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Free Thoughts Podcast

A show about libertarianism and the ideas that influence it. Hosted by Aaron Ross Powell and Trevor Burrus.

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Aaron Ross Powell

Aaron Ross Powell is Director and Editor of Libertarianism.org, a project of the Cato Institute. Libertarianism.org presents introductory material as well as new scholarship related to libertarian philosophy, theory, and history. He is also co-host of Libertarianism.org’s popular podcast, Free Thoughts. His writing has appeared in Liberty and The Cato Journal. He earned a JD from the University of Denver.

Free Thoughts

The Libertarian Supreme Court

featuring Aaron Ross Powell and Trevor Burrus on Aug 25, 2014

Aaron Powell and Trevor Burrus sum up the Supreme Court’s most recent term and discuss the meaning and impact of each of the court’s big cases.

Free Thoughts

Arguments for Liberty: Rawlsianism

featuring Kevin Vallier, Aaron Ross Powell, and Trevor Burrus on Jul 7, 2017

Kevin Vallier joins us to talk about his Arguments for Liberty chapter on the ethical system of John Rawls. Does Rawls have value for libertarians?

Free Thoughts

Arguments for Liberty: Utilitarianism

featuring Chris Freiman, Aaron Ross Powell, and Trevor Burrus on Aug 25, 2017

Christopher Freiman joins us to talk about his Arguments for Liberty chapter on utilitarianism. What’s the utilitarian argument for libertarianism?

Free Thoughts

Arguments for Liberty: Kantianism

featuring Aaron Ross Powell, Grant Babcock, and Jason Kuznicki on Jan 6, 2017

Jason Kuznicki joins us to discuss the chapter he wrote on Immanuel Kant for our new book, Arguments for Liberty.

Free Thoughts

Objections to Libertarianism (with Eric Mack)

featuring Aaron Ross Powell, Trevor Burrus, and Eric Mack on May 10, 2019

Eric Mack joins our show again to talk about common objections to libertarianism by dissecting John Rawls viewpoint. 

Free Thoughts

Social Media’s Moral Panic (with Milton Mueller)

featuring Trevor Burrus, Aaron Ross Powell, and Milton Mueller on Aug 16, 2019

Milton Mueller joins us to discuss how social media is not a medical addiction that requires government intervention.

Free Thoughts

How to be Epicurean (with Catherine Wilson)

featuring Aaron Ross Powell, Paul Meany, and Catherine Wilson on Nov 22, 2019

Catherine Wilson teaches us that there is more to Epicureanism than eating, drinking, and being merry.

Free Thoughts

Unbundling the State (with Jason Kuznicki)

featuring Aaron Ross Powell, Paul Matzko, and Jason Kuznicki on Apr 19, 2019

Jason Kuznicki discusses how the problem of political authority has evolved over time from a classical liberal perspective. 

Free Thoughts

Finding Meaning in an Age of Individualism (with Clay Routledge)

featuring Aaron Ross Powell, Trevor Burrus, and Clay Routledge on Nov 1, 2019

Clay Routledge joined the show today to talk about how our society has become increasingly individualistic, and how we are still learning the consequences of that.

Free Thoughts

Rights and Radicalism

featuring Grant Babcock, Aaron Ross Powell, and Trevor Burrus on Sep 1, 2017

Grant Babcock joins us this week to talk about an essay he wrote in defense of natural rights-based libertarianism.

Free Thoughts

How Mao Broke China (with Frank Dikötter)

featuring Trevor Burrus, Aaron Ross Powell, and Frank Dikötter on Oct 18, 2019

Frank Dikötter, an expert on Chinese communism, joins the show to talk about the nature of dictatorships. 

Free Thoughts

The Cato Institute at 40

featuring Peter Goettler, Aaron Ross Powell, and Trevor Burrus on Mar 10, 2017

Peter Goettler joins us this week to talk about his role at the Cato Institute, Cato’s history of 40 years of advancing liberty, and what’s next for public policy organizations more generally and for Cato specifically.

Free Thoughts

Did Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal Really Save America?

featuring Jim Powell, Aaron Ross Powell, and Trevor Burrus on Mar 23, 2015

Jim Powell joins us for a discussion on the New Deal policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Did the New Deal really pull America out of the Great Depression?

Free Thoughts

Liberty and the American Experience

featuring Jim Powell, Aaron Ross Powell, and Trevor Burrus on Nov 24, 2014

Jim Powell joins us for a discussion on how the tradition of liberty in the United States was established and how it subsequently flourished.

Free Thoughts

A Muslim Case for Liberty

featuring Mustafa Akyol, Aaron Ross Powell, and Adam Bates on Feb 24, 2017

Mustafa Akyol discusses Islam. Is there a Muslim case for liberty? How has Islam traditionally treated the principles of political liberalism?

Free Thoughts

The Fate of the West

featuring Bill Emmott, Trevor Burrus, and Aaron Ross Powell on Aug 4, 2017

Bill Emmott joins us to talk about his new book, The Fate of the West: The Battle to Save the World’s Most Successful Political Idea.

Free Thoughts

The Politics of Science (with Terence Kealey)

featuring Trevor Burrus, Aaron Ross Powell, and Terence Kealey on Jan 10, 2020

Terence Kealey joins the show today to talk about how the government is nearly the single buyer of scientific research.