FreedomFest Explores ‘New Frontiers’ in Liberty

CNN’s Chris Moody recently reported from FreedomFest, the pro-liberty political conference that’s been hosted for the last 10 years in Las Vegas, Nevada. This year’s theme was “Exploring New Frontiers.”

Chris frames the segment as a question of pro-Trump vs. anti-Trump attendees, but there was actually much less commentary on the present occupant of the White House than one would have predicted for such an event. Session topics ranged from criminal justice reform and eminent domain abuse to free speech protections and cryptocurrency, with book signings, debates, a mock trial, and a full-fledged film festival all happening at the same time.

The Anthem Film Festival portion of the week was especially important to myself and my colleague Amanda France, as we got the opportunity to present CEI’s short documentary I, Whiskey: The Human Spirit (above) to another crowd for screening, along with our production partners Drew Tidwell and Helen Straight from Passing Lane Films.

We held our initial presentation of the film as the event was kicking off on Wednesday afternoon, then followed up with another screening and panel discussion on Friday. The Friday panel included (above, from left to right) the Foundation for Economic Education’s Director of Content Jeffrey Tucker, CEI President Kent Lassman, Foundation for Economic Education President Larry Reed, and former CEI president and current president of DonorsTrust, Lawson Bader.

Also on Friday afternoon, I moderated a panel discussion on free speech and donor privacy with (above, from left to right) Goldwater Institute Vice President Timothy Sandefur, Americans for Prosperity General Counsel Victor Bernson, and CEI President Kent Lassman. Kent discussed the subpoena that CEI was served on his second day on the job, and how we fought back in court and in the news media against it. Vic talked about AFP’s court case against the state of California over demands to reveal confidential donor information, and Tim covered Goldwater’s recent work on free speech and campaign finance rules.

There are too many other great speakers to list, but highlights include David Boaz of the Cato Institute on reasons to be optimistic about the state of the nation and the world, University of Illinois Emerita Prof. Deirdre McCloskey on how bourgeois virtues helped create our prosperous modern world, and Forbes magazine Editor-in-Chief Steve Forbes (above) on what we can learn from 100 years of the magazine’s history.