Featured Events

January 21

The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom

The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom

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We hear a lot about moral decline these days. Michael Shermer, the author of Why People Believe Weird Things, The Believing Brain, and eight other books on the evolution of human beliefs and behavior, argues that the scientific way of thinking has made people — and society as a whole — more moral. The Age of Reason and the Enlightenment led theorists to apply scientific reasoning to the nonscientific disciplines of politics, economics, and moral philosophy. Instead of relying on the woodcuts of dissected bodies in old medical texts, physicians opened bodies themselves to see what was there; instead of divining truth through the authority of an ancient book, people began to explore the book of nature for themselves through travel and exploration; instead of the supernatural belief in the divine right of kings, people employed a natural belief in the right of democracy. Abstract reasoning, rationality, empiricism, and skepticism, Shermer says, have profoundly changed the way we perceive morality and, indeed, move us ever closer to a more just world. With advance endorsements from Steven Pinker, Jared Diamond, and Michio Kaku, this book is likely to provoke lots of debate.

December 16

Religious Liberties for Corporations? Hobby Lobby, the Affordable Care Act, and the Constitution

Religious Liberties for Corporations? Hobby Lobby, the Affordable Care Act, and the Constitution

In an engaging new book, David Gans and Ilya Shapiro provide a comprehensive analysis of the issues in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the blockbuster legal challenge to the Obamacare regulation that required employer-sponsored health plans to provide “free” contraceptive coverage. In a series of debates, these opposing advocates examine whether for-profit corporations can assert religious-exercise claims under federal law, whether businesses (or their owners/directors/officers) with religious objections should be exempt from coverage requirements, and what the consequences would be if the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby. The Court’s decision will be discussed for years and this spirited debate will provide fascinating and informative food for thought for scholars, students, and the public as they grapple with fundamental questions of corporate personhood, religious liberty, and health care policy. Please join us for a reprise of these debates, with commentary by the architect of the constitutional challenge to Obamacare’s individual mandate, Professor Randy Barnett.

January 22

The Logic of the Market: An Insider’s View of Chinese Economic Reform

The Logic of the Market: An Insider’s View of Chinese Economic Reform

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The economic reforms and subsequent growth in China must count as among the most astonishing and hopeful events of our age. Weiying Zhang was among the leaders who set China on its path of change. His new collection of essays recounts the successes and failures of reform and looks to the future for continued progress. He emphasizes the importance of entrepreneurs in continuing and deepening economic liberalization along with reducing state ownership and control. Please join us to hear a real hero of liberty talk about the past, present, and future of China and free market economics.

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