The Blair community was excited to welcome back foreign policy and civil liberties expert Doug Bandow to the Society of Skeptics on Tuesday, January 18. Mr. Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a Washington, D.C., public policy research organization, and writes for leading publications including Fortune magazine, The National Interest, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Times, and comments regularly on major news networks. Watch his presentation below:
While Mr. Bandow explored the 2020 election in his lecture two years ago, his most recent Skeptics presentation centered around international affairs–a topic that initially piqued his interest to pursue a career in politics–and foreign policy between the United States and China today. Having grown up on the U.S. Air Force base in the United Kingdom where his father served, Mr. Bandow has long steeped himself in foreign policy and government affairs.
“I was interested in international affairs from a young age. The Vietnam War was going on during that time so I was fairly interested in that and also the 1972 election,” said Mr. Bandow. “I was involved in speech and debate and informed myself with my parents encouraging me to do that.”
Mr. Bandow hoped to impart one overarching piece of advice to his young audience: “My key message for high school students is to get involved in public affairs, in government, in culture and in society,” said Mr. Bandow. “People will make decisions and if they are not involved, then somebody else will make those decisions for them. The world that they are going to live in is up to them. My hope is that they recognize that they need to take charge. They can do it.”
Since his talk at Blair two years ago, Mr. Bandow has contributed written pieces on U.S. policy to ForeignPolicy.com, antiwar.com, 19fortyfive.com, the American Institute for Economic Research, and the Acton Institute.
A former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, Mr. Bandow holds a JD from Stanford University and has written several books, including Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire, The Korean Conundrum: America’s Troubled Relations with North and South Korea and Tripwire: Korea and U.S. Foreign Policy in a Changed World. He has challenged the Blair community with discussions of terrorism, drug legalization, ancient Chinese culture and the 2012 presidential election in past years.
With all that on his plate, Mr. Bandow continues to visit Blair because of how invaluable he believes the Society of Skeptics program is. “Society of Skeptics has always been laudable for bringing in a range of speakers, and I appreciate that attempt to share information, and more importantly, immerse students in the world,” said Mr. Bandow.
“You bring in people from the Arts, Business, or Politics and attempt to help the young students look at the world around them and encourage them to do more. This attempt to get students more involved and to encourage them, by showing them what opportunities exist to go out and do those things…It’s a wonderful program.”
History of Skeptics
The Society of Skeptics was established as a forum for students and faculty to discuss and debate important global issues; it has grown to become one of the premier high school lecture series in the United States. Each week, speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to engage with presenters, asking questions and debating points of view.
The program, which is funded in part by the Class of 1968 Society of Skeptics Endowment Fund, is an outgrowth of the Blair International Society, begun in 1937. Forty years later, former history department chair Elliott Trommald, PhD, Hon. ’65, established the modern Skeptics program as a regular forum for student discussion and debate; history teacher Martin Miller, PhD, took over in the mid-1980s and molded the program into a weekly lecture series, one that has since continued without interruption. Under the tutelage of Dr. Miller and his successor, history department chair Jason Beck, Skeptics has featured a wide variety of speakers who are thought-provoking, engaging, accomplished in their respective fields and often controversial. For a listing of upcoming Skeptics programs, please visit Blair’s website.