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The Lighthouse is the weekly email newsletter of the Independent Institute.
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Volume 6, Issue 14: April 5, 2004

  1. Failure to Avert 9/11 Terrorism Merits More Apologies
  2. The Pledge of Allegiance's Hidden History
  3. The Independent Review — Spring 2004 Issue Now Available

1) Failure to Avert 9/11 Terrorism Merits More Apologies

Former counter-terrorism advisor Richard Clarke's recent public apology for the government's failure to avert the September 11th terrorist attacks was as surprising as it was dramatic. Not surprisingly, although Clark's mea culpa won him a sympathetic audience for his tales of bureaucratic in-fighting and White House paralysis, few officials seem eager to follow his lead.

For example, when asked if he had failed in the lead-up to the 9/11 attacks, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's response was "the rambling bureaucratic defense that his department was concerned with only combating external threats, not terrorists who infiltrate the country and attack it from within," writes Ivan Eland, director of the Independent Institute's Center on Peace & Liberty, in his latest op-ed.

"However, published reports indicate that prior to September 11, the Department of Defense intercepted message traffic that would have provided some warning of the attacks if it had been translated promptly. That episode is one of the most damning indictments of government failure prior to September 11."

Similarly, the White House has failed to explain (and take responsibility for) the U.S.'s Middle East policies that have created a climate conducive to the recruitment of anti-American terrorists, Eland argues.

Notwithstanding President Bush's statements to contrary, "Osama bin Laden, in his writings and media statements, does not fulminate against the decadent American culture, high technology or political and economic freedoms. He is primarily angry at U.S. support for corrupt dictators in Islamic nations and U.S. meddling in the Middle East," writes Eland.

"In the short-term, Al Qaeda’s methods are heinous, and it must be neutralized. In the long-term, the U.S. government should engage in quiet introspection about whether its policies overseas -- that is, unnecessary military interventions, such as the invasion of Iraq -- are fanning the flaming anti-U.S. hatred in much of the Islamic world that ultimately endangers U.S. citizens."

See "Being the Government Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry," by Ivan Eland (3/30/04)

Center on Peace & Liberty

OnPower.org -- U. S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East

PUTTING "DEFENSE" BACK INTO U.S. DEFENSE POLICY: Rethinking U.S. Security in the Post-Cold War World, by Ivan Eland

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2) The Pledge of Allegiance's Hidden History

The United States -- perhaps the country best known for upholding the right of free speech and freedom of conscience -- is one of only two countries to have a pledge of allegiance. (The other is a former U.S. possession, conquered during the Spanish-American War in 1902, the Philippines.)

This little-known fact, and several others, have helped cloud some of the issues surrounding debate about the place of the Pledge of Allegiance in America's public schools, according to William Watkins, research fellow at the Independent Institute and author of the new book, RECLAIMING THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION: The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions and Their Legacy.

"Few Americans know that Francis Bellamy, a Christian socialist and extreme Nationalist, drafted the Pledge of Allegiance," writes Watkins in a new op-ed. "Francis was the cousin of Edward Bellamy, author of the futuristic novel LOOKING BACKWARD, which depicted a utopian, socialist Boston in the year 2000. The book gave rise to a Bostonian socialist movement known as 'Nationalism.' A main objective of the Bostonian Nationalists was for the federal government to seize the means of production of the American economy."

The plot thickens.

"[Francis] Bellamy went on to work for YOUTH'S COMPANION, a national magazine with a circulation of approximately 500,000. The magazine launched a campaign to sell American flags to the public schools, and by 1892 had sold 26,000. In a brilliant marketing ploy, the magazine’s editors concocted a plan to sell even more flags in connection with the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the New World.... In the program for the celebration, Bellamy included a pledge: I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands -- one nation indivisible -- with liberty and justice for all."

Later, the pledge was changed to reflect concerns over immigration in the 1920s and "godless communism" in the 1950s.

Although no solution to the Pledge debate will satisfy everyone, Watkins proposes an idea that might come close.

"If we want to teach children about this country’s principles, why not teach them about the American Revolution, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights? Instead, each day they mindlessly pledge obedience to a flag -- the most visible symbol of governmental authority. Thomas Jefferson once reminded his countrymen that such blind confidence in government “is every where the parent of despotism; free government is founded on jealousy and not in confidence.”

"The ritual of schoolchildren saying the Pledge is unbecoming for a nation of free people. Jealousy of liberty -- in the face of government claims to power -- is a civic virtue, and one that our nation’s founders urged us not to forget. After 112 years, it is time that we rethink our use of Bellamy’s Pledge of Allegiance," Watkins concludes.

See "Rethinking the Pledge of Allegiance," by William J. Watkins (4/5/04)

RECLAIMING THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION: The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions and Their Legacy, by William J. Watkins Jr.

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3) The Independent Review — Spring 2004 Issue Now Available

We are pleased to announce the publication of the Spring 2004 issue of THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW: A Journal of Political Economy (edited by Robert Higgs), the peer-reviewed, 160-page quarterly from The Independent Institute.

This issue addresses such questions as:
* Is there really a fatherhood crisis?
* How far-sighted was Senator Robert Taft's non-interventionist foreign-policy vision?
* How can private-property rights resolve conflicts over offshore land use?
* How does the news media's reliance on government officials affect the growth of government?
* What advantages would individual unemployment accounts have over the current system of unemployment insurance?
* How did Sovietologists' misunderstanding of Marx contribute to their misunderstanding of the Soviet economy?
* How would market mechanisms deal with problems resulting from global warming?
* What was the greatest contribution of Robert Nozick's ANARCHY, STATE, AND UTOPIA?
* How does the enforcement power of the Environmental Protection Agency undermine the rule of law?
* What error is shared by regulations requiring "open access" in electricity, telephony, broadband, cable television, and computer software?
* What are the most common misconceptions about illicit drugs?
* What can economic sociology teach us about capitalist societies?

Books reviewed:
* ON NOZICK, by Edward Feser
* OUT OF BOUNDS, OUT OF CONTROL: Regulatory Enforcement at the EPA, by James V. DeLong
* WHAT'S YOURS IS MINE: Open Access and the Rise of Infrastructure Socialism, by Adam Thierer and Clyde Wayne Crews Jr.
* SAYING YES: In Defense of Drug Use, by Jacob Sullum
* THE ARCHITECTURE OF MARKETS: An Economic Sociology of Twenty-First-Century Capitalist Societies, by Neil Fligstein

Contributors:
Stephen Baskerville, Michael T. Hayes, John Brätland, Daniel Sutter, Lawrence Brunner, Stephen M. Colarelli, Paul Craig Roberts, J. R. Clark, Dwight R. Lee, Eric Mack, Richard L. Stroup, Stan Liebowitz, Richard Glen Boire, and Thomas Voss

A summary and links to selected articles and to all book reviews.
Back issues (entire contents posted after two issues).
Subscription information.
Our Library Subscription Recommendation Form

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