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

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 https://miracleofamerica.com/products/21-023?_pos=2&_sid=6acae2641&_ss=r

All 200 plus sessions can be accessed at miracleofamerica.com.  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:  https://fee.org/resources/are-we-rome-by-lawrence-w-reed/)

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. 

Five Americans Inducted Into Free Market Hall of Fame

Las Vegas, Nevada (July 11, 2009): Five American prominent writers and economists –Henry Hazlitt, Murray Rothbard, Rose Wilder Lane, H. L. Mencken, and Booker T. Washington — were inducted into the Free Market Hall of Fame at the Saturday night banquet at FreedomFest. This year’s conference attracted over 1,700 attendees.

Each year FreedomFest honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to the cause of economic liberty. The first induction ceremony was held last year, and the recipients were Scottish economist and philosopher Adam Smith; French writers J.-B. Say and Frederic Bastiat; Austrian economists Carl Menger, Ludwig von Mises, and Friedrich Hayek; American writer Ayn Rand; and American economist Milton Friedman.

Mark Skousen, producer of FreedomFest, announced this year’s inductees, followed by comments by Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine.

Five Inductees into Free Market Hall of Fame in 2009

Henry Hazlitt (1894-1993) was the premier libertarian journalist and popularizer of Austrian economics in the 20th century. He used his position as financial editor of the New York Times and columnist for Newsweek to editorialize against Keynesian economics, the New Deal, and the imperial powers of government. His book, Economics in One Lesson, has sold over a million copies and become a classic. He was a founding vice-president of the Foundation for Economic Education, and early editor of The Freeman.

“The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.” — Henry Hazlitt

Murray N. Rothbard (1826-1995) was the dean of Austrian school of economics during the latter half of the 20th century, and a scholar who made major contributions to economic theory, history, and philosophy. He was the author of numerous books, including Man, Economy and State (1962), America’s Great Depression (1963), and The Ethics of Liberty (1982). His pamphlet, “What Has the Government Done to Our Money?” inspired a new generation of libertarians and the hard-money movement. Rothbard was a vociferous critic of Keynesianism and all forms of government intervention.

By Murray Rothbard:

“The establishment of Central Banking removes the checks of bank credit expansion, and puts the inflationary engine into operation.”

“It is easy to be conspicuously ‘compassionate’ if others are being forced to pay the cost.”

Rose Wilder Lane (1886-1968) is the author of Discovery of Freedom, a classic in libertarian literature. She is best known for her laissez faire political writings and the many stories she and her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder, wrote about growing up on the prairies of America, where she learned the difference between individual initiative and government welfare. As a newspaper reporter and freelance writer she traveled throughout the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, Egypt, the Middle East, and Russia. In her travels she experienced firsthand the effects of communism, socialism, and fascism, and observed that rigid organization and central planning have a stifling and stultifying effect, to the point that “very few men have ever known that men are free.”

“Individualism, laissez faire and the slightly restrained anarchy of capitalism offer the best opportunities for the development of the human spirit.” — rose Wilder Lane

H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) was America’s favorite libertarian journalist, essaying, satirist and bon vivant of the the 20th century. He wrote the classic work, The American Language, and is regarded as one of the most influential American writers and prose stylists of his age. Known as the “Sage of Baltimore,” he was a skeptic and critic of all forms of government mischief.

By H.L Mencken:

“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”

“A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.”

“Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”

Booker T. Washington (1856 – 1915) was an American educator and the dominant leader of the African-American community in the early 20th century. Author of a classic autobiography, “Up from Slavery,” he supported education, self-help, and economic independence in the private enterprise system as the best way to escape poverty and achieve political equality. Born to slavery and freed by the Civil War in 1865, Washington became head of the new Tuskegee Institute, and built a personal organization that gained the support of wealthy industrialists as well as middle class blacks in pursuit of equality through “patience, industry, thrift, and usefulness.”

“The individual who can do something that the world wants done will, in the end, make his way regardless of his race.” — Booker T. Washington

Vote for your favorite free market supporter at www.freemarkethalloffame.com.

FreedomFest is an independent conference held annual in Las Vegas and billed as “the world’s largest gathering of free minds.” Next year’s conference will be held July 7-11, 2010, at Bally’s Events Center in Las Vegas. For more information, go to www.freedomfest.com.

Record Crowd at FreedomFest 2009

“This was the best FreedomFest yet.  Congratulations!” –John Mackey, CEO, Whole Foods Market

Highlights of FreedomFest 2009:

  • Nearly 1700 people attend this year’s FreedomFest (21% increase)
  • More than 200 register at the door
  • All Star Prediction Panel forecasts more pain ahead
  • Charles Gasparino, CNBC’s #1 reporter, calls for abolishing the SEC
  • Las Vegas Mayor steals show at Trial of the Century
  • Liberty Editors Conference is SRO
  • Amazing “mathemagician” is this year’s mystery speaker
  • Five historic figures inducted into the Free Market Hall of Fame
  • Steve Forbes attends all 3 days and dances to the music of the Beatles
  • Sing a libertarian version of John Lennon’s “Imagine”
  • Media coverage by C-SPAN, LA Times, Reasontv, Newsmax, and more!

