Featured Events

April 24

Is Liberalism Good for Religions?

Liberalism, a political philosophy that grew out of the Enlightenment and champions reason, freedom, and equality, has lately been criticized by some religious thinkers in the West. Liberalism, in their view, only “atomizes” individuals, weakens society, and ultimately corrodes all faiths.

Yet other religious intellectuals think that there are many reasons to appreciate liberalism, including the very freedom that the believers have found in liberal societies to practice and manifest their faith and to be free from the persecutions that have defined much of human history. Moreover, they think that under liberalism, religions flourish in healthier ways — through persuasion rather than coercion, and through civil society rather than state power.

This discussion is particularly relevant for Islam, since Muslim opinion leaders are often ambivalent, at best, on whether they should accept liberal standards of human rights or rather reject them as alien and detrimental. If liberalism is rejected even by Western Christians, whose religious traditions have been much more at peace with liberalism, Eastern Muslims will not even consider it.

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 #CatoEvents. Follow @CatoEvents on Twitter to get future event updates, live streams, and videos from the Cato Institute.

April 17

The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet

“No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider” (Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996).


Those 26 words (and not a member of Congress) invented the internet as we know it. These words protect internet platforms from lawsuits based on user-generated content, allowing them to open their doors to a dizzying variety of sentiment and speech. Absent that sentence, social media platforms would have strong incentives to suppress any speech that might cause them legal woes. Or, in contrast, they might avoid legal liability by not moderating their forums at all, likely rendering them unusable. Jeff Kosseff tells the story of the institutions that flourished as a result of this powerful statute. He introduces us to those who created CDA 230, those who advocated for it, and those who were involved in some of the most prominent cases decided under the law. As section 230 and the platforms it protects face increasing scrutiny, Twenty-Six Words demystifies this little-known yet vital statute.

Please join us for an engaging discussion of a law that will likely shape our politics and policymaking for years to come.

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 #CatoTechnology. Follow @CatoEvents on Twitter to get future event updates, live streams, and videos from the Cato Institute.

April 9

25 Years of Patient Power

25 Years of Patient Power

A quarter century ago, the Cato Institute released a revolutionary book, Patient Power: Solving America’s Health Care Crisis, by John C. Goodman and Gerald L. Musgrave. Patient Power introduced the United States to a bold and radical way of thinking about health care.

When third parties pay medical bills, Goodman and Musgrave wrote, providers come to view third-party payers as their customers, not the patients. As a result, instead of maximizing patient satisfaction, providers deliver care to maximize their revenue given third-party payment formulas. Instead of falling, costs rise. Third-party payment is the reason patients can’t talk to their doctors by phone, email, or Skype. It is why patients don’t have Uber-type doctor house calls at night and on weekends. Patient Power showed that if people controlled and managed their own health care dollars, the medical marketplace would change radically—almost overnight.

Indeed, Patient Power changed the world. Thanks largely to Goodman and Musgrave’s work, more than 20 million people are managing their own health care dollars in health savings accounts. A roughly equal number are managing their medical spending through health reimbursement arrangements. And employers are experimenting with giving individuals complete financial control over everything from hip and knee replacements to blood tests.

Come hear the authors of Patient Power and other leading scholars discuss the book’s impact on health reform and how its insights can still inform the debate.

Past Events

April 24

Is Liberalism Good for Religions?

Featuring Joseph Loconte, Associate Professor of History, The King’s College; Daniel Philpott, Professor of Religion and Global Politics, University of Notre Dame; Mustafa Akyol, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, Cato Institute; moderated by Doug Bandow, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute.

April 24

Two Roads to War: How (and Why) America and Britain Decided to Invade Iraq

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; Colonel Lawrence B. Wilkerson (Ret.), Distinguished Visiting Professor of Government and Public Policy, College of William & Mary; moderated by Christopher Preble, Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute.

April 22

CyberWork and the American Dream

Featuring the director James Shelley; and Elizabeth Cobbs, Professor and Melbern G. Glasscock Chair in American History, Texas A&M, senior fellow, Hoover Institution at Stanford University; moderated by Matthew Feeney, Director, Project on Emerging Technologies, Cato Institute.

April 22

The Simon Abundance Index: A New Way to Measure Availability of Resources

Featuring David M. Simon, Lawyer, Eimer Stahl LLP, Chicago; Gale Pooley, Associate Professor of Business Management, Brigham Young University–Hawaii; George Gilder, Investor, writer, economist, techno-utopian, and author of Life after Google; moderated by Marian L. Tupy, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, Cato Institute; Editor, www.humanprogress.org.