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, March 18, 2008

Who Said This?

"Many of his policies did not work as intended but in the end FDR deserves great credit for having the courage to abandon failed paradigms and to do what needed to be done."


Sheldon Richman said...

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Edward said...

Interesting. Credit for failure, then Bernake deserves credit for trying in ways that could not possibly be helpful.

Jimi G said...

Funny, I was gonna guess Hitler. FDR, Mussolini and Hitler were a mutual-admiration society.

Disclaimer: I am not implying that Bernanke is Hitler.

D. Saul Weiner said...

Failed paradigms ... this must be the constitution, the gold standard, the rule of law, I am thinking.

Jimi G said...

The rule of law is a myth. Read:

The Myth of the Rule of Law by John Hasnas.

Laws are created and enforced by men. There can never be anything but the Rule of Man.

The Constitution? Good riddance, regardless of what FDR believed.

The gold standard? OK, that's probably a good one from what I've read.

steven said...

Also read "What's Wrong With A Little Tort Reform?" by John Hasnas. My favorite Hasnas article so far, Jimi.

D. Saul Weiner said...

Jimi, are you saying that there could not even be the rule of law under anarchy?

steven said...

The Hasnas article I mentioned above has what I think is a good description of how justice could be administered under a stateless society. I highly recommend both that article and the one jimi mentioned.

Jimi G said...

I'm sure there are other published authors on Hasnas' level, but I find Hasnas' reasoning and writing style are extremely accessible and concise, in much the same way that Sheldon's are.


I believe that there would still be no rule of law in an anarchic society. As Hasnas and others explain, English common law arose from competition between various courts of law -- mercantile, clerical, royal, local, etc. The absence of government does not equate to the absence of justice or society, which is composed of men and women. Society would preserve order through common law and private dispute resolution organizations. It's still the Rule of Man, simply decentralized and subject to market forces.

Anarchy is often defined as the absence of government, but a more appropriate definition would be the absence of government monopoly of force. As long as individuals associate, as long as there are groups of two or more individuals, there will arise some system to preserve order between these individuals (government). The question is whether that system will be centralized under one monopoly or decentralized under the most possible units. Anarchy, or radical individualism if you prefer, argues for the individual retaining that power. More practically in society, perhaps the family or neighborhood is the smallest feasible unit. Then it's up to the municipal level. From there, the road to centralization leads to the status quo -- a behemoth national government in every geographical region of Earth, leaving the individual utterly powerless.

There is no rule of law EVER. Laws arise from the minds of men, not from some "God" that's somehow part of and yet outside the system. Laws exist as manifestations of human behavior, and for no other reason. Therefore, it is always men who rule, not laws.

Edward said...

The non-existence of the rule of law seems intuitively obvious: Laws do not make decisions.

People may make decisions based on the laws, but their adherence to the laws is subject to their own volition. Thus, even though men sometimes follow the concept of "the rule of law," they are still ruling.

Jimi G said...

Total agreement, Edward. In the debate between "strict" and "loose" construction, the decision must be made to follow the letter of the law (in the case of "strict" construction). And who is to establish the exact meaning of the words? Men, of course. In either and both cases.

Hasnas makes the wonderful argument that strict interpretations and total law enforcement would be a complete nightmare. Humanity under the thumb of absolute "rule of law" would be no world I would want to be a part of.