America’s Success Story is Due to a Little-Known Clause in the Constitution


By Mark Skousen


Today is Constitution Day, the anniversary of the day members of the Continental Congress signed the US Constitution on September 17, 1787. 

There are several extremely important clauses in the Constitution that very few scholars recognize but which destined America to become the superpower that it is today. 

Here is my short column on this breakthrough principle in a recent Skousen CAFE:


Canada Closes Its Borders for No Good Reason

We received a call from a Canadian couple who said that they had to cancel coming to FreedomFest. They wanted to attend “the greatest libertarian show on earth,” but the Canadian authorities have decided to close the border to all “non-essential” travel.

Which raises an interesting question: Why were the Canadian and Mexican borders closed in 2020 and 2021, while the borders between states remained open?

Even now, while Americans can travel or move freely between states from coast to coast, they cannot travel to and from Canada and Mexico.

Did the pandemic suddenly stop at the borders?

The reason is simple to explain, but often involves a principle taken for granted by American citizens: The United States Constitution does not allow state governors to close their borders to adjacent states. Countries can do it, but not states.

None of the 50 states can keep you from visiting, moving or working in another state. They cannot keep you from transferring money, capital or goods to another state. They cannot require a passport for you to enter their state. They cannot impose any import or export duties between states.

The only exception is for the inspection of fruits and vegetables, something California does.

It’s All in The Constitution Section 9 and 10 of Article I of the U.S. Constitution is clear:

“No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

“No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

“No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it’s inspection Laws.”

And Article 4, section 2, states:

“The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.”

Finally, the 14th Amendment states:

“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”


Creating a Gigantic Free-Trade Zone from Coast to Coast

That’s why we are called the United States of America. The uniting of the 50 states economically is a major reason why America leads the world as an economic powerhouse.  It has created a gigantic free-trade zone from coast to coast. 

Ancient Rome had a similar arrangement.  There were no trade restrictions inside the Roman empire; it was one reason the Roman empire lasted so long. 

Recently, European nations have attempted to imitate our success with the creation of the European Union, sometimes called the “United States of Europe,” along with a single currency, the euro — to create a large free-trade zone of money, labor and capital.

Does the Constitution Limit or Expand State Powers? On the other hand, Article I, Section 8, grants extremely broad powers to Congress — to print money, expand credit, level taxes and import duties and declare war. You can drive a truck through section 8 of the Constitution.

As George Washington allegedly said, “Government is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

At this year’s FreedomFest, we had a big debate on “The Constitution: Conceived in Liberty or Conspiratorial Coup?”  We debated libertarian Murray Rothbard’s controversial contention that the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was a power grab to dramatically increase the state’s control of the new nation.  

Professor Patrick Newman, a fellow of the Mises Institute, argued in favor of Rothbard’s thesis, that James Madison called the Convention to secretly expand the power of the state. He was followed with commentary by legal authorities John Norton Moore (University of Virginia) and Anastasia Boden, senior attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation, who defended the Constitution.  It was an electrifying debate. 

You can order this session for only $5 at

All 200 plus sessions can be accessed at  Price is only $195.  

Happy Constitution Day! 

In liberty, AEIOU,

Mark Skousen

Are We Rome?

By Mark Skousen

Talk delivered on Saturday, September 11, 2021, Kimber Academy in Lehi, Utah and Liberty United Festival in Vineyard, Utah

“History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” – Mark Twain

“In the end, there was no money left to pay the army, build forts or ships, or protect the frontier. The barbarian invasions were the final blow to the Roman state in the fifth century, [caused] by three centuries of deterioration in fiscal capacity…”
— Bruce Barlett, “How Excessive Government Killed Ancient Rome,” Cato Journal (1994)

It was 20 years ago today that my wife and I arrived in New York, where I was installed as president of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), and witnessed first hand the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  It was an unforgettable day of infamy, and has so affected our culture, our liberties and our lives that we observe the date every year. 

Looking back, one thing I remember the most was that New Yorkers and Americans in general were completely unified in spirit at this time.  For months, residents posted pictures of family members who had died on 9/11.  Everyone was kind and friendly, like we were brothers and sisters in this together.  A few weeks later, I carried a large box of books downtown, and a New Yorker offered to help carry the box up the stairs from the train station. 

The other thing that I noticed is the street vendors in New York never displayed or sold post cards or pictures of airlines flying into the Twin Towers.  They respected the depth of sorrow after this event. 

The City was shut down for some time and everyone in the New York tried to access the damage and further threats to our security. Smoke filled the city, businesses closed and events were canceled. 

The first decision I had to make as the new president of FEE was to determine if we should cancel our annual Liberty dinner scheduled in October.  Our keynote speakers was Paul Gigot, the new editor of the Wall Street Journal, and I couldn’t even get a hold of him. (The Journal had moved their headquarters temporarily from Wall Street across the river to New Jersey.)

I gathered my staff the next day to make the decision.  Most staff members thought we should cancel or postpone the Liberty dinner. Our phones were quiet.  Nobody was calling in to sign up for the dinner.  I thought about it, and then said, “My first act as president of FEE is not going to cancel our annual dinner.  If that means just all of us sitting around the kitchen table, then so be it.” 

It was the right thing to do.  Within a week the phones started ringing again, and we had a full crowd of over 200 people at the Harvard Club in October, and Paul Gigot showed up and we had a big success. 

Since then, many friends of liberty have asked the question, “Are our freedoms in jeopardy?  Is America in decline like ancient Rome?”  I have a dozen books on ancient Rome in my library, and after Jake Oaks, the producer of the Liberty United Festival asked me to speak on this topic on 9/11, I read through these books, including Edward Gibbon’s classic 6-volume work, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, published in 1776. 

We decided to debate this question at FreedomFest in 2013. 

Are we Rome?

Our theme at FreedomFest was “Are We Rome?” to be held appropriately at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.  We had a record turnout that year.

To introduce the theme, we showed this 3-minute.  Watch it here:  Are We Rome? FreedomFest 2013 on Vimeo

We had quite a group of speakers on this topic: 

Steve Forbes, author, “Power Ambition Glory: The Stunning Parallels between the Ancient World and Today.”

Lawrence W. Reed, president of FEE, “The Fall of Rome and Modern Parallels.” (Afterwards, he spoke numerous times around the country on this question, and write a pamphlet, “Are We Rome?” published by FEE:

Marc Eliot, Hollywood’s #1 biographer, on “Ben Hur, Spartacus, Cleopatra, Gladiator: Epic Films of Roman Times.”

Paul Cantor, University of Virginia professor of English literature, on “Empire and the Loss of Freedom: What Shakespeare’s Rome Can Tell About Us.”

Doug Casey (author and investment writer) vs. Harry Veryser (economist at the University of Detroit-Mercy and Catholic historian) will debate “Did Christianity Cause the Fall of Rome?”

Pat Heller, Liberty Coin Co., “The Rise and Fall of Rome’s Money — And What It Means for America Today.” He has samples of Roman coins to show attendees.

David Boaz, Cato Institute, “George Washington, a Modern-day Cincinnatus: The Man Who Would NOT be King.”

Jo Ann Skousen, professor of English literature at Mercy College and director of Anthem film festival, on “Greek and Roman Mythology in 50 Minutes.”

Jim Gwartney and Randy Holcomb (Florida State economists): “The Decline of Economic Freedom in America: Are We on the Path to Rome?”

Tom Palmer: “Rome’s Last Citizen: The Life and Legacy of Cato, Mortal Enemy of Caesar” and “Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome’s Greatest Citizen” — Tom is always knowledgeable on all things historical.

J. C. Bradbury, top sports economist (Kennesaw State University), on “Who Are The Modern-Day Gladiators? Sports as an Alternative to War.”

Valerie Durham, Isadora Duncan dance instructor, “Music and Dance in Roman Times.”

We are Different….

Of course, we are different from ancient Rome in a thousand ways.  Theirs was largely agrarian.  Our standard of living and technological advances are 100 times higher than the average Roman citizen of 2000 years ago.  Life expectancy was only 41 for Roman men and 29 for women.  Life was cheap.  Over half the population in the Roman empire were slaves.  Women could not vote.  Romans worshiped a plurality of gods, and only became Christian near the end.  They loved blood sports where for entertainment the masses enjoyed watching slaves and gladiators and even Christians die.  Dictators often killed their enemies (Cicero and Cato being prime examples.) 

There was virtually no middle class – only rich and poor.  After the republic, Rome was ruled mainly by tyrants and dictators.  And Roman leaders like Caesar and Augustus would be baffled by how the United States treated the conquered nations of Germany and Japan after World War II.  Finally, we are babes in the woods compared to Rome.  Our republic has lasted nearly 250 years; Rome lasted 1,000 years. 

…And We Are Alike

But in other ways, we are much like ancient Rome.  Both nations were born in a revolt against monarchy – the American colonies against a British sovereign, Rome against its own kings – and replaced it with a republic.  Like Rome of old, America dominates the world militarily, culturally, and economically.  American English is the language of commerce and science.  Like ancient Rome, we are a melting pot of ethnic groups.  Fifty states are united into a gigantic free-trade zone, and we’ve enjoyed decades without world war. 