Dear Friends of Liberty,

One attendee called this year’s FreedomFest a “phenomenon.”  Over 100 speakers, 95 exhibitors and 1700 attendees showed up at “the world’s largest gathering of free minds” July 9-11, 2009, at Bally’s Events Center in Las Vegas — a record turnout, 21% increase over last year.  (This number does not include several hundred supporters of Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty who attended FreedomFest on Friday and Saturday.)

They attended some 150 sessions on geo-politics, the economy, investments, philosophy, science & technology, art & literature, and healthy living.  As June Arunga said, “FreedomFest is a festival of ideas — exciting, new, and refreshing.

John Mackey calls it “The Trade Show for Liberty.”  Mark Mullins (Fraser Institute) identifies it as “the new Mecca for libertarians.”  I see it as the “focal point for free thinkers,” where independent thinkers and free minds break away from their busy schedule to come together once a year to learn, network, socialize, and re-energize their spirits.

The fight for freedom has never been more apparent since the end of the cold war.  As one attendee put it, “This is THE year to attend FreedomFest, when our freedoms and financial assets are threatened more than ever.

Given the deep recession and uncertainty this nation faces, I was surprised by the record turnout.  According to a local Las Vegas business leader, FreedomFest was the only conference this year with higher attendance.

Many more will see the Friday general sessions on C-SPAN (to be aired soon).

Attendees came from every state of the union, and as far away as Australia, Japan, Argentina, and Kenya.  Dozens of students took advantage of the $99 student discount rate.

You could feel the electricity as soon as you walked into the Exhibit Hall and the giant Laissez Faire Bookstore, run by Jim Peron and Jim Elswood.

One attendee told me, “FreedomFest changed my life and my entire way of thinking.

I learned a lot myself as a moderator, speaker, and attendee.  For every one who comes, FreedomFest is a personal creation, because so much is going on that no two people experience it the same way.  As Jerry Cameron says, “It’s like having access to all the greatest intellectual food in the world and you just couldn’t eat fast enough to sample it all!

Many buy the CDs of the entire conference every year just to keep up. (The first thing I do when I arrive is sign up for all the recorded sessions.  If you are so inclined, check out the list of audioCDs here, or call 1-866-254-2057 to order by telephone.)

The program was huge, with over 150 speeches, panels and debates. “Liberty Watch” published the entire program in its July issue. I recommend you subscribe to this top quality libertarian publication. Go to http://www.liberty-watch.com.

The World Economic Summit:

“The financial crisis is not over!”

The first day of the conference, entitled “Clear and Present Danger,” was devoted to the on-going financial crisis.  Many of the financial sessions were standing room only.  Charles Gasparino, CNBC’s #1 reporter, was our first keynote speaker.  He told the audience not to depend on the government to protect their wealth from losses or fraud.  “The SEC has failed to uncover a single major scandal in the past 30 years,” he said.  “It should be abolished.”

Other speakers throughout the conference included Steve Forbes, Larry Kudlow, Congressman Ron Paul, bestselling author Tom Woods (“Meltdown”), and John Fund.  Rick Rule (Global Resource Investments) moderated a panel on energy, telling attendees to expect oil & gas supplies to be tight in the future.  I gave a special 3-hour pre-conference seminar on “EconoPower:  Seven Power Tools for Investors, Managers, and Citizens” that was well attended.

In the “All Star Prediction Panel” last year, all the participants (Peter Schiff, Bert Dohmen, Fred Foldvary, Dennis Slothower) warned attendees about the impending crisis while the media was painting a rosy picture.  What were our prognosticators saying this year?  They remained pessimistic and recommended staying heavily in cash, gold, or foreign stocks.  Some are still shorting the market.  Bert Dohmen, editor of the highly-acclaimed Wellington Letter, remains bearish, adding as an example, “How can a company like Boeing stay in business when they have received only one major order so far this year?”  His breakout session attracted a large crowd.

Author Charles Murray (American Enterprise Institute) was more optimistic in the long run.  In his luncheon address, he spoke of three factors that will work in favor of liberty — technology that liberates individuals from centralized institutions, a coming moral crisis among social democrats, and rediscovery of the role of freedom in imbuing life with meaning.

The Trial of the Century: Free-Market Capitalism on Trial

What caused the 2008 crisis: free-market capitalism or bad government policies?  Friday night was the “big event” with defending attorney Steve Moore (Wall Street Journal Editorial Board) taking on prosecuting attorney Jeff Madrick (Emmy-award winning author of “The Case for Big Government”), with star witnesses Steve Forbes, Charles Gasparino, John Mackey, and Doug Casey.

Colorful Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman was the Judge, and he stole the show with his irreverent remarks throughout the trial.  What a showman.  (He’s the former criminal defense attorney for the mob in Las Vegas!)  The ending took everyone by surprise (see the C-SPAN coverage to find out what happened).  The entire audience gave the judge and everyone involved a long standing ovation.  (Thanks to estate planning attorney Jeff Verdon for arranging for Mayor Goodman to come.)  As one attendee, Brandon Bond, said, “I’ve been attending these kinds of events for 30 years–and this one was the best ever!

Another attendee enthused, “The Trial of the Century was so good it should be made into a Broadway play!

