New Events

"The Ethics of the Market" 

Classical Liberalism Lecture Series

(5) Jason Brennan

Why Not Capitalism?

April 30th at 5:00 pm (SCC 120)

Abstract: Most economists believe capitalism is a compromise with selfish human nature. As Adam Smith put it, "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest." Capitalism works better than socialism, according to this thinking, only because we are not kind and generous enough to make socialism work. If we were saints, we would be socialists. In Why Not Capitalism?, Jason Brennan attacks this widely held belief, arguing that capitalism would remain the best system even if we were morally perfect. Even in an ideal world, private property and free markets would be the best way to promote mutual cooperation, social justice, harmony, and prosperity. Socialists seek to capture the moral high ground by showing that ideal socialism is morally superior to realistic capitalism. But, Brennan responds, ideal capitalism is superior to ideal socialism, and so capitalism beats socialism at every level.

Jason Brennan, Assistant Professor of Strategy, Economics, Ethics, and Public Policy at Georgetown University -- He teaches courses in ethics, political economy, moral psychology, entrepreneurship, and public policy. He is the author of Why Not Capitalism? (Routledge Press, 2014), Compulsory Voting: For and Against, with Lisa Hill (Cambridge University Press, 2014), Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2012), The Ethics of Voting (Princeton University Press, 2011), and, with David Schmidtz, A Brief History of Liberty (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). He is currently writing Markets without Limits (Routledge, under contract, with Peter Jaworski), and Against Politics (Princeton University Press, under contract).

This lecture is funded by the: 

(6) David Schmidtz   *** Canceled ***

Consent in Theory and Practice

May 4th at 5:00 pm (Life Science 185)

Abstract: Liberal theories of political legitimacy are grounded in some idea about the consent of the governed.  In practice, this idea is not and cannot be taken literally.  So, what is really going on?  What is it about political authority that makes us feel we need to have it regardless of whether people consent, and what makes us feel that we have to pretend that people do consent?

David Schmidtz, Kendrick Professor at the University of Arizona -- He teaches in Philosophy and in Economics and holds a courtesy appointment in the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship at Eller College of Management.  He is editor of Social Philosophy & Policy and is the Freedom Center's founding director. He is the author of Person, Polis, Planet (Oxford University Press, 2008), The Elements of Justice (Cambridge University Press, 2006), A Brief History of Liberty, with Jason Brennan (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), Social Welfare & Individual Responsibility, with Robert Goodin (Cambridge University Press, 1998), and The Limits of Government: An Essay on the Public Goods Argument (Westview, 1991)

This lecture is funded by the:

Earlier this year (2014-15)....

"Kill or No-Kill"

Panel Discussion 

April 16th at 5:00 PM  (Montague Hall 70)

This spring the Center is conducting a panel discussion on the appropriateness of euthanizing hard to adopt animals. This Kill/No-Kill discussion will address some of the following questions: (1) Are healthy animals being needlessly killed? (2) Are “No-Kill” shelters truly more humane than “Kill” shelters … or … is the opposite true? (3) Is having a persistent Kill/No-Kill conflict counterproductive to the animal welfare movement? (4) What are the reasons for euthanizing animals?

The CEPP will host a panel discussion equally representing both sides of this important and contentious issue. The goal is to create an open discussion in which many sides can exchange ideas/concerns in a respectful atmosphere.  

The Panel:

(1) Betsy Bode, Shelter Program Manager for the Animal Allies Humane Society (AAHS) -- AAHS strives to ensure a lifetime of loving care for every pet by reducing overpopulation, increasing adoption, and fostering humane values.

(2) Chris Maddox, Board Member and Bully Breed Coordinator, Ruff Start Rescue – Ruff Start Rescue is one of the largest nonprofit, No-Kill, 501c3 rescue organization in Minnesota focused on saving stray, neglected, abandoned and surrendered companion dogs and cats, as well as ferrets, guinea pigs and rabbits. Chris has been an animal advocate for 15 years and became involved with Ruff Start Rescue in June of 2013. He has been a part of many different areas within the rescue including volunteering and fostering, running adoption events, intake coordinating, home visits, and transports. Chris currently serves as a Board Member and manager of the rescue’s Bully Breed Program. 