As Adam Smith once said, “Little else is required for a nation to go from the lowest barbarism to the highest level of opulence but peace, easy taxes and a tolerable administration of justice.” 

Books and Speeches on Ancient Rome and Today

The question “Are We Rome?” remains a popular debate topic for Americans since we became a superpower in the 20th century.  Hollywood, in particular, has been fascinated with the story of ancient Rome, and many films with Roman themes have become classics, such as Ben Hur, Spartacus, and Gladiator. 

I have the first edition of a book, The New Deal in Old Rome, published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1939, in which the author, H. J. Haskell, a reporter for the Kansas City Star, contends that the decline and fall of the Roman empire was being reenacted in the United States after we went off the gold standard, adopted a welfare state, and pursued world war. 

“The spending for non-productive public works, for the bureaucracy, and for the army, led to excessive taxation, inflation, and the ruin of the essential middle class and its leaders,” Haskell writes in the preface.

The book proved to be a bestseller at the beginning of World War II.

The latest book is Are We Rome?  The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America, by another journalist, Cullen Murphy, published in 2007 by Houghton Mufflin. 

He answered, “Are we Rome?  In important ways we just might be.  In important ways we’re clearly making some of the same mistakes” (p. 206). 

Benefiting from Roman Traditions

It’s worth pointing out that America has drawn upon many Roman traditions.  I have a book entitled “Why We’re All Romans,” by historian Carl J. Richard.  He notes the following:  We use the Roman alphabet (rather than Greek, Chinese or Arabic).  Our months of the year, from January to December, are Roman.  July is named after Julius Caesar, August from Caesar Augustus.  Christmas grew out of an ancient Roman pagan festival honoring the agricultural go Saturn.  Most of the most influential Christian philosophers, including St Paul and Augustine, were Roman citizens.  The Bible was translated in the Latin Vulgate, and Latin was the official language of the Catholic mass until the 1960s. 

Fortunately, the West rejected the cumbersome Roman numerals and replaced them gradually with the far more productive Arabic numerals.  Ah, the benefits of cultural appropriation! 

The founders adopted many aspects of Roman law and politics, and the early years of the Roman republic were an inspiration to the American Constitution.  We have a Senate representing an upper-class group of legislators, and an assembly elected by the people (House of Representatives).  Rome and the United States share the symbol of the eagle (but so did the Nazis).  Our government building and Capitol are often an imitation of Roman architecture. 

The Rome That We Admire

The founding fathers were familiar with the history of the Roman empire and often sought to imitate their good traits.   

There are aspects of Roman leadership that we greatly admire, such as their building of their roads, bridges and aqueducts.  At the height of the Roman Empire, they had 370 separate highways stretching 53,000 miles, about the length of the US interstate system.  The roads were built to last, paved of stone and iron, and 10 feet deep.  Can we say the same for America’s infrastructure?  Many Roman roads, bridges and aqueducts can still be seen today, an engineering wonder.  How many presidents can say, as Augustus Caesar did, “I found it brick and left it marble”?

We admire the Roman Empire as a gigantic free-trade zone, and even though Augustus Caesar was a dictator, he lived frugally and modestly, and focused on a competent and efficient administration.  

For a period of time, Rome allowed free speech.  Anyone could criticize the emperor as long as he spoke inside the Forum. 

It has been a tradition to write or speak on liberty when visiting the Forum.  In 1854, John Stuart Mill and his wife Harriet visited the Forum and Mill came up with the idea of writing his libertarian tract, On Liberty, published in 1860.  In 1954, Friedrich Hayek followed in Mill’s footsteps and at the Forum decided to write his book The Constitution of Liberty, published in 1960.  Continuing this tradition, in 2009 I wore a toga and spoke freely in favor of “persuasion over force” in the Roman forum. See Persuasion vs. Force – MSKOUSEN.COM

Rome depended on the rule of law based on the Twelve Tables.  The United States created a Constitution that drew upon the ideas of Roman statesmen, including the idea of representative government, checks and balances, a judiciary, and limits (veto power) on our leaders. 

The founders admired the great statesmen, military leaders, orators, and philosophers from ancient Greece and Rome.  George Washington admired Cincinnatus, the Roman general who twice rescued Rome from attack, and each time retired to his farm.  John Adams sought to imitate Cicero, the famous orator, and Cato, the Young, public servants who spent their career battling the likes of Julius Caesar.  “Pushed and injured and provoked as I am, I blush not to imitation the Roman [Cicero],” said Adams.    

King George III was compared to Julius Caesar.  “We will have no Caesars in this country!” declared Benjamin Rush. 

One of the purposes of the US Constitution was to contain the power of ambitious and avarice leaders.  Benjamin Franklin warned, “We see the revenues of princes constantly increasing, and we see that they are never satisfied, but always in want of more.  I am apprehensive, perhaps too apprehensive, that the government of these states may in future times, end in a monarchy, and a King will sooner be set over us.” 

Lessons from Rome’s Mistakes

What lessons can we learn from Rome’s decline and fall? 

The founders saw that ancient Rome had no succession plan.  During the 2nd and 3rd centuries, 23 emperors were murdered.  It was always uncertain who would take their place.  The American founders provided a way to get rid of bad rulers through the impeachment process, and if a president died in office, to replace him with the vice president. 

Ancient Rome had a constitution based on a powerful devotion for centuries to custom, precedent and consensus, but which was not written.  That make it easier for an overzealous politician to bent the rules or simply disobey them.  For centuries Rome had two consuls running the government who were elected each year, and there were term limits.  But at the end of the Republic, ambitious generals ignored this tradition and sought to become dictators for life. 

This was one reason the founders insisted on a written constitution, although even then we know how easy it is to get around it. 

Historians point to over 200 reasons for Rome’s fall.  Rome destroyed itself internally and externally. Gradually its citizens became rich and decadent, demanding more free benefits from the government.  “Bread and circuses” were the rallying cry.  The welfare program offered free grain, olive oil and wine, and eventually eliminated a means test so that everyone qualified. 

Internally, the growing and expensive welfare state destroy not only destroyed the character of the Roman citizens, but its fiscal sanity.  The welfare state led to confiscatory taxation, excessive debt, inflation, and wage-price controls.  

We Americans are no fans of excessive government bureaucracy that Rome was famous for – tax collectors, administrators and soldiers were all a drain on the economy, and eventually leading to runaway inflation (coin clipping), and draconian wage and price controls edict under Diocletian in 301. 

Ancient Rome was also done in by costly foreign wars.  Just as Rome spread itself too thin around the ancient world, today the United States has 2.5 million troops stationed at over 700 bases in sixty countries. 

Will America split in two like Rome did into East (Constantinople) and West (Rome)? 

Mindful of these destructive policies in ancient Rome, our founders created the US Constitution to reduce the chances that America would follow the same fate.  Unfortunately, the Constitution can only do so much. 

As a student of history, I conclude that it is premature to say America is destined to collapse like the Roman empire.  But we are headed in that direction.  We are in many ways in decline.  Certainly China – the most serious threat to America’s dominance as the world’s #1 military and economic prowess – believes that the West is in decline and is doing everything in its military and economic power to take its place and achieve world domination by 1949, the 100th anniversary of the Communist takeover of China, what President Xi Jinping calls “the long game.” 

To summarize my view, I’m reminded of the story of a young man who approached Adam Smith, the venerable professor of moral philosophy at Glasgow University, and author of “The Wealth of Nations.”  The young man informed Dr. Smith that the British had lost to the Americans at Sarasota in 1777, a turning point in the War of Independence, and declared, “We are lost!”  To which Adam Smith replied, “There is much ruin in a nation.” 

There’s a great many good people residing her in America; let’s not sell America short. 

But let us not be blind to our growing problems.  We are in the early stages of decline, but there is no reason why we can turn things around.  All we need to for good men and women to fight for our rights and our liberties.  To quote a line from Shakespeare’s Caesar, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” 

Interestingly, the first Roman king was named Romulus.  Fittingly, a thousand years later, the last emperor of Rome was also named Romulus.  So beware if we have a future president by the name of Washington. 

My Schedule at FreedomFest 2020

by Mark Skousen
Editor, Forecasts & Strategies



Dear FreedomFest friends,

Welcome to the most HISTORIC FreedomFest ever.  The challenges have never been greater, even to put on “the world’s largest gathering of free minds.” 

Those of you who choose to attend are in for a never-to-forget experience. 

This year we have moved over to Caesars Palace. 

Every FreedomFest, the first thing I do is get the printed program and circle all the breakout sessions I want to attend.  You should do the same.  You can get started now by going online to, and see the entire up-to-date program.  There are over 200 sessions to choose from, including my wife’s Anthem film festival.

Order the thumb drive recordings!  Since I can only attend about 10% of all the sessions, the first thing I do is buy the recordings of the entire conference — contact Harold at 1-866-254-2057. 

