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Volume 7, Issue 41: October 10, 2005

  1. The Miers Nomination
  2. Cheney's Lapse
  3. Ten Myths about Che
  4. THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW -- Fall 2005 Issue Now Available

1) The Miers Nomination

Many opponents of President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers for the U.S. Supreme Court have criticized Miers for the wrong reasons -- noting, for example, that her law degree came not from a prestigious ivy-league law school but from Southern Methodist University's law school, and that most of her trial experience came not from behind the judge's bench but in front of it.

According to Independent Institute Research Fellow William J. Watkins, Jr., however, such criticisms are myopic. One of the most widely regarded federal judges, Karen Williams of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, also studied at a similar law school. And Miers' experience as a Texas trial judge and managing partner of a 400-lawyer firm suggests high-level skills that could add a helpful new perspective to the Supreme Court.

For Watkins, Miers' Achilles' heel -- a fatal flaw that speaks poorly of her and of President Bush, who nominated her despite this -- is her lack of legal writings or lectures on major legal issues.

"Miers' lack of a written record can only be attributed to some combination of the following: (1) she lacks the intellectual heft to participate in debate over constitutional issues, (2) she does not care, or (3) she has carefully avoided stepping into the fray in order to advance her career. Any one of the reasons is sufficient to disqualify her from consideration."

Concludes Watkins: "Unless Miers quickly provides some hard evidence of her legal philosophy and opinions, the Senate will be compelled to exercise its constitutional check and reject the Miers nomination. There is simply too much at stake to place blind faith in the President's choice."

See "The Miers Nomination: Avoiding Advice and Consent," by William J. Watkins (10/7/05)
"La Nominación de Miers a la Corte Suprema: Evitando el Consejo y la Conformidad del Senado Estadounidense"

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

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2) Cheney's Lapse

Speaking to an audience of U.S. Marines at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Vice President Dick Cheney recounted the history of anti-U.S. terrorist attacks since the 1980s. Cheney mentioned six attacks that occurred during Democratic administrations, but only one attack during a Republican administration -- hardly a fair accounting, according to Ivan Eland, director and senior fellow of the Center on Peace & Liberty at the Independent Institute.

"Conveniently, Cheney forgot to mention other attacks that happened during Republican administrations and especially during his tenure as Secretary of Defense under the first Bush administration," writes Eland in a new op-ed. "For example, the 1988 bombing by Libyan intelligence agents of Pan American flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland was a culmination of tit-for-tat attacks between Libya and the United States, which President Reagan actually started in 1981. In the first Bush administration, anti-U.S. terrorist attacks spiked during the Persian Gulf War, increasing to 120 during that period in 1991 compared with only 17 during a comparable period the year before."

Cheney also omitted a key lesson of those attacks, Eland argues. "The conclusion that Cheney should have reached -- unlikely in such a reflexively hawkish administration -- was that any short-term military retaliation for terrorist strikes should be quiet and surgical. Flaying away with massive, well-publicized military actions (particularly against countries who had nothing to do with the attacks of 9/11) such as the invasion of Iraq, will simply generate more terrorism."

A quiet anti-terrorist campaign probably would have avoided the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to Eland.

"With the Cold War ended, the United States no longer needs such an interventionist foreign policy. Adopting a policy of military restraint overseas would bring many advantages, one of which is less anti-U.S. terrorism at home and abroad."

See "Cheney's Counterproductive Policy Toward Terrorists," by Ivan Eland (10/10/05)
"La Contraproducente Política de Cheney para con los Terroristas"

To purchase THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, by Ivan Eland, see

To purchase PUTTING "DEFENSE" BACK IN U.S. DEFENSE POLICY, by Ivan Eland, see

Center on Peace & Liberty (Ivan Eland, director)

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3) Ten Myths about Che

Although yesterday marked the thirty-eighth anniversary of the death of Ernesto "Che" Guevara, the memory of Latin America revolutionary leader still burns brightly in the hearts and minds of his many adoring acolytes. Yet, often those recollections are examples of false memory syndrome, according to Independent Institute Senior Fellow Alvaro Vargas Llosa.

