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Free Thoughts

Updated 2 months ago

Rank #54 in Philosophy category

Society & Culture
Philosophy
News
Politics
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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. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

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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. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

iTunes Ratings

226 Ratings
Average Ratings
197
14
5
3
7

Great discussions

By Joe Matt - May 27 2020
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This is one of my favorite podcasts. The hosts are great and ask the guests thoughtful, respectful questions. In turn, the quality of the quests is also very good. Additionally, the audio quality is great. I look forward to this every Friday

Never miss an episode

By Rplmd - Jul 19 2017
Read more
Probably the only podcast I never miss

iTunes Ratings

226 Ratings
Average Ratings
197
14
5
3
7

Great discussions

By Joe Matt - May 27 2020
Read more
This is one of my favorite podcasts. The hosts are great and ask the guests thoughtful, respectful questions. In turn, the quality of the quests is also very good. Additionally, the audio quality is great. I look forward to this every Friday

Never miss an episode

By Rplmd - Jul 19 2017
Read more
Probably the only podcast I never miss
Cover image of Free Thoughts

Free Thoughts

Latest release on Jul 31, 2020

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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. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Rank #1: The Ideas of Friedrich Hayek

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Nobel laureate Friedrich Hayek was one of the world’s foremost intellectuals in a variety of fields, including legal theory, economics, constitutional theory, and neuroscience. This podcast episode provides an introduction to his academic and popular writing.

Steven Horwitz joins us for a discussion about Hayek’s life and ideas. What does it mean to think “Hayekian”? What is spontaneous order? Why doesn’t planning work?

Show Notes and Further Reading

Steven Horwitz, Hayek’s Modern Family: Classical Liberalism and the Evolution of Social Institutions (forthcoming book)

F. A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (book)

F. A. Hayek, “The Use of Knowledge in Society” (essay)

F. A. Hayek, Law, Legislation, and Liberty (book series: Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3)

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Jun 08 2015

53mins

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Rank #2: Why Not Capitalism?

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This week Jason Brennan joins Aaron and Trevor to discuss his newest book, Why Not Capitalism?, which is a response to G. A. Cohen’s 2009 book Why Not Socialism? Brennan says that Cohen commits the fallacy of comparing idealized socialism with perfect actors to real markets with imperfect actors, and offers an illustrative example as proof that when comparing idealized capitalism to idealized socialism and real capitalism to real socialism, it is capitalism—not socialism—that claims the moral high ground.

Is there anything to the argument that “socialism would work if we were just better people” and had perfect information?

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Jun 23 2014

46mins

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Rank #3: Did Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal Really Save America?

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Did FDR’s New Deal policies help pull America out of the Great Depression, or were they in fact responsible for the high unemployment in the country until the beginning of World War II? Jim Powell joins us for a discussion on America’s great 20th century experiment with big government.

Is the picture we have of the New Deal Era accurate? What was the state of the country leading up to the New Deal? Were these new social programs successful in their goals—and what were their goals in the first place? What are the lessons America learned from the New Deal? Which New Deal programs are still around today?

Show Notes and Further Reading

Jim Powell, FDR’s Folly: How Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression (book)

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Mar 23 2015

55mins

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Rank #4: The Right to Keep and Bear Arms

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David Kopel joins us this week for a discussion on the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: the right to keep and bear firearms. Aaron and Trevor introduce the debate over gun rights in America today by asking questions: Why allow people to own guns at all? Aren’t we past that point as a civilization? Does having more guns around actually reduce crime? How many crimes each year are stopped by guns…and how many don’t occur in the first place because criminals think their victims could have guns? Is it worth the risk to have guns in the home? Are public health concerns about gun ownership well-founded? Assault weapons—what are they and why do American gun control groups want to ban them in particular? And if the Second Amendment gives us the right to keep and bear arms, what’s to stop an individual from owning something like a tank or a personal rocket launcher?

