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Volume 12, Issue 35: September 2, 2010

  1. Will WikiLeaks Be Silenced?
  2. C. S. Lewis on Liberty and Statism
  3. Brazil’s Dilemma
  4. This Week in The Beacon

1) Will WikiLeaks Be Silenced?

Will the U.S. Department of Justice prosecute Julian Assange, founder of Assange published 76,000 classified documents about the war in Afghanistan on his website and claims he has 15,000 unpublished memos that are even more scandalous than the earlier batch.

Independent Institute Senior Fellow Ivan Eland argues that the prosecution of Julian Assange would be a setback for republican government because it would undermine Americans’ right to know what their government is doing. Eland also suggests that the Justice Department may have spread false rumors that it plans to prosecute Assange in order to bully him into silence.

“The threatened prosecution may be just a bluff,” writes Eland, “because the Justice Department recently was forced to drop a similar case against two American pro-Israel lobbyists for taking documents from Larry Franklin, a Department of Defense employee who was successfully prosecuted for violating his secrecy oath.” Prosecution or not—it’s clear that Assange has ruffled the feathers of war hawks in Washington.

“The Possible Prosecution of WikiLeaks,” by Ivan Eland (8/25/10)

Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty, by Ivan Eland

The Empire Has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, by Ivan Eland

Partitioning for Peace: An Exit Strategy for Iraq, by Ivan Eland


2) C. S. Lewis on Liberty and Statism

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive,” wrote C. S. Lewis, the Oxford/Cambridge scholar best known for his Christian apologetics and the Chronicles of Narnia book series. “It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

Independent Institute President David J. Theroux expounds on Lewis’s views about ethics and politics in “C. S. Lewis on Mere Liberty and the Evils of Statism.” The following passage helps set the stage:

“Lewis was unquestionably and profoundly interested in the ideas and institutions that were the basis for free and virtuous individuals and communities, but he was not at all interested in partisanship or campaign politics,” writes Theroux. “He instead focused on first principles, and public-policy matters were of interest only as they pertained to questions of enduring value. As a result of this focus, whereas the work of most modern scholars and other writers quickly becomes dated and obsolete, Lewis’s work has achieved increasing timelessness and relevance.”

“C. S. Lewis on Mere Liberty and the Evils of Statism,” by David J. Theroux (, 8/23/10)

“Economic Science and the Poverty of Naturalism: C. S. Lewis’s ‘Argument from Reason,’” by David J. Theroux (Journal of Private Enterprise, Spring 2008)


3) Brazil’s Dilemma

Brazil’s economy has lifted 30 million people out of poverty since 2003. Brazil’s political culture, however, has made little progress: the political establishment is still mired in cronyism, and voters still cling to the counterproductive policies of the Workers’ Party, according to Alvaro Vargas Llosa, editor of Lessons from the Poor and author of Liberty for Latin America.

“Brazilian leaders have long had an ‘anti-American’ complex,” writes Vargas Llosa. “The obsession makes them do things simply because they seem in opposition.” Dilma Rousseff, the leading candidate in October’s presidential election in October, is no exception.

Some scholars believe that Brazil’s statist economic policies originated partly as a reaction to a perceived rejection by the United States. But if Brazilians wish to improve their country, they would do better by embracing an even older tradition—the one that the Baron of Rio Branco, Jose Maria da Silva Paranhos, pioneered in the early 20th century. Adopting this tradition, Vargas Llosa suggests, would enable Brazil’s political institutions to keep pace with its fast-growing economy.

“Brazil’s Third World Dilemma,” by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (8/25/10) 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

Lessons from the Poor: Triumph of the Entrepreneurial Spirit, edited by Alvaro Vargas Llosa


4) This Week in The Beacon

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