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Volume 8, Issue 40: October 2, 2006

  1. "Mr. Conservative" and the Ideal of Limited Government
  2. Kissinger and Iraq
  3. Private Variable Toll Roads Improve Traffic Flow
  4. The Independent Institute Awarded 4-Star Rating by Charity Navigator

1) "Mr. Conservative" and the Ideal of Limited Government

"Mr. Conservative," a new documentary series on HBO about the late Senator Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.), shows how far today's political conservatives have moved away from the ideals of limited government that had once been their raison d'etre.

"The documentary, produced by Goldwater's granddaughter, reminds us that the Arizonan was in favor of small government not only in economic matters but also on moral issues," writes Alvaro Vargas Llosa, director of the Independent Institute's Center on Global Prosperity, in his latest op-ed. "In that respect, he exposes the inconsistency of conservatives who pay only lip service to small government and to those who are for small government in economic matters but think the state should impose their moral values on others. Goldwater really wanted to reduce government intrusion in people's lives."

In contrast, today's conservatives, Vargas Llosa argues, have virtually abandoned the ideal of a federal government with limited, enumerated powers in favor of one that tries to instill a particular set of values both at home and abroad: "They want to defend taxpayers from too much government at home and save civilization through the expansion of government abroad, thereby expanding the very government they want to limit.... Meanwhile, government continues to grow on all three fronts: spending, moral intervention and foreign assertion. At which point does a new conservatism begin the task of clearing the confusion?"

"Mr. Conservative," by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (9/27/06)
"Mister conservador"

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

THE CHE GUEVARA MYTH, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa

Center on Global Prosperity (Alvaro Vargas Llosa, director)

El Independent: El Blog del Centro Para la Prosperidad Global de The Independent Institute


2) Kissinger and Iraq

Henry Kissinger has been the Bush administration's leading advisor on the Iraq war. The revelation, from Bob Woodward's new book, STATE OF DENIAL, helps explain many of the blunders in the U.S. military campaign in that country, according to Ivan Eland, director of the Independent Institute's Center on Peace & Liberty.

"Consulting Kissinger on how to successfully 'win' a counterinsurgency is like getting advice from Mel Gibson on public relations," writes Eland in his latest op-ed.

In both the Vietnam War and the Iraq conflict, Kissinger underestimated the strength of the anti-U.S. insurgency and underestimated the importance of first "winning politically" in order to later win the counterinsurgency campaign, Eland argues.

Concludes Eland: "Even if the Congress and the American people were to blame for the loss of the Vietnam War, as Kissinger contends, politicians should take into account that democracies will not allow an indefinite waste of lives and money to win a war that has little to do with national security. And the Bush administration, after the Vietnam experience, should have known that the public tires quickly of such unneeded military adventures."

"Kissinger Gives Bush Bad Advice on Iraq," by Ivan Eland (10/2/06)
"Kissinger aconseja mal a Bush respecto de Irak"


THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed

Center on Peace & Liberty (Ivan Eland, director)


3) Private Variable Toll Roads Improve Traffic Flow

Last year the U.S. Congress voted to help fund Virginia's proposed $4 billion, 23-mile rail connection to Dulles International Airport -- although better service could be provided by express buses at one-third the cost. If politicians were serious about reducing such waste (and at the same time improving traffic flow and road safety), they would rely more on the private sector to design and operate roads, according to Independent Institute Research Fellow Gabriel Roth.

In fact, in a few cases across the United States (as well as in London and Stockholm), policymakers have been doing that for the past decade -- that is, they have allowed private companies to build toll roads where tolls can be varied to eliminate traffic congestion. Private variable-toll roads such as California's Interstate 15, Minnesota's Interstate 394, and Denver's Interstate 25 "give consumers the choice of paying for faster travel on less congested roadways that reliably and predictably get them to their destinations on time," writes Roth in a new op-ed.

"Road funding is too important to be left to the vicissitudes of politics," writes Roth. "The time has come to unleash the power of the private sector to deliver to road users the innovation, cost savings, quality and choice we take for granted in telecommunications and other services."

"Roads Are Too Important to be Left to Governments," by Gabriel Roth (9/26/06)

Las carreteras son demasiado importantes para dejárselas a los gobiernos"

STREET SMART: Competition, Entrepreneurship, and the Future of Roads, by Gabriel Roth


4) The Independent Institute Awarded 4-Star Rating by Charity Navigator

Great news, donors. For the third year in a row, Charity Navigator, the premier evaluator of public charities, has awarded the Independent Institute its highest 4-Star Rating, putting it above virtually all other think tanks.

The rating is based on a weighted assessment of organizational efficiency (fundraising efficiency, fundraising expenses, program expenses, and administration expenses) and capacity (average annual growth of primary revenue, average annual growth of program expenses, and working capital ratio). The bottom line is that the Independent Institute respects its donors -- and translates that respect operationally, by using its funds very efficiently.

THE LIGHTHOUSE and the Independent Institute would like to thank our donors for continuing to help make our successes possible. Your dollars do make a difference!

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