switching to Bitcoin, since Venezuela’s own currency is falling apart. According to this article from Jim Epstein in next month’s issue of Reason, that’s exactly what they’re doing. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/23/201652 minutes, 49 seconds
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The Permission Society: How the Ruling Class Turns Our Freedoms into Privileges and What We Can Do About It

Timothy Sandefur joins us this week to talk about his new book, The Permission Society: How the Ruling Class Turns Our Freedoms into Privileges and What We Can Do About It.What’s the difference between a society where people are free to do whatever they please and one where they must first get permission from the government to do things like owning land, building a house, or starting a business? What’s wrong with these systems of permitting?Show Notes and Further ReadingSandefur’s book is The Permission Society: How the Ruling Class Turns Our Freedoms into Privileges and What We Can Do About It (2016).   Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/16/201649 minutes, 2 seconds
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Why Schools Haven't Changed in Hundreds of Years

Kevin Currie-Knight joins us this week to discuss why we can’t seem to change the way we educate schoolchildren. Is there one best way to educate kids?Where did our current system—splitting kids up by age, dividing knowledge up into subjects, having teachers stand at the front of the room and give lectures, testing knowledge with exams, summer holidays, etc.—come from? Why does education still look pretty much like it did hundreds of years ago when everything else in our modern world has changed?Show Notes and Further ReadingCurrie-Knight spoke on a Kansas Policy Institute panel on this topic.Here’s Currie-Knight’s video series about education, Schooled.He also mentions The Independent Project (here’s a Huffington Post article about it), High Tech High, and an upcoming documentary about High Tech High called Most Likely To Succeed.Trevor mentions a lecture (and Free Thoughts episode) he gives called The Statrix.  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/9/201653 minutes, 10 seconds
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Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future

Johan Norberg joins Trevor this week to talk about the notion of progress and gives us all a few reasons to look forward to the future.Why is there a systemic bias towards pessimism when hard data shows the world is getting better and better every day?Show Notes and Further ReadingNorberg’s newest book is Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future (2016).Listeners may also enjoy Matt Ridley’s The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves (2011).To find more statistics that show how the world is always getting better, we recommend checking out another one of Cato’s projects, HumanProgress.org. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/2/201653 minutes, 10 seconds
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College: Too Costly, Too Little Learning, Too Much Underemployment

Richard Vedder joins us this week to discuss what he’s identified as three major problems with the way today’s American higher education system works.Why is higher education so expensive, and how did it become so expensive so quickly? If student aid and loans only aggravate the problem, can anything be done to remedy this? Is going to college more of a status symbol than a necessity these days? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/25/201652 minutes, 28 seconds
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Why Can't You Email Your Doctor?

Dr. Ryan Neuhofel joins us this week to talk about his practice, NeuCare, which is a very different way to approach primary care medicine in the United States.What is direct primary care? How should health insurance work, and how is it broken in our health care system today? How do primary care doctors currently get paid? Why is managed health care so expensive? Is direct primary care part of what a free market in medicine might look like?Show Notes and Further ReadingYou can find more information about Dr. Neuhofel’s practice at neucare.net.Our episode on “The Statrix” is what originally prompted Dr. Neuhofel to send us an email. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/18/201652 minutes, 57 seconds
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The New Trail of Tears: How Washington Is Destroying American Indians

American Indians currently have the highest rates of poverty of any racial group; some reservations have unemployment rates upward of 80 percent. Suicide is the leading cause of death among Indian men, Native American women are two and a half times more likely to be raped than the national average, and gang violence affects Indian youth more than any other group.Why? Naomi Schaefer Riley says the American government’s current Indian policies are at fault as much as any historic injustice done to them.What is the federal government’s current relationship with American Indian tribes? What does the day-to-day economic life for people on a reservation look like? How do tribal courts work?Show Notes and Further ReadingRiley’s book is The New Trail of Tears: How Washington Is Destroying American Indians (2016). Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/11/201636 minutes, 10 seconds
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Bonus Election Day Episode: Should Libertarians Vote?

