Governments don’t work the way most people think they do. Public choice theory explores how voters, politicians, and bureaucrats actually make decisions. Prof. Antony Davies explains.
Almost every authority figure in Britain told them to vote for remaining in the EU. So why did 17 million people vote to leave? Dr. Steve Davies explains.
Donald Trump is part of a much bigger phenomenon, explains Professor Steve Davies.
There’s a more effective way of voting. One where you personally have it within your power to make change. Which better serves your well being: voting in the ballot box where you’re one of millions? Or “foot-voting,” where you can move across state lines? Professor Randy Barnett of Georgetown University} explains why governments are more […]
With great power comes great responsibility. But what happens when those in power are no longer responsible enough to wield it? From our ever-increasing debt to the chaos of Ferguson, MO, it’s no surprise that people with power end up abusing it. Look no further than ‘The Gang’ from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia; each […]
Tired of the corruption, high crime, and poor state of the economy in Venezuela, students and other citizens are taking to the streets to protest. What kind of ideas inspire regular citizens to risk so much in the face of a tyrannical government? Source footage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFS6cP9auDc Disclaimer: Learn Liberty is an educational project and does […]
The anti-government protests and demonstrations in Ukraine have been flooding the news lately. But what is it all about? What ideas inspire these people to stand tall against their oppressive government? Disclaimer: Learn Liberty is an educational project and does not endorse any policy, politician, or political party. Learn Liberty does not endorse violence of […]
Do you think that a majority vote is always the fairest way to reach a consensus? Think again! In this Learn Liberty video, Professor Diana Thomas illustrates a paradoxical outcome that arises when people vote on three or more items – known as Condorcet’s Paradox – and proves that it is quite easy to manipulate […]
Have you ever wondered why politicians seem to all say the same thing, especially during presidential elections? According to Professor Diana Thomas, this is due to the median voter theorem. To guarantee victory, a candidate has to earn just over 50 percent of the vote. Even if a candidate starts out on an extreme end […]
Surveys routinely show that the general public is poorly informed about government and politics. In a survey conducted in 2010, for example, fewer than half of respondents even knew which political party held the majority of the seats in the House of Representatives. Professor Diana Thomas asks why the public knows and cares so little. […]
In an effort to increase voter turnout, some countries have laws requiring citizens to vote or face a penalty. Should the United States adopt such a practice? Professor Jason Brennan offers several reasons for not making voting mandatory. Political scientists find that most citizens are badly informed. Citizens appear to make systematic mistakes about the […]
To vote well, we need more than just information. We also need to process information in an open-minded and reliable way. Unfortunately, research shows that individuals aren’t very good at doing that. Professor Jason Brennan outlines four important biases citizens need to overcome in order to vote well: optimism bias, confirmation bias, in-group bias, and […]
People worry whenever money and politics mix – but should they? Common wisdom suggests that large campaign contributions can corrupt politicians and disenfranchise regular voters. If this is true, then regulations that limit the role of money in politics should lead to better governance. However, this hasn’t been the case. Professor Bradley Smith explains why […]
In early 2008, a group called Citizens United sought to air commercials for their documentary that was highly critical of then-Senator Hillary Clinton. This appeared to violate federal election rules that prohibited corporations and unions from broadcasting “electioneering communications” within 60 days of an election. Citizens United sued the Federal Election Commission and ultimately won […]
What exactly is a Super PAC? Professor Bradley Smith, the former Commissioner of the Federal Election Commission, brings some clarity to these controversial groups by taking a close look at Super PACs: what they do and how they impact elections. In the video, Professor Smith asserts that many of the alleged harms caused by Super […]
The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution says, “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech.” Does that freedom extend to the way people spend their money? Is money a form of speech? Professor Bradley Smith shows how money is needed to communicate ideas and to establish organizations. For example, […]
In this video, Professor Munger reminds us of the difference between democracy and majority rule. Democratic constitutions establish not only the process by which decisions will be made, but also the limits on kind of things can be voted on. This prevents the majority from deciding everything. He warns, however, that these limits on what […]
Professor Brad Smith asks you to imagine the following scenario: at the height of the War on Terror, the government passes a second PATRIOT Act. This law would require you to report all your political activity to the government, including the campaigns you support. The government would then put that information into a database available […]
Although everyone agrees that freedom is important, political freedoms are often prioritized over economic freedoms. Many believe that the best way to maximize personal freedom is to furnish each individual with an equal voice in the democratic decision-making process. After all, the logic goes, how can you be unhappy with a choice that you had […]
Are corporations people, or are they something else? Corporations are made up of people – including employees, shareholders, and executives. So, are corporations distinct from the people that comprise them? Economics professor Steven Horwitz addresses this question. Today, many people say we should raise the corporate income tax as a way to tax the rich, […]
People often associate freedom with electoral democracy. According to Prof. Pavel Yakovlev, the freedom to vote is an inherently limited tool for fostering a free society. Although majority vote can serve as a useful tool for expressing the will of the people, it can be taken too far. Imagine a world governed entirely by majority […]
Do democracies promote freedom? According to Prof. Aeon Skoble, it is definitely possible for democracies to promote freedom, but it is not a guarantee. This is due to a few flaws inherent in democratic systems: Majority belief in something does not necessarily mean that it’s true. Majorities are capable of being just as tyrannical as […]
According to David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute, libertarianism is the application of science and reason to the study of politics and public policy. By focusing on the actual effects of policies, libertarians understand that intentions do not equal outcomes. As such, libertarians understand that private property, free markets, and tolerance are […]
Prof. Bryan Caplan discusses his controversial book, The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies. His thesis is that a majority of voters err in their thinking on economics issues, and that these errors can be grouped under 4 different irrational biases, which Caplan calls the make-work bias, the anti-foreign bias, the […]