Police Paramilitarization, in Ferguson and Beyond

As the events in Ferguson, MO demonstrate, America’s domestic police forces can come to resemble the standing armies the Founders feared. “Shock and awe” tactics are fast becoming the new normal as federal policy has fed an unhealthy warrior mentality among what used to be called “peace officers”—with federal subsidies and Pentagon giveaways of military ordnance.  The clampdown in Ferguson highlights the dangers of our drift toward paramilitary policing, as well as the broader trend of law-enforcement lawlessness documented by Cato’s National Police Misconduct Reporting Project.

America: Stay out of Iraq

President Obama has authorized targeted airstrikes and emergency assistance missions in northern Iraq. In recent commentary, Cato scholar Benjamin H. Friedman outlines several reasons why the U.S. should stay out of Iraq’s turmoil. “Surge mythology notwithstanding, our efforts to reorder Iraq have always been misguided. The goal - a multiethnic, democratic, stable Iraq - was a nice idea but never vital to U.S. national security or worth thousands of U.S. lives and vast stores of our wealth.”

The Fourth Revolution in Government

The main political challenge of the next decade will be fixing government. In the new issue of Cato Policy Report, John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge argue that a political revolution is in the air, driven partly by the necessity of diminishing resources, partly by the logic of renewed competition among nation-states, and partly by the opportunity to do things better.  Also in this issue, Cato vice president David Boaz considers the rise of libertarianism in the political world, and in an exclusive interview, Glenn Greenwald reflects on his explosive NSA disclosures one year later, and discusses No Place to Hide,  his new book on the matter.

Sustaining the Economic Rise of Africa

President Barack Obama this week will be meeting 50 African leaders to discuss “America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people.”  However, a new bulletin from Cato scholars Marian L. Tupy and Dalibor Rohac reminds us that African problems cannot be solved in Western capitals. “Persistent poverty in Africa is caused primarily by flawed domestic policies and institutions,” say Tupy and Rohac. “African governments must ultimately embrace the free market reforms that have made other regions of the world prosper.”

Recent Commentary

Ferguson, a War Zone or U.S. City?

Police officers simply do not have the training that military troops have, and giving them the arms, armament and attitude of being warriors is simply dangerous.

SSDI: Time for Reform

Evidence from the last several recession episodes shows that such enrollment surges were not reversed during the last three recessions once the economy recovered and unemployment abated.


August 27

Roots of Liberty: Unlocking the Federalist Papers

Featuring Tim Donner, Founder and President, One Generation Away; Roger Pilon, Vice President for Legal Affairs, Cato Institute; Christopher Donesa, Former Chief Counsel, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; and Claire McCaffery Griffin, Principal, CGC, LLC; moderated by Dean Reuter, Vice President and Director, Practice Groups, Federalist Society.

4:00pm Hayek Auditorium

August 28

Public Opinion and War

Featuring Adam Berinsky, Professor of Political Science, MIT; John Mueller, Professor of Political Science, Ohio State University, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute; Jason Reifler, Senior Lecturer in Politics, University of Exeter; and Trevor Thrall, Associate Professor of Public and International Affairs, George Mason University; moderated by Justin Logan, Director of Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute.

2:00pm Hayek Auditorium

Of Special Note

Cato Home Study Course

Cato Home Study Course

Spend time with some of the world’s greatest minds and truest friends of freedom.

• Professionally prepared audio programs on the historical, philosophical, economic, legal, and moral foundations of individual liberty and limited government – including the thoughts and views of John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, James Madison, Adam Smith, Voltaire, John Stuart Mill, Henry David Thoreau, Ayn Rand, F.A. Hayek, Milton Friedman, and others.

• Listen/Download at no cost.

• Programs you can enjoy at your own pace.

Special! 10 Copies for $10

Cato Pocket Constitution

To encourage people everywhere to better understand and appreciate the principles of government that are set forth in America’s founding documents, the Cato Institute published this pocket-size edition.

Constitution Day

Constitution Day 2014

To celebrate Constitution Day and the publication of the thirteenth annual Cato Supreme Court Review, the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies Presents a Symposium:

The Supreme Court: Past and Prologue
A Look at the October 2013 and 2014 Terms

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
10:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

This annual event features leading legal scholars analyzing the most important decisions of the Supreme Court’s recent term, and a look ahead at what to expect during the Court’s next term.

Details and registration