Here are the sessions I have chosen to attend this year: 



12:30 – 1:20 pm. Milano.  “Who Has 20-20 Vision?  History, Science & Art of Forecasting, From Oracle of Delphi to Modern Times.”   This is a wide-ranging discussion of the science and art of forecasting over time, from the Greeks, the Biblical prophets, Nostradamus, to modern times.  I’ve had a life-long interest in predicting the future since starting my newsletter, Forecasts & Strategies, now in its 40th year.  My talk will include lots of stories about predictions that have come true, and others gone astray. 

1:30 – 2:25 pm.  Milano.  “Murray Rothbard as Historian:  Should ‘Conceived in Liberty’ be Aborted?”  Murray Rothbard wrote a controversial history of the United States, especially his volume 4 on the American Revolution and his just published volume 5 on the Constitution.  Panels include Patrick Newman, and legal expert Randy Barnett (I’ll be moderating). 

2:40 – 3:30 pm.  Milano.  “100 Years of the Socialist Calculation Debate:  Was Mises Right?” with George Gilder, Barbara Kolm, and Steve Forbes (with me as moderator). 



5 – 7 pm.  Opening Ceremonies in Main Stage #1 (Julius 25)Dave Smith, libertarian comedian extraordinaire and our emcee, will kick out our “emergency meeting” followed by Steve Forbes speaking on “The Two Biggest Threats to Our Prosperity Today.”  Steve will then moderate a panel on “The New Normal: How the World Has Permanently Changed” with George Gilder, Dr. Drew (Pinsky), Elan Journo (Ayn Rand Institute), and Kerry McDonald (FEE).  We will then have a second panel on “The Pandemic Election” led by Grover Norquist, with David McIntosh (Club for Growth), Rob Arnott (Research Affiliates), John Fund (National Review), and Tim Phillips (Americans for Prosperity).  Lastly, Wayne Root will introduce our final speaker, Donald J. Trump Jr. on “Rage Against the Swamp: A Pro-Freedom Agenda to Defeat Washington’s Est abolishment.” A tall order! 

7-8 pm.  Gala Opening Cocktail Party in the Exhibit Hall. I look forward to greeting each other and the exhibitors, what John Mackey calls “The Trade Show for Liberty,” and join in the autograph sessions at the FreedomFest bookstore.  Here’s a chance to buy one or more American eagle silver dollars from our coin dealers…and see if you can solve my daily “white mates in two” chess problem and win a silver dollar!  Hopefully you will encounter our libertarian card magician, Peter Studebaker.  What fun!

I’m always amazed at the buzz you feel entering the opening cocktail party as friends see old friends and make new ones.  There’s nothing like it.

As the late Nathaniel Brandon said at his first FreedomFest, “I feel an electricity here I haven’t felt in years.”



After breakfast, we’ll start the day’s session at 9 am with three main sessions (due to social distancing requirements).  The MC in main stage #1 is Dave Smith; in main stage #2 Monica Perez; and in main stage #3, Angela McArdle

9:10 – 10:10 am. Main stage #1 (Julius 25).  Dr. Drew will speak on “What’s in a Virus:  Understanding the History and Future of Pandemic Responses.”  I’ll be asking questions after his address, and taking questions from the audience. 

11:10 – 12 noon.  Verona.  “Bob Dylan, the Voice of a Generation.”  Jo Ann Skousen brings to live the lyrics and music of Bob Dylan, winner of the Nobel prize in literature.  This is what I love about FreedomFest.  It’s more than politics and money. 

12:10 – 1:10 pm. Florentine Ballroom.  Luncheon.  “Ask Dr. Drew!  America’s Doctor Answers Your Questions.”  Moderated by Michael Shermer, publisher, Skeptic magazine.  Ticket required.

1:20 – 2:10 pm. Verona. “The Golden Age of Jazz:  Celebrating 100 Years of a Unique American Artform,” with jazz drummer Luke Durham, and music aficionados Alex Green and Sean Malone.  This room is dedicated to Elis Marsalis Sr. and Jr.

2:30 – 3:30 pm.  Main stage #2 (Palace 1/2).  “Who Will Win in November? My Surprise Prediction,” by Allan Lichtman, professor at American University and author of “Keys to the White House” (via satellite).  Interviewed by Grover Norquist.  Prof. Lichtman has accurately predicted every presidential election from Reagan to Trump.

4:20 – 5:10 pm. Main stage #3 (Julius 24).  Tal Tsfany on “Ayn Rand and the Key to Happiness.”  The new president of the Ayn Rand Institute is an entertainment and spell-binding speaker. 

5:30 – 6:00 pm. Main stage #2 (Palace 1/2).  Jo Jorgensen, “With Liberty and Justice for All.”  Jorgensen is the Libertarian candidate for President.   

6:30 – 7:00 pm.  Main stage #3 (Julius 24) “The Five Arguments That Won’t Go Away,” with Tom Woods. 

7:00 – 8:30 pm.  Florentine Ballroom.  “Anthem VIP Masterclass and Reception.”  Ticket required. 



9 – 9:30 am.  Milano.  “The Great Inflation vs Deflation Debate” between Louis Navellier, Rob Arnott, and Steve Moore, moderated by Alex Green.  Will super easy money policies reignite inflation and higher interest rates? 

9:45 – 10:30 am. Main stage #1 (Julius 25).  “Pitch Tank Finale:  Your First Hand Experience to be a Shark!” with Jeff Barnes, Steve Forbes, and other judges.  Always a popular session.

11:10 – 12:00 pm. Augustus I/II.  “God Must be a Mathematician: The Beauty and Mystery of Math Revealed.” Daniele Struppa, president of Chapman University and a professor of mathematics, reveals the universal beauty of numbers.  Daniele is a practicing Catholic. 


1:20 – 2:10 pm. Georgetown law professor Randy Barnett on “100 Supreme Court Cases Everyone Should Know.”  100 seems a stretch, how about a dozen? 

2:30 – 3:00 pm.  Milano.  Professor Harry Veryser talks about his book, “It’s Didn’t Have to be This Way: Why Boom & Bust in Unnecessary & How the Austrians Break the Cycle.”

3:00-3:30 pm.  Milano.  I update my book, “A Viennese Waltz Down Wall Street” with a Eureka moment in Austrian Economics in my financial economics class at Chapman. 

4:20 – 5:10 pm. Roman 1/3.  Professor Mark J. Perry (AEI and U of Michigan) defends his passion, “Civil Rights for All – A Look at How Title IX is Being Abused Across College Campuses.”     Perry is one of the most brilliant economists I know. 


4:20 – 5:10 pm.  Hawaii Pacific Prof. Ken Schoolland on “How to Make US Shipping Great Again: The Case Against the 100-Year Jones Act.”  Ken is the author of the great book, “The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible.”  Pick up a copy at the FreedomFest bookstore. 

6 – 7:15 pm. Main stage #1 (Julius 25)  “The Response to the Pandemic on Trial.”  The mock trial is our most popular event each year.  This year we are putting the pandemic/lockdown on trial, with Tom Woods as judge, Catherine Bernard as prosecuting attorney, Michael Shermer as defending attorney, and star witnesses Joel Hay, Steve Moore, and Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly.  The sparks will fly!  Both entertaining and educational.

8 – 9:30 pm. Florentine Ballroom.  40th Anniversary Celebration of Forecasts & Strategies.  A roast and toast with Louis Navellier, Alex Green, Steve Forbes, Adrian Day, Roger Michalski, and Jo Ann Skousen. Response by Mark Skousen.  Limited to 200 subscribers. 



8 – 8:50 am. Florentine Ballroom. A Breakfast with Steve Forbes and Mark Skousen“We Mean Business:  How Adam Smith’s Model of Enlightened Capitalism Can Save Us!” based on Steve Forbes’s book “How Capitalism Can Save Us.” 

9 – 9:45 am. Milano.  “10 Stocks to Buy Now,” with Mark Skousen, Alex Green, Hilary Kramer, and Jim Woods.  Moderated by Roger Michalski. I will have to leave early for the next session. 

9:30 – 10:30 am. Main stage #2 (Palace 1/2).  My wife Jo Ann Skousen and I discuss “What’s Better than Democratic Socialism?  Democratic Capitalism!”  A unique approach that converts many socialists to capitalists! 

11:10 – 12:00 noon. Main stage #1 (Julius 25).  I interview Senator Rand Paul and his wife Kelley on their co-authored book “The Case Against Socialism.”  During this session, I will present them with the annual Leonard E. Read Book Award.  Read this book!

12:10 – 1:10 pm. Florentine Ballroom.  Lunch with Senator Rand Paul and Kelley Paul.  “Behind the Scenes in Washington.”  Time to ask questions. 

1:20 – 2:20 pm.  Main stage #1 (Julius 25).  Closing Panel:  What Have We Learned?  How Do We Go Forward?  With Steve Forbes and others TBD.  Plus announcing next year’s theme and celebrity speaker (you’ll be amazed). 

2:40 – 3:30 pm. Main stage #3 (Julius 24).  “Self-Reliance:  Are You Prepared to Survive the Next Global Crisis?” with Van Simmons, Gary Collins, and Captain Jim Green. 