The bleak prospect of living in a country governed by one of the major-party presidential candidates seems to bolster arguments against voting. Declining to participate in this year’s deeply unsatisfactory election may signal a preference for “none of the above” while denying personal sanction to the many wrongs and injustices governments mete out in our names. Not voting is a time-saver, too.But non-participation in the vote may be an unwise option. Voting doesn’t just elect a candidate: it may signal to a variety of important audiences what direction the electorate would like the country to take. Perhaps voting is the best option available, even if other candidates and other systems of government would provide more liberty and prosperity. Failing to vote may waste personal power.Is the best choice to vote one’s conscience, vote strategically, or not vote at all? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/8/20161 hour, 7 minutes, 34 seconds
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Wealth, Poverty and Politics: An International Perspective

What are some of the geographical factors throughout history that lead to unequal outcomes? Can we tease out a causal direction for something like cultural dishonesty? Is isolation—cultural, geographic, and otherwise—always bad for a society? How does all of this relate to the ongoing income inequality debate in America?Show Notes and Further ReadingThomas Sowell’s newest book is Wealth, Poverty, and Politics: Revised and Enlarged Edition (2016).Sowell mentions J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (2016).Freedom on Trial is our new courtroom drama that takes viewers into the heart of the everyday issues that arise when an employer’s desire to hire more employees runs into the barrier of minimum wage laws, and when the government’s plans to “solve” income inequality only makes things worse.  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/4/201640 minutes, 34 seconds
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People, Not Ratios: Why the Debate Over Income Inequality Asks the Wrong Questions

Why have people been so fixated on income inequality lately? Is it really a matter of “the 1%” versus “the 99%”? How do things like occupational licensing, energy use, and regulation tie in to this? How do these things stack the deck against poor people?Show Notes and Further ReadingHere are Ryan Young’s two most recent papers on the inequality, which he coauthored along with Iain Murray. “People, Not Ratios: Why the Debate over Income Inequality Asks the Wrong Questions” and “The Rising Tide: Answering the Right Questions in the Inequality Debate.”Freedom on Trial is our new courtroom drama that takes viewers into the heart of the everyday issues that arise when an employer’s desire to hire more employees runs into the barrier of minimum wage laws, and when the government’s plans to “solve” income inequality only makes things worse.The quote Trevor paraphrases near the beginning of the show was a bit of wisdom from Anatole France: “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”For a closer look at Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, here’s an older episode of Free Thoughts with Scott Winship. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/28/201645 minutes, 51 seconds
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Communicating Liberty Through Film and the Making Of "Freedom on Trial"

Why does the left seem better at making non-cringeworthy political videos? Does that necessarily have to be the case?John Papola joins us this week to share his background at MTV, Nickelodeon, and Spike TV; his thoughts on the filmmaking process; and why it’s essential to tell character-driven stories. We also discuss Libertarianism.org’s new series, Freedom on Trial, which was produced by Emergent Order and directed by Papola.Show Notes and Further ReadingHere’s our Freedom on Trial landing page. There, you can find the videos themselves, supplemental videos, and more info about the cast and crew for the production.Emergent Order’s website is here.Here’s Papola’s trailer for the Rocket Power movie, his first opportunity to direct and edit a trailer.”Fear the Boom and Bust” and “Fight of the Century” are the two rap battles between John Maynard Keynes and F. A. Hayek that Papola and Emergent Order are most well known for.Trevor mentions our Free Thoughts episode with Russ Roberts on his book How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/21/201649 minutes, 13 seconds
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Explaining the Rise of Donald Trump

How much of a role did media coverage play in Donald Trump winning the Republican primary? Is Trump’s brand of conservative populism and identity politics here to stay? Would a Trump loss in November be an opportunity for libertarians to reshape the philosophy of the American right?Ben Domenech shares his personal theory that explains Donald Trump’s rise to prominence on the political stage.Show Notes and Further ReadingHere’s Domenech in 2015, predicting the path of Donald Trump’s candidacy and on the emergence of Trump’s brand of identity politics. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/14/201644 minutes, 22 seconds
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Rituals of Freedom: Libertarian Themes in Early Confucianism