Show Notes and Further Reading

David B. Kopel, The Truth About Gun Control (book)

John R. Lott, Jr., More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws (book)

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Sep 29 2014

57mins

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Rank #5: Robert Nozick's "Anarchy, State, and Utopia"

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Julian Sanchez joins Trevor and Aaron for a discussion on the political philosophy of Robert Nozick. Nozick’s 1974 book Anarchy, State, and Utopia is a classic of modern philosophy. In it, he argues that the rights we all have as human beings dramatically limit what the state’s allowed to do.

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Nov 11 2013

1hr 27mins

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Rank #6: "Ideological Dorks"

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“Your hero economists are my hero economists.”

We talk about a variety of topics on this episode, including cultural conservativism and libertarianism, whether libertarians are more at home on the right or left, Goldberg’s 2009 book, Liberal Fascism, and the rise of outsider candidates on the political right and what they may (or may not) be signalling about the preferences of the electorate.

Show Notes and Further Reading

Goldberg’s books, The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas (2013) and Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change (2009).

Charles C. W. Cooke’s new book The Conservatarian Manifesto: Libertarians, Conservatives, and the Fight for the Right’s Future (2015).

The History News Network’s Symposium on Liberal Fascism.

David Oshinsky’s New York Times review of Liberal Fascism.

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Oct 09 2015

57mins

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Rank #7: Big Business Loves Big Government: Cronyism in American Politics

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Timothy P. Carney joins us this week for a discussion on how the complex system of lobbying and regulating and subsidizing works in Washington D.C. He points out that big government and big business often scratch each others’ backs at the expense of the taxpayer, gives several examples of this behavior, and explains how it benefits both parties.

Show Notes and Further Reading

Timothy P. Carney, The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money (book)

Timothy P. Carney, Obamanomics: How Barack Obama Is Bankrupting You and Enriching His Wall Street Friends, Corporate Lobbyists, and Union Bosses (book)

Gabriel Kolko, The Triumph of Conservatism: A Reinterpretation of American History, 1900-1916 (book)

New York Times, “Catfish Farmers, Seeking Regulation to Fight Foreign Competition, Face Higher Bills” (article)

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Apr 20 2015

50mins

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Rank #8: The Problem of Political Authority

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Professor Michael Huemer claims that if normal people acted like governments do, we would generally be horrified and find their behavior morally contemptible…so why do most people intuitively feel that government is justified in its actions? Professor Huemer, Aaron, and Trevor tackle problems of political obligation, political legitimacy, and political authority, and explain the differences between each of these terms.

Show Notes and Further Reading

Michael Huemer, The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey (book)

Michael Huemer, Ethical Intuitionism (book)

Prof. Huemer’s personal web site.

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Sep 15 2014

52mins

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Rank #9: The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels

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This week we’re talking about energy, and specifically the fossil fuels that power everything in our modern world from electronics to manufacturing to heating to our trains, planes, busses, boats, and cars.

What’s the “secret history of fossil fuels?” What is the moral case for using fossil fuels? Is it possible to eventually get renewable sources of energy to work well? If using fossil fuels is bad for the environment, should we care? Or is that the wrong way of looking at it? How much has fossil fuel use benefited humanity? Can that be quantified?

Show Notes and Further Reading

Alex Epstein, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels (book)

Indur Goklany, “Reducing Vulnerability to Climate-Sensitive Risks is the Best Insurance Policy” (essay)

The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels (Cato Capitol Hill Briefing video)

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Dec 15 2014

53mins

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Rank #10: Tyranny of Public Health (with Jacob Sullum)

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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 Sullum

Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence, written by Alex Berenson

For Your Own Good: The Anti-Smoking Crusade and the Tyranny of Public Health, written by Jacob Sullum

Related Content:

Is the DEA Trippin’? (with Rick Doblin), Free Thoughts Podcast

Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, Free Thoughts Podcast

How Drug Prohibition Caused the Opioid Crisis, Free Thoughts Podcast

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Dec 27 2019

1hr 2mins

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Rank #11: The Cost of Earning More Money

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Dan Russell claims that business ethics is more than just a set of ethical dilemmas. Isn’t that what ethics is about, though? Facing a moral quandary and figuring out how to solve it? How do the teachings of Aristotle tie into all of this? What does it mean to live a good life? What does a wise choice look like?