3:50 – 4:40 pm. Main stage #2 (Palace 1/2).  “Modern Times Turns 200:  The Truth about the Robber Barons and the Industrial Revolution.” Steve Forbes and I take a revisionist approach about the Gilded Age of Rockefeller, Carnegie, Morgan, and Ford. 

6 – 7 pm. Main stage #1.  Reception and gala banquet, “The Roaring 20s: FreedomFest Farewell Banquet.”  MC by Dave Smith.  Anthem film festival hosted by Jo Ann Skousen. Tribute to Ed Crane.  Music and entertainment by The Moonshiners.


After a long four-day event, it feels great to get out on the dance floor.  See you there!

This is also my opportunity to thank everyone who has worked so hard and put in countless hours or work and creativity to make this year’s FreedomFest and Anthem Film Festival an incredible success — Valerie Durham, our conference director; Matt Day, Autumn Bennett, Nathan WilliamsHarold Skousen, our registration team, and of course my wife Jo Ann. 

And see you next year!  Dates are July 14-17, 2021, at the Paris Resort, Las Vegas.  Both John Mackey and Steve Forbes will be there.  Details to be announced soon at

Yours for peace, prosperity and liberty, AEIOU,

Mark Skousen




by Mark Skousen
Editor, Forecasts & Strategies


Dear FreedomFest friends,

Welcome to another great FreedomFest, “the world’s largest gathering of free minds.”

Every FreedomFest, the first thing I do is get the printed program and circle all the breakout sessions I want to attend.  You should do the same.  You can get started now by going online to, and see the entire up-to-date program.  There are over 260 sessions to choose from, including my wife’s Anthem film festival.

Order the MP3 Recordings!  Since I can only attend about 10% of all the sessions, the first thing I do is buy the recordings of the entire conference — order forms can be found at the Registration Table.

Here are the sessions I have chosen to attend this year:



12 – 12:50 pm. Champagne 1. “Meeting at High Noon:  The Insider Guide to This Year’s FreedomFest: Plus the Book the New Socialists Fear the Most.” 

This is an introduction to this year’s events, highlighting my favorite sessions. I will also talk about the incredible response to my full-page ad in The Economist (over 1 million subscribers), “The Making of Modern Economics: The Lives and Ideas of the Great Thinkers,” third ed. now published by Routledge.

1-1:50 pm. Bordeaux.  “My Favorite Western Actors: John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Jimmy Stewart” by Marc Eliot, Hollywood #1 biography.  He has written full-length biographies of all three.  Glad to have Marc Eliot back.

I’m also interested in attending in Champagne 1 the session entitled “Building Zion: Mormons and the American West,” with BYU Professor Daniel Peterson, a regular at FreedomFest.  Prof. Peterson will speak of the Mormon pioneers settling of the West, their practice of polygamy and socialism (“United Orders”), their attitude toward the native Americans, and the Book of Mormon as American scripture.

2 – 2:50 pm.  Bordeaux.  “Confucius, Lao Tzu, and Lin Yutang:  What the West Can Learn from Eastern Philosophy.” I’ll be on a panel with Keli’i Akina, president of the Grassroot Institute Hawaii and Doug Casey.  Keli’i will claim that Confucius, considered the most influential Chinese philosopher in history, was actually a libertarian; Doug Casey will discuss “the first libertarian” Lao-Tzu and the father of Taoism; and I will make the argument that Lin Yutang, who lived in the East and the West, is the greatest Chinese philosopher of the 20th century.

3 – 3:50 pm.  Burgundy.  “Best of Western Lit: What We Can Learn Today from Dante’s Inferno,” by Daniele Struppa, president of Chapman University.  I’ll be introducing him.  Abandon hope, all ye who enter here!  He will make the case that we should still study Western civilization, and then explain how Dante is relevant to today.



4:45 – 7 pm.  Opening Ceremonies in Rivoli Main Ballroom.  Lots of fireworks with Wayne Root on “Go West, Young Capitalists (to Texas, Nevada, but Not California!)….My interview free-market environmentalists Terry Anderson and P. J. Hill on “Anarchy and the Long Arm of the Law: How Wild Was the Wild West?”….Leonore Skenazy on “The Free Range Life of Raising Children”…Hollywood’s #1 biographer Marc Eliot on “Why the Western Captured the Imagination of America”…Actor Kevin Sorbo on “The Liberty Life, Hollywood-Style”…Herman Cain on “A Life in Business and Politics”…and finally Elizabeth Ames interviews Cain and Stephen Moore on “What I would Have Done at the FED.”

We will then be escorted into the Exhibit Hall with a music performance by Mark Lee Gardner and Rex Rideout playing an upbeat version of “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” the #1 Western song of all time.

7-8 pm.  Gala Opening Cocktail Party in the Exhibit Hall. I look forward to greeting each other and the exhibitors, what John Mackey calls “The Trade Show for Liberty,” and join in the autograph sessions at the FreedomFest bookstore.  Here’s a chance to buy one or more American eagle silver dollars from our coin dealers…and see if you can solve my daily “white mates in two” chess problem.  Hopefully you will encounter our libertarian card magician, Peter Studebaker, and meet up with Western musicians Mark Lee Gardner and Rex Rideout.  What fun!

Be sure to have a photo taken in front of the historic Wells Fargo Stage Coach.  I’ll be there.

I’m always amazed at the buzz you feel entering the opening cocktail party as friends see old friends and make new ones.  There’s nothing like it.

As the late Nathaniel Brandon said at his first FreedomFest, “I feel an electricity here I haven’t felt in years.”



We’re start the day’s session at 8 am with a welcome from our new MC Jason Stapleton.  I will make some general announcements about this year’s FreedomFest, including our “Wild West on Wall Street Summit,” and my wife Jo Ann will talk about this year’s selections in the Anthem film festival, which runs throughout the conference.

8:20 – 8:50 am.   Rivoli Main Ballroom.  Global Economic Summit with Veronique de Rugy (moderator), Peter Schiff, Magatte Wade, Olav Dirkmatt, and Barbara Kolm discussing Trump trade wars, Latin America’s turning socialist/Marxist, European nationalism, China’s future, and corruption in South Africa.

During the morning general sessions, we will also hear from our many financial sponsors.  One is Michael Sheppard of Treasurer Investments, who will announce a silent auction of a beautiful bronze American Eagle sculpture.  You can bid on it throughout the conference.

9:10 – 9:30 am.  Rivoli Ballroom.  Libertarian media personality John Stossel on “Calling Out the Politicians,” highlighting his encounters with the Powers That Be in Death Star (Washington DC).

9:50-10:00 am.  Rivoli ballroom.  I will interview Michael Lathigee, president of Investment Club of America, which specializes in investing in successful private business.  I’m an investor, and the Club has made a lot of money.

11 am – 12 noon.  Rivoli ballroom.  This is our big debate this year, “Conscious Capitalism vs Pure Greed,” between John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, and Kevin O’Leary, author of “The Cold Hard Truth” about business and investing.  I serve as the moderator.  Hold onto your hats!

Mr. O’Leary is so enthused about this debate that he did a 2 min promo for us.  Watch it here:

12 noon – 1:00 pm.  Champagne 2. Special luncheon (ticket required) with Kevin O’Leary, who will speak on “The Inside Story of Shark Tank.”  Kevin tells me that people have a ton of questions about Shark Tank — he’s ready to reveal all, and said he’s willing to stay longer to answer people’s questions.  Limited seating!

1:10 -1:35 pm. Vendome A.  “How Not to Get Rich:  What You Can Learn from the Financial Misadventures of Mark Twain” by Alan Pell Crawford.  I listened to his audio book of the same name, and found it fascinating that the country’s most successful American author ended up broke because of speculative fever.  Join me, as you learn more about your mistakes than your winners.

1:10 – 2 pm.  Champagne 1.  “Investment Strategies that Really Work” with Mike Lathigee, president of Investment Club of America.  I’ll head over to this session after attending Crawford’s talk on Mark Twain.  Lathigee invests your money in successful businesses, and has a great track record.  Become a member!  I did, and am collecting monthly checks.

I’m also tempted to attend Randy Barnett’s interview with attorney Alan Dershowitz in the Rivoli ballroom (via Skype).  He’s my favorite celebrity lawyer.

2:10-3:00 pm.  Champagne 1.  “God or No God” Debate:  “The New Atheists:  Are They Right about God?”  Hyrum Lewis, BYU-Idaho professor and author of “There is a God: How to Respond to Atheism in the Last Days” will take on Michael Shermer, founding publisher of Skeptic magazine and prolific author.  Alex Green will moderate.  Can’t wait for this one!

3:10 – 4:00 pm. Vendome A.  “Investing in Private American Businesses:  Democratic Capitalism at its Best” with Vince Foster, chairman and founder, Main Street Capital.  Since its inception in 2007, Foster’s private equity fund has outperformed the stock market and even Warren Buffett.  He will reveal his secrets to his 98% success rate investing in private companies — unheard of!  This is my #1 stock recommendation (up 25% this year alone).  After his talk, we will have a meet and greet.  See you there!