How much do we know about Confucius? What type of world were the Taoists and early Confucians living in? Were early Confucians pro free-market and pro individualism as we understand the terms today?Roderick T. Long joins us this week for a discussion on the thought of the early Confucians, who were precursors of modern libertarians.Show Notes and Further ReadingLong’s new book is Rituals of Freedom: Libertarian Themes in Early Confucianism (2016). Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/7/201642 minutes, 50 seconds
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Politics As a Peculiar Business: Insights from a Theory of Entangled Political Economy

Is an economy like a machine or a tropical rainforest? Is it more like a mechanical device that can be maintained by an exogenous force (government), or is it more like a diverse ecology, one that includes government actors?Richard Wagner joins us this week to discuss his new book, Politics As a Peculiar Business: Insights from a Theory of Entangled Political Economy (2016).Wagner concludes that modern governments function much the way a business enterprise does, albeit a strange one. He also theorizes about what happens when government becomes entangled in the same incentive structures it claims regulatory power over. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/30/201650 minutes, 46 seconds
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Thin Blue Lies: How Pretextual Stops Undermine Police Legitimacy

What’s a pretextual police stop? When do police need your consent to a search, and are these searches unconstitutional? Jonathan Blanks joins us this week to share his findings on how police searches disproportionately affect minorities.Show Notes and Further ReadingJonathan Blanks’s “Thin Blue Lies: How Pretextual Stops Undermine Police Legitimacy” appears in Volume 66, Issue 4 of the Case Western Reserve Law Review.Here’s a previous Free Thoughts episode with Blanks on police misconduct. Listeners may also be interested in this Free Thoughts episode with Adam Bates and Matthew Feeney on how new technologies are changing law enforcement.Blanks mentions this article by George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson in the March 1982 issue of The Atlantic, which originated the “broken windows” theory of policing.Aaron mentions watching the 1971 Don Siegel film Dirty Harry, starring Clint Eastwood. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/23/201648 minutes, 47 seconds
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Against Democracy

Most Americans believe that democracy is the most just, fair, and equal form of government we’ve come up with thus far. Is that overselling it? Does democracy produce the results we need? Can anything be done about voter ignorance?What is the symbolic value of the right to vote? Is political participation good for us as individuals and as a society? What would a better system look like?Show Notes and Further ReadingJason Brennan’s newest book is Against Democracy (2016).Brennan is also the lecturer for one of our Libertarianism.org Guides, An Introduction to Political Philosophy. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/16/201657 minutes, 49 seconds
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Confounding Father: Thomas Jefferson’s Image in His Own Time

Why are Americans so fascinated with our third President? What did Jefferson’s contemporaries think of him?Robert McDonald joins us this week to talk about the life and ideas of Thomas Jefferson.Show Notes and Further ReadingMcDonald’s book is Confounding Father: Thomas Jefferson’s Image in His Own Time (2016).There is a conception that politics was more civil at the turn of the 19th century; this Reason.tv video proves otherwise. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/9/201658 minutes, 59 seconds
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The World According to Star Wars

Was the success of the Star Wars franchise inevitable? What does Star Wars have to teach us about politics, revolution, and constitutional interpretation?Cass R. Sunstein explores the critical and financial success of the Star Wars movies.Show Notes and Further ReadingCass R. Sunstein, The World According to Star Wars (2016)This is a previous Free Thoughts podcast with Ilya Somin on the politics of Star Wars.Cato scholar Michael F. Cannon has written a column for Libertarianism.org on Star Wars and the nature of evil.Trevor mentions a previous episode of Free Thoughts on originalism featuring Randy E. Barnett.  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
9/2/201652 minutes, 42 seconds
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Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People

