The Lighthouse is the weekly email newsletter of the Independent Institute. Subscribe
now, or browse Back Issues
Volume 8, Issue 15: April 10, 2006
- The French Illusion
- Not the American Founders' Military
- Former Ambassador Comments on "The Israel Lobby"
- "Is White Guilt Destroying the Promise of Civil Rights?" -- Shelby Steele to address the Independent Policy Forum, Oakland, Calif., May 9th
1) The French Illusion
France's recent riots show a country struggling to come to grips with an illusion -- the illusion that employers could offer full job security at no cost to those unemployed who seek jobs. Yet the country's unemployment rate, especially among the young, is among the highest in Europe.
That a clear-eyed proposal for encouraging firms to hire more young adults has sparked riots speaks volumes about the perniciousness of the entitlement mentality that seems to permeate France, as Alvaro Vargas Llosa, director of the Independent Institute's Center on Global Prosperity, explains in a new op-ed.
"For most demonstrators, 'security' means the continuation of a social model in which you either work for the government or you work in a private job that is heavily protected by the state, while you receive a wealth of social services and cradle-to-grave entitlements that come pretty easily to you," writes Vargas Llosa. "It's basically a model in which a small segment of society produces wealth and a much larger segment lives off that wealth through a vast system of government transfers that millions have come to take for granted."
Famously, France's "security" social model also includes protectionist tariffs, quotas, and subsidies. A merger between Gaz de France, a leading state-owned company, and Suez was announced recently in order to avert a hostile bid from an Italian firm. France's illusion it seems is contagious: In response to the maneuver, Italian politicians are calling for retaliation against French companies.
"As a result, the voice of the European Commission is getting weaker," write Carlo Stagnaro and Alberto Mingardi. "Clearly, the European dream of a single market isn't likely to be fulfilled in the short run."
See "The French Illusion," by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (4/10/06)
"Protectionism Will Kill Europe," by Carlo Stagnaro and Alberto Mingardi (4/3/06)
"El proteccionismo matará a Europa"
Also see, "Can Protectionism Ever Be Respectable? A Skeptic's Case for the Cultural Exception, with Special Reference to French Movies," by Jacques Delacroix with Julien Bornon (THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW, Winter 2005)
Center on Global Prosperity (Alvaro Vargas Llosa, director)
2) Not the American Founders' Military
Since World War II, the U.S. military has been used increasingly to defend other nations or its own imperial reach -- aims that run counter to the vision of the republic's founders. In the post-conscription era, uncritical public support of the military has helped pave the road toward U.S. military interventionism abroad, according to Ivan Eland, director of the Independent Institute's Center on Peace & Liberty.
"The nation's founders realized that an excessive veneration of the military was not good for a republic," writes Eland in his latest op-ed. "The American republic was supposed to be the antithesis of the militarized societies of 18th century Europe."
Although deaths of America's soldiers should be mourned, argues Eland, excessive praise of the military "is not good for the republic and it's not good for the troops."
"The glorification of the militarized U.S. foreign policy of the latter half of the 20th and early 21st centuries would make the founding generation roll over in their graves," Eland concludes.
"Is Veneration of the Military Good for the Republic?" by Ivan Eland (4/10/06)
"¿Es buena para la república la veneración a las fuerzas armadas?"
THE WAY OUT OF IRAQ: Decentralizing the Iraqi Government, by Ivan Eland
THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, by Ivan Eland
Center on Peace & Liberty (Ivan Eland, director)
3) Former Ambassador Comments on "The Israel Lobby"
The lambasting of two American professors -- the University of Chicago's John Mearsheimer and Harvard's Stephen Walt -- for their recent LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS essay, "The Israel Lobby," illustrates and reinforces their thesis, according to Ambassador Edward Peck, former Chief of Mission in Iraq and observer of the Legislative Council elections in Gaza in 2006.
"Knowing the fiercely negative reactions to accurate, detailed reporting of controversies surrounding Israel, the media fail to cover Israel's violations of every principle for which the United States -- and Israel -- loudly proclaim they stand," writes Peck, in an op-ed for the Independent Institute's Center on Peace & Liberty.
"The massive, growing political, economic and human costs of continuing that close relationship [between the United States and Israel] merit public knowledge, discussion and debate," Peck continues. "The Israel Lobby prevents it, as Mearsheimer and Walt have carefully documented."
See "Of Course There Is an Israel Lobby," by Edward Peck (4/6/06)
"Por supuesto que existe un lobby de Israel"
4) "Is White Guilt Destroying the Promise of Civil Rights?" -- Shelby Steele to address the Independent Policy Forum, Oakland, Calif., May 9th
In the 1960s, civil rights victories dealt a blow to racial discrimination, and yet 40 years later many blacks remain left behind. Has affirmative action sabotaged the gains of the civil rights movement? What is the role of personal accountability in improving the standing of minority groups? In his new book, WHITE GUILT: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era, distinguished race-relations scholar SHELBY STEELE argues that the age of white supremacy has given way to an age of white guilt -- and neither has been good for African Americans. Please join us for a stimulating and timely program to learn more about race, equality, and opportunity in America.
-- SHELBY STEEL is a long-standing critic of racism and segregation, as well as welfare programs, affirmative action, and black victimization. He has written extensively for the NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, and HARPER'S, and in 1990, he received the National Book Critics Circle Award for THE CONTENT OF OUR CHARACTER.
Tuesday, May 9, 2006
Reception and book signing: 6:30 p.m.
Program: 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
The Independent Institute Conference Center
100 Swan Way
Oakland, CA 94621-1428
For a map and directions, see
TICKETS: $15 per person ($10 for Independent Institute Members). Special Offer: Admission and a copy of WHITE GUILT: $35 ($30 for members). Reserve tickets by calling (510) 632-1366 or ordering online at
Praise for WHITE GUILT: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era, by SHELBY STEELE:
“Shelby Steele exposes the social hypocrisies and racial lies that transformed the once promising post-civil rights era into a period of cultural decadence and mediocrity.”
-- CHARLES JOHNSON, National Book Award Winner
“A hard, critical look at affirmative action, self-serving white liberals and self-victimizing black leaders.”
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
“Shelby Steele is America's clearest thinker about America's most difficult problem.”
-- GEORGE F. WILL
For more information about this event, see