4:30 – 6:30 pm.  Rivoli ballroom.  General sessions with Rich Lowry, editor of National Review; Kevin Williamson on his new book, “The Smallest Minority”; an all-women’s panel on “After Ayn Rand: The Power and Vision of Libertarian Women,” with Naomi Brockwell, Jennifer Grossman, Terry Kibbe, Stephanie Lips, and Jenny Beth Martin.  Moderated by Valerie Durham.  And “The Battle for the Hearts and Minds of Millennials:  Will Liberty or Socialism Win?” hosted by John Stossel.  He will be asking tough questions to the presidents of fourth youth organizations.

8:00-9:00 pm.  Champagne 2.  FreedomFest Square Dance & Show, with professional caller Vern Vernazzaro and the Mama Wranglers. Join us, whether single or couple.  This will be an unforgettable evening.  My wife and I have been looking forward to this square dance for months!



8:30 – 10:30 am.  Rivoli Ballroom, General Sessions.  Judge Douglas Ginsburg (President Reagan’s original choice for the Supreme Court) on “Constitution Day,” sponsored by Free to Choose; Pitch Tank, where the top 4 growing businesses will compete for the top prize — always fun to watch.  (John Mackey and Kevin Harrington, among others, will be the judges.)  We will also hear from some of our financial sponsors.

10:30 – 11 am.  Coffee break in the Exhibit Hall.  Autograph sessions at the FreedomFest bookstore, brose over 100 exhibitors.  Get a picture taken at the Wells Fargo Stage Coach.  C-SPAN will be doing interviews at their booth on Thursday and Friday.

11 – 11:50 am. Chablis.  “Billy the Kid and Jesse James: American Robin Hoods or Wild West Psychopaths?” with Mark Lee Gardner and Rex Rideout.  They will play some ballads of both outlaws.  Not to be missed!

Another tempting session is the big debate in the Rivoli ballroom on “Immigration:  Open Borders or Walls?” between Candace Owens and Wayne Allyn Root (for the wall), and Doug Casey and Rakesh Wadhwa (for open borders).  Rich Lowry of National Review will be the moderator of this angry debate.

12 – 1:00 pm. Versailles 2.  “Eating Meat is Neither Healthy or Ethical — Or is it?” Debate for a full hour or longer between John Mackey (Whole Foods Market) and Bruce Friedrich (The Good Food Institute) and Joel Salatin (outspoken Christian libertarian farmer from Virginia) and Jeff Riley (Fitness Innovations).  Alex Green will be the moderator.  Let the food fight begin — it will certainly build up an appetite for a late lunch.

Another tempting session is the debate in the Rivoli ballroom, “Trump’s Trade War:  Art of the Deal, or No Deal?” pitting Stephen Moore (defending Trump) against GMU Professor Don Boudreaux (pro free trade).  Richard Rahn as moderator.

There are a couple of other events you may want to consider:  The Anthem film festival panel, “Out of Our Minds: Do Patents Foster Innovation or Kill it?” with George Gilder, Jenny Beth Martin, Luke Livington, and Paul Wendee.  In Versailles 3.

I see that bestselling author Tom Clavin is doing a roundtable in the Exhibit Hall on his new book, “Wild Bill Hickok:  The True Story of the American Frontier’s First Gunfighter.” 

1:00-2:00 pm.  Lunch in Champagne 2 with Forbes economist John Tamny, “the Genius of Income Inequality,” sponsored by FreedomWorks.  (Get a free ticket at their booth 401).

2:10-2:35 pm.  I’ll back in the Vendome A financial seminar room for “Top Ten Stocks to Buy Now” with Hilary Kramer, Jim Woods, and yours truly.  Moderated by Roger Michalski, publisher of Eagle Financial Publications.  This session could pay for your trip to Vegas!

Afterwards, I’ll be attending the rest of the session in Versailles 2, “Progressive or Oppressive?  Balancing the History of Manifest Destiny” with historians Tom Clavin, Stephen R. C. Hicks, and John Prevas.  Gary Alexander, moderating.

3:10 – 4:00 pm. Champagne 1.  “3:10 to Yuma:  Hollywood and the Romantic Ideal of the Old West,” with Marc Eliot.  I’ll be introducing him, and will find out why Westerns were so popular, then died out.

Another tempting session in the Rivoli ballroom is “The Dirty Dozen of Federal Laws,” with John Stossel (moderator), Keli’i Akina, Anastasia Boden, and economist extraordinaire Sean Flynn.  I can think of several:  The Jones Act, Ethanol subsidies, federal civil asset forfeiture laws, the drug laws, Social Security and Medicare….It will be interesting what this group of experts come up with.

4:00 – 4:30 pm.  Exhibit hall break.

4:30 – 4:50 pm.  Rivoli ballroom.  “On the Other Side of Race:  A View for the Future,” with Candace Owens, the fiery black conservative.

4:50 – 6:05 pm. Rivoli ballroom.  The mock trial, our most popular event.  This year we are putting “The Second Amendment on Trial,” with prosecuting attorney Michael Shermer and defending attorney John Lott.  Plus star witnesses, and a jury of 12 from the audience.  And for the first time, I will serve as the Judge!  A very controversial subject.

6:05 – 6:50 pm. Rivoli ballroom.  “The Magic of Liberty,” with Penn Jillette of the famed magic act Penn & Teller, followed by Penn & talk show host Glenn Beck:  “An Odd Couple Talks Liberty” and Q&A from the audience.  Fun!

7:00 – 8:00 pm. Champagne 3.  Penn Jillette Reception (ticket required).  Great opportunity to meet Penn and have your picture taken with him.

Afterwards, Conversation Circle with Marc Eliot (on Woodstock 50 years ago), reception for comedian Evan Sayet, yoga with Lauren Williams, Anthem film festival, and karaoke!



7:30 – 8:30 am.  Champagne 2.  Breakfast with the Skousens!  Jo Ann will be speaking on “Investing for Two: How Couples Can Successfully Manage Their Finances,” with my comments afterwards.  We gave this talk at the Las Vegas Money Show and it was very well received.  Hope to see you there.

8:30 – 10 am.  Rivoli Ballroom.  “Freedom v Socialism: Why America Has Always Been Great,” with talk show host and author Glenn Beck.  He will be followed by “Our Wild Ride in Washington,” a panel with Senator Mike Lee, Representatives Justin Amash and Thomas Massie.  Hosted by Matt Kibbe and Free the People (expect a lot of controversy).  We also have a panel on “War and Peace: What is it Good For?”, with top foreign policy experts assessing the dangers in the Middle East and other hot spots around the world.  Moderated by Zilvinas Silenas, the new president of FEE.

9:55 – 10:00 am.  Rivoli ballroom. After this panel, I will present the Leonard E. Read Book Award to Cato’s Christopher Preble for his excellent new book “Peace, War and Liberty.”  This is our annual book award to authors who promote liberty.  It suggests “Read This Book!”  Chris will sign books during the 10:30 coffee break.

10- 10:30 am. Rivoli ballroom.  Before the coffee break, we have one more panel, “How to Argue Against the Socialists of All Parties” sponsored by the Reason editors Matt Welch, Katherine Mangu-Ward, and Nick Gillespie.  Reason has its tradition “Reason Day” sessions on Saturday.

10:30 – 11:00 am. Coffee break in the Exhibit Hall.  Be sure to pick up a signed copy of Christopher Preble’s new book, winner of the Read Book Award.

11-11:50 am.  Versailles 2.  “Funding Libertarians on Campus:  Hostile Takeover or Academic Balance?” with Daniele Struppa (Chapman U.), Jim Gwartney (FSU), and Don Boudreaux (GMU).  Gary Alexander moderating.  Marxists are famous for taking over departments.  Should libertarians do the same?

You might also want to see Charles Murray and his wife Catherine Cox talk about their book “Apollo” in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the landing of the moon.  They are going to be interviewed by Ed Hudgins on the topic “The Final Frontier:  Moon Landing, Star Wars, and Space Exploration.”  The interview is via Skype satellite in the Rivoli ballroom.  Perfect for this occasion.


12:00 – 12:50 pm.  Rivoli ballroom.  Closing Panel with Senator Mike Lee, Congressman Justin Amash, Jennifer Grossman, John Fund, and Magatte Wade.  I’ll be moderating.  We will discuss what we have learned at this year’s conference, and we talk about what we can expect in the next year.  I will also announce theme for FreedomFest 2020, and our controversial celebrity speaker for next year.  We will announce the winner of the $1776 prize, or two free tickets, to next year’s FreedomFest, donated by Valaurum.  Treasure Investments will announce the high bidder in the silent auction for the beautiful Eagle sculpture.

12:50 – 1 pm.  Group photo in front of the Wells Fargo Stage Coach in the Exhibit Hall for all those who have a silver dollar.  Not to be missed!

1-2 pm.  Lunch – Kiosk open in the Exhibit Hall, or sign up for a hosted luncheon.

2:10 – 3:00 pm.  Versailles 2.  “The Wild in the Wild West was RIGHT!  The Case for Anarchy” with Jeff Berwick, Doug Casey, and Katherine Mangu-Ward.  I will be the moderator and will challenge these crazy anarchists.