If the Constitution were interpreted according to its original meaning, how libertarian would that Constitution be? How do we decide what the original meaning of the Constitution is?Randy E. Barnett explains why popular sovereignty resides in individuals rather than in any notion of “the will of the people.”What would America look like if judges interpreted the Constitution according to the original intent of the Founders?Show Notes and Further ReadingHere is Barnett’s latest book, Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People (2016).He also mentions his book Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty (2013).Here’s an earlier episode of Free Thoughts featuring Randy Barnett, “The Structure of Liberty.”Trevor mentions the previous Free Thoughts episode with Gary Gerstle on his book Liberty and Coercion: The Paradox of American Government from the Founding to the Present (2015). Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/26/201653 minutes, 40 seconds
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Liberty and Coercion: The Paradox of American Government from the Founding to the Present

What are historians to make of the paradox of American government? On one hand, Americans claim to value freedom from government interference in their lives, but on the other, Americans have also clamored for government interventions that have done everything from redistributing wealth to imposing a particular set of views on marriage, abortion, and religion.Gary Gerstle gives a chronological history of American governance from the founding of the country to today. How has governance changed in America over the years? What role has the Constitution played in this?Was the Constitution meant to protect liberty, or establish federal power? How did an early reliance on agriculture affect governance in early America?Show Notes and Further ReadingGerstle’s book is Liberty and Coercion: The Paradox of American Government from the Founding to the Present (2015). Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/19/20161 hour, 3 minutes, 26 seconds
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The Free Market Existentialist: Capitalism without Consumerism

What is free market existentialism? Why have adherents of existentialism so often chosen Marxism as their political philosophy?William Irwin joins us this week to discuss his book, The Free Market Existentialist: Capitalism without Consumerism (2015).What purpose or meaning can we give life, if we start from a place where we take as a given that there is no inherent or divine purpose to life? Why should libertarians also be existentialists?Show Notes and Further ReadingWilliam Irwin’s book, The Free Market Existentialist: Capitalism without Consumerism (2015) challenges assumptions about morality, natural rights and the role of government using insights from thinkers like Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, Robert Nozick, and F. A. Hayek. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/12/201646 minutes, 1 second
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Hayek’s Modern Family: Classical Liberalism and the Evolution of Social Institutions

Families seem structured almost entirely opposite to how we think about market economies. Do theories about human behavior in markets hold up when looking at family interactions?Steven Horwitz joins us to talk about his new book, Hayek’s Modern Family: Classical Liberalism and the Evolution of Social Institutions.What did F. A. Hayek have to say about evolving social institutions? What is the definition of a family? How has it changed over time?Show Notes and Further ReadingHere is Horwitz’s new book, Hayek’s Modern Family: Classical Liberalism and the Evolution of Social Institutions (2015).Horwitz mentions this humorous scene depicting a feudal marriage in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975). Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
8/5/201657 minutes, 6 seconds
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John Stuart Mill's On Liberty, Part 1

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) was a foundational utilitarian philosopher, as well as one of the foremost thinkers in the classical liberal tradition.John Samples and Matthew Feeney join us for a discussion on the theory of liberty Mill articulates in his book On Liberty. We focus on how Mill thinks of liberty in relation to others and to the state, how utilitarianism influenced his thinking, and Mill’s defense of freedom of thought and free speech, which was quite radical for his time.This episode is part one of a series that will be continued at a later date.Show Notes and Further ReadingThe Liberty Fund’s Library of Economics and Liberty has the full text of On Liberty available for free.When discussing Mill’s views about tolerating divergent opinion, Aaron mentions this previous Free Thoughts podcast with Andrew Jason Cohen on toleration. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/29/20161 hour, 2 minutes, 37 seconds
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How American Politics Went Insane