Steve Forbes and John Mackey Attend All 3 Days

Steve Forbes has caught the vision of FreedomFest and makes a point of staying all three days.  At a luncheon on Friday, he spoke about his penetrating new book “Power Ambition Glory,” which applies Greek and Roman history to today.  He also appeared on several panels and spoke at the gala Saturday night banquet.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, is also a big fan who attends the entire conference.  He appeared on the always popular Libertarian Entrepreneurs Panel (with Newsmax president Chris Ruddy; Rick O’Donnell, president of the Acton Foundation for Entrepreneurial Excellence; and successful New York money manager Donald Smith).  In the debate between “Randian vs. Conscious Capitalism,” he noted significant differences between his philosophy of “conscious capitalism” and that of Ayn Rand.  “Randian capitalism is all about making profits; conscious capitalism is about seeking a greater purpose.”

John also spoke to a SRO audience about the “Whole Foods Longevity Diet:  How to Live to be 100 and Avoid Heart Disease, Cancer, Obesity, and Diabetes.”  John is a vegan.  Based on the findings of a group of health experts, he recommended reducing or eliminating meat and diary products from one’s diety, and emphasizing fruits and vegetables.  He surprised everyone when he said, “The more vegetables you eat, the more you lose weight.”  And according to John, eating vegetables and fruit is the least expensive diet.

The $100 Trillion Zimbabwe Dollar vs. the American Eagle Silver Dollar

There were lots of sessions for investors, entrepreneurs, and retirees.  In one of the tax planning sessions organized by Vern Jacobs, international tax attorney Marshall Langer spoke to a SRO crowd about “Saving Lots of Taxes by Moving to Another State or Country.”  When asked the crowd which part they were interested in, Langer was surprised that 90% said they were more interested in moving “offshore.”

Investing in gold and silver was as popular as ever.  In the closing panel, I showed a $100 trillion Zimbabwe dollar bill and asked the panelists, “Are we headed toward hyperinflation in the United States?”  David Boaz (Cato Institute), Steve Forbes, and Richard Viguerie didn’t think so, but Peter Schiff and Doug Casey thought it was a real possibility with the government bent on out-of-control spending and entitlements (Scott Tips of the National Health Federal and Michael Tanner of Cato warned attendees about the dangers of nationalized health care).

Rick Rule, president of Global Resource Investments, offered guidance in investing in mining and natural resource stocks in several well-attended sessions.  Other investment specialists included Frank Trotter (Everbank) on the future of the US dollar (not good), Keith Fitz-Gerald on what Chinese insiders are buying now (Taiwan stocks), Van Simmons (David Hall’s Rare Coins) on the benefits of private collecting….Lou Petrossi on finding good money managers, Martin Truax on income investing, Jon Nadler (Kitco) on investing in gold, Paul Wigdor (Superfund) on beating the market with futures, Michael Checkan (Assets Strategies International) on currencies and precious metals, Peter Zipper on banking in Belize, and Adrian Day on foreign markets.  Joe Bradley (Investors Hotline), Gary Alexander, Ron Holland, and Jon Golding served as moderators.

Peter Schiff, president of EuroPacific Capital and author of the bestseller “Crash Proof,” was adamant that investing in foreign stocks and commodities was the best way to go, and that investors should “get out of the dollar.”

I suggested that the US government could readily shift to a sound money system by circulating its own gold and silver bullion coins.  I held up a American Eagle silver dollar, and gave one to each of the panelists.  I told the audience that the silver dollar is our symbol of sound money and freedom, and encouraged each attendee to buy one from the coin dealers in the exhibit hall to keep as a good luck piece, a tip, a gift, or a nice bonus to employees.

Douglas R. Casey, chairman of Casey Research, was controversial as usual.  His luncheon speech on “My Misadventures in the Third World” included an update on his efforts to privatize a small country and take it public on the New York Stock Exchange.  He said it’s now a real possibility.

Estate and tax planning is always a major topic at FreedomFest, with experts Jeff Verdon, David T. Phillips, Joe Gandolfo, Vern Jacobs, Marshall Langer, and Bill Black, among others.

Conservative marketing guru Floyd Brown led a 4-session series on powerful techniques in email, blogging, and other new media, with the world’s most successful experts. Richard Viguerie (American Target) spoke on “Magnify Your Business or Resign!”; Craig Huey on 16 strategies for business owners; and Marsha Friedman on her new book, “Celebritize Yourself”…and Nathan Tabor on “Building a Political Following on Twitter, Facebook and Blogosphere.”

Chris Ruddy (Newsmax) also moderated a popular panel, carried on C-SPAN, called “The Future of Conservatism,” with Richard Viguerie (American Target), Jon Utley (American Conservative), Tom Phillips (Eagle Publishing), and Tom Fuente (California Republican).

Sacred Text Project:  A Muslim Makes the Case for Pacifism!

Attendees had the unique opportunity to hear sessions by Jewish Mel Hecht, Christian minister Joseph Fuiten, Muslim Aslam Abdullah, Sikh Gurucharan Khalsa, and BYU Professor Dan Peterson shed light on their sacred scriptures, and then debate the role of religion in a no-holds-bar roundtable with Michael Shermer, editor of Skeptic magazine and Scientific American.  Abdullah, director of the Islamic Center of Nevada, made the case for a peaceful coexistence with Muslim neighbors, and all the panelists seemed to be in a forgiving mood at FreedomFest.

