What happened in the 2016 presidential election? Did democracy and the Electoral College fail? Should California secede?

Designed specifically for college students, this seminar is a nonpartisan two-day experience where you’ll explore election issues and the evolution of American democracy as you:

  • Listen to engaging lectures by distinguished professors
  • Unpack your ideas in discussion groups and get your questions answered
  • Connect with your peers & professors over free meals and a reception

While the 2016 election was filled with angry discourse, it brought up some important ideas. Ideas drive societies. An IHS seminar is a civil space where all ideas, including controversial and provocative ones, can be freely discussed and debated. The solution to ignorant speech is informed speech.

Here’s what a previous weekend seminar attendee had to say:

“Hugely impressive and informative, cannot wait to attend the next one. 10/10 would recommend to others.” – Nolan, Texas Tech University

Register now to get answers to your questions about American democracy and meet other students interested in creating a more just, peaceful, and thriving world.

This program is a collaboration with the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University
and is made possible through the support of the
John Templeton Foundation.


Friday, February 3rd
4:00 pm
Seminar Registration & Check-in
Rawls Atrium
4:15 pm
Benjamin Powell, Scott Barton
4:30 pm
American Constitutional Design: Liberty, Not Democracy
Randall Holcombe
5:45 pm
6:00 pm
Hobbits and Hooligans: Why Democracy Makes Us Dumb and Mean
Jason Brennan
7:15 pm
Dinner & Reception
Rawls Atrium
9:00 pm
Program Adjourns
Saturday, February 4th
9:00 am
The Evolution of America's Progressive Democracy
Randall Holcombe
10:15 am
10:30 am
Myths of the 2016 Election - Domestic Economic Policy
Vincent Geloso
11:15 am
Myths of the 2016 Election - International Economic Policy
Benjamin Powell
12:00 pm
Rawls Atrium
1:00 pm
The Electoral College and Market-Preserving Federalism
Andrew Young
1:45 pm
The Political Economy of Secession
Robert Murphy
2:30 pm
2:45 pm
Is Democracy Just?
Jason Brennan
4:00 pm
Closing Remarks


Jason Brennan

Jason Brennan is Robert J. and Elizabeth Flanagan Family Chair and Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor of Strategy, Economics, Ethics, and Public Policy at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. He is the author of Against Democracy (Princeton University Press, 2016).

Randall Holcombe

Randall Holcombe is DeVoe Moore Professor of Economics at Florida State University. He also serves as Senior Fellow at the James Madison Institute. He is the author of From Liberty to Democracy: The Transformation of American Government(University of Michigan Press, 2002).

Vincent Geloso

Vincent Geloso is a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University. Vincent recently earned his Ph.D. in economic history from the London School of Economics and Political Science. His research focuses on a number of issues related to the economic history of Canada.

Benjamin Powell

Benjamin Powell is the Director of the Free Market Institute and a Professor of Economics in the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business Administration at Texas Tech University. He is the editor of The Economics of Immigration: Market-Based Approaches, Social Science, and Public Policy (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Andrew Young

Andrew Young is the Director of Graduate Students at the Free Market Institute and a Professor of Economics in the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business Administration at Texas Tech University. Prof. Young’s recent research focuses on constitutional political economy, particularly the political economy of Germanic barbarians in late antiquity.

Robert Murphy

Robert Murphy is a Research Assistant Professor at the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University. He also serves as the Senior Economist at the Institute for Energy Research. He is the author of Choice: Cooperation, Enterprise, and Human Action (Independent Institute, 2015).

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