“By the collision of different sentiments, sparks of truth strikeout, and political light is obtained.” — Benjamin Franklin (1785)
Have you noticed that there are no more debates on CNN, Fox News or MSNBC? The hosts only bring on “experts” to agree with them. Their first words are always, “I agree with you, Tucker,” or, “I agree with you, Chris.”
Remember when CNN produced “Crossfire,” a weekly political debate in the 1990s? It was resurrected for a couple of years, but there’s been nothing since 2014.
There are a few exceptions — the Sunday morning “Meet the Press” type shows, where the host might occasionally interview a hostile member of Congress (usually Republicans).
Or the presidential debates every four years.
But otherwise, that’s it. What’s going on?
A few months ago, I contacted the agents for the two most popular hosts on cable TV, Tucker Carlson of Fox News, and Chris Cuomo of CNN, and told them I was willing to pay top dollar to have both of them sit down together at FreedomFest and have a civil discussion on the issues of the day.
Within 24 hours, I was turned down flat.
Neither side gave a reason, but I suspect it’s simple self-interest. The media giants do not want a civil discussion or debate, for fear it might bring people together and destroy the animosity and divisiveness that the press loves these days.
FreedomFest: The Last Bastion of Civil Debates!
FreedomFest is an exception. We are famous for our big debates and mock trials. We have seven incredible debates already planned, with more on the way.
In the past, we’ve had Dinesh D’Souza debate Christopher Hitchens on religion, Steve Moore debate Paul Krugman on economic policy and in 2019, we had “Shark Tank” guru Kevin O’Leary take on John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market.
Kevin O’Leary is famous for his irreverent saying, “The only purpose of business is to make money. If you want a friend, buy a dog.”
Is Profit a Dirty Word? The Big Debate
Good news! I just confirmed a replay of the fight with Yaron Brook, the chairman of the Ayn Rand Institute, defending the view that “the one and only purpose of business is to maximize long-term profits.” Yaron is taking on all comers to defend capitalism and the “virtue of selfishness,” to quote Ayn Rand.
John Mackey is just as determined. He’s never been a fan of Ayn Rand’s version of selfish capitalism. He will argue that commerce has a higher purpose than just making a buck. Business should be about “the good, the true, the beautiful, the heroic.”
He will defend Adam Smith’s view that the commercial society elevates humanity beyond its pecuniary needs, that it moderates the passions and encourages education, discipline and wisdom, and the virtues of thrift, self-restraint and patience and is a countervailing force to looting, rioting and war.
I’ve worked for years to put this debate together, and now, it’s going to happen. Two giants in business and philosophy will square off on the main stage at the Rushmore Civic Center and debate for 50 minutes.
You won’t want to miss this debate, hosted and sponsored by Gene Epstein and the Soho Forum. It will be followed by an autograph session. John will be signing his new book, “Conscious Leadership: Elevating Humanity Through Business” and Yaron Brook will be signing his new book, “Equal is Unfair: America’s Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality.”
Is It Time to End the War on Terrorism?
We are also planning another provocative debate between ex-Muslim author Ayaan Hirsi Ali vs. libertarian writer Scott Horton on the resolution, “The U.S. global war on Islamic fundamentalists is worth supporting.” Horton has written the book, “Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism.” The sparks will fly! (Ms. Hirsi Ali requires two bodyguards for her safety.)
But there’s more…
Another debate, “Is the Catholic Church a force for good in the world,” will pit the atheist anarcho-capitalist Doug Casey (who grew up in the Catholic church and rejected it) against the devote Catholic podcaster Gary Richied. We will try our best to make this debate civil.
The Great Wall of China Debate
More fireworks are coming! Chinese freedom fighter Li Schoolland will take on supply-side economist George Gilder in the topic, “Is the Chinese Model Worth Defending?” George’s book, “Beyond Google” was the #2 bestseller in China, where he is worshipped as a tech guru. He told me, “In a world gone bonkers, I’m definitely bullish on China! Compared to the U.S., which has devoted itself to asinine socialist programs on viruses, climate change and anti-merit employment, China is far ahead of us in technology and entrepreneurship.”