In the exhibit hall each morning, Sikh Gurucharan Khalsa led about 30 individuals in yoga exercises.

Big Debates on Wal-Mart, Illegal Immigration, and the Fed

FreedomFest wouldn’t be complete without some great debates.  This year, “Wal-Mart, Good or Bad?” pitted Ohio professor Richard Vedder against anti-Wal-Mart activist Al Norman.  I was surprised to learn that many Wal-Mart employees are paid so little that they are subsidized with Medicaid, low-income housing, and other government welfare.  In “Immigration: Will Mexico Explode?,” Roberto Salinas (Mexico Business Forum) defended his country against Dr. Eric Olsen, a Tucson chiropractor.  In “Fed Up with the Fed?,” Gene Epstein (Barron’s economics editor) and Tom Woods took on Warren Coats (former IMF official) and John Fund (Wall Street Journal); and, as mentioned earlier, John Mackey (Whole Foods) and Michael Strong (FLOW) debated the Objectivists Ed Hudgins and Rob Bradley in “Randian vs. Conscious Capitalism.”

The Liberty Editors Conference is a perennial favorite, and every session was packed, with people hanging out the doors.  Speakers included Stephen Cox, Drew Ferguson, Jim Walsh, Randal O’Toole, David Friedman, and Jo Ann Skousen.  The panels were especially popular — on the Obama administration, the bailout, and a debate on religion and liberty.  There was also a spirited debate on “Anarchy vs. Limited Government,” with me defending limited government against anarchists David Friedman and Doug Casey.   I said that we now have a case study of how well anarchy does, since the African state of Somalia has had no central government since 1991.  (The results are a mix of private services and poor public services, and a deteriorating economy.)  I challenged Friedman and Casey to provide evidence of how utopian countries would deal with (1) disease control, (2) inefficiencies in public transportation and utilities, and (3) the justice system, i.e., how to deal with criminals who refuse to acknowledge private courts.  At one point, I heard David Friedman say that a criminal who refuses to come to court would be “forced” to do so.  That sounds like some form of government to me!

Major Media and Think Tanks at FreedomFest

We had representatives from most of the major financial media at FreedomFest, including the Wall Street Journal (Steve Moore and John Fund), Barron’s (Gene Epstein), and Investors Business Daily (Terry Jones and Michael Ramirez).  Think tanks and freedom organizations were well represented:  Ed Feulner and Teri Ruddy from Heritage: David Boaz, Dan Mitchell, Richard Rahn, and Michael Tanner from Cato; David Nott, Matt Welch, and Brian Doherty from Reason; Larry Reed from FEE; Julian Morris (IPN in London); Robert Enlow from the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice; Charles Murray from AEI; Byron Scholmach from the Goldwater Institute; John Taylor from the Virginia Institute; and Holly Jackson from State Policy Network (SPN).

Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty at FreedomFest

Over 1,200 attendees came to the Bally’s Events Center Friday night, July 10, to hear bestselling author Tom Woods and Congressman Ron Paul update us on the machinations of Death Star (Doug Casey’s name for Washington).  Paul is not optimistic about prospects in Washington, but was buoyed by the strong turnout in Las Vegas.

Unusual Speakers at FreedomFest

There’s always something for everyone at FreedomFest, even for those who don’t care about politics or money.  We had a science fiction mini-series with Jo Ann Skousen on “Fantasy, Science Fiction and Romance,” commenting especially on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Brian Doherty on Robert Heinlein.  They also participated in a popular panel on libertarian science fiction/fantasy with L. Neil Smith and J. Neil Schulman.

NYTimes columnist and GMU Professor Tyler Cowen answered the question, “Does Capitalism Destroy Culture?”  He concluded that global capitalism actually encourages a variety in products and services, including language and cultural differences.  Missouri history professor Steven Watts spoke on “Fantasyland, Walt Disney, and the American Dream,” followed by “Playboy, Hugh Hefner, and the American Dream”…..and Don Hauptman gave details on Ayn Rand’s famous Playboy interview, based on his purchase of the original documents with Rand’s own hand-written notes.

We also had several sessions on healthy living, including talks by John Mackey, and George and Mimi Murdock.  The Murdocks spoke on “How to Avoid America’s Impending Health Catastrophe,” and recommended the book “The China Study.”

French Canadians Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoit Nadeau spoke on their bestsellers “Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t be Wrong” and “The Story of French”…..David Wang explained the unusual connection between Confucius and America’s Founding Fathers (especially Franklin and Jefferson)….C-SPAN filmed Alex Green on his new book, “The Secret of Shelter Island”…..FIRE president Greg Lukianoff on “Unlearning Liberty: FIRE on Campus”….Dick Bishirjian (Yorktown University) on the profit potential of “for profit” education….This year we celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of two famous individuals, so we had Michael Shermer speak on Charles Darwin, and Hillsdale Professor Tom Krannawitter on “Vindicating Abe Lincoln Against his Libertarian Critics”….Santa Clara Professor Fred Foldvary defended Henry George and his single tax on land….Troy Dayton and John Mackey teamed up to discuss “Should Drugs be Legalized?”….Nelson Hultberg, author of “The Golden Mean,” on the need for a third party….And last but not least, our mystery guest speaker was Harvey Mudd Professor Art Benjamin on “The Joys and Mysteries of Mathematics.”  He held the crowd spellbound, and sold dozens of his books and tapes.

