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The Lighthouse is the weekly email newsletter of the Independent Institute.
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Volume 17, Issue 29: July 28, 2015

  1. Robert Higgs Pulls No Punches in New Book, Taking a Stand
  2. Love Gov Video Series Surpasses One Million Views
  3. Women, Social Progress, and Mandated Diversity
  4. Kirchner and the Fate of Argentina
  5. New Blog Posts
  6. Selected News Alerts



1) Robert Higgs Pulls No Punches in New Book, Taking a Stand

What are the most fundamental and widespread political myths in America today? Why haven’t would-be reformers succeeded in shrinking Big Government? Where did so many economists go wrong in their diagnoses and prescriptions for the Great Recession? Why must those who wish to help advance a free society denounce invasive war-making? These are just a few of the vital questions that Independent Institute Senior Fellow Robert Higgs addresses in his new book, Taking a Stand: Reflections on Life, Liberty, and the Economy, his most provocative, diverse, and heartfelt work yet.

Here’s a snippet from the book’s Foreword, written by Judge Andrew J. Napolitano (Fox News): “In his academic work, Bob has dissected the government’s shrewd secret excesses using its administrative arm; and no one has done so more clearly or more pleasingly. In the pages that follow come similar arguments, but often in a non-academic vein. Be prepared for Bob with his hair let down; for here are essays that show a whimsical, introspective, and personal Bob Higgs.”

Be prepared also for the astounding scope of Taking a Stand. Comprising ninety-nine short chapters, the book is divided into nine sections. Part I identifies hidden assumptions about democracy in general and America’s version in particular. Part II sheds light on doing analysis in political economy. Part III deals with contemporary economic policies, including mischief perpetrated by the Federal Reserve. Part IV elucidates Higgs’s concept of ‘regime uncertainty’ and its role in stifling the recovery from the recent recession. Part V further expounds on economic booms, busts, and recoveries. Part VI solves assorted puzzles related to recent unemployment. Part VII focuses on issues in libertarianism, including its moral ramifications. Part VIII pays tribute to departed heroes such as James Buchanan, Murray Rothbard, Thomas Szasz, and Higgs’s parents, William and Doris. Part IX concludes the book with light-hearted verse, including humorous pokes at Keynesian economics—à la Edgar Allen Poe and Bobby “Boris” Picket. Both instructive and entertaining, Taking a Stand will delight general readers and provoke envy in writers who wish they possessed Robert Higgs’s dry wit, and moral passion, and superb ability to convey fresh insights.

Taking a Stand: Reflections on Life, Liberty, and the Economy, by Robert Higgs, with a foreword by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

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2) Love Gov Video Series Surpasses One Million Views

Love Gov: From First Date to Mandate, the new, satirical video series about a young woman who faces growing troubles when she succumbs to the charms of a meddlesome boyfriend—a stand-in for Big Government—has now surpassed a combined total of one million views on YouTube.

“We are thrilled that our Love Gov series has found a large audience so quickly,” said David J. Theroux, Founder and President of Independent Institute, which produced the series in association with Emergent Order.

“The good news is that many, many people find it hugely entertaining and worth sharing on social media,” Theroux continued. “The series resonates with so many people precisely because it reflects a dark truth that they’ve learned through their own personal experience: namely, that government policies too often worsen, rather than solve, the very problems they’re supposed to fix.”

News Release

Love Gov: From First Date to Mandate

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3) Women, Social Progress, and Mandated Diversity

Should the government require corporations to meet gender quotas for high-ranking jobs? In her latest op-ed, Independent Institute Research Fellow Abigail R. Hall takes issue with mandatory hiring policies—in place in Norway, Germany, and increasingly proposed for the United States—that require private businesses to set aside a certain percentage of top management jobs for women. Such policies are intended to help women, but in reality they have the opposite effect by causing the token hiring of people unqualified for the job, according to Hall.

“Gender preference may help us get our foot in the door, but sets women up to fail,” Hall writes in the Daily Caller. “Again, this is not to say that women are inferior to men, but that these policies place women into positions for which they are unprepared.”

Hall suggests that vote-hungry politicians such as Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for the 2016 presidential election, might drum up enough public support for such legislation that Congress would pass it. Such gender requirements not only would lead to hiring mismatches that ultimately harm their intended beneficiaries, according to Hall, but they would also foster doubts about many women who actually possess the skills needed to succeed in top management. Moreover, gender set-asides “send a negative message to women, telling them they are less than their male counterparts, that without a government mandate, women can’t get the jobs they may want,” Hall writes.

How Diversity Policies Harm Women, by Abigail R. Hall (The Daily Caller, 7/15/15)

Liberty for Women: Freedom and Feminism in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Wendy McElroy

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4) Kirchner and the Fate of Argentina

Early next month Argentina’s primary elections will get underway, a process that will quickly reveal who will replace the current ruler, the corrupt demagogue Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Kirchner would love another term as president, but the constitution bars her from running again. However, she may be able to exert influence on the next administration by supporting presidential hopeful and fellow party member Daniel Scioli, whose running mate and congressional candidates she has picked.

The relationship between Kirchner and Scioli is symbiotic. “He is the only Peronista who has not openly turned against her and who has significant popular support, while she controls an apparatus without which he could not seriously compete,” explains Independent Institute Senior Fellow Alvaro Vargas Llosa. But while Kirchner’s help is necessary for Scioli to win the election, it may not be sufficient.

To defeat top rival Mauricio Macri and assume the presidency, Scioli must somehow neutralize the supporters of Sergio Massa—voters who are sick of Kirchner’s excesses but distrustful of free-market policies. If Massa is badly beaten in the primaries, he may throw his support to Macri—if for no other reason than to keep Kirchner’s allies from using the reins of power to go after him. It all sounds complicated, but it illustrates a simple truth: politics is a messy game, and no one who plays it leaves unsoiled.

Argentine Primaries Will Set the Stage for Presidential Vote, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (The Globe and Mail, 7/13/15)

Liberty for Latin America: How to Undo Five Hundred Years of State Oppression, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa

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5) New Blog Posts

From MyGovCost News & Blog:

GovWasteEntitlement.Con
K. Lloyd Billingsley (7/24/15)

More Ghoulish Bureaucrats Behaving Badly
Craig Eyermann (7/24/15)

Ghoulish Bureaucrats Behaving Badly
Craig Eyermann (7/20/15)

You can find the Independent Institute’s Spanish-language website here and blog here.

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6) Selected News Alerts

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