In his latest op-ed, Vargas Llosa recounts a conversation he had with a Che Guevara fan, adorned in the characteristic Che tee-shirt and eager to extol the alleged virtues of his hero. But as Vargas Llosa notes, the fan's ten reasons that he liked Che Guevara were, in fact, ten distortions -- ranging from the claim that Che supported "workers' rights," to the claim that he made Cuba independent, to the claim that he was a brilliant guerilla-warfare strategist.

Vargas Llosa explains that Che appropriated workers' earnings for the new Castro regime (and briefly presided over a brutal labor camp), supported the military colonization of Cuba by the Soviets, and encouraged bloody revolutions -- in Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Panama, and Haiti -- that proved wildly unsuccessful, even by Guevara's standards.

"Ten Shots At Che Guevara," by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (10/7/05)
"Diez Tiros al Che Guevara"

Also see, "The Killing Machine: Che Guevara, from Communist Firebrand to Capitalist Brand," by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (THE NEW REPUBLIC, 7/11/05)
"El Che Guevara, de Agitador Comunista a Marca Capitalista"

For information about LIBERTY FOR LATIN AMERICA: How to Undo Five-Hundred Years of State Oppression, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa

Center on Global Prosperity (Alvaro Vargas Llosa, director)

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4) THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW -- Fall 2005 Issue Now Available

We are pleased to announce the publication of the Fall 2005 issue of THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW, the Independent Institute's quarterly journal of political economy.

The Fall 2005 issue addresses the following question:

* Why would private road companies likely have fewer problems with holdouts than do government road builders?

* Why is sector reform so unpopular in Latin America?

* Why has privatization failed to transform most central and eastern European countries into free-market, private-property economies?

* What assumptions about human nature did economist Ludwig von Mises and political theorist Michael Oakeshott share and rely on in their work?

* Given that cultural diversity is unavoidable, how should a liberal society respond to the illiberal cultural practices of some of its members?

* Why are some types of conservatives and liberals increasingly hostile to personal freedom, whereas other types share a common interest in protecting it?

* What does the history of the Republic of West Florida (1810) have in common with many other U.S. territorial acquisitions?

* What factors determine the actual and optimal size of nations?

* How does democracy contribute indirectly to economic growth?

* How were property-rights disputes settled peacefully during the frontier days of the American West?

* Which recent policies have contributed the most to U.S. economic growth?

* What can fans of political philosophy, the social sciences, and history learn from a new biography of Michael Oakeshott?

* Which philosophers of the Western tradition have most influenced postmodernism?

Books reviewed:

THE SIZE OF NATIONS, by Alberto Alesina and Enrico Spolaore


THE NOT SO WILD, WILD WEST: Property Rights on the Frontier, by Terry L. Anderson and Peter J. Hill

THE PAST AND FUTURE OF AMERICA'S ECONOMY: Long Waves of Innovation That Power Cycles of Growth, by Robert B. Atkinson
Reviewed by Alexander J. Field (Santa Clara University)

MICHAEL OAKESHOTT: An Introduction, by Paul Franco
Reviewed by Gene Callahan (Ludwig von Mises Institute)

EXPLAINING POSTMODERNISM: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault, by Stephen R. C. Hicks


Bruce L. Benson, Mary M. Shirley, Svetozar Pejovich, Gene Callahan, Suri Ratnapala, Jefferson M. Fish, David Friedman, Seth Norton, Lee J. Alson, Alexander J. Field, Gene Callahan, Marcus Verhaegh, Robert Higgs

Selected articles and book reviews from this issue are available at:

And copies of the Fall 2005 issue, as well as subscriptions and back issues, may be ordered at:

We hope that you will find this and other issues of THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW useful and enjoyable in your own teaching, research, and writing. You can also review back issues at:

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