Monday, December 31, 2007

Speakers 2007

January – Ben Rast, President of The Bastiat Society

Topic: “The Future of The Bastiat Society in 2007 and Beyond”

Ben Rast is the founder and senior partner of The Rast Group, a team focusing on financial planning and asset allocation in the Columbia office of Morgan Stanley. His team works with a limited number of individuals and institutions to develop appropriate investment and financial planning strategies.
He holds the title of Senior Vice President – Wealth Advisor, and is a Certified Financial PlannerTM professional. He is also an Estate Planning Consultant, through the American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. He completed executive education programs at the Stern School of Business, NYU. He ranks in the top seven percent of all Morgan Stanley financial advisors nationwide, and is a recognized leader in the firm.
Mr. Rast was formerly a weekly guest on NBC affiliate WIS-TV, the leading television news organization in the state. He hosted his own radio program for over thirteen years, and was a regular commentator on South Carolina Public Radio.
He has published numerous articles in local and national periodicals, including work for Barron’s. He is a member and past president of the SC Chapter of the Financial Planning Association. Mr. Rast frequently speaks to professional, civic, and fraternal groups on the topics of business, economics, investments and financial planning.
He has been an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College, has taught courses for the Department of Continuing Education at the University of South Carolina, and has served as an adjunct professor in the USC School of Business. Mr. Rast also has participated in continuing education for the South Carolina BAR.
Mr. Rast is a member of the Partnership Board of the SC Honors College, the Partnership Board of the Department of Political Science at the University of South Carolina, and a member of the Board of Directors for the Palmetto Opera. He is a member of the Columbia Economics Club. He is Chairman of the SC Club for Growth.

February -Robert Poole, Director of Transportation Studies, Reason Foundation

Topic: “Commercializing Highways: A New Paradigm for 21st Century Roadways”

Robert Poole founded the Reason Foundation in 1978, and served as its president and CEO from then until the end of 2000. He was a member of the Bush-Cheney transition team in 2000. Over the years, he has advised the Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush administrations on privatization and transportation policy.
Poole is credited as the first person to use the term “privatization” to refer to the contracting-out of public services and is the author of the first-ever book on privatization, Cutting Back City Hall, published by Universe Books in 1980. He is also editor of the books Instead of Regulation: Alternatives to Federal Regulatory Agencies (Lexington Books, 1981), Defending a Free Society (Lexington Books, 1984), and Unnatural Monopolies (Lexington Books, 1985). He also co-edited the book Free Minds & Free Markets: 25 Years of Reason (Pacific Research Institute, 1993).
Poole has written hundreds of articles, papers, and policy studies on privatization and transportation issues. His popular writings have appeared in national newspapers, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes, and numerous other publications. He has also been a guest on network television programs such as Good Morning America, NBC’s Nightly News, ABC’s World News Tonight, and the CBS Evening News. Poole writes a monthly column on transportation issues for Public Works Financing.
Poole earned his B.S. and M.S. in mechanical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and did graduate work in operations research at New York University.

March - Dr. Yaron Brook, President of the Ayn Rand Institute

Topic: “The Moral Foundations of Capitalism”

Dr. Brook is a prominent advocate for Objectivism, a pro-business philosophy originated by novelist Ayn Rand. As president of the Ayn Rand Institute, an educational organization based in California, he appears frequently on national TV and radio to discuss financial and economic issues from the Objectivist viewpoint. He is a regular guest on CNBC’s “On the Money” for his expertise on a wide range of questions and events related to the business world. Many of his recent interviews have dealt with business-related individual rights issues, such as property and patent rights violations in antitrust regulations and free speech rights violations in Internet censorship cases.
A popular speaker at corporations, universities and community groups, Dr. Brook is known for his pro-capitalist ideas and his passionate speaking style. His talk “Why Conservatives are Anti-Business,” challenges the common notion that conservatives are allies of business and capitalism. He has also developed a series of multi-day seminars on business ethics which he delivers to corporations in the United States and abroad.
As a writer, Dr. Brook has been published in several newspapers and business journals. His most recent editorial on CEO pay appeared in USA Today. His academic publications include articles in The Journal of Investing and The Journal of Corporate Finance.
Dr. Brook is also an expert on foreign policy in the Middle East and recently co-authored an article called “‘Just War Theory’ vs. American Self-Defense,” which appeared in the inaugural issue of The Objective Standard, a new journal on the culture and politics.
Before joining the Ayn Rand Institute, Dr. Brook lived in Israel. He served in the Israeli military intelligence and received his B.Sc. degree in Civil Engineering from Technion—Israel Institute of Technology. In 1987 he moved to the United States and attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned his MBA and Ph.D. in Finance. For seven years he was a finance professor at the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California, where he designed an award-winning MBA and undergraduate class on “Ethics and Finance.” He later co-founded a conferencing business, Lyceum International, and in 1998 he co-founded a financial advisory firm, BH Equity Research, for which he is presently managing director and chairman.

