Freedom is one of the most contested ideas in American politics. It has been claimed by the Tea Party and Ronald Reagan -- and by FDR and Martin Luther King. But what does "freedom" really mean, and what is the right balance between protecting individual rights and promoting the common good? For example, is the health reform debate about freedom from worry about coverage or freedom to not buy insurance? Is freedom best advanced by limited government and an unregulated market? Or by a robust public sector that checks corporate power and ensures that all Americans have a decent standard of living? And just because Americans embrace freedom at home, does that mean we should try to spread freedom abroad -- for example, in Libya?
Tonight, Demos Distinguished Senior Fellow Benjamin R. Barber will debate Ayn Rand Center scholar Harry Binswanger in part two of this debate series moderated by WNYC's Brian Lehrer. The evening's topic will be "Freedom: For Whom and From What?"
When: Tonight, April 7th 2011 from 6 to 8PM EST
Where: NYU's Skirball Center
You can watch the entire debate, that begins tonight at 6 PM, right here via live webcast.
More about the First Principles Debate Series:
After the 2008 financial crisis and its aftermath a great political divide emerged among many Americans reexamining the direction of our country. One side says that unleashed free-market policies led to the worst downturn since the Great Depression, and calls for effective government to foster more equitable prosperity. The other side says that government has grown too big and too intrusive, and calls for the country to rediscover the virtues of limited government and free-market capitalism.
This unique debate series will examine this divide and the social, economic, and moral beliefs that underlie politics in America today.