Fiery Debates at FreedomFest!

Posted by: on May 24, 2019 | No Comments


“By the collision of different sentiments, sparks of truth strike out, and political light is obtained.” — Ben Franklin

FreedomFest is known for its exciting and fiery debates, and this year is no exception. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market and co-ambassador of FreedomFest (along with Steve Forbes), says, “I love FreedomFest, especially the debates. Keep them coming!”

We aim to please. I’m thrilled to announce a series of fiery debates.

Of course, we are presenting three big debates involving John Mackey himself at this year’s “Wild West” show in Vegas (more on that below), but take a look at what else we have on the hot stove for FreedomFest 2019:

Candace Owens Takes on Congress!

Candace Owens, spokeswoman for TurningPointUSA, will be joining us for the first time to talk about her emotional confrontation and debate with House Democrats on Capitol Hill. If you haven’t seen the encounter on nationalism vs globalism, watch it here by clicking on the image above.

UnCivil War: Can a Divided America Stand?

Americans have never been more divided by tribalism and party politics. Can the gridlock be broken in 2019? Join a special panel on “UnCivil War: Can a Divided America Stand?” with John Fund (National Review); Grover Norquist (Americans for Tax Reform); and Candace Owens (TurningPointUSA).

Immigration: Open Borders Vs Walls

Wadhwa and Casey Against Owens and Root with Lowry at the Helm!

Immigration policy is one of the biggest issues facing America today. With migrant caravans approaching the border, asylum-seeking families being separated, welfare and healthcare systems being overwhelmed, immigration laws being ignored, everyone agrees SOMETHING must be done. But what is the right answer?

In this electric and timely debate, Rakesh Wadhwa and Doug Casey will take the case for open borders and immigration policy, while Candace Owens and Wayne Allyn Root will advocate for Trump’s wall to secure our borders. Rich Lowry will wrangle these passionate voices on immigration as the moderator!

Libertarian Duel in the Sun: Conscious Capitalism vs Pure Greed

On Thursday, July 18, John Mackey will debate the sharp-tongued Kevin O’Leary of Shark Tank fame. O’Leary will start off with his keynote speech, “The Cold Hard Truth about Business and Investing.” He is famous for saying “The only purpose of business is to make money. If you want a friend, buy a dog!”

John Mackey disagrees. He will make the case that “Business has a Higher Purpose – the Good, the True, the Beautiful, the Heroic.”

The debate will continue when O’Leary speaks at a private luncheon on “The Insider Story of Shark Tank” (Each luncheon attendee will also receive a copy of Kevin O’Leary’s book. Additional ticket required for the luncheon.)

Food Fight!

John Mackey Takes on Meat!

On Friday, July 19, John will meet up with Joel Salatin, known as the “Crazy Libertarian Farmer of Virginia” on the question “Is Eating Meat Ethical and Good for You?”

Salatin, a devout Christian, says “Absolutely yes!” while Mackey, a proselyting vegan, says “Definitely Not!” I’ve been trying to arrange this debate for ten years between these two giants of ethical eating, and now it’s going to be a reality.

Mackey Takes on a Radical Marxist!

John Mackey
CEO, Whole Foods Market

Barry Eidlin
Professor, McGill University

Finally, on Saturday, July 20, the author of “Conscious Capitalism” is going to confront a hard-core Marxist Socialist who thinks Bernie Sanders and AOC haven’t gone far enough.

Barry Eidlin, professor of sociology at McGill University in Montreal, is a major critic of free-market capitalism and is an advocate of workers controlling the means of production. “If done properly, democratic socialism will lead to better income equality, better labor conditions, improved work/family balance, and yes, even better sex,” he claims.

On the other hand, John Mackey argues that democratic capitalism is far superior, and offers “the greatest system of social cooperation and prosperity for all regardless of race, religion, gender, or income.”

This will be the ultimate “Socialism vs Capitalism” debate.

Steve Moore vs Don Boudreaux on Trump’s Trade War: Art of the Deal or No Deal?

Steve Moore
Chief Economist, Heritage Foundation

Don Boudreaux
Professor, George Mason University

Steve Moore, one of Trump’s advisors and co-author of the new book “Trumpanomics,” has agreed to debate GMU professor Don Boudreaux on “Trump’s Trade War: Art of the Deal or No Deal?” Expect these two eminent economists to go at it in this war of ideas. This is Don Boudreaux’s first FreedomFest, and he’s very excited to take on Moore and Trump!

Who’s Winning the Battle on Campus?

“Funding Libertarians on Campus: Hostile Takeover or the Promotion of Academic Balance?” with Daniele Struppa (Chapman University), Jim Gwartney (FSU) and Don Boudreaux(GMU).

Marxists are famous for quietly taking over departments at colleges. Is it time for libertarians to do the same?

God or No God? The Debate on the New Atheists

One of the most memorable debates we ever had at FreedomFest was between Dinesh D’Souza and Christopher Hitchens on “Religion: What Good Is It?”. It was standing room only, and Dinesh barely won the debate in favor of religion.

It’s time for an encore. This year we will host a debate between Michael Shermer, publisher and editor of Skeptic magazine, and Dr. Hyrum Lewis, professor of history at BYU-Idaho and author of the new book, “There Is a God: How to Respond to Atheism in the Last Days.” The two will clash on all the arguments — free will, materialism, suffering, near-death experiences, design, and science vs religion. Can’t wait!

Reality Check on the Old West:

Progressive or Oppressive? Balancing the History on Manifest Destiny

American Progress, (1872) by John Gast
An idealized perception of history?

It was the notion of “Manifest Destiny” that led to the very existence of the Wild West in America’s history. Inherent was the idea that expansion into the American west by settlers was not only inevitable but inspired, and the American way of life should spread across the entire continent. But from the beginning, leaders such as Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant were against the principle, while others believed it was integral to the development of the United States as a cohesive nation.

In recent years, the reality of how harshly indigenous peoples were treated because of the Manifest Destiny doctrine has led to criticism and attempts to revise the traditional historical narrative.

But what’s the balance? What’s the reality?

In this pivotal conversation, historians and authors John Prevas, Stephen Hicks and Thomas Clavin will discuss the history of the Old West and the impacts of Manifest Destiny – then and now.

Lastly, the Mock Trial: The Wild West and the Second Amendment

Every year our most popular event is the mock trial. Given the violence that has erupted in schools and public events recently, we thought it was time to put the Second Amendment on trial. Is gun control the answer?

Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, is convinced that gun violence is out of control. He will call on witnesses from Brady United and Everytown Against Gun Violence to make the case for curbing violence in America through legislation.

John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and author of the controversial book, “More Guns, Less Crime,” will call upon star witnesses from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Gun Owners of America to make the case for America’s unique rights to bear arms.

Find out who will win this showdown on Friday evening, July 19. You, the audience, will participate in the final verdict!

I started with a Ben Franklin quote. Let me end with another one:

“We must all hang [out] together [in Vegas], or we shall surely all hang separately.”

See you in Vegas in two months!

Yours for peace, prosperity and liberty, AEIOU,

Mark Skousen

Leave a Reply