The status of free speech and academic freedom at U.S. colleges and universities has become an explosive issue. Critics claim that disruptions, disinvitations of speakers, and bureaucratic new speech‐inhibiting policies have smothered the open and honest discourse. Others consider the fears of crisis overblown, discerning the harms as less extensive in the vast domain of higher education than critics acknowledge. Drawing on his extensive experience as a free speech and academic freedom leader, Donald A. Downs portrays the university as an “intellectual polis” where free and honest academic discourse should pervade. On Thursday, September 10, join Downs and guests in this Cato online book forum to discuss.
Much has been written on the adverse impact of modernization on historically isolated forest tribes of India. Studies have listed the devastation of tribes’ traditional cultures and lifestyles, the duping of simple tribespeople with little understanding of markets or prices, the destruction of their habitat, and the trauma of displacement, which has been greatest in the case of dams and mining projects. In a new paper, Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar and Neeraj Kaushal show that tribes can join mainstream society and prosper if empowered with property rights and civil rights.
Libertarianism, properly understood, encompasses certain core functions as the proper role of government. It is not the libertarian view that government should be ineffective at protecting individual rights or dysfunctionally paralyzed in the face of a massive threat to people’s lives. Government has a role to play in responding to the pandemic in much the same way it is the government’s job to prosecute murderers or defend the country from invasion. At the same time, libertarian principles and insights can provide some guideposts for how to respond in this unprecedented global emergency.