Volume 12, Issue 21: May 24, 2010
- How the Financial Crisis Has Fed the Federal Leviathan
- Will NATOs Expansion Bring Down Its Members Economies?
- Colombias Election Only Looks Like a Circus
- The Supreme Court and the Battle for Second Amendment Rights (Washington, DC, 6/8/10)
- This Week in The Beacon
1) How the Financial Crisis Has Fed the Federal Leviathan
The past century gave Americans two World Wars, the Great Depression, the tumult of the Johnson-Nixon years, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Each crisis led to the adoption of policies that expanded the breadth and depth of federal power. The economic and financial collapse that followed the burst of the housing bubble is another such episode.
In a wide-ranging talk at an investment meeting last month in Venice, Italy, Independent Institute Senior Fellow Robert Higgs presented a sobering analysis of this developmentincluding the return of the vulgar Keynesianism (which lent cover to the boondoggle known as the economic stimulus plan), the Federal Reserves unprecedented expansion of excess reserves in the banking system, the ballooning of federal deficits, the hypertrophy of U.S. military operations, and more. The likely result of these policies, Higgs predicts, will be a decade characterized by economic stagnation.
If Americas economic future turns out to be even worse than I now foreseefor example, with rapid inflation, price and capital controls, and a flight from the dollarthen even greater retrenchment of the U.S. military presence abroad will be unavoidable, writes Higgs. Such economic ruin would be a heavy price to pay for reining in Americas global hegemony, but, nevertheless, the military retrenchment itself would be a consequence that most of the worlds people would celebrate.
Crisis and Leviathan: Observations amid the Current Episode, by Robert Higgs (5/20/10)
Against Leviathan: Government Power and a Free Society, by Robert Higgs
2) Will NATOs Expansion Bring Down Its Members Economies?
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and other foreign-policy specialists have issued a newand likely to be influentialreport that recommends further expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the military alliance created to defend the West in a war against the Soviet Union, explains Independent Institute Senior Fellow Ivan Eland.
Although the Cold War is long over, the report advocates recommitting the alliance to its original collective security missionso that member countries will feel more confident committing to do missions in far-flung areas outside the NATO area to counter the new threats of terrorism, piracy, cyberattacks, and nuclear and missile proliferation, writes Eland in his latest op-ed.
Eland takes issue with the recommendations of Albright and company as well as the expansion of the alliance since the Soviet collapse. Albrights report again illustrates how irresponsible it has been to induct into NATO so many new countries so close to Russia, he writes. She and her panel seem to be backhandedly opening a vast sinkhole of new spending on actually defending these nationsat a time when budget deficits are out of control in many NATO countries (including the U.S.) and could bankrupt some of them (Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Italy).
Partitioning for Peace: An Exit Strategy for Iraq, by Ivan Eland
The Empire Has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, by Ivan Eland
3) Colombias Election Only Looks Like a Circus
Colombian presidential candidate Antanas Mockus has added much color to the countrys upcoming elections. Independent Institute Senior Fellow Alvaro Vargas Llosa explains: You would be forgiven for shuddering at the thought of a president who, as rector of a university, mooned his students; got married atop an elephant; and, as mayor of Bogota, walked around the capital city in a spandex suit and sent 400 mimes to enforce traffic laws. Not the kind of chap with whom Queen Elizabeth II is clamoring to have tea and scones.
Yet beneath the absurd exterior are encouraging signs that a Mockus presidency might correct the excesses of the current President Alvaro Uribe while preserving the gains he has made against FARC, the narco-guerilla group, argues Vargas Llosa.
I have seen too many anti-politicians not to fear Mockus turning into a Fujimori or a Chavez, continues Vargas Llosa. But the more I observe Colombia, the more I am convinced Mockus support is for the right reasons, whether he delivers or notmeaning that Colombians will hold him in check if he wins and becomes messianic, and that they will force Santos to restore the pre-eminence of institutions if he bests his rival. A comforting thought because I too was starting to think that this most admirable of countries was going cuckoo.