Each Room Dedicated to a Fallen Patriot

Each year we dedicate the rooms at FreedomFest to a free-market leader who has recently passed away. This year the rooms were dedicated to: Sir John Templeton; former Congressman Jack Kemp; Habitat for Humanity founder Millard Fuller; Anti-Communist crusader Fred Schwarz; conservative leader Paul Weyrich; investment writer Larry Abraham; private education enthusiast Marshall Fritz; ISIL founder Vince Miller; coin dealer Burt Blumert; and FEE managing editor Beth Hoffman.

Free Market Hall of Fame at Gala Saturday Banquet

Every night was filled with events at FreedomFest:  On Thursday, Everbank sponsored a speakers dinner and Newsmax an attendees dinner; on Friday, Campaign for Liberty sponsored a Ron Paul reception and program in the Bally’s Events Center.

The capstone of the conference was the gala Saturday night banquet, led by emcee extraordinaire Chip Wood. After CNBC’s Larry Kudlow spoke for 20 minutes on the current state of the nation, five American writers and economists were inducted into the Free Market Hall of Fame:  Henry Hazlitt, Murray N. Rothbard, Rose Wilder Lane, H. L. Mencken, and Booker T. Washington.  After each name was announced, Chip Wood rang the Liberty Bell.  Following the ceremony, Steve Forbes paid tribute to the five inductees.

Then band leader Billy Tragesser led the audience in the singing of the FreedomFest anthem, “Freedom and Gold,” sung to an Irish tune attributed to an old pirate song.

The grand finale was the appearance on stage of the world’s #1 Beatles tribute band, “Yesterday.”  From the first chord of the first song, a large crowd immediately gathered on the dance floor and didn’t quit until an hour and a half later, dancing and singing to the classics of the Fab Four. I’ve never seen anything like it at a libertarian or conservative event.  Even Steve Forbes got out there and did a jig.

Everyone sang along with the band singing a libertarian version of John Lennon’s “Imagine”:

Imagine there’s no taxation
It’s easy if you try
No IRS below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living to be free.

Imagine no politicians.
Telling us what to do.
No forms to fill out for.
And no inflation too
Imagine all the people
Living without Social Security.

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday they’ll join us
And liberty will have won.

Imagine no regulations.
I wonder if you can
No need for laws to control us
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Competing in the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday they’ll join us
And liberty will have won.

Next Year’s Big Event:  “Declare Your Own Independence.”

We’ve already set the dates for the 7th annual FreedomFest, which promises to be bigger and better than ever before: July 7-11, 2010, at Bally’s/Paris Resort in Las Vegas.  Just think7-11 in Vegas.

We think next year’s FreedomFest will sell out (we have a maximum capacity of 2000).  So you might want to take advantage of the “early bird” special ($100 off the retail price).

We’ve also planned several other events for the coming year:

  • Our post-Davos World Economic Summit January 31-February 2 at the Atlantis Hotel on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.  For more information, call Tami Holland, our conference coordinator extraordinaire, at 1-866-266-5101, or email her at t[email protected].


In liberty, AEIOU,

Mark

Mark Skousen
Producer, FreedomFest
“The world’s largest gathering of free minds”
www.freedomfest.com
7-11 in Las Vegas (July 7-11, 2010)

Proof Is in the Dow

“The Obama budget is nothing less than an attempt to end the ideas of Ronald Reagan.” — New York Times

Adam Smith, the father of free-market economics, once stated, “There is much ruin in a nation.”  President Obama is out to prove it in his Newspeak program he calls “A New Era of Responsibility.”  It should be called “A New Era of Irresponsibility.”

And there’s no better proof than the stock market’s reaction to Obamanomics, which is big-government Keynesianism at its worst.  Since Obama took office, the Dow is down a whooping 15% — and that’s after the huge sell off in the market in 2008 by more than 30%.

And the market has continued to drop precipitously since Obama addressed Congress and announced his obscene $3.6 trillion budget for fiscal year 2010.  This budget includes:

the largest tax increase in history, including a monstrous tax on oil & gas (cap and trade) and the repeal of the Bush tax rates on incomes higher than $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples.  Contrary to Obama’s claim, over 65% of tax filers in this category are small business owners and investors.

the highest level of federal spending since 1945, from today’s 21% of GDP to a whooping 27.7%.  This includes new entitlements in health care and energy.

Clearly Wall Street has spoken:  Obama’s tax, spend and regulate policies are a disaster for the nation.

And sadly Obama doesn’t get it.

What should investors do?  Play it conservative.  Be well-diversified in global stocks.  Maintain a high cash position, look for bargain opportunities, and keep squirreling away gold and silver coins.

And do not despair.  It is not time to head for the hills, although some wealthy friends are talking about moving to New Zealand, or the Bahamas.  (One friend of mine has already taken the extreme step of renouncing his US citizenship!)

In writing “The Big Three in Economics” (click here to order), I found that Adam Smith and his “system of natural liberty” have come under attack on many occasions by his sworn enemies Keynesians, Marxists and socialists, and has often been left for dead, but always makes a comeback.

