If, however, the collectivity is empowered to enforce individual rights, how is it to be prevented from going beyond these limits? What are the “rights” of the enforcing agent itself, the state? …. How can Leviathan be chained? This problem has worried political philosophers of all ages, but no fully satisfactory answer has been advanced, either as an ideal to be approached or as a practical program to be experienced.

In 2024, the American Institute for Economic Research took over the Douglas B. Rogers Essay Contest, which was previously hosted elsewhere with winners chosen by other judges; moving forward, AIER will manage the contest and select the winning submissions.

The man of system, on the contrary, is apt to be very wise in his own conceit; and is often so enamoured with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it... He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board. He does not consider that...in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might choose to impress upon it.

First Place – Christian Torsell – Notre Dame
Second Place – Jonathan Meilaender – Saint Vincent College
Third Place – Paul Weisser – St. Vincent College
Honorable Mention
Myron Highsmith – Auburn University
Davis Smith – Gutenberg College
Michael Sparks – Christopher Newport University

A society that puts equality - in the sense of equality of outcome - ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom. The use of force to achieve equality will destroy freedom, and the force, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests. On the other hand, a society that puts freedom first, will as a happy by-product, end up with both greater freedom and greater equality. Though a by-product of freedom, greater equality is not an accident. A free society releases the energies and abilities of people from arbitrarily suppressing others. It does not prevent some people from achieving positions of privilege, but so long as freedom is maintained, it prevents those positions of privilege from becoming institutionalized; they are subject to continued attack by other able, ambitious people. Freedom means diversity but also mobility. It preserves the opportunity for today's disadvantaged to become tomorrow's privileged and in the process, enables almost everyone, from top to bottom, to enjoy a fuller richer life.

First Place – Wein Li Teng – University of Chicago
Second Place – Tegan Truitt – Grove City College
Third Place – Paul Weisser – St. Vincent College
Honorable Mention
Marcus Shera – George Mason University
Stephen Bork – Princeton

The Rationalist has rejected in advance the only external inspiration capable of correcting his error; he does not merely neglect the kinds of knowledge which would save him, he begins by destroying it. First he turns out the light and then complains he cannot see . . . In short, the Rationalist is essentially ineducable; and he could be educated out of his Rationalism only by an inspiration which he regards as the great enemy of mankind. All the rationalist can do when left to himself is to replace one rationalist project in which he has failed by another in which he hopes to succeed.

First Place – Julia Snyder – St. Vincent College
Second Place – Jamie Sherry – St. Vincent College
Third Place – Bryon Richardson – Salve Regina University

. . . the preservation of the Federal Constitution according to it’s obvious principles & those on which it was known to be recieved, attached equally to the preservation to the states of those rights unquestionably remaining with them . . .

First Place – Dennis Clark – Ashland University
Second Place – Claire Anderson – Trinity College
Third Place – Helena Fahey – Thomas Moore College

First Place – Joshua Freed – University of Houston (Honors College)
Second Place – Oliver Ha – Baylor University
Third Place – Noah Keys – St. Vincent College
Honorable Mention
James Latta – Virginia Military Institute
Josiah Lippincott – Hillsdale College

the accumulation of all powers; legislative, executive and judiciary, in the same hands whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective may justly be pronounced, the very definition of tyranny.

First Place – Henry Thompson – Clemson University
Second Place – Josiah Lippincott – Hillsdale College
Third Place – Ryan Shinkel – University of Michigan
Honorable Mention
Kevin Hawickhorst – University of Kentucky
Dylan Steiner – McGill University
Ashley Wright – Hillsdale College
Ben Slomski – St. Vincent College

. . . but to manipulate men . . . to propel them towards goals which you, the social reformer see, but they may not, is to deny their human essence; to treat them as objects, without wills of their own, and therefore, to degrade them.

First Place – Daniel Strunk – Duke University
Second Place – Sarah Stites – Grove City College
Third Place – Ashley Wright – Hillsdale College
Honorable Mention
Danielle Charette – Swarthmore College
Nikita Chirkob – Trinity University

Government is that great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.

First Place – Holden Diethorn – St. Vincent College
Second Place – Nikita Chirkob – Trinity University
Third Place – Danielle Charette – Swarthmore College
Honorable Mention
Jonathan Miller – Carnegie Mellon University
Warren Mills – Troy University