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Voices of Freedom

Author: Rick Graber

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Every two weeks, join us on Voices of Freedom for thought-provoking conversations on issues impacting our freedom and America’s founding principles, with particular emphasis on free speech, educational freedom, and free enterprise.

Voices of Freedom features Rick Graber, President of The Bradley Foundation, talking to remarkable individuals within the Bradley community, including grantees, Bradley Prize winners, and more. Our focus on these areas reflects the intent of the foundation’s namesakes, Lynde and Harry Bradley, who wanted to preserve the freedoms that were essential to their success for future generations.
17 Episodes
Interview with Allen Guelzo What would Lincoln do? Leaders and historians often ask this question when America is in a time of crisis. It’s understandable, considering Lincoln’s extraordinary leadership during the darkest and most fragile period in the country’s history.  Today, our nation confronts a vast array of serious challenges that threaten to undermine its strength and the trust of its citizens. Underscoring this point is a recent poll showing that only 28 percent of Americans are satisfied with the way democracy is working in the U.S. Our guest on this episode of Voices of Freedom is Dr. Allen Guelzo, a preeminent authority on President Lincoln. As America navigates another time of strife, we turned to him for answers to the perennial question – what would Lincoln do?  Allen Guelzo is a New York Times bestselling author, American historian, and commentator on public issues. He is Director of the James Madison Program Initiative on Politics and Statesmanship and Senior Research Scholar in the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University.  Topics discussed on this episode:  Why Dr. Guelzo focused his scholarship on Lincoln The many unexplored angles and aspects of Lincoln Lincoln’s character and complexity Lessons to be learned from Lincoln’s leadership Whether democracy is currently in peril Election integrity in Lincoln’s time compared to today How citizens can restore trust in each other What could have been different if Lincoln wasn’t assassinated How Dr. Guelzo himself became a distinguished orator Previously, he was the Director of Civil War Era Studies and the Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He is a 2018 Bradley Prize winner.
Interview with Lord Andrew Roberts The state of democracy, upcoming elections, the economy and political discord are just a few of the many issues that are top of mind among Americans today. Yet, as history reminds us, these same challenges have confronted the country since its founding. Looking to history can help inform leaders, communities and citizens on how to navigate times of upheaval with greater confidence and even optimism. Our guest on this episode of Voices of Freedom is Andrew Roberts, a distinguished scholar who has brought some of history’s most prominent figures to life through his many books, publications, and his podcast. Roberts shares some of the lessons learned from the past and how to apply them to today’s environment. Andrew Roberts is the Roger and Martha Mertz Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, a visiting professor at the War Studies Department at King’s College in London and the Lehrman Institute Lecturer at the New York Historical Society. He has written or edited 20 books and is an accomplished public speaker. Topics discussed on this episode:  How Andrew chooses his topics and his approach to writing about them His latest book, co-authored with General David Petraeus, Conflict: The Evolution of Warfare from 1945 to Ukraine Vladmir Putin and how history may view him Andrew’s take on the level of engagement America should have in current conflicts Key differences in how war is waged today versus during World War II Universal characteristics of good leaders Andrew’s service in the House of Lords How the study of history has changed his life In 2022, Andrew was elevated to the United Kingdom’s House of Lords as Baron Roberts of Belgravia. He is also a 2016 Bradley Prize winner.
An Interview with Judge Janice Rogers Brown The U.S. Constitution has held our Republic together through wars, the Great Depression and civil unrest. Yet for all that it has helped us endure, the Constitution faces great challenges.  Will Americans cherish and defend it, or bend to efforts to weaken and undermine it?  Our guest on this episode of Voice of Freedom is Judge Janice Rogers Brown. She shares her thoughts on whether citizens have the “discipline and toughness” required to safeguard the Constitution and addresses other significant Constitutional matters. Brown was confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 2005, where she served until 2017. Before that, she was an associate judge of the California Supreme Court. Topics Discussed: What drew Judge Brown to a career in law and the principles of the Constitution Why she believes the Constitution’s teachings are tough The significance of originalism and how to defend it The impact of partisanship on the justice system Her thoughts on whether racial set asides are constitutional How independent thinking and an inquisitive nature shaped her judicial philosophy She has received numerous awards and honors throughout her distinguished career, including a 2018 Bradley Prize. 
