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

Volume 7, Issue 42: October 17, 2005

  1. New Book Examines the Crisis since 9/11 -- Robert Higgs's RESURGENCE OF THE WARFARE STATE
  2. Iraq Constitution Likely to Worsen Violence
  3. China in the Americas
  4. "States of Fear: Science or Politics?"

1) New Book Examines the Crisis since 9/11 -- Robert Higgs's RESURGENCE OF THE WARFARE STATE

Immediately after 9/11, government officials and commentators claimed that the terrorist attacks had “changed everything.” In contrast, economist and historian Robert Higgs (senior fellow at the Independent Institute and editor of THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW) warned that history would likely repeat itself in one key respect: the government's hasty reactions would resemble its responses to previous crises, providing little more than opportunities for special interests to feather their nests and for the government itself to expand its powers at the expense of the public's wealth and civil liberties.

Robert Higgs's new book, RESURGENCE OF THE WARFARE STATE: The Crisis Since 9/11, is a "real-time" analysis of the U.S. government's tragic but predictable response: the quick enactment of the USA PATRIOT Act, the federal takeover of airport security, the massive increase in defense and other government spending, and the carnage in Afghanistan and Iraq wrought by leaders unaccountable for their costly and deadly mistakes.

Higgs paints a bleak picture, showing how America's political leaders in the name of “crisis management” have discarded many of the checks and balances created to thwart potential abuses of government power, spent additional billions of dollars on programs unrelated to national security, trampled civil liberties and due process at home, and pursued reckless military adventures that have needlessly killed thousands of innocents abroad.

“If George Orwell were alive today, he would not be surprised, but he would have plenty of fresh raw material for his continuing analysis of Newspeak,” writes Higgs in the book's introduction. “To listen to political leaders' pronouncements at any time requires a strong stomach, but during the past four years the challenge has often been greater than I could bear. How anyone can actually admire these people surpasses my powers of comprehension.”

Advance praise for Robert Higgs's RESURGENCE OF THE WARFARE STATE:

“Robert Higgs is at his best in RESURGENCE OF THE WARFARE STATE, combining his broad knowledge of history and economics with a passion for liberty. Higgs provides a top-notch analysis of how the crusade for global democracy abroad and the related growth in the surveillance state at home threaten freedom and constitutional government. A highlight is how Higgs employs his mastery of history to hammer the point that freedoms 'temporarily' relinquished are rarely restored.”
--Ron Paul, U.S. Congressman

“In his very powerful and incisive book, RESURGENCE OF THE WARFARE STATE, Robert Higgs is a prophet who deserves honor -- and more importantly, urgent attention. The earliest pieces in this book, written a year and more before the onset of the Iraq War, prove uncannily accurate in their predictions of the terrible course of events. They demonstrate that his passionate warnings in the book's more recent essays demand to be taken with the utmost seriousness. This book is well worth reading for anyone seeking a more peaceful, safer and freer world.”
--Daniel Ellsberg, author, SECRETS: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers

To purchase RESURGENCE OF THE WARFARE STATE, by Robert Higgs, see
http://www.independent.org/store/book_detail.asp?bookID=60

For a detailed summary, see
http://www.independent.org/publications/books/book_summary.asp?bookID=60

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2) Iraq Constitution Likely to Worsen Violence

Iraqi voters have approved the proposed constitution, but voters in two Sunni-majority provinces voted overwhelmingly against its passage. Their dissatisfaction does not bode well for ending Iraq's violent insurgency anytime soon. The passage of the constitution may in fact worsen the violence, according to Ivan Eland, director of the Independent Institute's Center on Peace & Liberty.

"The situation in Iraq has so deteriorated that a civil war is now the most likely outcome," writes Eland in his latest op-ed. "Ironically, a rejection of the constitution might possibly have diminished the chances of such an all-out internecine bloodbath." Had the constitution failed at the polls, Eland argues, Iraq's three main groups would likely have worked harder to negotiate an arrangement more acceptable to all, such a decentralized confederation coupled with oil-revenue sharing for the Sunnis.

Eland reports that Reps. Henry Hyde (R-IL) and Tom Lantos (D-CA) may propose new sanctions for Syria, “ostensibly to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, but really to turn the screws for not preventing Iraqi insurgents and supplies from crossing the porous Syrian-Iraqi border." But Eland suggests that carrots, rather than sticks, would be more appropriate. If the U.S. employs positive incentives to encourage more cooperation from Syria, then Syria will have greater incentive not to undermine a political settlement in Iraq, should such an outcome somehow occur.

See "The Iraq Constitution: And They Call This Victory?" by Ivan Eland (10/17/05)
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1587
SPANISH TRANSLATION:
"La Constitución Iraquí: ¿A Esto Llaman una Victoria?"
http://www.elindependent.org/articulos/article.asp?id=1587

To purchase THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, by Ivan Eland, see http://www.independent.org/store/book_detail.asp?bookID=54

To purchase PUTTING "DEFENSE" BACK IN U.S. DEFENSE POLICY, by Ivan Eland, see http://www.independent.org/store/book_detail.asp?bookID=19

Center on Peace & Liberty (Ivan Eland, director)
http://www.independent.org/research/copal/

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3) China in the Americas

"In 2004, nearly half of China's direct investment overseas, almost $20 billion, went to Latin America," writes Alvaro Vargas Llosa, senior fellow at the Independent Institute and director of its Center on Global Prosperity.