April - Jane Shaw, executive vice-president of the J.W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, a Raleigh-based nonprofit organization dedicated to improving higher education in North Carolina and the nation.

Topic: “Putting Higher Standards Back into Higher Education.”

May - John Blundell, Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs, London. The IEA is the UK’s original free-market think-tank, founded in 1955. The IEA’s goal is to explain free-market ideas to the public, including politicians, students, journalists, businessmen, academics and anyone i nterested in public policy. The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analyzing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.
Topic: “Achieving Change: What We Can Learn From Margaret Thatcher.”

June - Dr. Ed Hudgins

Edward Hudgins is the executive director of The Atlas Society and publisher of that organization’s magazine, The New Individual.Topic: Why Americans Are Confused About Freedom and What We Can Do About It


“Jeremiah, Milton Friedman, and Liberty”


Bob Chitester is President and CEO of the Palmer R. Chitester Fund, Chitester Creative Associates, Inc. and The Idea Channel®; and is managing partner of Free to Choose Enterprise. These companies produce television programs and program elements, create and operate web sites, create print and CD-ROM materials, and distribute curriculum materials to high schools and colleges.

In 1977, Mr. Chitester convinced Milton Friedman to undertake a project which became, Free to Choose, an award winning PBS TV series and an international best selling book based on the series. Over 25 years later the series and book are still in wide use and have been notably influential. Mart Laar, first Prime Minister of a free Estonia and recent winner of the Friedman Prize, used Free to Choose as a guide in setting policies that gave Estonia a thriving economy.


“Putting Sound Economics into Politics”

About Chad Walldorf

Chad’s first government experience came when he took a year off from college to serve in President Reagan’s Office of Political Affairs. After the 1988 election cycle, Chad left the White House to return to the University of Virginia. Shortly after graduating, he and two high school friends moved to Mount Pleasant to create the first Sticky Fingers restaurant.

Their original concept has grown to over 1000 employees in their sixteen restaurants, catering, mail order, and wholesale businesses. Chad and his partners have been named Ernst and Young “Entrepreneurs of the Year” for the Carolinas as well as the Lowcountry’s “Most Philanthropic Company.”

In 2003 Chad took a two-year sabbatical from his business to serve as a Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Mark Sanford.


The Bastiat Society was excited to host the South Carolina Premiere of Mine Your Own Business, by Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinne, as our monthly Bastiat Meeting for September.

The film was shown at the American Theatre, 446 King Street in Charleston.

“Move over Michael Moore. You have competition in the art of political film making…but instead of advancing the cause of smug liberal hypocrisy, he’s [McAleer] debunking it.” – Wall Street Journal Online


Dane Starbuck, author of the official biography of James and Pierre Goodrich.


James Goodrich (father) and Pierre Goodrich (son) built a successful business dynasty in Indiana during the first half of the 20th century. Pierre then used the family fortune to build a legacy of education and philanthropy, including the unique accomplishment of establishing the Liberty Fund, Inc. of Indianapolis, a non-profit educational foundation that promotes the study of a society of free and responsible individuals.

Every year, Liberty Fund sponsors hundreds of conferences around the world for professionals and academics. It also publishes an extensive list of classic texts on social theory.

Dane Starbuck is an attorney in private practice and member of the Board of Directors of Liberty Fund, Inc. His quest for knowledge has taken him from Huntington College (B.A. in English, magna cum laude) to Indiana University (M.A. in English Literature) to the University of Melbourne in Australia (M.A. in English Literature and Language with Honors) to Oxford University in England (B.A. and M.A. in Jurisprudence) to Georgetown University Law Center (J.D.).


The Separation of School and State: The Case for Abolishing America’s Government Schools

Brad Thompson from the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism.

Why do so many Americans support a compulsory system of government-run education? What role should the State play in educating America’s children? Are government schools compatible with a free society? Is it possible to have a free market in education?

C. Bradley Thompson will examine the destructive effects of “public” education in America. He will critique the principal assumptions behind government schooling, and he will call for fully private system of education.

Thompson will present a principled argument for a free market in education that begins with the rights and responsibilities of parents to provide for the education of their own children.


C. Bradley Thompson is the BB&T Research Professor at Clemson University and the Executive Director of the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism. He has also been a visiting fellow at Princeton and Harvard universities and at the University of London.
Professor Thompson is the author of the prize-winning book John Adams and the Spirit of Liberty. He has also edited The Revolutionary Writings of John Adams, Antislavery Political Writings, 1833-1860: A Reader and was an associate editor of the four-volume Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment. His current book project is on “The Ideological Origins of American Constitutionalism.”

Dr. Thompson is also an occasional writer for The Times Literary Supplement of London. He has lectured around the country on education reform and the American Revolution, and his op-ed essays have appeared in scores of newspapers around the country and abroad. Dr. Thompson’s lectures on the political thought of John Adams have twice appeared on C-SPAN television.

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