3:10 – 4:00 pm.  Loire.  “Call of the Wild West: Jack London, Socialist or Rugged Individualist?”  I will be presenting my views of America’s most popular writer of Western fiction.  I’ve been a lifelong reader of his books and short stories.  What is the true meaning of his classic “Call of the Wild”?  The answer may surprise you.  I will also read you my favorite short story by Jack London.

4:10 – 5 pm.  Versailles 2.  One final “Showdown in the FreedomFest Corral:  Which is Better, Democratic Capitalism or Socialism?”  John Mackey will take on a hard-core Marxist professor, Barry Eidlin (McGill University in Montreal).  I will serve as moderator.

6:00 – 10:00 pm.  Rivoli ballroom.  Saturday evening reception and banquet (ticket required) with the Amish Outlaws rock n roll band and Loop Rawlins, the cowboy entertainer.  Dinner, desert, the Anthem film festival awards, and much more.  Musicians Mark Lee Gardner and Rex Rideout, as well as libertarian magician Peter Studebaker will be making the rounds during the cocktail reception.


After a long four day event, it feels great to get out on the dance floor.  See you there!


This is also my opportunity to thank everyone who has worked so hard and put in countless hours or work and creativity to make this year’s FreedomFest and Anthem Film Festival an incredible success — Valerie Durham, our conference director; Autumn Bennett, Norann Dillon, Nathan Williams, Harold Skousen, our registration team, and of course my wife Jo Ann. 


And see you next year!  Dates are July 13-16, 2020, at the Paris Resort, Las Vegas.  Details to be announced soon at


Yours for peace, prosperity and liberty, AEIOU,

Mark Skousen



FreedomFest 2018: My Favorite Sessions to Attend This Year

by Mark Skousen
Editor, Forecasts & Strategies

Dear FreedomFest friends,

Welcome to another great FreedomFest, “the world’s largest gathering of free minds.”

Every FreedomFest, the first thing I do is get the printed program and circle all the breakout sessions I want to attend.  You should do the same.  You can get started now by going online to “agenda” at and see the entire up-to-date program.

Here are the sessions I have chosen to attend this year:


1-1:50 pm. Champagne 1.   “Antonio Gramsci and the Cultural Revolution:  How Marxists Took Over Higher Education, and How to Take it Back,” with Daniele Struppa, president of Chapman University.  I’ll be introducing him.

2 – 2:50 pm.  Champagne 4.  “Freedom Festschrift:  Murray Rothbard, Pro and Con.”  I’ll be telling great stories about my relationship with the dean of the American school of Austrian economics.  Other panelists include Walter Block and Jeff Tucker.  Moderated by Hunter Hastings.  Expect lots of discussion and debate.

3 – 4 pm.  Champagne 4.  “Adam Smith, Marx and Keynes:  Who’s Winning the Battle of Ideas?”  Marxism is still alive and kicking on the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx’s birth — the same year that Mary Shelly wrote “Frankenstein” — when two monsters were born!  I’ll compare Marx’s influence with Adam Smith and Keynes.  Ken Schoolland will introduce me, and Steve Forbes will participate in an historic ceremony at the end.  Don’t miss it!


4:45 – 6:40 pm.  Rivoli Main Ballroom.  Lots of fireworks with Steve Forbes on “The Voice of Reason in the Age of Trump”; Dr. Keith Ablow on “What Gives the Human Brain the Ability to Reason”; a debate/panel on “A World Gone Mad…” with Larry Elder (moderator), David Boaz (Cato), Deneen Borelli (Fox News contributor), Jennifer Grossman (Atlas), and Ross Douthat (NYTimes columnist).

Then we have Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock, Inc., on the revolutionary block chain and digital currency revolution.

And last but not least, George Will on “Discord?  Nonsense.  America’s Biggest Problem is Consensus.”  After his talk, Alex Green and I will interview him on “The Most Predictable Crisis in American History,” and his views on Eric Hoffer’s disturbing book, “The True Believer,” and how it applies today.

The Wall Street Journal calls George Will “the most powerful journalist in America,” and he has the distinction of having worked with ABC News, Fox News, and now MSNBC.  What does he think of each network?  I plan to ask him Wednesday night.  I’ll be joined by Alex Green (Oxford Club) for an unforgettable interview.

Then I look forward to our gala opening cocktail party, a chance to mingle with each other and the exhibitors, what John Mackey calls “The Trade Show for Liberty,” and autograph sessions at the FreedomFest bookstore.  Here’s a chance to buy one or more American eagle silver dollars…and see if you can solve my daily “white mates in two” chess problem.  Hopefully you will encounter our libertarian card magician, Peter Studebaker.  What fun!

I’m always amazed at the buzz you feel entering the opening cocktail party as friends see old friends and make new ones.  There’s nothing like it.

As the late Nathaniel Brandon said at his first FreedomFest, “I feel an electricity here I haven’t felt in years.”


We’re start the day’s session at 8:20 am with a welcome from Naomi Brockwell.  I will make some general announcements about this year’s FreedomFest, including our “Fast Money Summit,” and my wife Jo Ann will talk about this year’s selections in the Anthem film festival. 

8:30 – 9:00 am. Rivoli Main Ballroom.  Global Economic Summit with Steve Forbes, Rodolfo Milani, Steve Moore, Jim Rogers, Magatte Wade, and Barbara Kolm (moderator) discussing Trump trade wars, Latin America’s turning socialist/Marxist, European nationalism, China’s future, and corruption in South Africa.

10 – 10:30 am.  Rivoli Main Ballroom.  Libertarian CEO Panel, “Can Conscious Capitalism Make a Difference?” with John Mackey, CEO, Whole Foods Market, and Andy Puzder, former CEO, CKE Restaurants (Carl’s Jr., and Hardee’s) and Trump’s first choice for Labor Secretary.   I plan on a “true or false” quiz for them and the audience to keep the session lively.

11:15 am – 1 pm.  Rivoli Ballroom.  Keynote speaker:  Judge Andrew Napolitano on “What If You Lived in a Country Where the Constitution Meant Nothing?” followed by luncheon in Champagne 2 with Steve Forbes:  “The Judge Answers Your Tough Questions” about the Supreme Court, Trump, immigration, religion, civil forfeitures, etc.

Breakout sessions begin at 1 pm, and we’ve reduced the choices to 10 — but it’s still difficult to choose.  Our “Fast Money Summit” starts at this time, and I’ll be involved from time to time.  Here’s what I’m planning to attend:

1 – 1:50 pm.  Versailles 2.  “DEBATE:  Is Faith Compatible with Reason?” between BYU Professor Daniel Peterson and Scientific American columnist and Skeptic editor Michael Shermer.  I came up with the idea of this debate after reading two books that have opposite conclusions:  In “The Closing of the Western Mind,” historian Charles Freeman argues that the “rise of Christian faith resulted in the fall of reason” in the first 1,000 years after Christ; while in “The Victory of Reason,” Baylor sociologist Rodney Stark contends that “Christianity led to freedom, capitalism, and Western success.”  Who’s right?  Peterson and Shermer will battle it out.  C-SPAN coverage! 

2 – 2:50 pm. Versailles 3.  Anthem Film Festival Room.  “PANEL: 200 Years of Frankenstein:  Leviathan and the Mad Scientist.”  In 1818, Mary Shelley wrote her famous horror novel.  We will hear from top experts on the controversies and meaning of the monster in literature, film and culture:  Reason’s science editor Ron Bailey; and literary professors Socky O’Sullivan (Rollins College) and Jo Ann Skousen (Chapman University).

2:50 – 3:20 pm.  Coffee Break in exhibit hall.  I’ll be enjoying the FreedomFest bookstore, visiting exhibitors, and watching the “pop up” entertainment. And stop by our Eagle booth and say hello!  This is a great time to renew your subscription to my newsletter and trading services.

3:20-4:10 pm.  Versailles 2.  “THE PLAYBOY DEBATE:  Should We Dedicate a Room to Hugh Hefner?”  Every year we dedicate our various rooms to patriots who have died in the past year.  (They will be listed in the official program.)  Steven Watts, professor of history at Missouri U, has written the story of “Mr. Playboy:  Hugh Hefner and the American Dream,” and will argue that Hefner liberated American society from Puritanical sexual neuroses.  Taking the opposite view will be NYTimes conservative columnist Ross Douthat, who has declared Mr. Playboy to be a chauvinist pornographer who exploited women and made our culture “coarser, crueler, and more sterile.”  A timely debate in this “me too” age.  Debate will be moderated by Jennifer Grossman (Atlas Society).  C-SPAN coverage! 

4:20 – 6:30 pm.  Rivoli Main Ballroom.  General sessions include a panel on market-driven solutions to our healthcare crisis; talks by Deneen Borelli on race relations; Robert Kiyosaki on investing; and Rich Lowry (editor of National Review) on “Should We Be Afraid of the New American Nationalism?” (I am.)

