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The Lighthouse is the weekly email newsletter of the Independent Institute.
Subscribe now, or browse Back Issues.

Volume 6, Issue 36: September 7, 2004

  1. A Tale of Two G.O.P.s?
  2. More Islamist Suicide Bombings
  3. Event: “AGAINST LEVIATHAN: Government Power and a Free Society”
  4. Independent Institute on the Airwaves

1) A Tale of Two G.O.P.s?

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this year's federal deficit will amount to $422 billion. What do Republican Party operatives think of the White House's profligate spending spree?

Independent Institute Research Fellow Alvaro Vargas Llosa visited the Republican National Convention in New York City to ask GOP delegates and senior party officials this question. The answers he received, reported in his latest op-ed, reveal that conservatives are either out of touch with what has been happening in the federal government since President Bush took office -- or have forgotten their founding ideology.

Most Republicans that Vargas Llosa questioned attributed the large increase in federal spending to the Iraq war. Apparently, they were unaware that the federal spending binge isn't limited to defense expenditures: federal spending on education has increased 70 percent under President Bush, who also signed the largest expansion of Medicare in the program's history.

Other Republicans at the convention, however, told Vargas Llosa they cared more about promoting "moral virtue" than smaller government. Yet many of these same activists saved their loudest cheers for two moderate politicians not known for pursuing a traditional social agenda -- Rudolph Giuliani and Arnold Schwarzenegger -- ostensibly because of their staunch support of the Iraq war. Many convention attendees also seemed unaware of, or indifferent to, recent GOP policies that centralize government power.

"The conclusion one draws from all of this is that conservatism has lost sight of its own roots," writes Vargas Llosa. "There is scant awareness among many well-meaning Republicans of the gulf that has opened up between rhetoric and real life. And in some cases, the overriding passion for military values and moral interventionism overrules any guilty conscience for the fact that present-day conservatism has become a bastion of big government."

See "The Fog of the Republican Convention," by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (9/3/04)
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1359

For Alvaro Vargas Llosa's commentary on the Democratic Convention in Boston, see "The Democratic Convention: The Bureaucratic Mind vs. the People's Revolt" (8/8/04)
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1339

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2) More Islamist Suicide Bombings

The recent massacre of Russian schoolchildren by Chechen rebels could be a harbinger of more terrorist attacks in the United States, according to Ivan Eland, senior fellow and director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at the Independent Institute.

"The continued occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan has inflamed radical Islamic passions all over the world -- bringing in money and recruits -- and could lead Islamists to further attack the U.S. homeland," writes Eland in his latest op-ed.

"Al Qaeda has been more active since September 11 than it was beforehand," Eland continues. "Al Qaeda could very well try to inflict as much pain on the United States as the Chechens recently did on the Russians. What happened in Russia should be a warning to the United States."

That radical Muslim women have increasingly resorted to suicide bombing suggests that violent Islamists are increasingly willing to take extreme measures to drive non-Muslims from the region.

"In sum, although savage attacks against civilians should never be condoned, the harsh reality is that Russia, Israel, and the United States must expect further attempts by Islamist terrorists to attack their soil until the underlying cause of the terrorism is removed. That underlying cause is 'infidel' meddling in and occupation of Islamic lands," concludes Eland.

"Chechen Attacks on Russia: A Harbinger for the United States?" by Ivan Eland (9/6/04)
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1360

"Bush's 'War on Terror': No Lack of Imagination" by Ivan Eland (8/30/04)
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1353

Tune in to CNN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight" (6-7 pm ET) on September 8 to see Ivan Eland discuss Chechen terrorism in Russia.

For information on Ivan Eland's forthcoming book, THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, see
http://www.independent.org/store/book_detail.asp?bookID=54

Center on Peace & Liberty
http://www.independent.org/copal

To order a copy of the video, UNDERSTANDING AMERICA'S TERRORIST CRISIS: What Should be Done?, see
http://www.independent.org/store/events/event_detail.asp?eventID=12

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3) Event: “AGAINST LEVIATHAN: Government Power and a Free Society”

Event Information

What is fundamentally wrong with government today? Since 2001, despite low inflation, federal spending has increased by a massive 28.8%, creating the largest deficits in U.S. history and the highest rate of government growth since the “guns-and-butter” presidencies of Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson. At the same time, federal agencies have been given new powers to secretly search anyone's property and intercept phone, Internet, and other communications, as well as inspect health and financial records. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, economist and historian Robert Higgs alone predicted this explosion of government power, as politicians have again taken full advantage of a frightened American public.

At this special Independent Policy Forum based on his new book, AGAINST LEVIATHAN, Dr. Higgs will present an unflinching critical analysis of the abuse of government power, including pork, the welfare state, protectionism, trampling on the Bill of Rights, and governmental responses to a continuing stream of “crises,” including foreign wars, both hot and cold. Dr. Higgs combines an economist's analytical scrutiny, an historian's respect for the facts, and a refusal to accept the standard excuses and cruelties of government officialdom.

SPEAKER:

ROBERT HIGGS is Senior Fellow at The Independent Institute and Editor of the Institute's quarterly journal, THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University and has taught at the University of Washington, Lafayette College and Seattle University. He is the author CRISIS AND LEVIATHAN, recognized as one of the classic works on the growth and abuse of government power.

His articles appear in The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and San Francisco Chronicle. He has been a guest on NPR, NBC, ABC, C-SPAN, CBN, CNBC, and Radio Free Europe. He lectures at universities and conferences around the world.

WHEN:
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Reception and book signing: 6:30 p.m.
Program: 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

WHERE:
The Independent Institute Conference Center
100 Swan Way
Oakland, CA 94621-1428
For a map and directions, see
http://www.independent.org/aboutus/map.asp

TICKETS: $15 per person ($10 for Independent Institute Members), or $25 for admission and a copy of AGAINST LEVIATHAN. (25% off cover price!) Reserve tickets by calling (510) 632-1366 or ordering online at http://www.independent.org/store/events/event_detail.asp?eventID=100.

Praise for Robert Higgs's new book, AGAINST LEVIATHAN: Government Power and a Free Society:

“Defenders of liberty need look no further than to Robert Higgs' AGAINST LEVIATHAN: Government Power and a Free Society for intellectual ammunition. This hard-hitting book exposes the multitude of ways the growth of the welfare-warfare state threatens our freedom and prosperity. Higgs exposes the fallacies and lies used by politicians and statist intellectuals to justify big government. Higgs also details how government programs enacted in the name of 'the people' actually benefit powerful special interests. In perhaps the most valuable portions of Against Leviathan, Higgs explains how politicians and bureaucrats use wars and other 'emergencies' to expand their power and violate our rights.”
-- RON PAUL, U.S. Congressman

“I wish liberals and even radicals felt and wrote as strongly about the Iron Heel of government power as does Robert Higgs.”
-- ALEXANDER COCKBURN, columnist, The Nation; co-editor, CounterPunch

“In AGAINST LEVIATHAN, Robert Higgs documents the growth of government, showing how the freedom of Americans has been curtailed as a result…. This is a book that should be read by anyone concerned with American freedoms in the 21st century.”
-- THOMAS GALE MOORE, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution

“AGAINST LEVIATHAN is one of the best books on economic policy in the last few years. Higgs's case against government oppression is tight and persuasive. Virtually every page of this easy-to-read book tells something important about the economy or government.”
-- DAVID R. HENDERSON, Professor of Economics, Naval Postgraduate School; author, THE JOY OF FREEDOM: An Economist's Odyssey; editor, FORTUNE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ECONOMICS.

For a summary of AGAINST LEVIATHAN: Government Power and a Free Society, by Robert Higgs, see http://www.independent.org/publications/books/book_summary.asp?bookID=53

To purchase AGAINST LEVIATHAN, see
http://www.independent.org/store/book_detail.asp?bookID=53

For further information about this event, see
http://www.independent.org/events/detail.asp?eventID=100

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4) Independent Institute on the Airwaves

Tune in to CNN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight" (6-7 pm ET) on September 8 to see Ivan Eland discuss Chechen terrorism in Russia.

Tune in to KLLC-FM Alice 97.3 (San Francisco, CA) on September 12 at 6 am to hear Ben Powell discuss affordable housing in the Bay Area.

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