Featured Events

October 1

The Federal Role in Public Transit

Transit ridership is declining nationwide despite billions of dollars in federal subsidies, observes Randal O’Toole, one of the nation’s leading critics of the transit industry. He argues that the federal government should stop subsidizing a dying industry. Jarrett Walker — one of the most innovative thinkers in the transit community — disagrees, arguing that public transit has a vital role to play in urban transportation and urban growth. Join us to hear these two experts debate the appropriate role of federal funding in urban transportation.

If you can’t make it to the event, you can watch it live online at www.cato.org/live and join the conversation on Twitter using #CatoHillEvents. Follow @CatoEvents on Twitter to get future event updates, live streams, and videos from the Cato Institute.

September 11

Can Free Speech Be Progressive?

Can Free Speech Be Progressive?

For much of the 21st century, those who identified themselves as left of center were the strongest proponents of freedom of speech. They believed in the principle, and they thought that free speech benefited civil rights and labor activists—not to mention radicals seeking fundamental change. Conservatives, they thought, would always oppose free speech because of its threat to the status quo. Beginning in the late 1960s, some spoke of free speech as “repressive tolerance” that precluded radical changes. Later, as courts connected free speech to campaign finance, some on the left argued that the First Amendment served corporate interests, not emancipation of the oppressed. Professor Michael Seidman has renewed this debate with a provocative paper denying that free speech in the American context can be progressive. Please join us for an intriguing debate about the future of free speech, a debate that matters for everyone at all points on the political spectrum.

September 27

#CatoDigital—The Right to Bear 3D-Printed Arms: A First and Second Amendment Issue

In early May 2013, an online open-source organization called Defense Distributed released design files for the Liberator, the world’s first completely 3D-printable single-shot handgun. In just two days, the plans were downloaded more than 100,000 times.

Within days, the United States Department of State demanded that Defense Distributed take down the files, kicking off a long legal battle that culminated in a settlement allowing the sale of plans for 3D-printed firearms online beginning August 1, 2018. However, that win was quickly undermined by an order—issued by Robert S. Lasnik, Senior District Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington—demanding a stop on the spread of the design files. States and Defense Distributed have filed multiple lawsuits, and the legal drama continues.

What are 3D-printed guns, exactly—and are they more dangerous than other legally available weapons? Is the right to distribute 3D-printed gun blueprints a free speech issue? Are gun control policies viable in a world where people can make guns at home?

On Thursday, September 27, please join the Cato Institute for a robust discussion of the complex legal and practical issues surrounding 3D-printed guns.

#CatoDigital is a regular event series at the Cato Institute highlighting the intersection of tech, social media, and the ideas of liberty. This event will be live-streamed at www.cato.org/live and questions may be submitted via Twitter using #CatoDigital. Follow @CatoEvents on Twitter for event updates, live streams, and more.

Past Events

September 20

Enron Ascending: The Forgotten Years (1984–1996)

Featuring the author Robert L. Bradley Jr., CEO, Institute for Energy Research; with comments by Jack High, Professor Emeritus, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University; moderated by Patrick J. Michaels, Director, Center for the Study of Science.

September 20

The Indian Child Welfare Act at 40

Featuring Timothy Sandefur, Vice President for Litigation at the Goldwater Institute, and author, Escaping the ICWA Penalty Box; Matthew McGill, Partner, Washington, D.C., office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; Charles Rothfeld, Visiting Clinical Lecturer in Law, Yale Law School; counsel at the firm of Mayer Brown; moderated by Walter Olson, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute, Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies.

September 20

The Liberal International Order: Past, Present, and Future

Featuring Patrick Porter, Professor of International Security and Strategy, University of Birmingham and Senior Associate Fellow, Royal United Services Institute; Michael Mazarr, Senior Political Scientist, RAND Corporation; Jake Sullivan, Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Co-chair, National Security Action; moderated by Christopher Preble, Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute.