Available Now! (click cover)

America's Counter-Revolution
The Constitution Revisited

From the back cover:

This book challenges the assumption that the Constitution was a landmark in the struggle for liberty. Instead, Sheldon Richman argues, it was the product of a counter-revolution, a setback for the radicalism represented by America’s break with the British empire. Drawing on careful, credible historical scholarship and contemporary political analysis, Richman suggests that this counter-revolution was the work of conservatives who sought a nation of “power, consequence, and grandeur.” America’s Counter-Revolution makes a persuasive case that the Constitution was a victory not for liberty but for the agendas and interests of a militaristic, aristocratic, privilege-seeking ruling class.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

ARI Endorses Slaughter of Palestinians

From the Ayn Rand Institute:
Israel Should Wage War on the Palestinians

July 18, 2006

Irvine, CA--Results from a recent poll indicate that 77 percent of Palestinians support their government's kidnapping of an Israeli soldier and 60 percent support the continued rocket fire from Gaza into Israel--this despite Israel's withdrawal of its troops and removal of its citizens from Gaza just a few months ago.

"Israel should wage war not only against the Palestinian leadership but also against the Palestinian people," said Dr. Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute.

The inevitable deaths of a few truly innocent Palestinians should not stop Israel from doing whatever it takes to eliminate its enemies; any deaths of innocents would be the moral responsibility not of Israel but of the guilty majority of Palestinians who seek to destroy it.


Student said...


"any deaths of innocents would be the moral responsibility not of Israel but of the guilty majority of Palestinians who seek to destroy it."

And why is that?

If someone punches me, and I punch him back, is it his fault I punched him? Hardly. I may be justified in fighting back, but no one person can be moraly responsible for the actions of another. Doesn't Ayn Rand herself make exactly this point when discussing the immortality of income redistribution schemes?

Brad Spangler said...

Utterly contemptible.

Kevin Carson said...

The ARI's commentary on foreign policy these days sounds like the Two Minutes Hate.

I'm at a loss to understand why the Israelis are automatically the "good guys" to these people.

I've seen the arguments that Zionist settlers just bought land in Palestine, and that opposition is based on the idea of "collective" ownership. But the land that was bought was the politically appropriated land of Turkish landlords, held at the expense of the Palestinian fellahs who worked it. In other words, the Zionist colonization was a scheme cooked up between the British empire and the native ruling class.

Sheldon Richman said...

Kevin, exactly so. Stephen Halbrook shows in an old Journal of Libertarian Studies article that, at most, 7 percent of the land purchased might pass Lockean muster. The rest of the purchases were from absentee feudal landlords. Zionist organizations bought the land, then had the Arab tillers driven off. This was widely acknowledged at the time. Herzl spoke of "spiriting the penniless" Arabs across the border. Whenver an Arab was caught returning to his land, say to retrieve his crop, he was regarded as an infiltrator who wanted to drive the Jews into the sea. This story has endured and shapes most Americans' view of what's going on there now.

By the way, I learned my anti-Zionism from my orthodox Jewish grandfather who refused till the end of his life to visit the Jewish state. He was not surprised by the strife, of which he saw Zionism as the sole source. Reform Jews, before WWII, took the same position. Both parts of Judaism opposed turning the religion into a nationality. Time didn't take long to vindicate them.

Student: precisely. Now why can't the rational geniuses at ARI figure that out?

Rand provided a clue to why she and her followers favor Israel. The Arabs, she said, are "savages." The Israelis (despite their socialism, I guess), are Western and civilized.

Karl Kraus once said that you can tell a madman by his agitation on being locked up against his will. Likewise, you can tell a Palestinian anti-Semite savage by his agitation on being kicked off the land his family has worked for a thousand years.

John Markley said...

What a disgrace. Ayn Rand was an important inspiration to me when I first became interested in libertarianism. Seeing so many of her successors degenerate to this level is very, very sad.

Sheldon Richman said...

I have to amend my comment above. Going on memory is always risky. The Halbrook paper (here) shows that by 1947, total purchases of land by Jewish individuals and organizations came to less than 7 percent of Palestine. But most of that would not pass Lockean muster, since the sellers were absentee feudal landlords. For example, by 1936 over 52 percent of the land purchased was from such landlords. Less than 10 percent was bought directly from farmers. Much more Palestinian land was seized in the 1948 conflict (in which Israel and Transjordan conspired to deprive the Palestinians of territory allotted them under the UN partition) and then again in 1967.

RonnieHayek said...

In its America at War file, the ARI writes this shameful sentence : As a free nation, we have the moral right to defend ourselves, even if this requires mass civilian deaths in terrorist countries.

Thus, it's crystal clear that a lot of American Objectivists defend a totalitarian point of view after the fashion of the neoconservatives (who are more worth to be called as : neobolcheviks).

One year and half ago, I wrote some stuff about this heavy question : http://chacun-pour-soi.blogspot.com/2004/12/lobjectivisme-conduit-il-au-fascisme.html

(chacun-pour-soi is a franco-belgian libertarian blog, where write too the excellent melodius.)

And bravo to your blog, Sheldon !