An Interview with Dr. Ed Fuelner, a Conservative Institution Builder What does it mean to be a conservative? That question has long been debated, but the foundational principles of conservativism have been more sharply challenged in recent years. Focal points of discussion have centered on the role of government and America’s approach to global conflict. Few have as much insight into the development and growth of conservatism and its current state than our guest on this episode of Voices of Freedom. Dr. Ed Feulner, a renowned leader and institution-builder, shares his own path towards the ideals of freedom, describes what it took to build a movement, and offers his thoughts on the principles upon which conservatives can coalesce.  Dr. Ed Feulner co-founded and built Heritage in the late 1970s from a small policy shop into an American powerhouse of conservative ideas. Feulner has authored nine books, played a prominent role in dozens of organizations, and speaks frequently both in the United States and abroad. Topics discussed on this episode: The books that influenced his ideological perspective and shaped his life Feulner’s role in building institutions of the modern conservative movement How he transformed ideas into policy that have impacted America What it means to be a conservative Whether conservatives can coalesce around the restoration of civil society America’s role in the world and the state of our country Are we in a new Cold War? The role of free markets and free enterprise in today’s conservatism How he continues to remain a happy warrior Over the years, he has consistently been listed as one of the 100 most influential conservatives in America and his service has been recognized with numerous accolades and honors, including the 2012 Bradley Prize. 
An Interview with General Jack Keane, a Retired Four-Star General and Commentator The expanding turmoil in the Middle East and the ongoing war in Ukraine indicate that 2024 will be one of global unrest and uncertainty. The unease comes at a time when the U.S. is wrestling with its role in the world. The ideological divide over America’s posture when it comes to global conflict has transcended party lines, creating greater nuance to our foreign policy. How that impacts our engagement on the world stage, particularly in a presidential election year, remains to be seen. General Jack Keane, a leading figure on national security and foreign affairs, is our guest on this episode of Voices of Freedom. He shares his thoughts on the geopolitical environment, how the U.S, should approach international hotspots, civil society’s role during conflict, and the issues confronting the military. General Jack Keane is a retired four-star general and commentator, whose 37 years of public service culminated in his appointment as acting Chief of Staff and Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army.  He is the Chairman of the Institute for the Study of War, a Senior Strategic Analyst for Fox News, and a member of the Secretary of Defense Policy Board.   Topics discussed on this episode:  Whether we’re on the precipice of World War III The latest developments in the Middle East  How the U.S. should approach the ongoing war in Ukraine The surge in support for Palestine among Americans How civil society impacts countries with sustained conflict America’s role in the world The challenges facing the U.S. military Gen. Keane has received numerous awards and accolades, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  He was also a 2015 Bradley Prize winner.     
An Interview with John Cochrane, the Rose-Marie and Jack Anderson Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University While the staggering levels of post-pandemic inflation have gone down, Americans continue to say they feel pinched by high prices. All eyes are on the Fed for hints at what they may do to reduce inflation and ease the cost of housing and consumer goods. Adding to the economic uncertainty is the backdrop of an election and a looming debt crisis. Stanford economist John Cochrane is our guest on this episode of Voices of Freedom. An expert on the drivers of inflation, his recently published book provides vast insight into the economic consequences of the government spending money it doesn’t have. He shares his thoughts on what 2024 has in store for the economy. Topics Discussed on this Episode: ·         What economic data indicates vs. how Americans feel about the economy ·         The impact of the 2024 election on the economy ·         Why home ownership isn’t the best investment ·         America’s debt crisis and how to rein it in ·         Why the income tax should be eliminated and the tax code simplified John Cochrane is the Rose-Marie and Jack Anderson Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He also pens the popular blog, “The Grumpy Economist,” on Substack and is the author of numerous publications and articles on monetary policy, finance, the economy and other topics. His latest book, The Fiscal Theory of the Price Level was named one of the Economist’s Best Books of 2023. John is also a 2023 Bradley Prize winner.  