How did everything get so crazy in American politics? Are political renegades like Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Bernie Sanders the new norm?Are political machines, pork-barrel spending, logrolling, and professional politicians necessary for our democracy to work? Are they necessary for political coordination and cooperation? What does Rauch mean by “political realism”?Show Notes and Further ReadingRauch’s study on this topic, Political Realism: How Hacks, Machines, Big Money, and Back-Room Deals Can Strengthen American Democracy is available as a .pdf or a free ebook.Rauch also wrote the cover article of the July/August 2016 issue of The Atlantic, “How American Politics Went Insane.” Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/22/201646 minutes, 54 seconds
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Campus Freedom

There seems to be a movement towards more student censorship on college campuses these days, but the source might be surprising: other students. Trigger warnings? Safe spaces? Microaggressions? Are college students more offended these days than they used to be?Robby Soave joins us for a discussion about the state of free speech in American higher education.Show Notes and Further ReadingYou can read Soave’s articles on this and other topics at Reason.com.For more on campus censorship, listen to this Free Thoughts episode with Greg Lukianoff, “Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate.” Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/15/201652 minutes, 32 seconds
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Specialization and Trade: A Re-introduction to Economics

What’s the “MIT” approach to economics, and what’s wrong with it? Is economics a hard science? What is an economic model? What are some of the problems with thinking of the world this way?Arnold Kling claims that the economy isn’t like one big machine with a single purpose that can be fine tuned and regulated by experts. In this week’s episode, he presents an alternate way of thinking about economics, one you won’t find being taught in most college classrooms.Show Notes and Further ReadingKling’s new book, Specialization and Trade: A Re-introduction to Economics is available in paperback and as a free .pdf, Kindle, or .epub file.Kling and Burrus mention one of our recent Free Thoughts episodes with Thomas Leonard on his book, Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics, and American Economics in the Progressive Era.  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/8/201648 minutes, 18 seconds
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How New Technology Is Changing Law Enforcement

What is a Stingray? How does it work? Is it a good idea to make police wear body cameras? Should officers be able to turn these cameras off? What about the privacy of the civilians being recorded? Should law enforcement agencies have access to drone technology? Where do we have a reasonable expectation of privacy?Matthew Feeney and Adam Bates join us this week to discuss new technologies available to law enforcement agencies in America, and the legal implications of these technologies.Where does a right to privacy apply in these new eras of government data collection? How should we balance police effectiveness and respect for Fourth Amendment privacy rights?Show Notes and Further ReadingFeeney recently authored a policy analysis on police body cameras, “Watching the Watchmen: Best Practices for Police Body Cameras.”Feeney also mentions a project our Cato colleague Patrick Eddington is working on: a timeline chronicling the American government’s surveillance activities over the past century. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
7/1/201653 minutes, 49 seconds
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The Constitution in Practice: From Liberty to Leviathan

After giving a broad overview of the philosophical underpinnings of governments last week, Roger Pilon joins us again to discuss the U.S. Constitution in particular and how the Constitution has been interpreted over the years.Pilon recounts the original signing of the Constitution and the adoption of the Bill of Rights, how post-Civil War constitutional amendments fundamentally altered the structure of American federalism, the Slaughter-House Cases of the late-19th century, Lochner v. New York, the New Deal Era, and how judicial interpretations of the General Welfare and Commerce clauses changed over time.Why was there no Bill of Rights when the Constitution was drafted? Is an originalist view of the constitution a necessarily antiquated one? Shouldn’t government be given enough power to realistically address any new concerns affect the nation as a whole, possibly issues that the Founders couldn’t have thought of? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/24/20161 hour, 11 minutes, 26 seconds
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The Philosophical Foundations of the Constitution

How are constitutions adopted? Did the Founders get it right? What is originalism and why do constitutional interpretations matter when studying founding texts? By what standards do we judge a theory of constitutional interpretation to be correct?Roger Pilon joins us this week for a discussion about originalism and the U.S. Constitution. This episode is continued in a followup episode about how the Constitution has been interpreted over the years. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/17/201652 minutes, 21 seconds
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The Statrix: How Government Warps Our Perception of the World

