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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

Against Democracy

featuring Jason Brennan, Aaron Ross Powell, and Trevor Burrus on Sep 16, 2016

Jason Brennan joins us to talk about his new book, Against Democracy. What separates good voters from bad voters?

Free Thoughts

How Did the Western World Get Rich? (with Stephen Davies)

featuring Aaron Ross Powell, Trevor Burrus, and Stephen Davies on Jun 20, 2019

Stephen Davies joins us today to discuss how we live in a social and economic world that’s fundamentally different from the one of our ancestors.

Free Thoughts

The Bourgeois Era

featuring Deirdre McCloskey, Aaron Ross Powell, and Trevor Burrus on May 27, 2016

Deirdre N. McCloskey joins us to discuss her Bourgeois Era book series. Why are we so much wealthier now than at any other point in human history?

Free Thoughts

America’s Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power

featuring Gene Healy, Aaron Ross Powell, and Trevor Burrus on May 12, 2014

Gene Healy joins us to talk about the growing power of the Executive Branch. What are the President’s actual duties according to the U.S. Constitution?

Free Thoughts

Libertarianism and Christianity

featuring Doug Bandow, Aaron Ross Powell, and Trevor Burrus on Jul 21, 2014

Doug Bandow joins us to talk about the relationship between libertarianism and Chrisitanity.

Free Thoughts

Nothing Is Secure

featuring Julian Sanchez, Aaron Ross Powell, and Trevor Burrus on May 19, 2017

Julian Sanchez joins us to talk about online privacy in the era of mass data collection. What kind of data are we creating, and who’s watching us?

Free Thoughts

The True Causes of Mass Incarceration

featuring John Pfaff, Trevor Burrus, and Aaron Ross Powell on May 12, 2017

We talk about the United States’s unusually high rate of incarceration. How many Americans are in prison or in jail? What did they do to get there?

Free Thoughts

Why We’re Too Complacent

featuring Tyler Cowen, Trevor Burrus, and Aaron Ross Powell on May 5, 2017

This week, we talk about the slowing pace of innovation and growth in the US over the past few decades. Has American society become too complacent?

Free Thoughts

Rebuilding America (with Yuval Levin)

featuring Trevor Burrus, Aaron Ross Powell, and Yuval Levin on Jan 24, 2020

Yuval Levin joins the show to discuss how the left and right alike respond with populist anger at our institutions that seem to be failing the American people. 

Free Thoughts

The Death Penalty

featuring Ben Jones, Aaron Ross Powell, and Trevor Burrus on Mar 18, 2014

Ben Jones asks, “Does the death penalty play a legitimate role in justice?”

Free Thoughts

The Ethics of Dynamite

featuring Jason Kuznicki, Aaron Ross Powell, and Trevor Burrus on Feb 3, 2014

Jason Kuznicki joins us for a meeting of Cato’s informal book club, where we discuss Auberon Herbert’s essay “The Ethics of Dynamite.”

Free Thoughts

Liberaltarianism and Trump

featuring Brink Lindsey, Aaron Ross Powell, and Trevor Burrus on Jan 27, 2017

Brink Lindsey joins us this week to talk about an alliance between liberals and libertarians in the age of Trump-style conservative populism.

Free Thoughts

The Skeptical Libertarian

featuring Daniel Bier, Aaron Ross Powell, and Trevor Burrus on May 13, 2016

Daniel Bier joins us for a discussion about conspiracy theories and skepticism’s place in libertarianism.

Free Thoughts

The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory

featuring Jesse Walker, Aaron Ross Powell, and Trevor Burrus on Mar 25, 2016

Jesse Walker joins us to talk about his book, The United States of Paranoia. What do the conspiracy theories we embrace say about us a society?

Free Thoughts

Lysander Spooner’s Letter to Grover Cleveland

featuring Matt Zwolinski, Aaron Ross Powell, and Trevor Burrus on Aug 21, 2015

Matt Zwolinski joins us for a discussion on Lysander Spooner’s “Letter to Grover Cleveland,” which Spooner wrote in the last year of his life.

Free Thoughts

“Libertarian” Paternalism?

featuring Bill Glod, Aaron Ross Powell, and Trevor Burrus on Oct 20, 2014

Bill Glod joins us on this week’s episode of Free Thoughts for a discussion on so-called libertarian paternalism.