Religious freedom protects far more than the right to practice one’s faith. It also shields people from being compelled by the government to participate in activities that are not in accordance with their religious beliefs. Given the fierce battles over culture and politics today, it’s not surprising that religious freedom has been significantly challenged. Perhaps what is surprising is the state of religious freedom, given the current environment. Our guest on this episode of Voices of Freedom is Mark Rienzi, one of the country’s leading defenders of religious freedom. He shares his thoughts on why religious liberty is one of our most important rights, how it’s faring amidst significant legal challenges, and more. Topics discussed by Mark Rienzi and Rick Graber, President and CEO, The Bradley Foundation, include: ·         How Becket decides which cases to take ·         Whether Americans’ value of religious freedom has diminished over time ·         The state of religious freedom in America ·         The administrative state’s impact on religious liberty ·         How geopolitical events affect religious freedom at home ·         How religious freedom fared during the U.S. Supreme Court’s last term and how they may rule on religious liberty cases in the current term  Mark Rienzi is the President and CEO of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a non-profit public interest law firm with a mission to protect the free expression of all faiths. He is also a Professor of Law at the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, where he is co-director of the Center for Religious Liberty and has served as a Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. 
The ubiquitous smartphones that are a staple of modern life provide access to nearly every good or service that one could possibly imagine. We can have food delivered within minutes, book our next vacation, pay a bill, and order our children’s hot lunch all with a swipe of our fingers. We often don’t consider that our numerous digital transactions, saving time and energy, are possible because of free enterprise. The same is true of the countless innovations that make our lives easier. Instead, many today are apt to criticize economic freedom, believing it causes inequity. Our guest on this episode of Voices of Freedom is Anne Bradley. Through research, education and teaching, Anne brings the marvels of free markets to life, with the goal of ensuring that the next generation is prepared to preserve an economic system that creates opportunity and vastly improves lives.     Topics discussed by Anne Bradley and Rick Graber, President and CEO, The Bradley Foundation, include: Finding the economic angle in everything from income inequality to the political economy of terrorism. Teaching economic concepts in a way that’s relatable and accessible.   The link between markets and morality; why the free-market system is the most humane economic system. Markets and the acceleration of materialism. The myth that economic freedom creates and exacerbates income inequality. Industrial policy’s consequences. Where to turn for thoughtful, accurate economic analysis and commentary.  Anne Bradley is the George and Sally Mayer Fellow for Economic Education and vice president of academic affairs at The Fund for American Studies, where she enhances the impact and reach of economic education programs, oversees the development of economics curriculum and teaches economics courses. She is the author of several books on the intersection of theology and economics and is working on a book about the political economy of terrorism.  
The movement to expand parental freedom in education continues to experience momentum, an encouraging sign that families are demanding more choices for their children. Dozens of states have passed laws to open K12 opportunities over the last few years, and even more are considering doing the same. Yet many families still don’t send their children to a school that best fits their needs even after these laws are passed because they are unaware of their new education options. Our guest on this episode of Voices of Freedom is Brandon Detweiler.  Brandon’s work focuses on ensuring that information about a family’s K12 opportunities is literally at their fingertips.  Topics discussed by Brandon Detweiler and Rick Graber, President and CEO, The Bradley Foundation, include:   ·         Obstacles that prevented education freedom from taking off earlier ·         The development of Schoolahoop, an app that informs families about their K12 options ·         Lessons learned from the initial launch of Schoolahoop, including feedback from parents and the education community ·         Outreach efforts to inform families of educational opportunities, including scholarships ·         The implementation measures that parental choice advocates should consider as they try to advance education opportunity in their states   Brandon Detweiler is the head of product at the Foundation for American Innovation. He has a background in edtech, online learning, and e-commerce at Veritas Press, where he helped lead and grow the largest and oldest online classical Christian school in the country and launched the Phonics Museum Reading App. 
