The Science of Liberty: Democracy, Reason, and the Laws of Nature

(HarperCollins, 2010)

Book Forum
February 24, 2010 12:00PM
Auditorium/Wintergarden
Featuring the author, Timothy Ferris, with comments by Jason Kuznicki, Research Fellow, Cato Institute; and Jonathan Rauch, Contributing editor, the Atlantic Monthly, and visiting scholar, The Brookings Institution. Moderated by Brink Lindsey, Vice President for Research, Cato Institute.

Award-winning author Timothy Ferris discusses the relationship between science and liberal government, arguing that the fortunes of science and liberty rise and fall together. The scientific revolutions of the 17th and 18th centuries were, he argues, a powerful inspiration for the concurrent revolutions in government; together, they produced what we know as the modern world.

It was no accident that many of the American revolutionaries were also successful scientists, and it is no accident that today’s liberal societies produce vastly more scientific research than their dictatorial counterparts. In a book that spans centuries of world history, Ferris observes how scientific reasoning depends on open inquiry, free dissent, and the freedom to innovate. Liberal government, he says, enshrines these very virtues as well.