(3) Mike Fryanimal advocate, public speaker, educator and blogger -- He was the Executive Director of Animal Ark, Minnesota's largest no kill animal welfare organization. He was also the co-host of the weekly, syndicated Animal Wise Radio program. Fry has worked in the field of animal welfare for more than 20 years.

(4) Janelle Dixon, President/CEO of the Animal Humane Society -- Dixon is engaged on a national level in the animal welfare industry. She serves as board chair of the National Federation of Humane Societies and as board member and treasurer for Shelter Animals Count. Additionally, Dixon serves on the Companion Animal Advisory Council for HSUS and is a member of the Society of Animal welfare Administrators.

(4) Eric Mack  

Self-Love, Social Cooperation, and Justice

April 9th at 5:00 pm (SCC 120) 

Abstract: This lecture, “Self-Love, Social Cooperation, and Justice,” focuses on really important insights about the relationship among these three elements of human life. This is a tragedy because these insights need to be appreciated if one is to understand how highly diverse individuals and communities can live together in freedom and prosperity. In this lecture, I want to develop the insights that I have in mind by telling a history of ideas story in which three important moral, political, and economic thinkers play a major role.  They are: the early 17th century Dutchman, Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) and two 18th century Scottish thinkers, David Hume (1711-1776) and Adam Smith (1723-1790).   At the end, I will tip my hat to the 20th century Austrian (and Austrian-refugee) thinker, F.A. Hayek (1899-1992).  The closest thing to a villain in my story is the purportedly great liberal thinker, John Stuart Mill (1806-1873).

Erick Mack, Professor at Tulane University and Member of the Murphy Institute of Political Economy – He has written a book on John Locke’s political thought, entitled John Locke. Mack has also edited two works affiliated with 19th century radical libertarian (and anarchist) thought -- Herbert Spencer's The Man vs.The State and Auberon Herbert's The Right and Wrong of Compulsion and Other Essays.

This lecture is funded by the:  

(3) Matt Zwolinski

"Exploitation, Neglect, and the Psychology of Moral Judgment:  Why you’re probably worse than a price gouger, and why you probably don’t believe it."

April 1st at 5:00 pm (SCC 120) 

AbstractMost of us think that sweatshops and price gougers are morally bad. We think sweatshops are bad because they exploit workers who often have few other options for escaping poverty. And price gougers exploit victims of natural disaster - taking unfair advantage of their vulnerability in order to line their own profits. We like to think we’re better than that. But the fact is that sweatshops and price gougers often do more good for people in desperate situations than we do. So should we really feel so confident about our moral superiority? Or are we just fooling ourselves?

Matt Zwolinski, Associate Professor at the University of San Diego – He is the co-director of USD's Institute for Law and Philosophy, and the founder of (and frequent contributor to) the Bleeding Heart Libertarians blog. His books include Arguing About Political Philosophy (Routledge 2014) and A Brief History of Libertarianism, with John Tomasi (under contract with Princeton University Press)

This lecture is funded by the:

(2) Loren Lomasky 

"Milking the Young"

March 27th at 5:00 pm (LSBE 118)

Abstract: Philosophers are much concerned with issues of injustice. Vast literatures address wrongful incursions committed along lines of race, gender, sexual preference, religion and, of course, economic class. Comparatively little attention has been paid to impositions across generational lines, and where such unfairness has been invoked the story is often gotten backwards (“ageism”). This paper argues that during the preceding half century increased burdens have been placed on young cohorts for the direct benefit of the old, that almost every major social policy in recent years has further disadvantaged the young, and that this is not only an American problem but one that pervades the developed world. These injustices can be understood as failures of reciprocity, non-imposition, and democratic accountability. Unlike other perceived injustices, this one shows itself uniquely resistant to redress through liberal democratic means. It concludes by arguing that this immunity to melioration is not accidental but rather that the root cause of milking the young is contemporary liberal democracy itself.

Loren Lomasky, Cory Professor of Political Philosophy, Policy and Law, and Director of the Political Philosophy, Policy and Law Program at the University of Virginia -- Professor Lomasky is best known for his work in moral and political philosophy. His book Persons, Rights, and the Moral Community (Oxford University Press, 1987) established his reputation as a leading advocate of a rights-based approach to moral and social issues. He co-authored with G. Brennan  (Cambridge University Press, 1993) and co-edited with G. Brennan Politics and Process: New Essays in Democratic Theory (Cambridge University Press, 1989). Lomasky has been the recipient of many awards including the 1991 Matchette Prize for his book Persons, Rights, and the Moral Community.

