Available Now!

Available Now!
What Social Animals Owe to Each Other

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Skousen Update

I have exchanged emails with Mark Skousen, and here's what he tells me:
  1. Jim Davidson misstated his position.
  2. He does not believe people who disagree should seriously fight it out.
  3. He invited the offended vet, an ex-Marine, to argue with Doug Casey not at a FreedomFest but at a Blanchard Conference.
  4. Mark also playfully invited them to Indian arm wrestle.
  5. Doug did not win; it was a draw.
  6. Davidson asked to speak at FreedomFest; Mark did not approach him.
  7. The quote from an email that Mark sent Davidson is taken out of context.
On the quote, Mark's point makes sense. The quote says nothing about fighting: “The vet was expressing outrage by [sic] Doug in his insensitive comments about veterans, and that’s all. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

My apologies to Mark. Unless new revelations arise, I am through with this.


Roderick T. Long said...

Re (3) -- Davidson also said it was a Blanchard conference. (Not the most important item, admittedly.)

Sheldon Richman said...

Yes, right. Mark misread the post, I guess. I relayed all the points from him. Question: Does Jim Davidson, whom I do not know, have an ax to grind? Or bad memory.

Roderick T. Long said...

Jim has an earlier version here.

George Donnelly said...

Why I am not surprised that Jim Davidson is in the middle of another nasty pissing contest?

I have seen Davidson turn innocuous interactions into virtual fistfights of the worst kind. I'm sure he'll be along here any moment to impugn my character.

The best advice I can give you is this: Give Davidson a wide berth and pretend he's not there. He'll eventually go away.

PlanetaryJim said...

It is odd that I'm accused of starting a fistfight when my entire purpose is to complain of a wrestling match.

I have reported my more recent concern about the wrestling match and Skousen's most recent invitation that I speak at his event next month. In particular, he wrote to say that he felt a matter of honor was at stake, and that of course if I were to say anything offensive to anyone in the audience at his event, he'd do the same to me.

This seems perfectly consistent with my report from 2004, "Later, Skousen indicated that he felt Doug had to pay a price for offending members of the audience on Friday." I don't think that people who speak at events should have to be physically abused by people in the audience who disagree.

Yesterday, Doug Casey forwarded some comments from Mark Skousen indicating that Skousen is upset with me for reporting on this matter. In particular, Skousen included a photo of himself as an attachment with the caption "Mark Skousen itching to beat someone up." There was also a purloined publicity photo of me which Skousen used without permission, and a stolen cartoon of a professor being beaten up at a blackboard with the caption "You want proof? I'll give you proof."

So, I think Skousen is clearly an unstable person, authoritarian in the extreme, and that he is itching to beat me in particular up. I'm amused that there seems to be some sort of issue with Sheldon Richman (whose work at FEE I have supported with substantial financial contributions he seems not to recall).

Sheldon - what's up? Am I supposed to meekly consent to be beaten up by Skousen's audience members? Or should I so my part with confrontation of coercion (or deviation) with visible protest and rejection? I have chosen to object.

I object to Mark Skousen's claim to be a libertarian when he behaves like an authoritarian. I object to his assertion that he should arrange for members of Doug's audience to wrestle Doug (who was, did anyone mention, suffering from injuries sustained in falling from a horse at high speed during a polo match) over comments Doug made.

Skousen says if I cannot stand the heat, I should get out of the kitchen. So, I have again rejected his invitation to speak.

Obviously, with the Campaign for Liberty hosting their regional event at Skousen's conference, he stands to reap substantial profit from his conference. But he won't get a dime from me.

Sheldon Richman said...

Jim, if we've met and I have forgotten that, you have my apologies. I did not know you were a FEE contributor. I thank you for that.

There is no "issue" with me. I passed along the information on Roderick's site, with comment unfavorable to Mark. I then, alas belatedly, contacted Mark, who gave a different, innocuous version of the events. Mark says you distorted his words and that he does not believe people should be beaten up for offending others. He condemned such a view as unlibertarian.

I was not there. I cannot confirm what happened. What else can I do but report Mark's side?

Roderick T. Long said...

The "itching to beat someone up" photo caption and the cartoon were from my blog post; Skousen had nothing to do with them.

Sheldon Richman said...

Thanks, Roderick.

PlanetaryJim said...

Clearly that's not true, Rod. Skousen sent them to Doug Casey, demanding that he "clear this up." Doug wrote to me in response to Skousen's diatribe, "It's unclear to me what record he wants me to set straight."

So, if Skousen isn't itching to beat anyone up, why did he send a photo of himself to Doug with that caption?

Roderick T. Long said...

You think he should have gone to the trouble of removing the caption before sending the post? That seems ... an odd thing to think.