What Hope for Liberty?
By Amy Willis
Is the future of liberty in America bright, or in peril? A special live episode filmed at the Cato Institute, EconTalk host Russ Roberts welcomes David Boaz, PJ O’Rourke, and George Will in this episode. While some see the glass as half full, you’ll definitely hear some pessimism from this week’s guests as well. What do you think? And regardless of your own level of optimism, what can be done to ensure liberty remains valued in the United States?
1. David Boaz opens the conversation suggesting that American may be nicer today, but not necessarily freer. What does he mean by that, and to what extent do you agree? 2. PJ O’Rourke argues that Americans have lost touch with a fundamental principle- knowing when to get out of town. Which has changed more, and why- American labor markets or American values and culture? (You may want to revisit this 2016 episode with Erik Hurst on this same issue…)
3. What should the role of think tanks be in promoting liberty in our society? How successful do you think they have been to this point, and why?
4. What reasons do the various speakers suggest for our persisting failure to persuade people of the moral value of liberty? Which do you agree with? Which would you add? (You might also be interested to read Arnold Kling’s review of this essay collection on the moral justification(s) for liberty, also published by the Cato Institute.)