What is the “Statrix”? How does government warp our perception of the world around us? How does it disproportionately affect the poor?Trevor Burrus talks about the “Statrix,” a portmanteau of the state and the concept of an artificial world made popular in the 1999 action/sci-fi movie The Matrix. Show Notes and Further ReadingTrevor mentions the recent spate of track problems and fires that have been plaguing Washington D.C.’s metro system, which led to the creation of this website, ismetroonfire.com. He also explains this song by the Kingston Trio, which was meant to a protest fare increases on Boston’s public subway system.Here’s a series of articles by Megan McArdle on Washington D.C.’s streetcar project, written in 2009, 2014, and 2015 (the project was originally slated to be completed in 2006 and is still not fully rolled out today, in 2016).Trevor also mentions our podcast episode with Randal O’Toole, “Transportation, Land Use, and Freedom,” James Tooley’s book “The Beautiful Tree: A Personal Journey Into How the World’s Poorest People are Educating Themselves,” and NeuCare, a new way to think about medical care. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/10/201656 minutes, 10 seconds
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Teaching School Choice to the American Education System

How can parents have more say in how their children are educated? What’s the difference between different approaches to school choice, like vouchers, education savings accounts, and tax credits? Do we know these work?Jason Bedrick joins us this week to make the case for school choice.Show Notes and Further ReadingHere’s an earlier episode of Free Thoughts with Neal McCluskey on the history of public schooling in America.Bedrick mentions Dale Russakoff’s recent book, The Prize: Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools? (2016) and his review of the book at the Library of Law and Liberty.  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
6/3/201652 minutes, 41 seconds
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The Bourgeois Era

For most of human history, most people lived in abject poverty and cultural and technological stagnation. Only in the past 200 years or so has humankind seen a flourishing of new ideas that has led to our current state of relative health, wealth, safety, and happiness.Deirdre McCloskey says the difference lies in the power of market institutions and a burgeoning respect for those that participate in them. Celebrating innovation—not protecting people from it—is the key to explaining this exponential growth.Show Notes and Further ReadingThe Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce (2007)Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World (2011)Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World (2016) Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/27/201653 minutes, 13 seconds
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Socrates on Trial, Part 2: Crito

Socrates could have had his friend Crito pay a bribe to get him out of prison and escape his death sentence, but he didn’t. Why? Do we always have a duty to obey the law?Brian Wilson from Combat and Classics joins us this week to continue our discussion on the last days of the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates’ life, as told by his student Plato.Show Notes and Further ReadingCombat and Classics is a series of free online seminars for active duty, reserve, and veteran U.S. military, sponsored by St. John’s College.Our first podcast in this series was on Socrates’ trial, as recorded by Plato in the Apology.The Crito is a dialogue by Plato that depicts a conversation between Socrates (who is sitting in prison, having been sentenced to death by an Athenian jury during the events in Apology) and his wealthy friend Crito, who offers to finance Socrates’ escape from prison. Socrates refuses Crito’s offer on the grounds that injustice may not be answered with injustice. A free, Creative Commons-licensed version of this text can be found here.Aaron mentions “The Humble Case for Liberty,” an essay he wrote in a collection published by the Atlas Network and Students for Liberty entitled Why Liberty: Your Life, Your Choices, Your Future (2013). Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/20/201647 minutes, 27 seconds
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The Skeptical Libertarian

What counts as a conspiracy theory? Why do people have a natural tendency to see intent and design, even when there is none? Are there any conspiracy theories particularly prevalent among libertarians?Daniel Bier of The Skeptical Libertarian joins us this week to talk about belief in conspiracy theories as a social phenomenon and the damage they can do to the perception of libertarianism and the credibility of libertarian arguments.Show Notes and Further ReadingListeners may also be interested in the podcast episode we recorded with Jesse Walker on his book, The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory.  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/13/201647 minutes, 2 seconds
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Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs

What was the U.S. government’s original motivation behind drug prohibition? How has the way we view addiction changed over time? What happens when a country—or a state—decriminalizes drugs? What about hard drugs?Show Notes and Further ReadingChasing the Scream is available here, along with all of Hari’s interviews and notes used in writing the book.Hari mentions Jeffrey Miron’s work on the economics of drug prohibition; you can read Miron’s recent work here. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
5/6/20161 hour, 1 minute, 58 seconds
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The Ideas of Adam Smith

What kind of person was Adam Smith? How does Smith’s theory of morality compare to other philosophers’ theories? What did economics look like before Smith?Paul Mueller discusses Adam Smith’s life and ideas, explains Smith’s “invisible hand” and “impartial spectator” analogies, and talks about the marginal revolution that occured in economics 100 years after Smith’s death.Show Notes and Further ReadingAdam Smith’s Wealth of Nations and Theory of Moral Sentiments are great places to start reading Smith in his own words.Listeners may also want to check out our Free Thoughts episode with Russ Roberts on his book, How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/29/201656 minutes, 31 seconds
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Why Liberty Takes Character

What’s the best way to teach the principles of economics and individual liberty to people? Is having ‘good character’ a timeless virtue?Lawrence W. Reed joins us this week to discuss his work at the Foundation for Economic Education and FEE’s history in the worldwide free market movement. He also shares a few stories about ‘Real Heroes’ of liberty.Show Notes and Further ReadingThe Foundation for Economic Education has made the full text of Henry Hazlitt’s classic book Economics in One Lesson available online for free here.Aaron mentions reading Reed’s essays on character and liberty. They are available here, organized into a short book The Great Hope: Essays on Character and Liberty.Reed’s ongoing Real Heroes series can be found here. New features are released every Friday; here is Reed’s account of the life of Witold Pilecki. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/22/201643 minutes, 55 seconds
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Rothbard's Ethics of Liberty, Part 2

Murray Rothbard wrote The Ethics of Liberty in 1982 as a full moral theory of the ethical considerations libertarianism requires and what these considerations would prevent the state from doing.This week we begin a discussion on the second part of The Ethics of Liberty. What is Rothbard’s universal ethic? According to Rothbard, how can property originally be justly acquired? What would ownership in a Rothbardian free market system look like?Here is our discussion on part one of The Ethics of Liberty. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/15/20161 hour, 5 minutes, 15 seconds
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Hume and the Politics of Enlightenment

What is it about British philosopher David Hume that makes him so popular? What was Hume’s attitude towards politics?Thomas W. Merrill joins us this week to talk about Hume’s thought and his skeptical, empirical attitude.Show Notes and Further ReadingMerrill’s book, David Hume and the Politics of Enlightenment (2015) is available from Cambridge University Press.The Philosophy Bites podcast asked philosophers who their favorite philosopher was. Many of their guests chose David Hume.The Amazon Kindle edition of Hume’s Essays is available for free.Many of David Hume’s other works are available for free at davidhume.org. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/8/201650 minutes, 7 seconds
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The Once and Future King: The Rise of Crown Government in America

The contemporary British, Canadian, and American political systems come from the same democratic root, but have very different ways of separating and balancing power. How does the American presidential system compare to the parliamentary system? Does the government we have today function anything like the government the Founding Fathers envisioned?Frank H. Buckley joins Trevor Burrus this week for a discussion on his book, The Once and Future King: The Rise of Crown Government in America.Is it accurate to say we have a “crown government?” What’s the danger in giving the president legislative power? Do presidential and parliamentary regimes tend to attract different types of leaders?Show Notes and Further ReadingBuckley’s newest book, The Once and Future King: The Rise of Crown Government in America (2014).Gene Healy’s book The Cult of the Presidency: America’s Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power (2009) also explores these themes. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
4/1/201646 minutes, 18 seconds
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The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory

This week we discuss the history of conspiracy theories in America with Jesse Walker. What counts as a conspiracy theory? What are the different kinds of conspiracy theories? Are there any theories that have turned out to be true?How do these theories fade in and out of our national consciousness? Are there any uniquely libertarian conspiracy theories? Is there a way to recognize a conspiracy theory when we come across it?Show Notes and Further ReadingWalker’s books are The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory (2013) and Rebels on the Air: An Alternative History of Radio in America (2001).Walker mentions reading Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea’s Illuminatus! Trilogy when he was young. Here’s a video of Robert Anton Wilson speaking at the Libertarian Party’s nominating convention in 1987.Richard Hofstadter’s 1964 article “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.”Frederic Wertham’s 1954 book warning of the supposed dangers of children reading comic books, Seduction of the Innocent.Arthur Miller’s classic play “The Crucible,” which is a dramatized version of the Salem witch trials (and which was written as an allegory of McCarthyism).Joseph Uscinski and Joseph Parent’s American Conspiracy Theories uses empirical data to analyze trends in conspiracy theories between 1890 and 2010.Movies mentioned in this episode:Invasion of the Body-SnatchersThe Manchurian CandidateThey Live Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/25/201654 minutes, 16 seconds
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The Fight for Free Speech in the Courts

How did SpeechNow and Citizens United change how elections are financed? Where does the distrust of money we so often see in politics come from? What’s wrong with making people disclose their donations?What’s the problem with occupational licensing? Doesn’t it seem sensible in some cases for the government to license certain things to make sure people aren’t hurting others with their advice?How are these two issues related? This week Paul Sherman from the Institute for Justice joins us to discuss free speech as it applies to politics and elections (political speech), occupational licensing (occupational speech), and the future of the First Amendment.Show Notes and Further ReadingSherman’s article in the Harvard Law Review, “Occupational Speech and the First Amendment.”Amanda Shanor and Robert Post’s response to Sherman’s article, “Adam Smith’s First Amendment.”Institute for Justice cases dealing with free speech issues that we mentioned in this episode:Charleston Tour GuidesColorado Private EnforcementSavannah Tour Guides Free SpeechKentucky Psychology SpeechDC ToursParker North, CO Free Speech  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/18/201655 minutes, 16 seconds
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Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics, and American Economics in the Progressive Era

Who were the academics, reformers, and social scientists that made up the early American progressive movement at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century? The positions held by today’s progressives only bear a passing resemblance to those of the Progressive Era; how have the original progressives’ ideas changed over time?Thomas C. Leonard joins us this week for a discussion on the founding of the Progressive Era and the creation of the American regulatory and welfare state.Is there anything inherently wrong or dangerous about the idea of turning over certain aspects of government to experts? How did Darwin’s theories play into the beliefs of these new progressives? Why did the progressives of this era embrace eugenics, racial science, and other ideas that today we would consider abhorrent?Show Notes and Further ReadingThomas C. Leonard’s new book, Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics, and American Economics in the Progressive Era (2016). Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/11/20161 hour, 35 seconds
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What's Wrong With Labor Unions?

This week, Richard A. Epstein joins us to talk about the history, economics, and legal theory behind unions, which remain some of the most powerful forces in the modern American political landscape.Is our collective narrative about unions saving workers from evil capitalist robber barons and horrible working conditions in the Industrial era accurate? How were unions initially treated by the Supreme Court?Are unions essentially cartels? Don’t workers need unions to equalize their bargaining power with employers?What does the future of unions look like? Are they going extinct? What about public sector unions, and the budget obligations they put on local and state governments? What would Epstein’s ideal unionization law look like? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
3/4/201642 minutes, 45 seconds
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Transportation, Land Use, and Freedom

Henry Ford’s mass production of the automobile ushered in a new era of human mobility, one that public planners always seem to be attempting to steer the American public away from. How is transportation important to human freedom and flourishing?How much are we spending on public transit? When, if ever, does public transportation make sense?What will driverless cars do for traffic congestion? Are driverless cars going to cause people to drive more? Less? Are there any potential roadblocks to driverless cars?Show Notes and Further ReadingO’Toole’s books on various to