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
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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
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The Coddling of the American Mind (with Jon 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
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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
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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
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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
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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  
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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
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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
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The Moral Collapse of Evangelical America

 
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
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Building 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 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
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Helping Refugees in an Era of Nationalism

 
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.
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Cato, Congress, and the Realities of Governing

 
What tends to drive Congress’s institution overall? Where do organizations like Cato fit into the legislative process? What is the difference between the work that think tanks like Cato, and that 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 
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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 
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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, when 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 
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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.
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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
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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!
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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) 
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