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Highlights of FreedomFest 2015

The happy warriors of CEI have returned from our sojourn to Las Vegas and the excitement of FreedomFest 2015: Discover the New American Dream. The conference featured everyone from Steve Forbes and John Stossel to CEOs John Mackey and Peter Thiel to Dinesh D’Souza and Glenn Beck. The sessions were a mix of libertarian activism, conservative analysis, and new opportunities to invest in precious metals.

The best sessions, of course, featured CEI president Lawson Bader. On Friday morning the room was packed for “Gavel Out! Legal Opportunities to Push Back Regulatory Overreach,” in which Lawson gave an overview of the threat of the growing regulatory state and its costs and then described the many legislative and legal strategies available for rolling back the advance of federal agencies.

The next day Lawson joined the presidents of the Cato Institute, the Reason Foundation, and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute for “Think Tanks Make a Difference!” moderated by author Elizabeth Ames. Panelists shared their views of the role of think tanks in the liberty movement, and discussed the impact each organization has achieved over the years. David Nott of Reason, for example, shared the work of president emeritus Robert Poole and his success in persuading state and local governments to privatize the provision of public services.

CEI also had its own booth in the conference’s exhibit hall, where we were giving away copies of the latest edition of Wayne Crews’ annual report 10,000 Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State and our collected advice to our friends on Capitol Hill, Free to Prosper: A Pro-Growth Agenda for the 114th Congress. We were also promoting our latest film project, the upcoming documentary I, Whiskey: The Spirit of the Market. The exhibit hall, by the way, was filled with representatives of many other excellent organizations, including Students for Liberty, Atlas Network, Marijuana Policy Project, Foundation for Economic Education, and Liberty Fund, among others.

If you’re interested in getting a taste of the conference experience yourself, searching for #FreedomFest on Twitter will bring up a lively discussion of many of the week’s events; the conference also received a fair amount of news coverage. If you want to hear the sessions for yourself, you can purchase audio recordings via USB thumb drive, CD, or download. Hopefully we’ll see you all next year.