By David J. Theroux
This article appeared in the Summer 1996 issue of The Independent Review
Since its inception in 1986, The Independent Institute has become well-respected in the worlds of academia, policy research, and public debate for its commitment to nonpoliticized scholarly excellence. Our program has enjoyed the benefits of working with many superb scholars, producing highly acclaimed books and other studies offering seminal insights into the workings of the political economy. However, the Institute has lacked a means to carry on a regular dialogue with the many people seriously interested in an informed public debate and the scholarship that must undergird such debate. With the publication of The Independent Review, we seek to fill that void.
In recent decades, the established sanctity of statecraft in general, and political institutions in particular, has increasingly been met with skepticism, cynicism, and distaste. Since the Watergate scandal and the Vietnam War, politics has taken an increasingly antipolitical turn with subsequent elections producing a more impatient electorate determined to throw the rascals out. Among academics, many of the shibboleths that long dominated economics, history, political science, philosophy and lawand too often served to justify the regality of government programs in the twentieth centuryhave been either abandoned or come to be viewed with suspicion.
American political culture no longer simply concurs with the powers or policies that have prevailed. What is liberal or conservative is no longer so clear, and new paradigms are beginning to appear on the horizon. Of course, in this new era of rethinking, bouts of confusion, apprehension, and conflict must be expected. Those who have benefited from existing policies, and the discredited ideas on which they have been based, will no doubt disparage the independent thinkers who now challenge the modern Leviathan state and seek to restore the vitality of civil society. At the same time, maverick thinkers may simply echo Luddite or other fallacies hostile to honest intellectual endeavor, individual liberty, and the rule of law, convinced that they have discovered the hidden path to Shangri-La.
In these circumstances and at the tenth anniversary of The Independent Institute, it is most fitting that we launch our new journal, The Independent Review, as a vehicle for independent scholarship produced by independent minds. In tracing the dynamics of political economy and, yes, challenging government failures, we remain ever mindful of the intellectual and cultural heritage of mankind. We seek not to fashion some sort of new view but, instead, to honor the lessons of history while restoring independent inquiry to center stage as the essential activity for enhancing our understanding of societypast, present and future.
We intend to make The Independent Review a unique and far-reaching quarterly journal of political economy, dedicated to scholarly and literary excellence. Under the able editorship of Robert Higgs and the outstanding scholars who serve on the editorial and advisory boards, this journal may very well pioneer future debate.
David J. Theroux
The Independent Institute
David J. Theroux is the Founder, President and Chief Executive
Officer of The Independent Institute and Publisher of The Independent Review.
Volume 1 Number 1