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Volume 9, Issue 51: December 17, 2007

  1. Vicente Fox versus Hugo Chavez
  2. R. C. Hoiles, Civil Rights Pioneer
  3. The Foreign Policy Vision of Sen. Robert A. Taft
  4. The Independent Review—Winter 2008 Issue Now Available

1) Vicente Fox versus Hugo Chavez

Unless Latin America’s better leaders band together to offer a promising alternative, Hugo Chavez will take the region back down the populist road to economic and political stagnation that plagued it throughout the past century, according to former Mexican President Vicente Fox. To help stop the spread of Chavez’s influence and to build stronger support for policies that foster economic growth, Fox is creating a think tank and enlisting the help of former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardo and former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos.

Independent Institute Senior Fellow Alvaro Vargas Llosa met recently with Fox at the home of his budding think tank and asked him why the United States had done little to help the cause of liberty and prosperity in Latin America. “Two factors got in the way,” Fox told him. “One was the terrorist attacks of 9/11, which made Americans shy away from immigration reform. The other factor was lack of courage on the part of President Bush on that same issue. The procrastination left a vacuum that was filled by xenophobic commentators like Lou Dobbs and Bill O’Reilly, who stoked up American’s fear of the outside world.”

Vargas Llosa explains that U.S. indifference also cost Fox politically: “Fox thinks that immigration reform in the United States would have given him more political clout in the region at a time when Chavez was moving his pawns.”

“Fox vs. Chavez,” by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (12/12/07) Spanish Translation 

Liberty for Latin America: How to Undo Five Hundred Years of State Oppression, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa

The Che Guevara Myth and the Future of Liberty, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa

Center on Global Prosperity


2) R. C. Hoiles, Civil Rights Pioneer

In a recent op-ed published in the Orange County Register, Independent Institute Research Fellow Jonathan J. Bean, editor of the forthcoming book, Race and Liberty: The Classical Liberal Tradition of Civil Rights, pays homage to the late newspaper publisher and civil rights pioneer R. C. Hoiles. In particular, Bean highlights Hoiles’s vocal opposition to President Franklin Roosevelt’s internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II and to the practice of segregating Mexican-American schoolchildren that led to the lawsuit of Mendez v. Westminster, a civil-rights victory that became a trial run for Brown v. Board of Education.

Regarding the first example of Hoiles’s principled support for civil liberties, the Japanese American Citizens League once noted that Hoiles “was the only one with the courage of his convictions.” Regarding the second example, Bean notes that Hoiles castigated not only the immorality of segregation, but also the institution of compulsory education, which he argued cultivated in school board members a desire for arbitrary power.

“The next time we are tempted to deny others their freedom, we might consider the words of R.C. Hoiles, a man who carried the torch of freedom by repeating timeless principles,” writes Bean. “The lesson of his life: Embrace freedom and never let go, even when it is unpopular. You will earn the respect of your enemies and the admiration of your supporters. For this and more, I say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Hoiles.’”

“R. C. Hoiles, Civil Rights Pioneer,” by Jonathan J. Bean (Orange County Register, 11/25/07)

More articles by Jonathan J. Bean

Articles on civil liberties and human rights


3) The Foreign Policy Vision of Sen. Robert A. Taft

Although he died more than five decades ago, Ohio Senator Robert A. Taft, whom the press nicknamed Mr. Republican, espoused a foreign-policy vision that may appeal to critics of the interventionism long embraced by leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties, according to Colgate University political scientist Michael T. Hayes, who contributed a chapter on Taft to the Independent Institute book, Opposing the Crusader State: Alternatives to Global Interventionism, edited by Robert Higgs and Carl Close.

“Taft warned that even a well-meaning internationalism would necessarily degenerate over time into a form of imperialism, eventually breeding resentment against the United States around the globe,” Hayes writes in a new op-ed. “He also predicted—correctly—that a steady rise in defense outlays would inevitably lead to a ‘garrison state’ and the erosion of civil liberties.”

Taft criticized the United Nations because, among other reasons, the veto power of U.N. Security Council members could be wielded arbitrarily, thereby undermining the organization’s effectiveness. As an alternative, Taft proposed the creation of a global organization whose power was binding on all countries, but which was limited to punishing countries that initiate aggression against others. “While Taft’s proposal for an international tribunal may seem utopian,” continues Hayes, “he sure was correct in noting the gap between the United Nations as we know it, and a regime that really incorporated the rule of law into international affairs.”

“Toward the Rule of Law in Foreign Affairs: The Foreign Policy Vision of Senator Robert A. Taft,” by Michael Hayes (12/14/07)

Opposing the Crusader State: Alternatives to Global Interventionism, edited by Robert Higgs and Carl P. Close


4) The Independent Review—Winter 2008 Issue Now Available

The Winter 2008 issue of The Independent Review, edited by Independent Institute Senior Fellow Robert Higgs, is hot off the press. The articles in this 160-page, peer-reviewed journal address the following questions:

• What does the history of colonialism and decolonization suggest about the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

• What is the leading error in thinking about the exhaustibility of non-renewable resources? Download article.

• Did eminent domain arise as a remedy for market failure, or as an effort to limit government power and government failure?

• What do recent studies suggest about the wisdom of current child-support policies in the United States? Download article.

• Why does 19th-century philosopher Herbert Spencer need defending?

• What fallacies underlie most studies of imperialism and war making?

In addition, this new issue of The Independent Review examines important new books on international affairs, energy policy, world migration, and classical liberalism. Books reviewed include the following:

The Roman Predicament: How the Rules of International Order Create the Politics of Empire, by Harold James. Read review.

The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, the Virtue of Waste, and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy, by Peter W. Huber and Mark P. Mills. Read review.

Global Migration and the World Economy: Two Centuries of Policy and Performance, by Timothy J. Hatton and Jeffrey G. Williamson. Read review.

Why I, Too, Am Not a Conservative: The Normative Vision of Classical Liberalism, by James M. Buchanan. Read review.


Rafael Reuveny, John Brätland, Stephen Baskerville, Bruce L. Benson, Max Hocutt, Joseph T. Salerno, Michael C. Desch, Richard Stroup, John R. Hanson II, Dwight R. Lee

Table of Contents and Article Summaries

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