Liberty for Latin America: How to Undo Five Hundred Years of State Oppression, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa
The Che Guevara Myth, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa
Lessons from the Poor: Triumph of the Entrepreneurial Spirit, edited by Alvaro Vargas Llosa
4) The Supreme Court and the Battle for Second Amendment Rights (Washington, DC, 6/8/10)
The U.S. Supreme Court handed down its landmark ruling on the Second Amendments individual right to keep and bear arms in its 2008 decision in Heller v. District of Columbia. Now the question remains whether the Court will rule that states and their political subdivisions must recognize this right. The Court heard oral arguments in McDonald v. Chicago in March and is expected to announce its historic decision next month. Will the Fourteenth Amendment, which was adopted after the Civil War in part to protect the Second Amendment rights of freed slaves against state and local deprivation, be the guarantor of civil rights that its Framers intended? Join constitutional scholar and attorney Stephen P. Halbrook and law professor Nelson Lund as they examine what it means to take the Bill of Rights seriously.
Stephen P. Halbrook is a research fellow at the Independent Institute and the author of Securing Civil Rights: Freedmen, the Fourteenth Amendment and the Right to Bear Arms; The Founders Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms, and other books. The winner of three cases before the U.S. Supreme Court (Printz v. United States, United States v. Thompson/Center Arms Company, and Castillo v. United States), he has testified before the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Subcommittee on Crime of the House Judiciary Committee, Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, and House Committee on the District of Columbia.
Nelson Lund is Patrick Henry Professor of Constitutional Law and the Second Amendment at George Mason University School of Law. He has served in the White House as Associate Counsel to the President, 1989-1992, clerked in the U.S. Supreme Court for Hon. Sandra Day OConnor, and written on the Second Amendment in publications such as Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases, The Oxford Guide to United States Supreme Court Decisions, Hastings Law Journal, UCLA Law Review, National Review, and The Weekly Standard.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Wine & Cheese Reception: 5 PM
Program: 6 PM-7:30 PM
Q&A to follow
The Independent Institute
1319 Eighteenth Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
Map and Directions
Free. Reservations are suggested. Phone Ms. Nichelle Beardsley at (510) 632-1366 x118 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Praise for Securing Civil Rights: Freedmen, the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Right to Bear Arms, 1866-1876, by Stephen P. Halbrook:
"[Halbrook] provides overwhelming evidence that the Fourteenth Amendment was meant to protect the right of individuals to be armed and that this particular right was a major concern of its framers. He offers scholars in the field a wealth of quotations from the historical debates. . . . Above all, Halbrook helps restore the historical record of a badly served constitutional amendment."
--American Historical Review
"In the aftermath of the Civil War, there was an outpouring of discussion of the Second Amendment in Congress and in public discourse, as people debated whether and how to secure constitutional rights for newly free slaves. See generally S. Halbrook, Freedmen, the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Right to Bear Arms, 1866-1876."
--Antonin G. Scalia, Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court, in District of Columbia v. Heller
"Halbrooks book demonstrates that many proponents and opponents clearly understood that the Fourteenth Amendment would impose the first eight amendments as limitations on the states. Halbrook does an impressive job of gathering evidence not only from the speeches of Bingham and Howard before, during, and after ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, but from a variety of other members of Congress, from newspaper coverage, and from law books of the day."
Event Website: "The Supreme Court and the Battle for Second Amendment Rights"
5) This Week in The Beacon
Here now are the past weeks offerings from our English-language blog, The Beacon:
- Jury Not Judge to Decide Whether a Weapon Is a Machine Gun, by Melancton Smith (5/24/10)
- The White House Can Not End World Hunger, by Mary Theroux (5/24/10)
- South Koreas Best Response..., by Randall Holcombe (5/24/10)
- Child Porn Penalties and Jury Nullification, by Melancton Smith (5/22/10)
- Immigration and Big Government, by Anthony Gregory (5/21/10)
- Who Did More to Help the Poor: Sam Walton or Mother Teresa? by Randall Holcombe (5/21/10)
- Trans-Partisan Anti-Establishmentarianism, by Anthony Gregory (5/19/10)
- Five Economic Lessons from Haiti, by Carl Close (5/19/10)
- Civil Commitments: Necessary and Proper? by William Watkins (5/19/10)
- Why a Stock Analyst Saw Through the Hockey Stick Hoax, by Mary Theroux (5/18/10)
- Why Beauty Matters with Roger Scruton, by David Theroux (5/18/10)
- Common Objections to Capitalism in Copenhagen, by Art Carden (5/17/10)
- Today at the Supreme Court, by William Watkins (5/17/10)