As Adam Smith declared in his 1776 classic “The Wealth of Nations,”

“The uniform, constant, and uninterrupted effort of every man to better his condition . . . is frequently powerful enough to maintain the natural progress of things toward improvement, in spite both of the extravagance of government, and of the greatest errors of administration.”

In sum, the ideas of Adam Smith, and his modern followers, including Ronald Reagan, are far from dead.  They are only in hibernation.  The free-market giant will soon be awakened by our dire situation.

Hopefully pro-market forces in Congress (both Republicans and Democrats)  will filibuster the Obama tax increases and budget excesses.  Charities and non-profits are already up in arms about the proposed limits on tax deductions for wealthy donations for good causes.

I’m doing my part by holding the world’s largest gathering of free minds at FreedomFest, July 9-11, 2009, in Las Vegas, the focal point of liberty.  For details, go to www.freedomfest.com.  I hope you will join us.

I know I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one.

“Freedom & Gold” – FreedomFest’s Theme Song

The FreedomFest Banquet was a major hit this year at the super successful FreedomFest, with the appearance of none other than George W. Bush (impersonator John Morgan) and keynote speaker Steve Forbes. Plus the unforgettable introduction of an exciting new anthem, “Freedom & Gold!” sung by tenor Billy Tragesser to an old Irish drinking song tune. Lyrics by Mark Skousen and Valerie Durham, copyright 2008. Click here to hear the song!

For a complete report on the amazing FreedomFest 2008, click here. And don’t forget to put next year’s FreedomFest on your calendar now: July 9-11, 2009, at Paris/Bally’s in Las Vegas!

FreedomFest is On Fire

You Don’t Want to Miss It!

Despite exorbitant gas and travel costs, despite a soft US economy, despite the fact that this should be a “down year,” people are signing up in record numbers to attend FreedomFest, to be held at Paris/Bally’s on the Las Vegas strip, July 10-12, 2008.
FreedomFest offers “Eight Great Debates in 2008,” a series of vigorous, unabashed debates on topics ranging from “War, Terrorism & Geo-Political Crisis: Is Religion the Solution or the Problem?” with Dinesh D’Souza vs. Christopher Hitchens to “Should We Adopt Single-Payer Universal Healthcare?” with John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, and John Goodman, National Center for Policy Analysis, vs. Michael Perlman, professor at UC-Chico, and David Himmelstein, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Beyond debates in politics, sessions at FreedomFest will explore the concept of freedom in areas of science, technology, art, literature, the environment, business and investing.

FreedomFest is attracting the likes of Steve Forbes, Jeremy Siegel, Millard Fuller, Nick Gillespie, Ron Paul, David Boaz, Stephen Moore, Robert Spencer and many more, plus scores of people looking for real discussions of the important issues of the day.

Experts like Siegel, Forbes and Moore will come together for the World Economic Summit, a mini-conference within FreedomFest, to discuss the growing economic and financial crisis, including the plummeting value of the dollar, the skyrocketing costs of gas, the fear of an inflationary depression, an uneasy stock market and the very real China threat.

Plus, there’s a full investment conference to cover personal financial freedom over the entire three-day conference.

Sick of the political correctness and the media spin of the current election campaign? Come to FreedomFest for a dose of REAL debate on the issues that matter!

Please see www.freedomfest.com for a complete lineup of speakers and topics.

Yours in liberty, AEIOU,
Mark Skousen

My Big Announcement at FreedomFest 2007

FreedomFest was an overall success, with over 1,000 paid attendees.  Several organizations joined us at the last minute including Koch Foundation, Acton Institute (to show their film “The Call of the Entrepreneur” — very impressive), Reason editor Nick Gillespie, and Richard Viguerie.  On Saturday, members of Governor Schwarzenegger team came to see FreedomFest and especially to hear John Mackey speak on “Conscious Capitalism.”

Our surveys showed that attendees were wealthy supporters of freedom and rated the conference highly with comments such as “off the charts” and “best conference I’ve ever attended.”

C-SPAN filmed several seasons at FreedomFest, so you might see it on Book TV and C-SPAN 1 from time to time.  (C-SPAN has already aired Congressman Ron Paul’s address at FreedomFest.)
The highlight was the Big Debate between Dinesh D’Souza/Larry Abraham (the conservatives) and Congressman Ron Paul/Doug Casey (the libertarians) on US foreign policy.  It was the BEST debate I’ve ever seen.  It was filmed for Book TV, so I hope you will see it soon.
On Saturday on 07-07-07 I made a “big announcement” (see below).  Please pass along to your friends.
Someday I hope to build an actual Museum of Free-Market Economics, perhaps in New York.  It was my intent to convert the old 35-room FEE mansion here in Irvington, New York, into a Museum when I became president of FEE, and name it after the founder Leonard E. Read.  But that was unworkable.  Now at least the Museum of Free-Market Economics is a “virtual” reality!

