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.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Gore in Gaza Again

Until the Israeli government decides to treat the Palestinians as human beings with rights, the violence we see happening in Gaza will continue to break out periodically. Should Palestinians indiscriminately shell southern Israel? No. Should the Israeli armed forces indiscriminately attack Gaza? No. The only way to break the cycle is for the Israeli government to change its attitude toward the Palestinians. They have been treated badly for more than a century. Those who acquiesced when the regime was imposed on them were treated like junior citizens. Those in the occupied territories have been treated like animals. Expecting peace under those circumstances is absurd.


steven said...

When I read the title, Sheldon, I first thought that you were talking about former vice-president Al Gore visiting Gaza. That would be a good place to send him.

Sheldon Richman said...

That crossed my mind as I wrote it. I figure the violence is the result of global warming.

Neverfox said...


Is there any point in your mind where indiscriminate shelling becomes a necessary, proportionate response (I'm thinking about Long's Principle of Proportion)) to a state that has "locked them inside their awfully narrow borders, throttled their economy, and killed and seriously wounded thousands of them…"?

Sheldon Richman said...

Neverfox, to understand is not to justify. There is no justification for the indiscriminate use of force. That Israel has a history of treating the Palestinians that way can't be invoked. Neither can a principle of proportionality. The killing of bystanders is certainly not proportional to what the bystanders have done.

Neverfox said...


I agree. The killing of bystanders is certainly a predictable result of the bloodfeud approach to problem-solving. The entire exchange is cast as one "public good" against another, which treats each side as a single person internalizing all costs with full consent.

In fact, I think what's missing from the typical analysis of the story is an anarchist perspective. By that I mean a recasting of the analysis away from Israel-v-Palestine to States-v-People. What you have are a lot of people, Jews and Arabs alike, dealing with the pain and betrayed desires that are the predictable result of the state "representation"; they are locked out of any real chance at solving their problems or manifesting actual dissent.

Jimi G said...

Good points Neverfox.

Just as Bourne wrote about war being the health of the state, Israel is a living example. It is not simply a matter of health in Israel's case, it is a matter of survival. Israel cannot exist without war.

I submit this article for review:

The Self-Defense of Suicide

"Israel needs a continuing cycle of violence. As long as this cycle is provoked through daily oppression, Israelis can sustain that haven in which they can unite behind their inability to examine their apartheid mentality. Violence maintains a zone in which that existential threat of old stifles any possibility for genuine empathy and egalitarian self-reflection. At the same time, violence is a necessary means for entrenching the purported legitimacy of what is claimed to be the only alternative to this violence. That alternative is no other than the “surprisingly” failing, “sane”, “reasonable” and “moderate” “peace process” towards two states, a process which aims to legitimise the apartheid state once and for all."


Sheldon Richman said...

I certainly agree that if the state and the quasi-states would get out of the way, most people in the region would figure out that peace and trade are better ways to live.

Brent said...

It would also help if the state known as the United States would quit supplying "aid", such as military weaponry, to all the states, quasi-states, and would-be states of the world. Having to bear (more of) the cost of one's actions is a good way to discourage destructive actions.

brodix said...

I think we really need to update our moral paradigm. It is based on an amoeba like attraction to the beneficial and repulsion of the detrimental, good vs. bad. This creates a linear view of reality that doesn’t seriously consider reciprocity, reaction, equilibrium, the laws of unintended consequences, etc. In fact they are derided as moral relativism. So we naturally assume that if a little is good, a lot must be that much better. It's no wonder people can be so completely butt-headed and think they are God's gift to the rest of us.