I’ll be especially interested in the remarks by Robert Kiyosaki, author of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” the #1 financial bestseller ever (26 million copies in print).  I have mixed feelings about his advice, which tends to be doom-and-gloom.  He wrote “Rich Dad’s Prophecy” in 2002, predicting a gigantic crash in 2016.  We did have a financial panic in 2008, but since then it’s been the mother of all bull markets.  He rejects the traditional advice to “go to college, get a good job, stay out of debt, and invest long term in the stock market.”  He says this advice is obsolete.  Instead, one must be an entrepreneur in real estate and business.  But is his advice sound for everyone?

6:10 – 6:40 pm.  Rivoli Ballroom.  We have just added another big debate, “Newsmax vs New York Times!” This debate will star Wayne Allyn Root (Newsmax radio/tv host) vs Ross Douthat (NYTimes columnist).  The topic will be explosive:  “Is Trump Another Reagan — or a Mussolini?”  Our most controversial Trump debate yet.   

After 8 pm, there are lots of fun things to do.  We have a series of “conversational circles,” where attendees discuss various topics in separate rooms — on foreign policy led by Ed Rush, investments by Jim Woods, and libertarian issues by Walter Block.  Anthem film festival will also be showing “The Housing Bubble,” followed by a panel starring Doug Casey, Jim Rogers, Peter Schiff, Gene Epstein, and others.


7:30 – 8:30 am.  Champagne 3.  Start off early with breakfast with Yeonmi Park, North Korean defector and author of the new book “In Order to Live:  A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom.”  I look forward to her perspective on potential opening up of relations with North Korea.

Then we have general sessions in Rivoli Main Ballroom with Jenny Beth Martin updating us on the Tea Party Movement; Matt Kibbe (Free the People) on a new technology, “Atlas Shoved:  The 21st Century Motor!”; and the annual Pitch Tank competition with Kevin Harrington, Steve Forbes, John Mackey, Bernt Ullmann, and Greg Writer (moderator).

Breakout sessions begin after the coffee break….

11:00 – 11:50 am.  Burgundy.  Tom Palmer (Atlas Network) on “The Age of Reason: The Common Sense of Tom Paine.”  Tom is our resident philosopher, always insightful.

12:00 – 12:50 pm.  I’m going to either the Chablis for Larry Reed’s session, “Was Jesus a Socialist?” or the Rivoli Ballroom for the panel “The Assassination of Western Civilization:  What’s Causing our Society to Decline?” with Steve Forbes, Deirdre McCloskey, John Prevas, and Barry Strauss (Gary Alexander to moderate).

1 – 1:50 pm.  Lunch with hosted exhibitors or on your own.

2 – 2:50 pm.  Bordeaux.  I take on Jeff Berwick, producer of AnarchaPulco, on “The Ultimate Libertarian Debate:  Should You Vote?”  Many libertarians refuse to participate in the political process, which they say is inherently corrupt and immoral.  They have been influenced by such books as “None of the Above” by Sy Leon and “Don’t Vote–It Just Encourages the Bastards,” by P. J.  O’Rourke.  Not to be missed!

Then back to the Fast Money Summit in the Vendome A room:

3 – 3:25 pm.  Vendome A.  “What am I Missing:  The Ultimate Question for All Bears and Bulls,” where moderator Eric Gemelli will be asking this tough question to Doug Casey, Keith Fitz-Gerald, Alex Green, and Jim Rogers. 

3:25 – 3:50 pm.  Vendome A.  I’ll be interviewing Prof. Deirdre McCloskey in “The Capital Debate:  Which is More Important, Investment or Ideas?” and challenging her book title, “Bourgeois Equality:  How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enrich the World.”

4:00 – 4:30 pm.  Champagne 2.  I’ll be attending FreedomWorks reception, “Midterm Elections: Can Limited Government Make a Comeback?” with John Fund, pollster Brett Loyd, and Adam Brandon.  Brett Loyd is one of the few pollsters who predicted Trump’s victory.

Then back in the Rivoli Main Ballroom for…

4:35 – 4:55 pm.  Heather Mac Donald on “The Delusion of Diversity”

4:55-5:15 pm.  I’ll be leading a half hour panel on “Are We Making a Difference?  A Freedom Movements Progress Report” with Tom Palmer (Atlas Network), Larry Reed (FEE), Adam Brandon (FreedomWorks) and Charlie Copeland (Intercollegiate Studies Institute).

At 5:15 pm, we begin our most popular event, the mock trial.  This year we are putting the “Public School System on Trial,” starring Kennedy (Fox News) as the Judge; prosecuting attorney Bob Bowdon; Defending attorney “Tick” Segerblom; star witnesses Cory DeAngelis (Cato), Vicki Alger (Independent Institute), Julian Heilig (Sacramento State and NAACP); and Lisa Sparks (Orange County School System, California).  Naomi Brockwell will be the foreman.  And 12 jurors selected from the audience.  Let the debate begin!

There’s plenty going on after the mock trial (conversation circles, Anthem film festival, and Karaoke after dark), but I have a couple of dinners I am going to.


7:30 – 8:25 am.  Another breakfast, this time with a debate between me and Alex Green on “Can You Predict the Future?”  He says no, I say yes.  Lots of historical examples.  We did this debate once before at a conference, and it was electrifying.  Eric Gemelli is the moderator.

8:30 – 8:45 am.  Rivoli Main Ballroom.  A testy debate on Tesla Motors and Elon MuskKeith Fitz-Gerald (Money Map) defends Tesla while Rob Arnott, the godfather of smart beta, contends that Tesla is too far in debt to escape bankruptcy.  Jim Woods as moderator.

Following the debate, I’ll be announcing the winner of this year’s Leonard E. Read Book Award.  Read this book!

Afterwards, we will have a series of talks and panels:  Republican leaders Senator Mike Lee, and representatives Thomas Massie and Tom Garrett on “Republicans Gone Wild”….Magatte Wade on the future of Africa…Libertarians on winning in November with Bill Weld, Jim Gray, Ron Nielson and Ben Swann….and Reason editors Nick Gillespie, Matt Welch, and Katherine Mangu-Ward on the future of libertarianism and Reason Foundation.

After the coffee break….we have a breakout session:

10:50 – 11:15 am in Vendome A (Fast Money Summit), I interview Rob Arnott, CEO of Research Affliates, who manages over $200 billion on his formula for beating the market, what works and what doesn’t work on Wall Street.

11:15 – 11:50 am.  We show a 5 min video of Mark Mobius, long-time manager of the Templeton Emerging Markets Fund (ranked #1 over 30 years), on “Lessons of Investing in Emerging Markets,” followed by comments by financial guru Jim Rogers.

Then back in the Rivoli Main Hall for our final general session:

11:50 am – 12:20 pm.  A panel on foreign policy with Senator Mike Lee, Representative Thomas Massie, and Ed Rush. 

12:20 – 12:50 pm. I lead the closing panel, with David Boaz (Cato), Heather Mac Donald (Manhattan Institute), Steve Forbes, and Jenny Beth Martin (Tea Party Patriots) on what we have learned in answering the question, “Where is the Voice of Reason?”

At 12:40 pm I will announce the theme for next year and our big name celebrity speaker.  Don’t miss it!  Before we dismiss for lunch, I invite everyone who has a silver dollar to come forward and take a picture with Steve Forbes and members of our closing panel.

After a hosted luncheon or lunch on your own, we have our final blockbuster Saturday afternoon breakout sessions:

2 – 2:50 pm. Loire.  I plan on attending this panel:  “How to Turn a Bestseller into a Classic.”  Out of the some 120 million books that have been published in the history of the world, only 2% have become bestsellers and only 1,200 or so have become classics.  What are the criteria to determine a classic novel or non-fiction work?  Dan Peterson (BYU), Socky O’Sullivan (Rollins College), and Daniele Struppa (Chapman U) will seek to answer this question.

3-3:50 pm.  Loire.  David Boaz addresses the issue, “Leviathan and the Age of Reason:  Why Life After Locke and Hobbes is no Longer Nasty, Brutish, and Short.”  Introduction by Elizabeth Ames.

4-4:25 pm.  Vendome A (Fast Money Summit).  I introduce John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, who is will speak on “Investing on the Run:  How I Became a Successful Part-Time Investor Running a Full-time Business.”  This is the first time John is speaking on his life as an investor and speculator!

4:25 – 4:50 pm.  Vendome A.  Steve Forbes closing address to the Fast Money Summit:  “An Optimist’s Guide to Investing in Capitalism.”  It will be followed by reception and cash bar: An opportunity to meet Mr. Forbes and other speakers, take photographs, have them sign books, etc.

6 – 10 pm.  Rivoli Ballroom.  Get ready for the farewell reception and gala Saturday night banquet, with the Anthem Film Awards, Reason Media Awards, and the dance band The Salamanders as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Reason Foundation.  After a long four day event, it feels great to get out on the dance floor.  See you there!

This is also my opportunity to thank everyone who has worked so hard and put in countless hours or work and creativity to make this year’s FreedomFest and Anthem Film Festival an incredible success — Valerie Durham, our conference director; Autumn Bennett, Norann Dillon, Jennifer Hunter, Harold Skousen, our registration team, and my wife Jo Ann.  