This lecture is funded by the: 

(1) Roderick Long  

"How (and Why) to Be a Free-Market Radical Leftist."

February 27th at 5:00 pm (LSBE 118)

Roderick T. Long, Professor at Auburn University – President of the Molinari Institute and Molinari Society; a Senior Fellow of the Center for a Stateless Society; a Senior Scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute; editor of The Industrial Radical and Molinari Review; co-editor of the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies and Anarchism/Minarchism: Is a Government Part of a Free Country?; co-founder of the Alliance of the Libertarian Left; author of Reason and Value: Aristotle versus Rand (2000) and Wittgenstein, Austrian Economics, and the Logic of Action (forthcoming from Routledge); a member of the boards of the Free Nation Foundation and the Libertarian Nation Foundation, and of the advisory boards of the the Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom and the Institute for Objectivist Studies; past member of the board of the Foundation for a Democratic Society; past editor of the Journal of Libertarian Studies and Formulations; and past president of the Alabama Philosophical Society.  Long received his philosophical training at Harvard (A.B. 1985) and Cornell (Ph.D. 1992) and has taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Michigan. 

This lecture is funded by the:

"Homelessness in Minnesota"

Liz KuoppalaExecutive Director, Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless

December 4th at 6:00 pm (LSBE 118)

Liz has been at the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless in various capacities since 2001. Before joining MCH, Liz did brief stints as a locomotive engineer in the mines and as a staffer in Senator Paul Wellstone’s D.C. office. She is the 2008 recipient of the League of Minnesota Cities’ Women in City Government Outstanding Leadership Award for her work in leadership development while serving as an Eveleth City Councilor (2007-2010), the 2009 recipient of the Ann Bancroft Dream Maker Award for Leadership and Achievement for her work in recruiting and training rural women to run for elected office, the 2011 recipient of the Simpson Housing Services Champion Award for her advocacy work. Liz holds a certificate in Sociology from Reisjarven Opisto in Finland, a B.S. in Chemistry from St. Cloud State University and a Masters in Advocacy and Political Leadership from the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

"Minnesota, Alcohol & Blue Laws"

Panel Discussion 

November 13th at 5:00 pm (Weber Music Hall)

The Center is sponsoring a panel discussion on whether we should remove Minnesota’s alcohol related blue laws.  A blue law is a category of law that regulates shopping on Sunday. These laws, initially, were designed to restrict or ban shopping for religious standards – such as the observance of a day of worship or rest.  Minnesota, currently, is one of twelve states that do not permit liquor stores from selling alcohol on Sunday.   

Panelists include:

1. Representative Joe Atkins: (DFL) District 52B -- He previously served as the mayor of Inver Grove Heights from 1992–2002. In his first term in the House, Atkins was selected by the bipartisan editors of Politics in Minnesota magazine as their First-Term Legislator of the Year. Since that time, Atkins has garnered a dozen similar honors from a wide variety of professional, business and labor organizations. 

2. Andrew Schmitt: Executive Director, Minnesota Beer Activists (MBA) – MBA’s mission is to represent consumer interests through active engagement in education, legislation, and community participation regarding beer, wine, and spirits in Minnesota.  MBA supports any alcohol related issue deemed beneficial to consumers. This may include issues related to: home brewing, on-sale and off-sale, distilling, and wine.

3. Senator Roger J. Reinert: (DFL) District 07 -- Reinert began his political career when he was appointed to the Duluth City Council on January 12, 2004, filling the seat vacated by Herb Bergson, who had been elected mayor. He served as council president in 2006 and 2008. Reinert previously served as a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives representing District 7B. He was a member of the House Taxes Committee, and also served on the Finance subcommittees for the Higher Education and Workforce Development Finance and Policy Division, the Public Safety Finance Division, and the Transportation Finance and Policy Division.

4. Scott Neal: Edina City Manager -- Neal began work as Edina City Manager in 2010. Prior to joining the City staff, he served as City Manager of Eden Prairie since 2002. He has also held the positions of City Administrator for the communities of Northfield, Minn.; Mt. Pleasant, Iowa; and Norris, Tenn.