FreedomFest 2008 is scheduled for July 10-12, 2008, at Bally’s/Paris Resort. 7-11 in Vegas.  Hope you can make it.
In liberty, AEIOU,
Mark Skousen
Producer, FreedomFest
Free-Market Hall of Fame and Museum
Announced at FreedomFest 2007
July 7, 2007
Las Vegas (7-7-07):  Mark Skousen, producer of FreedomFest, announced today the creation of the Museum of Free-Market Economics and the Free-Market Hall of Fame. Both sites will be developed over the next few months on the website, www.freedomfest.com.
Freedom Fest is the world’s largest annual festival where “free minds meet” to celebrate “great books, great ideas, and great thinkers” in a liberal, open-minded society.  It is independent, non-partisan, and not affiliated with any organization or think tank.  The July 4-7, 2007 conference attracted over 1,000 attendees.
“It’s time we honored all the great teachers, writers, business leaders, legislators, and think tanks that have advanced the cause of liberty,” Skousen said on Saturday morning.
The election of individuals to the Free Market Hall of Fame will be announced annually and an induction ceremony will occur at each FreedomFest conference. The next FreedomFest will be held July 10-12, 2008, at Bally’s/Paris Resort in Las Vegas. The induction ceremony will honor five individuals each year, living or dead. A lecture on or by each honoree will take place during the 3-day conference.
Nominations for the Free-Market Hall of Fame are open to the public and can be made by anyone by going to www.freedomfest.com. Individuals can vote for or nominate individuals who they believe should be in the Free Market Hall of Fame. Write-ins are permitted.
The categories will include the following:
1. Academic economists
2. Journalists and writers
3. Business leaders
4. Legislators and government officials
5. Think tanks
A select group of economists and other free-market supporters will make the final decision and vote on upcoming Hall of Fame members.
The Museum of Free-Market Economics
The website will also include the Museum of Free-Market Economics. The Museum will include:
1. A short biography and pictures of each member of the Free-Market Hall of Fame, along with links to books and articles by or about these individuals.
2. The Story of Free-Market Economics, from ancient times to the present day, with chapters on Adam Smith, the classical economists, the Austrian and Chicago schools of free-market economics, written in an historical context.
3. A Free-Market Hall of Shame, highlighting the critics of free-market economics (such as Marx, Veblen, and Keynes).
4. A virtual bookstore of recommended free-market books.
5. A link to prominent market-friendly websites and think tanks.
For comments and suggestions on the Museum of Free-Market Economics and the Free-Market Hall of Fame, write to Ron Holland, Curator, at [email protected].FreedomFest will announce soon when the Museum and Hall of Fame website is up and running. To receive this announcement, sign up here:
Contact information:
Ron or Tami Holland
FreedomFest
P. O. Box 1213
Mars Hill, North Carolina 28754
1-866-266-5101
www.freedomfest.com

What’s the Big Idea, Mr. Skousen?

Personal Snapshots
Forecasts & Strategies
March 2002

“We live in a ‘knowledge economy’—either you gain new knowledge, or your business and your investments die!” — Peter Drucker, World’s #1 management guru

Peter Drucker is right. Either you grow in knowledge and opportunity, or you and your business die. Either you correctly foresee the future, or your old investment strategy fails. You must always be on the lookout for change, and how it will affect your business, your portfolio and your personal life. My, have we learned this lesson in the past year as stocks have floundered and gold has flourished.

Last month I started putting together the best minds I could think of and asked them to join me for an unprecedented “pow wow,” a three-day intensive program of ideas and strategies on economics, finance, public policy and personal philosophy for the future. Since Sept. 11, 2001, we have all recognized that we live in a much more dangerous world than we could imagine—the growing threats of terrorism, mismanagement, depression, bear markets and trade wars. What will the future bring?

Here are just a few of the experts coming to this historic event, the FEE National Convention & 30th Anniversary Celebration of Laissez Faire Books, scheduled for May 3–5 in Las Vegas:

  • Charles Murray, #1 expert on government policy and controversial author of Losing Ground and The Bell Curve, on “The Growing Power of the State in the War on Terrorism, Drugs and Illegal Aliens.”
  • Robert Poole Jr., founder of Reason magazine, on “Is Air Travel Really Safe?”
  • Gerald P. O’Driscoll Jr., senior fellow at Heritage Foundation, on “The World Map of Economic Freedom—a Startling Revelation.” (You must see this unusual world map in person to appreciate its significance.)
  • Larry Abraham, author and editor of Insider Report, on “What Every Investor Must Know about the Middle East.”
  • Gary Hoover, author of Hoover’s Vision and entrepreneur extraordinaire (creator of Bookstop and Hoovers, Inc.), “The Right Stuff: What it Takes to Succeed in the 21st Century.” Gary will lead a special panel on newly developed management techniques.
  • Ben Stein, actor and social conservative, on “Why Bashing Big Business is Big Business in Hollywood.” He will give us an inside look into the dangers and opportunities in the entertainment world.
  • Congressman Ron Paul on “Danger Ahead: The Way Congress Really Works.”
  • Mike Ketcher, editor of The Financial Privacy Report, will lead a special panel on “How to Protect Your Assets and Privacy in this New Age of Big Government.”
  • Dinesh D’Souza, author of The Virtue of Prosperity and a Hoover Senior Fellow (and FEE spokesman on campus), on “Why They Hate Us.” This is a speech you won’t want to miss.
  • Madsen Pirie, president of the Adam Smith Institute and a privatization consultant to numerous governments around the world, on “The Outlook for Global Capitalism in a Terrorist World.”
  • Louis James, editor of Free-Market.net, on “How to Spread Your Cause on the Internet.”
  • My brother, Joel Skousen, expert on geo-politics, bio-terrorism and survival techniques, “A Principled Approach to Liberty,” and “How to Survive the New World of Terrorism.”
  • Other speakers include: Richard Ebeling from Hillsdale College in Michigan, Parth Shah from India, Doug Casey from New Zealand and Manuel Ayau from Guatemala.