Show Notes and Further Reading

Robert Skidelsky and Edward Skidelsky, How Much is Enough? (book)

Daniel C. Russell, The Cambridge Companion to Virtue Ethics (book)

Daniel C. Russell, Happiness for Humans (book)

Dan Russell, “Happiness — A Feeling or a Future?” (video)

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Nov 10 2014

46mins

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Rank #12: End the IRS Before It Ends Us

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This week we’re joined by Grover Norquist for a frank discussion about every libertarian’s favorite part of the government: its tax-collection arm. Norquist shares how he got into politics, the idea behind his infamous tax pledge, and his plan for reining in the government’s power to tax its citizens.

What’s the right amount of taxes? Zero? How do we get there? Given our nation’s anti-tax roots, have we become too complacent in paying taxes?

Show Notes and Further Reading

Grover Norquist, End the IRS Before It Ends Us: How to Restore a Low Tax, High Growth, Wealthy America (book)

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May 18 2015

58mins

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Rank #13: Why Do Intellectuals Oppose Capitalism?

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Robert Nozick, in his essay “Why Do Intellectuals Oppose Capitalism?” proposed that many highly-educated public intellectuals tend to lean towards collectivism and authoritarianism because they expect society to work best in the way that schools and the academic system (which is the system they are most familiar with) operates. Was Nozick’s theory right? Why do academics, philosophers, journalists, sociologists, and other “wordsmith intellectuals” tend to skew left?

Show Notes and Further Reading

Robert Nozick’s influential short essay “Why Do Intellectuals Oppose Capitalism?

Friedrich Hayek’s essay along similar lines, “The Intellectuals and Socialism”.

George H. Smith also wrote about Hayek’s views on intellectuals in this column: “Intellectuals and Libertarianism: F. A. Hayek”.

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Aug 14 2015

50mins

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Rank #14: The Up Side of Down

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Megan McArdle joins us to talk about her new book The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well is the Key to Success (2014). We don’t tend to think of failure as a good thing. But McArdle says that recognizing failure—and in some cases embracing it—is a crucial part of what makes American culture, markets, and society successful. But she also says we’re getting worse at dealing with failure. Is the world too fragile to tolerate failure now?

Show Notes and Further Reading

Megan McArdle, The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well is the Key to Success(book)

Steven Johnson, The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic—and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World (book)

Steven Pinker, How the Mind Works (book)

Bruce M. Hood, SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelieveable (book)

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Jul 14 2014

59mins

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Rank #15: Finding Meaning in an Age of Individualism (with Clay Routledge)

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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 Progress

Supernatural: Death, Meaning, and the Power of the Invisible World, written by Clay Routledge

Why do we feel nostalgia?, Ted-Ed Talk by Clay Routledge

Related Content:

The Collapse of the Local Community (with Tim Carney), Free Thoughts Podcast

Do Socialists Mean Well?, written by Grant Babcock

No Man Is an Island (Not Even Libertarians), written by Aaron Ross Powell

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Nov 01 2019

45mins

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Rank #16: Can we ever downsize government? (with Chris Edwards)

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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 website

Opportunity Zones Fuel Corruption, written by Chris Edwards

Tax reform 2.0 can alleviate Americans’ chronic saving problem, written by Ernest Christian and Chris Edwards

Related Content:

Building a Better Government, Free Thoughts Episode

Choose Your Own Government, Free Thoughts Episode

Taking Government Unseriously, Free Thoughts Episode

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Aug 24 2018

43mins

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Rank #17: Ayn Rand: An Introduction (with Eamonn Butler)

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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.org

More about Eamonn Butler.

More about Ayn Rand.

More on Objectivism.

