A Century of Advocating for Peace: Join Us!

Everyone above a certain age no doubt well remembers September 11th 21 years ago. I remember it most for the leadership, courage and principle that my husband and Independent’s founder and president, David Theroux, exhibited on the very day. He immediately worked with Independent staffers to craft and post on the Independent.org home page a Statement on the Terrorist Attacks, later refined as a Press Release:

... history teaches that crisis periods produce even greater problems and suffering as the heavy hand of unchecked government power crowds out civil society.

... Americans seek security, but not as an end in itself. We seek security to enjoy the blessings of liberty. Attempts to “trade” liberty for security can only produce neither. Instead, we must achieve security in a manner consistent with a diverse and open society, individual liberty, and the rule of law.

Having produced the seminal classic, Robert Higgs’s Crisis and Leviathan, and as a scholar of the history of liberty, David well knew that the attacks of 9/11 would quickly be seized as an excuse to grow government in size and scope endangering Americans’ decreasing liberty while simultaneously increasing danger (those behind 9/11 were explicitly clear that their motivation was American adventuring in the middle east)—as he more recently also knew that the fear-mongering and censorship marking the years since 2020 has been the latest “ratchet.”

But our 21 years’ fight for peace, liberty, and human dignity—as detailed in my post on last year’s anniversary—has not primarily been ANTI (-government, -war, or other).

It has been FOR: peace, prosperity, and human dignity.

From the conclusion of our Statement of Terrorism on 9/11/01:

The Statue of Liberty is recognized worldwide with good reason as a symbol of liberty and justice for all. The peaceful spread of these ideals must be our best and most enduring export. And, we will win the hearts and minds of individuals the world over only if we adhere to these values—at home and abroad—with the fidelity that those values demand.

...to our newest book, In Search of Monsters to Destroy, offering solutions for decentralized national security according with our classical liberal values.

Twenty-one is generally considered the age of maturity. Let’s mark our achievement of that age since 9/11 by coming together as citizens of the Shining City on a Hill as described by Ronald Reagan:

... a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.

Let’s redefine and refresh our patriotism by rejuvenating the vision of our nation’s Founders: seeking not entangling foreign entanglements, and jealously protecting our fellow-citizens’ rights and dignity from the rapacious claims of the state.

As John Quincy Adams so eloquently expressed:

But [America] goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.

She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.

She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.


Her glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is the march of the mind. She has a spear and a shield: but the motto upon her shield is, Freedom, Independence, Peace. This has been her Declaration: this has been, as far as her necessary intercourse with the rest of mankind would permit, her practice.

Mary L. G. Theroux is Chairman and Chief Executive of the Independent Institute.
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