And see you next year!  Dates are July 17-20, 2019, at the Paris Resort, Las Vegas.  Details to be announced soon at

Yours for peace, prosperity and liberty, AEIOU,

Mark Skousen


FreedomFest 2014 Report

Over 2,000 Look to Private Solutions at This Year’s “Greatest Libertarian Show on Earth”

By Mark Skousen
Producer, FreedomFest

“This was my seventh FreedomFest, and the best ever. It’s turned into an annual reunion with old friends and new who come from all over the country and the world.  There’s nothing like it.”   –Gene Epstein, Economics Editor, Barron’s

Over 2,000 wealthy investors, concerned citizens, and freedom organizations participated into this year’s big show at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas.  They were anxious to find solutions to their financial and economic challenges without government involvement.

The buzz was palpable from the beginning of the opening cocktail party to the gala Saturday night banquet.  “It was a WOW experience.  I heard that from many attendees,” wrote a reporter.  “To see Steve Forbes and John Mackey there all four days, that was something,” said an attendee.  [Read more…]

Open Letter to All Freedom Lovers

From Mark Skousen, producer of FreedomFest

I woke up this morning thinking about “Why We Need to Get Together Once a Year.”  Over the years, I’ve been impressed with the proliferation of free-market think tanks and freedom organizations which are doing their part to make a difference:  publishing websites, special reports and books; holding meetings and conventions; influencing elected officials or using the court system to overturn bad legislation.

That’s where FreedomFest comes in. Our mission is simple: to bring together once a year all the freedom groups and provide a place to learn, network, socialize and celebrate liberty.  And we do it in the nation’s most libertarian city, Las Vegas. We are a for-profit organization, so we don’t compete for fundraising with all these good causes. We try not to promote one organization over another. We support them all. In Hayekian terms, it’s a spontaneous order, with every think tank and freedom organization deciding for themselves what to talk about. FreedomFest is not “my” conference, it’s “our” conference.

The idea came to me when I was president of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), the country’s oldest free-market organization. Why not have an annual reunion, I thought, and bring together all the think tanks and freedom organizations from around the world, to talk about philosophy, history, science & technology, healthy living, music & dance, investments, and geo-politics?  We would create an intellectual feast in a fun town, the entertainment capital of the world.

And then invite the general public, concerned citizens, business and political leaders, investors, and young people around the world to join us.  I imagined them walking into an exhibit hall full of booths of think tanks, publishers, film producers, and freedom organizations, highlighting their latest efforts.  I envisioned it as “one stop shopping for liberty.”

I was told, “It can’t be done. Libertarians are like a herd of cats.”

But the founders did it. At the end of the Constitutional Convention in 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote, “It is a singular thing in the history of mankind that a great people have had the opportunity of forming a government for themselves. We are making experiment in politics. In these sentiments, I agree to this Constitution, with all its faults, if they are such. For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. It therefore astonishes me to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does.”

Franklin also warned, “We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

We all are doing our best to promote the principles of liberty and justice, but we must do more. We are losing the battle, slowly but surely. I’ve felt for some time that the enemies of liberty are better organized, and now more than ever, it is critical that all the movers and shakers in the freedom movement come together once a year if we are going to reverse the tide. There is strength in numbers.

Milton Friedman, before he died, wrote me a letter in which he caught the vision of this gathering: “FreedomFest is THE great place to talk, argue, listen, celebrate the triumphs of liberty, assess the dangers to liberty, and provide that eternal vigilance that is the price of liberty.” Steve Forbes and John Mackey are our co-ambassadors. They understand the importance of this “focal point” of liberty and set aside all four days in their busy schedule to attend. So do most of the other speakers.    As Steve Forbes says, “FreedomFest is where the best ideas and strategies are fleshed out.  I wouldn’t miss it.”

FreedomFest has been called many things: A Live Wikipedia for libertarians; a Renaissance gathering for free thinkers; the Trade Show for Liberty; the New Mecca for free minds; the Focal Point for freedom lovers; the Gathering of the Tribes; the Disneyland of the mind; the blow-out conference of libertarian gold bugs; the Libertarianism’s Church of What’s Happening Now; and the Greatest Libertarian Show on Earth. There’s something for everyone at FreedomFest.

And it’s catching on. We are growing every year.  Practically all the major think tanks and freedom organizations have caught the vision of FreedomFest and are making their way to Vegas every second week in July. Fox News is now coming and taping the Stossel show; other radio and TV stations are doing their shows there. Thousands of concerned citizens, investors, authors, professors, students and experts are joining us from around the world. Some even change their schedule to attend; they sacrifice to be there.

What do we have planned for this year? Check us out. For a list of all the great speakers, panels and debates, go to And don’t miss our ever-popular Anthem libertarian film festival going on all four days at FreedomFest. This time it includes a sneak preview of the new film “Atlas Shrugged 3” hosted by John Stossel.

I know I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.  If not us, then who?  If not now, then when?

Spread the word.  John Galt is calling….

FreedomFest is only a few weeks away. Now is the time to join us in Las Vegas.  Go to to learn more and register.  Or call Tami Holland, our conference coordinator, at 1-866-266-5101.  It will change your life….and maybe even the world.

Yours for peace, prosperity and liberty, AEIOU,

Mark Skousen
Producer, FreedomFest
July 9-12, 2014, Las Vegas
Theme: “Is Big Brother Here?”

Record 2,500 Gather at “Best FreedomFest Ever”

By Mark Skousen

“FreedomFest was a gigantic conference.  It drew many academics, journalists, activists of all ages, vendors, investors, and a huge variety of professionals in all fields. And of course, Laissez Faire Books was there in full force. The level of fun was totally over the top. But the content of every session I attended was just spectacular.” – Jeffrey Tucker, president, Laissez Faire Books

Everyone seems to agree:  Our 7th FreedomFest was the “best ever” according to the many emails I’ve received – from Alex Green, Floyd Brown, Susana Etcheverry, Bert Dohmen, Brian June, and Gene Epstein, economics editor at Barron’sDinesh D’Souza said that FreedomFest has rapidly become “the premier libertarian gathering.”

We broke all kinds of records this year – number of attendees, sales of books at our official bookstore (Laissez Faire Books), and CDs/MP3s.  Numerous sessions, panels and debates at Planet Hollywood were standing room only.  And for the first time we had a major TV network, Fox Business at FreedomFest, along with C-SPAN.  (Plus a nice mention by Bill O’Reilly on Fox News in his interview with John Stossel.) [Read more…]

George Gilder Wins Leonard E. Read Book Award

FreedomFest, “the world’s largest gathering of free minds,” is pleased to announce that George Gilder has won the Leonard E. Read Book Award for his new work Knowledge and Power (published by Regnery).  This annual award is granted to the “libertarian book of the year” which best advances the principles of liberty.

Knowledge and Power By: George Gilder

Knowledge and Power is a revolutionary work in the tradition of Hayek’s famous essay ‘The Use of Knowledge in Society’ and Thomas Sowell’s influential book Knowledge and Decisions,” states Mark Skousen, economist and producer of FreedomFest.  “Gilder makes the argument that decision-makers must reject the deterministic/mechanistic systems of human behavior and build their policies and economic models on the concepts of human creativity, free will and the unexpected.”  His entire book is built around his thesis that “the freer an economy is, the more this human diversity of knowledge will be manifested….Capitalism is not chiefly an incentive system but an information system.”

The Leonard E. Read Book Award will be presented to Mr. Gilder at this year’s FreedomFest, July 10-13, 2013, in Las Vegas.  The award also comes with a gift of a one-ounce American eagle gold coin, valued at approximately $1,500.  For more information on the annual conference, which attracts over 2,000 attendees each year, go to

About Leonard E. Read

The Read Book Award is named after Leonard E. Read, the founder of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), the first modern free-market think tank in the United States, and its monthly publication The Freeman.  Mr. Read (1898-1983) is the author of hundreds of essays, his most famous being “I, Pencil.”  He was a voracious reader and his FEE library contained thousands of books.  For more information on the Foundation for Economic Education, go to (Note:  This award is not affiliated with FEE, and the selection of the Read Book Award is exclusively a decision by FreedomFest.)

About George Gilder

George Gilder is one of the original pillars of supply-side economics and author of several bestsellers, including Sexual Suicide, The Spirit of Enterprise, Microcosm, and the Israel Test.  His 1981 bestseller, Wealth and Poverty, had a major influence on the Reagan Administration in the 1980s.  He is editor of the Gilder Technology Report, and a senior fellow at Seattle’s Discovery Institute, where he directs Discovery’s program on high technology and democracy.  Gilder is a frequent writer for major business publications, including Forbes and the Wall Street Journal.

Huge Response to Our Latest FreedomFest Promo

 Dear FreedomFest Friends,

We’re getting a huge response to our announcement that John Stossel is bring his #1 Fox Business show to FreedomFest, with hundreds of attendees signing up so far.

And that’s just the beginning of what the Washington Post calls “the greatest libertarian show on earth.”

One of the reasons people keep coming back to FreedomFest is to enjoy our unique panels and debates you won’t find at any other conference. Here’s 11 new events for this year’s show, all in keeping with our theme this year “Are We Rome?” [Read more…]