What is China up to in the Western Hemisphere?

Some countries in the Latin America (e.g., Peru, Argentina, Venezuela, and Cuba) believe investment from China will help their economies immensely, whereas others (e.g., Brazil, Mexico, much of Central America) are increasingly skeptical -- some having erected stiff tariffs on Chinese imports.

Vargas Llosa argues that both the optimists and the pessimists in the above countries have misread China's commitments. "While Beijing does have an interest in improving the region's appalling infrastructure to insure a steady supply of raw materials, China will only invest in countries where it can actually make a profit," he writes. But so far, China's profits have been small -- despite its $100 billion investment in Latin America's infrastructure.

"Ironically, the country that China trusts the most is Chile -- Latin America's number one capitalist country, which is why Beijing and Santiago have been busy negotiating a free trade agreement."

Vargas Llosa notes in an early op-ed that Chile was well prepared to compete internationally. It "privatized companies and liberalized internal markets even before it opened the country to substantial international trade (only recently did they bring their tariffs down to an average of just over two percent)."

If China wants reliable trading partners, perhaps it will act, intentionally or not, as an agent for economic liberalization.

See "What is China Up to in the Western Hemisphere?," by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (10/?/05)
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1586
SPANISH TRANSLATION:
"¿Qué Busca China en el Hemisferio Occidental?"
http://www.elindependent.org/articulos/article.asp?id=1586

Also see, "Leaders and Crises," by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (9/30/05)
http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1578
SPANISH TRANSLATION:
"Líderes y Crisis"
http://www.elindependent.org/articulos/article.asp?id=1578

For information about LIBERTY FOR LATIN AMERICA: How to Undo Five-Hundred Years of State Oppression, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa
http://www.independent.org/store/book_detail.asp?bookID=55

Center on Global Prosperity (Alvaro Vargas Llosa, director)
http://www.independent.org/research/cogp/

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4) "States of Fear: Science or Politics?"

Best-selling Novelist Michael Crichton and Scientists to Discuss the Politicization of Science, San Francisco (11/15/05)
http://www.independent.org/events/detail.asp?eventID=111

Is environmental debate today, including global warming, biotechnology, and other issues, based on science or politics? Are popular accounts of such issues rooted in science or phantom risks? Are government policies focusing on the trivial while ignoring the real, and in the process wasting limited resources, crippling human innovation to address true dangers, and inviting tyranny? MICHAEL CRICHTON'S new bestseller, STATE OF FEAR, which discusses such issues, may in time be viewed as a landmark, both cautionary and prophetic. This very timely event will feature a major presentation by Dr. Crichton, along with a discussion by a panel of distinguished scientists, examining the increasing politicization of science.

FEATURED SPEAKER:

Michael Crichton, “the father of the techno-thriller,” is the author of 21 books including THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN, COMA, JURASSIC PARK, TIMELINE, THE LOST WORLD, PREY, and STATE OF FEAR, selling more than 150 million copies and translated into 36 languages, with twelve made into films. The recipient of an Emmy, a Peabody, and a Writer's Guild of America award for the TV series, ER, he is a graduate of Harvard Medical School, and has been Visiting Lecturer in Anthropology at Cambridge University; Henry Russell Shaw Traveling Fellow; post-doctoral fellow at the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences; and Visiting Writer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

PANEL OF DISTINGUISHED SCIENTISTS:

Sallie L. Baliunas is a research astrophysicist and former Deputy Director and Director of Science Programs at Mount Wilson Observatory. The recipient of the Newton-Lacy-Pierce Prize and the Bok Prize, she received her Ph.D. in astrophysics from Harvard University.

William M. Gray is Professor of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, head of the Tropical Meteorology Project at CSU, and a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.

George H. Taylor is the State Climatologist for Oregon and Professor of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University.

WHEN:
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Program: 8 p.m.
Author book signing after program

WHERE:
Hotel Nikko
222 Mason Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
For a map and directions, see
http://www.hotelnikkosf.com/page.asp?pid=8

TICKETS: Preferred seating, $65; regular seating, $35; Independent Institute/World Affairs Council Members, $25. Reserve tickets and books at http://www.independent.org/store/events/event_detail.asp?eventID=111.

Praise for Michael Crichton's latest bestseller, STATE OF FEAR:

"In STATE OF FEAR, Michael Crichton delivers a lightening technopolitical thriller…every bit as informative as it is entertaining."
--THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

"Michael Crichton's new book will appeal to your inner techie."
--WASHINGTON POST

"STATE OF FEAR is a valuable education in the guise of entertainment. Do yourself a favor and buy it."
--PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE

For more information about this event, see
http://www.independent.org/events/detail.asp?eventID=111

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