“Big Idea” to be Announced

Finally, I plan to take this opportunity to announce a blockbuster idea that will revolutionize the freedom movement, and maybe even stop the growth of government in its tracks. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear this “big idea” and how it will be implemented—with your help!

Last Chance for “Early Bird Special”

This the last month to take advantage of the “early bird special” at only $175 per person, $99 per student. After March 31, the price goes up to $225. This price includes everything: the Friday pre-conference FEE Course on Sound Money and Free Markets, the cocktail reception and speech by Ben Stein, all the sessions on Saturday and Sunday, entrance into the exhibit hall, and the Saturday night banquet & 30th anniversary celebration of Laissez Faire Books.

How You Can Change the Lives of Hundreds of Students

This is a conference for adults as well as students. If you would like to provide financial assistance to students, please buy a patron table at either the silver, gold or platinum level (call Tami Holland for specific benefits at each level; or go to the website). The FEE National Convention is sponsored by Reason Foundation, Young America’s Foundation, Hillsdale College, Heritage Foundation, Leadership Institute, and dozens of other top-ranked think tanks and colleges. See you in Las Vegas!

FEE Convention + Vegas Money Show = Big Payoff!

Personal Snapshots
Forecasts & Strategies
February 2002

“Skousen’s course on executive economics was ranked the #1 course we have ever had at the Learning Center.”— Wayne Fortun, president, Hutchinson Technology

Included in this issue is a brochure for the first FEE National Convention, which is scheduled for May 3–5, directly before the Las Vegas Money Show. I strongly urge you to attend this intellectual feast. In particular, I recommend you come early for the FEE Course on Sound Money and Free Markets, an executive economics course I teach, set for all day Friday at Bally’s in Las Vegas. This FEE course has changed people’s lives, and it could change yours. I’ve given this course before managers at Hutchinson Technology (HTCH, $22.67), and have been invited back six times! In this one-day course, you will learn:

  • How the economy really works
  • Seven popular economic myths since September 11
  • Will the Fed panic again? How to understand the mysteries of money and central banking, and how Greenspan & Co. can affect your business and your investment portfolio
  • Why Social Security and Medicare can’t work,” and why you must plan for alternatives to these government programs
  • The global battle for economic freedom and how it will affect your business and personal life

But this is only the beginning. On Friday evening, you’ll enjoy a sumptuous cocktail party and hear Ben Stein, actor, author and game show host, talk about “Why Bashing Capitalism Is Big Business in Hollywood.” Stein is one of the few social conservatives in Hollywood.

Beginning Saturday morning and running throughout the day and into half a day on Sunday, you will enjoy an unforgettable educational experience choosing from over 30 scholars in history, philosophy, economics, finance, business management and public policy. Hear Charles Murray, author of Losing Ground and The Bell Curve; Stephen Moore, president of Club for Growth and author of It’s Getting Better All the Time; and Dinesh D’Souza, author of The Virtue of Prosperity. Gary North, editor of Remnant Review, will speak on “The Most Dangerous Philosopher of Modern Times (You KANT be serious, Gary!),” and Robert Poole Jr., founder of Reason magazine, will address the question, “Can you really fly safely when the government is in charge?”

We are also planning sessions on “business strategies for libertarians and conservatives,” with Gary Hoover, founder of Hoovers, Inc., and other top CEOs who believe in the free market. There will be debates and panels.

On Saturday evening, we are planning a fantastic banquet, where we will hear from several distinguished speakers, including Nathaniel Branden, author of the classic The Psychology of Self-Esteem, as we honor Andrea Rich, who for the past 20 years managed Laissez Faire Books.

For full details, including online registration information, go to www.FEEnationalconvention.org, or call Tami Holland at 888/565-8779, or e-mail her at [email protected] You can also call FEE directly at 800/960-4FEE, ext. 209.

NOTE: This conference is now FreedomFest. See www.freedomfest.com for more information.

Announcing the First Leonard E. Read Book Award

I’m pleased to announce that Ken Schoolland, professor of economics and political science at Hawaii Pacific University, is the recipient of the first Leonard E. Read Book Award for Excellence in Economic Education for his insightful and entertaining satire, The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible: A Free Market Odyssey. The award is named after the founder of FEE. This is a very funny little book that teaches the basic principles of liberty. I urge you to buy a copy, available from Laissez Faire Books, 800/326-0996, or www.laissezfaire.org, for only $14.95 plus S&H. See why it has already been translated into 20 languages! Schoolland is a modern-day Jonathan Swift and Frederic Bastiat combined.

Schoolland will receive the award at the FEE national convention in May—$2,000 plus a 1-ounce American Eagle gold coin minted in 2001.