Cato News Notes

September/​October 2017 • Policy Report

The 2017 Anthem Film Festival, an annual libertarian film festival partnered with FreedomFest, gave awards to two films directed by Cato scholars. School Inc., former Cato senior fellow Andrew Coulson’s documentary that explores the history of schooling and the importance of freedom and choice in education, won Anthem’s “Excellence in Filmmaking, Documentary Feature” award. (See more on School Inc.’s impact and critics on page 13.) And Freedom on Trial,’s courtroom drama about an employer prosecuted for violating minimum wage laws, won “Best Libertarian Ideals, Short Narrative.” Visit Cato’s website to watch both films online.

In a unanimous decision in June, the Supreme Court held that the “disparagement clause” of the Lanham Act, which banned the trademarking of terms deemed “disparaging” or taboo, is unconstitutional. The case was brought by an Asian American band, The Slants, who were denied a trademark for their name on the grounds that it was an ethnic slur. The Slants argued that they should have the right to reclaim a term once used to stereotype Asian Americans. In the case Cato filed a humorous amicus brief, whose profuse documentation of boundary‐​pushing and potentially offensive rock band and other brand names may not be safe for work. But as Cato argued, and the Court agreed, the government has no business deciding what is and is not a slur.

Two new Spanish‐​language books feature contributions from Cato’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. Ian Vásquez, the Center’s director, authored a chapter on Trump’s harmful anti‐​immigration policies in No, no te equivoques, Trump no es liberal: Por qué Trump es populista, proteccionista, machista, autoritario y nacionalista, pero en ningún caso liberal (No, make no mistake, Trump is no liberal: Why Trump is populist, protectionist, chauvinist, authoritarian, and nationalist, but in no way a liberal), a collection edited by John Müller. Gabriela Calderón de Burgos, the editor of Cato’s Spanish‐​language website ElCa​to​.org, wrote a chapter on Ecuador for El estallido del populismo (The explosion of populism), a book edited by Álvaro Vargas Llosa that warns against the dire consequences that populism has had in numerous Spanish‐​speaking countries.