The free exchange of goods and services has profoundly improved living conditions throughout the world. In the past two decades alone, free markets have helped reduce the child mortality rate by almost half and have lifted 130,000 people out of extreme poverty.  Yet according to a recent poll, twice as many people believe that socialism, rather than the free market system, can best meet everyone’s basic needs. Breaking it down further, men are far more likely to have a favorable view of free markets than women (68% vs. 48%).  Carrie Lukas is our guest on this episode of Voices of Freedom. She is working to change the way women think about free markets, and to promote a better understanding of how liberty-oriented policies open opportunity for individuals and families. Topics discussed by Carrie Lukas and Rick Graber, President and CEO, The Bradley Foundation, include:   Debunking the myth that free markets are incompatible with compassion What conservatives can do to show women how their policies advance opportunity The impact that federal paid family leave would have on parents Solutions to the issue of childcare affordability and accessibility The reasons for the pay gap between men and women Whether DEI policies have their intended effect How efforts to redefine gender are harming society Carrie Lukas is the president of Independent Women’s Forum, vice president of Independent Women’s Voice, and a member of Independent Women’s Network. She is the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex, and Feminism, Checking Progressive Privilege, and Liberty Is No War on Women.  Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, USA Today, and numerous other outlets.     ·          ·          ·          ·                 
Free speech is a bedrock principle that has helped to sustain democracy and catalyze tremendous growth and prosperity in America. At the same time, it’s a right that is often misunderstood or taken for granted. The pervasiveness of technology and increased political polarization has only made free speech issues more complex and often controversial. Greg Lukianoff and Darpana Sheth are our guests on this episode of Voices of Freedom. They discuss the fundamentals of free speech and make the case for why it’s important to protect all speech. Topics Discussed Free speech protections under the First Amendment FIRE’s updated mission and why it chose to expand its focus Why free speech must be preserved on college campuses California’s law to compel professors to adopt certain views and Florida’s law prohibiting professors from expressing certain views How to ensure that books remain protected speech and are age appropriate in school libraries The impact of Section 230 and whether it should be reformed The future of free speech in America Lukianoff is the president and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), an attorney, and the author of Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate, Freedom From Speech, and FIRE’s Guide to Free Speech on Campus. Most recently, he co-authored The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure with Jonathan Haidt. Sheth is an attorney and Vice President of Litigation for FIRE. Darpana joined FIRE after 10 years with the Institute for Justice, where she litigated cutting-edge constitutional cases to protect property rights, economic liberty, and other individual liberties in federal court.
Universities, more than most institutions, should be places that welcome the free exchange of ideas. Critical thinking is sharpened when one’s beliefs are challenged, and new ideas and perspectives are introduced. This is especially crucial for young people as they prepare to enter an increasingly complex world. Yet today’s college environment is one in which students and faculty who hold certain viewpoints must find the courage to speak freely. In many cases when they do, they suffer the consequences. Ilya Shapiro is our guest on this episode of Voices of Freedom. He is not only an expert on constitutional rights but has firsthand experience of what it’s like to be a target of the cancel culture movement. Topics Discussed Cancel culture’s impact on higher education and what it’s like to experience it firsthand The drivers behind efforts to suppress free speech at universities Why university leadership should do more than adopt free speech policies The undercurrent of censorship in our institutions U.S. Supreme Court’s last term and the overall state of the court Shapiro is a senior fellow and director of constitutional studies at the Manhattan Institute. Previously, he was executive director and senior lecturer at the Georgetown Center for the Constitution. Before that, he was a vice president at the Cato Institute and director of Cato's Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies.
Families have more freedom in education than ever before, thanks in part to increased parental demand for K12 opportunities since the pandemic. In state after state, legislation has passed to expand educational options. While there has been significant momentum, the groundwork for reform was laid long ago, starting with the vision of Milton and Rose Friedman. The Friedmans broke the mold of the traditional school model by proposing the concept of school choice in 1955. Nearly 70 years later, their revolutionary idea has become embedded in the education landscape, with more than half of the U.S. now having some form of educational choice. Robert Enlow is our guest on this episode of Voices of Freedom. Since 1996, he has been dedicated to carrying out the Friedmans’ core belief that more education freedom creates greater opportunity for children. Topics Discussed Evolution of education freedom, starting with the Friedmans’ vision  Impact of school choice on underperforming schools Influence of parents on education freedom Legislative landscape of choice: opportunities and obstacles How to effectively implement education freedom legislation once it’s passed U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Espinoza v. Montana  How the Friedmans would view the state of education today Enlow is the president and CEO of EdChoice. Before its formation in 2016, he was an integral part of the Milton and Rose Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, serving as fundraiser, projects coordinator, vice president and executive director, prior to being named president and CEO in 2009.
Economic freedom unleashes creativity and innovation in a way that no other economic or political system has been able to match. The U.S. is the home of some of the most groundbreaking inventions in history precisely because its citizens have the right to engage freely in enterprise. Thomas Edison’s light bulb, the Wright brothers’ airplane, and Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone are just a few examples of how economic freedom has advanced human progress and generated overall prosperity. Despite the undeniable benefits of economic freedom, movements from within both the left and the right are increasingly inclined to give government more power to intervene in business and displace competition by expanding entitlements. Dr. M. Scott Niederjohn is our guest on this episode of Voices of Freedom. His life’s work has centered around teaching people about the benefits of economic freedom and elevating free enterprise. Topics Discussed: How to incorporate economics into lesson plans, including U.S. history Critical race theory’s impact on economic freedom Economic mobility vs equity Advancing the case for economic freedom and free enterprise States that are the most economically competitive Economic challenges of civic leaders The future of economic freedom in the U.S. Niederjohn is Professor of Economics and Director of the Free Enterprise Center at Concordia University in Mequon, WI. He has worked in academia for nearly two decades, serving as professor, department chair, college dean, and senior vice president. He is a widely known scholar and prolific researcher in the areas of economic education and public policy analysis. In 2013, Niederjohn was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach at the University of Luxembourg.
The latest tool to turn the tide against corporations that are active in the culture wars is the power of consumers who are willing to vote with their pocketbooks. Acting on their frustration with companies that “go woke” by boycotting their products, they are damaging some of America’s most iconic brands. While the pushback has caused some executives to think twice about adopting marketing campaigns that reflect the priorities of progressive identity politics, others continue to forge ahead. National Review writer Dominic Pino is our guest on this episode of Voices of Freedom. As a frequent contributor to NR’s Capital Matters, Dominic has his finger on the pulse of current economic issues and the state of free enterprise, including corporate boycotts, ESG, and labor unions.  Topics discussed on this episode include: How to improve reporting on economic matters Why industrial policy has become attractive among the younger generation How to advance the case for economic freedom The fight against Big Labor – how it has evolved and where it stands today Corporate boycotts and the pushback against ESG Rediscovering Edmund Burke as a guiding figure for conservatives Pino is the Thomas L. Rhodes Journalism Fellow at National Review Institute. Previously, he was the William F. Buckley, Jr. Fellow in Political Journalism at National Review. He recently co-authored Edmund Burke and the Perennial Battle, 1789-1797, a compilation of Burke’s best, most accessible writings from 1789 until his death.  
The next time you enjoy a leisurely Saturday, thank President Calvin Coolidge. The transition from a six-day work week to a five-day work week occurred under Coolidge’s presidency, an interesting footnote in American history. More importantly though, is why that came to be. Coolidge believed that smaller government and lower taxes would unleash American industry, creating more efficiency and greater productivity. Turns out, he was right. Amity Shlaes is our guest on this episode of Voices of Freedom. She has made it her mission to elevate Silent Cal’s presidency to enhance an understanding of why prosperity and civility flourished under his steady leadership. Shlaes chairs the board of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation, the official foundation dedicated to preserving and promoting the legacy of America’s 30th president. Topics discussed by Amity Shlaes and Rick Graber, President and CEO of The Bradley Foundation, include:   ·         Why President Coolidge should be ranked among America’s top ten presidents ·         This year’s centennial celebration of Coolidge’s inauguration ·         Coolidge isn’t taught in America’s classrooms - but he should be ·         Coolidge’s most important domestic policies ·         How Coolidge’s humble upbringing shaped his character and beliefs ·         The story behind the opponents of the New Deal and the nature of successful rebellion ·         Government growth during a crisis and cancel culture’s presence in the New Deal era ·         The rising support for unions among the right ·         How to inspire inquiry among younger generations  Shlaes is the author of four New York Times bestsellers, including The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression. Her latest book, New Deal Rebels, looks at the story of American opposition to the New Deal. Shlaes was a syndicated columnist for ten years, first at the Financial Times, then Bloomberg. Before that, she served as an editorial board member of The Wall Street Journal. Shlaes is also a winner of a 2021 Bradley Prize.
This episode of Voices of Freedom features a thoughtful conversation with  Samuel Gregg, Distinguished Fellow in Political Economy and Senior Research Faculty at the American Institute for Economic Research. Topics discussed by Dr. Gregg and Rick Graber, President and CEO, The Bradley Foundation, include: The integral role of free enterprise in America’s past, present, and future. Challenges to free enterprise from the left and the right. The debate about government intervention to counter China and Big Tech. Whether tariffs are ever appropriate. What have proponents of free enterprise missed? The rise and influence of ESG. Enjoy this conversation and more, Gregg has written and spoken extensively on questions of political economy, economic history, monetary theory and policy, and natural law theory. He is the author of sixteen books, including his most recent, The Next American Economy: Nation, State and Markets in an Uncertain World (2022). Three of his books have been short-listed for Conservative Book of the Year. 
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