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The Lighthouse is the weekly email newsletter of the Independent Institute.
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Volume 6, Issue 26: June 28, 2004

  1. Ivan Eland on the Iraqi Transition
  2. The Decline of Affirmative Action
  3. Robert Galvin and Peter Thiel on Innovation & Globalization

1) Ivan Eland on the Iraqi Transition

With this morning’s surprise ceremony in Baghdad, transferring political authority from the United States to an interim Iraqi government, officials hope insurgents in Iraq will lose support, after attacks across Iraq killed more than 100 people last week, and insurgents captured and threatened to behead a U.S. Marine and four other foreign civilians over the weekend. But with more than 130,000 U.S. troops remaining in the country, a hand-picked Prime Minister who is a former CIA asset, and U.S. advisors running Iraqi ministries well past the changeover to a permanent Iraqi government, this interim government is not fully sovereign or representative of Iraqis, according to Ivan Eland, director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at the Independent Institute.

"Under the new regime, the Iraqi people will see little difference in their day-to-day lives, except perhaps an increase in lawlessness, mayhem and death -- as U.S. forces increasingly keep a low profile to reduce casualties before the upcoming American election," writes Eland in his latest op-ed.

"In fact, the symbolic transfer of power may merely end up as a way for the Bush administration’s 'defenders of freedom' to have the new Iraqi puppet government declare martial law so that they can keep their hands clean."

Eland also affirms that while “Fahrenheit 9/11," Michael Moore’s controversial new movie, "is probably excessively partisan," people should "take the time to wade through that partisanship to appreciate key aspects of the film," such as "grisly photos of wounded and dying Iraqis and U.S. forces and the grieving families of the dead."

"Very few [senior White House officials] have seen the horror of war first-hand," writes Eland. "Moore’s film brings home that reality in what was an invasion of a sovereign nation that never posed a real threat to the United States. Moore’s film should cause all Americans to share a Big Gulp over the unnecessary war in Iraq."

See "'Fahrenheit 9/11' or 'Farce and Hype 7-11'" by Ivan Eland (4/28/04)

"Decentralized Government Could Be Best Hope for Self-Determination and True Sovereignty in Iraq" (6/28/04)

Ivan Eland on the airwaves: Dr. Ivan Eland will discuss the Iraqi transition early Tuesday morning (6/29) on WCCO (830 AM) in Minneapolis, MN (1:10 AM Central Time) <http://www.wccoradio.com/(c1azp3miebveu055buvztnev)/talent/malmberg.aspx> and Tuesday afternoon (6/29) on KMSR (990 AM) in Dallas, TX (4:30 PM Central Time) on "The David Gold Show" <http://www.990mainstreet.com/onair_display.php?id=5>.

Center on Peace & Liberty

Information on Ivan Eland's forthcoming book, THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed.

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2) The Decline of Affirmative Action

One year after two Supreme Court rulings supported affirmative action in theory but rejected specific affirmative action policies at the University of Michigan, the controversial practice is in retreat, according to Independent Institute Research Fellow Wendy McElroy, editor of LIBERTY FOR WOMEN.

Affirmative-action advocates "can no longer assume that courts will smile upon their goals or facilitate them," McElroy writes in a recent op-ed, "The Decline of Affirmative Action."

Schools that flout the Court's prohibition against automatically assigning admission points on the basis of race increasingly run the risk of facing discrimination lawsuits filed by students. In addition, race-based and gender-based affirmative action is increasingly viewed as obsolete, according to McElroy.

These trends are a positive development, McElroy argues, because affirmative action policies typically ignore individuality.

"AA [affirmative action] admission (and other) policies do not look at the individual merits of your son or daughter at the grade average they've struggled to maintain, the volunteer organizations they've joined, the dreaming human beings they are. Instead, AA advocates see skin color and genitalia. There is nothing noble about that vision," McElroy writes.

"Gandhi once said that the means are the ends in process. It is not possible to achieve equality and tolerance by instituting policies of preference and exclusion. The result will only be more preference and more exclusion," McElroy concludes.

See "The Decline of Affirmative Action," by Wendy McElroy (6/23/04)

Order LIBERTY FOR WOMEN: Freedom and Feminism in the Twenty-first Century, edited by Wendy McElroy, see

Also see:

"Losing the Race? Black Progress, Freedom and Independence," with John H. McWhorter (3/20/01)

"Affirmative Action: Pro and Con," with Ward Connerly and William Bagley (4/25/00)

"The New Betrayal of Black Freedom in America," with Shelby Steele (2/24/99)

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3) Robert Galvin and Peter Thiel on Innovation & Globalization

Robert W. Galvin, former chairman of Motorola, and Peter Thiel, former president of PayPal, explained why people would be better off embracing world trade and decentralized political institutions at the recent Independent Institute dinner event, "Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and the Global Marketplace." The transcript of the evening's presentations is now online at http://www.independent.org/tii/forums/040421ipfTrans.html.

After recounting the meteoric rise of PayPal, the world's leading Internet payment system, and its role in the global marketplace, Peter Thiel said, "I think the only way that a global economy can ultimately work is if it is based on free trade, on the free exchange of different people, and so on down the line. If you don’t think of it in economic or free market terms, if you think of it only in political terms, then you run into nothing but paradoxes.

"It seems to me that the fundamental paradox about globalization is that on a political level what we see happening is that the entire world, the entire human community, is in some sense being networked, being grouped together; but of course, this grouping is not at all unified. There is no sense in which everybody in the world is the same. The reality is that people are very different. They don’t agree; and it’s not possible to get political agreement for different people. And because of that, I think the only way that the world can become unified in some sense is through technology. Technology is driving us towards a single, seamless humanity, but it’s not possible to reach that by political means. And in fact, if anything, everything that counts as political represents a counterforce to globalization."

Robert Galvin, whose technological vision and business leadership made Motorola one of the most celebrated companies in its industry, explained that both innovative entrepreneurship and the global marketplace owe much to the pioneering thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment of the 18th century.

"The big lesson of the Scots was the lesson of the role of property -- resources -- in commercializing societies," said Galvin. "That was the pivot point in the history of man when finally a group of wise people said, 'Yes, we’ve had those who were in agriculture. Now it’s time for commerce, and commerce is the basis of building societies.'... But it was the role of property that the Scots taught to our Founding Fathers, that first made it possible to establish a country built on commerce, capital, and the creation of wealth through the employment of a subsystem in society called business.

"Many of you here are a part of today’s society of business. We would never have been the grand society we are if we had not had the roots imparted to us from the Scots.... But we picked it up and carried it farther."

See "Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and the Global Marketplace," with Peter Thiel and Robert Galvin (4/21/04)

Also see:

"Outsourcing and Adam Smith," by Robert Galvin (SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 4/19/04)

"Wireless Visionary: Robert Galvin, Motorola Icon, Still Thinks Tech," by Thomas Zizzo (SILICON VALLEY VIZ INK, 4/16/04)

For more on the continuing relevance of the Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, see:

"Markets in the Post-Cold War Era: Controlled or Free: Markets in a post-controlled era," by Hardy Bouillon

"Does the New Economy Require a Free Economy?" by Craig Smith

Order ENTREPENURIAL ECONOMICS: Bright Ideas from the Dismal Science, edited by Alexander Tabarrok

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