Li couldn’t disagree more. Look what’s happening in Hong Kong, where free speech and dissent can get you a prison sentence.
Schoolland says, “Look at the suppression of Falun-Gong, the problem Jack Ma is facing, the patriotic campaign against US, the ban on western social media, the efforts on brainwashing education from birth to higher education. The objectives are very clear: to make Chinese people think the Communist Chinese Party (CCP) is the best, that China is the strongest and most powerful country in the world, and to prevent the empowerment of individuals at any cost. We must never forget: Xi Jinping is a dictator, the CCP is tyranny!”
Putting the Lockdown on Trial
Our ever-popular mock trial will be on the all-important question, “Did the Pandemic Justify the Lockdown?” with prosecuting attorney Catherine Bernard (a public defender from Georgia) taking on defense attorney Michael Shermer (publisher of Skeptic magazine). Each attorney will call two star witnesses. Tom Woods will preside as the judge.
We’re also planning a special panel/debate on “What four economists belong on Mount Rushmore?” As of now, nearly 800 people have voted in the poll. If you haven’t taken the poll, click here to vote.
After you vote, you can find out who the four leading economists are now — you will be surprised.
Finally, we will have a full three-day investment conference. One of the featured debates will be “Bitcoin vs. Gold: Which is the Better Inflation Hedge?” pitting top experts on both cryptocurrencies and precious metals. The debate is hosted by Rich Checkan, president of Asset Strategies International. You don’t want to miss this debate!
Hurry! Early Bird Discount Ends on March 31!
We have nearly 1,300 attendees signed up already, with four months to go. Many people are making it a family vacation so that they can see Mount Rushmore and Deadwood. Three hotels have already sold out.
Our “early bird” discount ends on March 31. NOW is the time to register. Only $399 per person and $299 for guests. Special discounts for students and young professionals.
Go to www.freedomfest.com, or call Hayley at 1-855-850-3733, ext. 202, to register or get more information. Use Eagle2021 code.
Special Private Reception for Subscribers — Only 28 Slots Left!
Remember, subscribers to my newsletter get a 2021 American eagle silver dollar and a signed copy of “The Maxims of Wall Street” at our special Eagle private meeting at FreedomFest, where we are celebrating 40 years of Forecasts & Strategies. The room at the historic Alex Johnson Hotel (where Ronald Reagan and five other presidents have stayed) is limited to 200 subscribers. We’ve already sold 172 tickets, so don’t miss out. I urge you to sign up right away.
Good investing, AEIOU,
You Blew it!
Do We Really Need Daylight Saving Time?
Last Sunday, we all went through the ritual of “springing ahead” to Daylight Savings Time (DST), so that we enjoy an hour more of sunshine in the evening.
But there is a substantial downside to the semi-annual switch back-and-forth of the time change. (We “fall backward” an hour on November 7, 2021).
Daylight Saving Time goes back a long way. Benjamin Franklin, when he was ambassador to France, once recommended turning the clock forward to encourage the French people to live up to his motto, “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
DST is supposed to save energy; in the early 1970s, President Richard Nixon signed legislation mandating that clocks be moved forward in March as a way of saving energy. But studies show only a small reduction.
‘The Social Jet Lag’
The biggest problem is the semi-annual effect on the physical, mental and behavioral changes. The semi-annual change causes sleepiness, decreased productivity and a spike in heart attacks in the workplace and auto accidents following the change (a 6% jump in fatal car accidents in the week following the switch to DST).
Polls suggest that 70% of Americans disapprove of switching back and forth between standard and daylight-saving time. Farmers, in particular, dislike changing the routine on farms, and that’s one reason why Arizona and Hawaii don’t change their clocks.
Given its unpopularity, why doesn’t Congress rescind it? Some states want to, including Utah, California and Florida. But, under the Uniform Time Act of 1966, states have to obtain congressional approval. And Congress has better things to do, like wasting trillions of dollars on bailouts.
This is just one more example of political inertia — bad policies that remain on the books for years despite their unpopularity. Business solves problems, but not government. But as Peter Drucker said, “Government is not a business. It does not solve problems, it creates them.”