"Spacesuits, Secret Serums, and Panic: What the Ebola Outbreak Tells Us about Global Health Governance"

Jeremy Youde, Associate Professor of Political Science

October 2nd at 6:00 pm (LSBE 118)

Abstract: “More people have contracted Ebola during the current West African outbreak than in all known previous outbreaks. With its seemingly unprecedented spread and effects, what are the larger lessons we can draw from the Ebola outbreak? In this talk, I want to focus on three topics in particular. First, what role can and should quarantine and isolation play in addressing infectious disease outbreaks? Second, what are the ethical issues around pharmaceutical access and the use of untested medical treatments, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa? Third, what does the outbreak tell us about the international community's ability to respond to disease outbreaks around the world?”

Jeremy Youde joined UMD in 2008 after teaching in California and Iowa. He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Iowa in 2005. He teaches courses in comparative politics and international relations, and his research focuses on global health politics and African politics.

"Debate for Minnesota 7A"

October 9th at 7:00 pm (Chem 200)

This October the Center is sponsoring a moderated debate between the candidates running for House Seat 7A. As the Election rapidly approaches, please join the candidates as they share their ideas for the future of Minnesota.


~~~Participating Candidates ~~~

Jennifer Schultz                        

DFL Candidate



Green Party Candidate

Republican Candidate

"The Right Ways to Hunt"

October 23rd at 6:00 pm (Chem 200)

Panel Discussion 

This fall the Center is conducting a panel discussion on good and bad hunting practices. For example -- (1) What are the morally acceptable ways to hunt; (2) What role does such hunting play in responsible environmental management; (3) What are the improper ways to go about hunting; etc.... These questions are particularly apt given the limited deer harvest recently announced by the DNR.

Panelists include:

1. Sam Cook: has been a writer/columnist with the Duluth News Tribune for 32 years. He writes the column -- "Outdoors with Sam Cook." His books include: (1) Moving Waters: Adventures on Northern Rivers; (2) Up North; (3) Friendship Fires; (4) Quiet Magic (Outdoor Essays & Reflections)

2. Michael Furtman: is a Duluth outdoors writer and wildlife photographer who has written for Ducks
 and contributed stories for many magazines, including the DNR's Conservation Volunteer magazine.

3. Becca Kent: is the Chapter Coordinator of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association. Over the last 30 years MDHA has improved upon and developed its mission of “working for tomorrow’s wildlife and hunters today.” With 62 chapters and over 15,000 members throughout the state, MDHA works in Minnesota for Minnesota through four main tenets which include hunting, habitat, education and legislation.

4. Rich Staffon: is a retired DNR area wildlife manager from Cloquet and the president of the Izaak Walton League in Duluth.

5. James E. Zorn:  is the Executive Administrator of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC), an agency of eleven Ojibwe tribes located in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Formed in 1984, GLIFWC exercises delegated authority to assist its member Tribes in the implementation and protection of hunting, fishing, and gathering rights reserved in various land cession treaties with the United States. Prior to assuming his leadership role as Executive Administrator, Zorn served as the agency’s lead attorney/policy analyst from 1987 to 2006. Before joining GLIFWC’s staff, he served as tribal attorney for the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. 

"A Minnesota Without Poverty: Working Toward Enough for All"

Rev. Nancy E. MaekerExecutive Director (retired), A Minnesota Without Poverty

November 6th at 6:00 pm (LSBE 118)

Rev. Nancy E. Maeker -- Executive Director (retired) at A Minnesota Without Poverty (AMWP), a statewide movement to end poverty in Minnesota by 2020. Her work with AMWP focuses on convening and leading a collaborative process to implement the recommendations of the Legislative Commission to End Poverty in Minnesota, and to build the public and political will to end poverty. Previously she served as Dean of Students at Luther Seminary (1991-2000), Pastor for Community Ministries at Central Lutheran Church, Minneapolis (2000-2002), and Bishop’s Associate in the Saint Paul Area Synod-ELCA  (2002-2008). She has degrees from Texas Lutheran University (BA), Wartburg Seminary (MDiv), University of Texas at Austin (MMus), and Luther Seminary (DMin).  She is the co-author of Ending Poverty: A 20/20 Vision (2006).  

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