Robert Higgs

Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy at the Independent Institute and an economic historian whose writings focus on the causes and means of government growth. He is the author of Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government (1987, 2012).

Video Collection

Robert Higgs on the Rise and Fall of Leviathan

featuring Robert Higgs on May 27, 1995

Higgs discusses the “ratchet effect” - the concept that having grabbed authority in a crisis, government institution’s rarely relinquish those powers.

Video Collection

Rights During National Emergencies

featuring Robert Higgs on Sep 7, 1987

In this lecture from 1987, Robert Higgs speaks about governments’ tendency to bend or suspend individual rights during emergency situations.



by Robert Higgs on Aug 15, 2008

War is often costly both to the nation and to individual liberties. Most libertarians are skeptical of war or see it as a necessary evil.


Peace and Pacifism

by Robert Higgs on Aug 15, 2008

In this entry, Robert Higgs outlines public opinion of war throughout American history and the stances the government took to anti-war sentiment.

Free Thoughts

Taking a Stand

featuring Robert Higgs, Aaron Ross Powell, and Trevor Burrus on Nov 20, 2015

Robert Higgs joins us this week to share his reflections on individual liberty, economics, war and peace, and the role of the state in human affairs.

Free Thoughts

When Is It Appropriate to Go to War?

featuring Justin Logan, Aaron Ross Powell, and Trevor Burrus on Oct 27, 2014

Justin Logan joins us for a conversation about American foreign policy. What’s the libertarian solution for military overspending and overreach?

Free Thoughts

War Is the Health of the State

featuring Christopher A. Preble on Aug 28, 2015

Christopher Preble examines ways in which an aggressive foreign policy aids the growth of government.


The Most Liberal Value: Free Speech

by David S. D’Amato on Nov 26, 2015

Attacks on free speech reveal progressivism as a uniquely American iteration of fascism that shares many of its historical and ideological roots.


The Politics of Modernism

by David S. D’Amato on Aug 13, 2015

We can best understand modern America by looking at the ways fascism and socialism are kin.


Tolstoy’s Christian Non-Resistance

by David S. D’Amato on Dec 30, 2015

Tolstoy’s radical Christianity led him to a pacifistic, anarchistic political philosophy that rejected the state as incompatible with Christ’s teachings.


Italian Fascism in Maturity

by David S. D’Amato on Jan 14, 2016

D’Amato discusses the rule of the Fascist Party in Italy and draws parallels to American politics.



by Paul Dragos Aligica on Aug 15, 2008

What the state should look like varies even among libertarians.


New Deal

by Robert Whaples on Aug 15, 2008

The New Deal was a series of government programs aimed at those hurt by the Great Depression, which majorly expanded the size and expense of government.


The Return of Big Government

by David Boaz on Jan 1, 2009

Boaz refutes the notion that it was libertarian laissez-faire policies that created the problems that have arisen in our society.