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.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

ARI Update

Perhaps someone drew ARI's attention to the fact that the stem-cell bill George II vetoed was about government funding, not private efforts. Whatever the reason, ARI issued this:

Government vs. Science
July 20, 2006

IRVINE, CA--"The political fighting over embryonic stem cell research is the inevitable result of government funding of science," said Dr. Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute.

"It is only because science today is so dominantly funded by the government that restrictions on federal funding can wreak the devastation they have--severely hindering a promising area of potentially life-saving medical research."

"If science were left free, as it should be, funded solely by private sources, a scientist would not have to plead the merits of his work before a majority of politicians, however ignorant or prejudiced by religious or other dogmas they might be.

"The government should get out of the business of funding science. But so long as it is involved, it must scrupulously respect the separation of Church and State. Its funding decisions must be made on rationally demonstrable, not faith-based, grounds. Bush's veto clearly violates this principle."

Better late than never, but there are still problems. I am not sure that Bush's position violates the separation of church and state (assuming that's what the Bill of Rights even guarantees). Why doesn't it violate that principle to force taxpayers to pay for research they believe is morally forbidden? This argument cuts both ways. That's why we should oppose government funding and not encourage it as Brook has done.

Moreoever, Brook missed the Public Choice point. One can argue that as long as government is already funding scientific research, why not one more area of science? The answer is that this will create a new lobbying group for increased government funding. Brook's position is equivalent to feeding the beast.


Kevin Carson said...

It's hard to blame ARI too much (never thought I'd say those words), since mainstream news coverage always makes it sound like the issue is whether to allow or prohibit stem cell research, rather than whether the feds should fund it with taxpayer money.

Well, hell, they shouldn't be funding *any* kind of research. But in mainstream political discourse, saying that kind of thing puts you in the same category as the crazies who favor crazy stuff like drug legalization. Egad!

Anthony Gregory said...

I haven't been able to tell what the bill would have done exactly. Would it have increased spending, or simply allowed federal spending to be used for stem cell research?

James Leroy Wilson said...

In their latest press release, ARI again tries to change the subject. It isn't about stealing money at gunpoint from taxpayers to pay for socialized scientific research, it's about science vs. religion.

Just as conservatives hate Democrats more than they love liberty, it seems that the ARI hates religion more than it loves reason.