Excursions into Libertarian Thought - Series on Ayn Rand and Altruism

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Apr 20 2018

50mins

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Rank #18: How Mao Broke China (with Frank Dikötter)

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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 Dikötter

Mao’s Little Red Book

The 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 Times

Related Content:

China: The Annihilation of Human Rights, written by David Hart

Chinese Communism and the Economic Revolution, written by Leonard P. Liggio

Fifty Years after the Cultural Revolution, written by David Boaz

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Oct 18 2019

47mins

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Rank #19: An Introduction to Public Choice

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This week Peter Van Doren joins us to explain the economics of decision making in politics. What is public choice theory and how does it explain what happens in a majority rules democracy? Is public choice a type of macroeconomic theory? How does ordering a series of votes change their outcome? What’s rent-seeking? What does the phrase “concentrated benefits and diffuse costs” mean? What’s the median voter theorem and how does it affect our politics in America?


Show Notes and Further Reading

Kenneth Arrow, Social Choice and Individual Values (book)

Anthony Downs, An Economic Theory of Democracy (book)

Mancur Olson, The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups (book)

James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock, The Calculus of Consent: Logical Foundations of Constitutional Democracy (book)

Michael E. Levine and Charles R. Plott, “Agenda Influence and Its Implications” (article)

Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) (Wikipedia article)

Say’s Law (Wikipedia article)

Pareto Efficiency (Wikipedia article)

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Jan 12 2015

58mins

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Rank #20: The Cato Institute and the Libertarian Movement

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Edward H. Crane joins us this week as we talk about the beginnings of the Libertarian Party in the early 1970s and Crane’s involvement with that organization. We also talk about the founding and early history of the Cato Institute, and we talk generally about Cato’s purpose and mission.

What was early-1970s libertarianism like, and how has libertarianism changed over the past 40 or so years in America? How did Cato get started and then grow into the organization it is today? What’s Cato’s role as a think tank?

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May 04 2015

51mins

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Unpacking Constitutional Law

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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?

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Jul 31 2020

50mins

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What Divides Us (with Emily Ekins)

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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?

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Jul 24 2020

49mins

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You Are (Probably) Not a Good Person

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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?

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Jul 17 2020

54mins

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The Use and Abuse of Moral Talk

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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.

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Jul 10 2020

52mins

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Black Lives and Guns (with Nicholas Johnson)

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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?

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Jul 03 2020

1hr 2mins

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Bleeding Heart Libertarianism: A Retrospective (with Matt Zwolinski)

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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?

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Jun 26 2020

52mins

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The Power of Voting with Your Feet (with Ilya Somin)

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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?

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Jun 19 2020

52mins

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Who Broke Congress? (With Rep. Justin Amash)

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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?

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Jun 12 2020

48mins

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Our Criminal Injustice System (with Jason Brennan and Chris Surprenant)

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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?

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Jun 05 2020

52mins

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Are Social Networks Censoring Conservatives? (with John Samples & Matthew Feeney)

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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?

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May 29 2020

58mins

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The Radio Right (with Paul Matzko)

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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?

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May 22 2020

58mins

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When Innovation Breaks the Rules (with Adam Thierer)

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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?

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May 15 2020

49mins

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Forgotten Libertarians (with Paul Meany)

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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?

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May 08 2020

48mins

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The Covid-19 Economy

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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?

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May 01 2020

56mins

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Is Homeschooling Dangerous? (with Kevin Currie-Knight)

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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?

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Apr 24 2020

58mins

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Libertarianism and Copyright (with Radu Uszkai)

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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?

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Apr 17 2020

1hr 1min

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How Innovation Works (with Matt Ridley)

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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?

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Apr 10 2020

53mins

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Must Politics Be War? (with Kevin Vallier)

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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?

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Apr 03 2020

55mins

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The Nationalism Problem (with Stephanie Slade)

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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?

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Mar 27 2020

48mins

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Politics Makes Us Worse

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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?

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Mar 20 2020

52mins

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iTunes Ratings

226 Ratings
Average Ratings
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Great discussions

By Joe Matt - May 27 2020
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This is one of my favorite podcasts. The hosts are great and ask the guests thoughtful, respectful questions. In turn, the quality of the quests is also very good. Additionally, the audio quality is great. I look forward to this every Friday

Never miss an episode

By Rplmd - Jul 19 2017
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Probably the only podcast I never miss