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.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Block Strikes Again

Walter Block's latest commentary on my views on "capitalism" is here. I have nothing else to say.


Anonymous said...

It's interesting that in his concluding paragraph, Block states "Ayn Rand converted more people to libertarianism than anyone else, and she used that word [capitalism] often, and with great effect." From what I've heard, Rand didn't like the word "libertarianism."

Neverfox said...

Jackson's reply is baffling. Try switching 'market anarchism' and 'capitalism' in the text of what he wrote. He argues against the confusion of 'market anarchism' and for the confusion of 'capitalism'. Go figure. 'Capitalism' wins...just because, basically.

Christopher said...

You might not have anything to say, but I do: http://newkindofmind.blogspot.com/2010/03/oh-capitalism-what-art-though.html

Mark said...

I think Sheldon's position on the word "capitalism" is entirely defensible. Likewise, Walter's analysis of the exclusionist nature of "individualism" and "free market" are entirely defensible.

On the issue of exclusion, however, doesn't the meaning of "capitalism" exclude those libertarians/anarchists who reject savings, i.e., capital, in favor of some kind of personal poverty or day-to-day survivalism/aestheticism in the same way "free market" excludes non-market anarchists or the family?

Would not exchanging the word capitalism with the term "private property" or the word "propertairian" (as in "private property anarchist" or "propertairian anarchist") solve this problem and likewise avoid the issues surrounding "individualism" and "free market"?

Propertairian implies self ownership which is the fundamental starting point for all legitimate libertarian/anarchist philosophies. Even the radical anarcho-communists accept self ownership as a given despite the fact that they are incapable of taking it to its logical conclusion.

Todd Andrew Barnett said...

Sheldon, great response! Once again I came to your rescue right here: http://letlibertyring.blogspot.com/2010/03/walter-block-responds-to-sheldon.html. Just so you know, of course.

Sheldon Richman said...

One thing about Block's response I will say: I am surprised by how much weight he put on the Ayn Rand aspect. To the extent that "capitalism" is the word she is best known for, she is partly responsible for the distorted view that some people have about the marketplace: Super Businessman barking orders at the top of the pyramid, the mass of dunderheads taking orders below. (Okay, a slight exaggeration.) Anyway, I thought she was best known for "the virtue of selfishness." So we're looking to the woman who associated capitalism and selfishness for guidance in how to win over supporters? Uh, thanks but no thanks. Maybe my next Facebook group should be
Libertarians Against Selfish Capitalism.

It's funny how in some circles Rand is roundly put down as bad for the movement when that suits a purpose, then resurrected whenever convenient. Recall Rothbard's Ayn Rand cult

Term Papers said...

This is a fantastic, It is glad to see this blog, nice informative blog, Thanks for share this article.

Term Paper

MarkZ said...

A rose by any other name...

I'm not sure that there's much value to any of the terms being thrown around, at least when speaking to the type of people who don't even know what "free market" or "capitalism" means. People need things spelled out for them. If you're explaining to someone how you would attack the health care problem, be specific. The phrase "free market" might just confuse them.

I was involved in a discussion in an internet forum recently, and people loved the idea of addressing the health care problem by eliminating intellectual property law, scaling back the war on drugs, freeing the educational system, and (as a consequence) reducing our dependence on insurance companies. Then I let the term "free market" slip, and those very same people grew fangs and ate my face.

But we really don't have it that bad as far as words go. Try being a communist.

Brian N. said...

Mr. Richman, where Block has said anything about Objectivism being some kind of cult is limited, to my knowledge, to a response to the despicable blockhead Peter Schwartz. Block has never shied away from the influence Rand's writings and Branden personally had on his thinking. In any case, Rothbard was writing from personal experience, if that makes his essay on the Rand cult any more horrifying (and ironic, considering what he himself would do thirty years later) than it already was...I suppose libertarians with any familiarity or interest in objectivism as such must dance the dance of praising the good in the work while simultaneously denouncing the bad in the person behind that work. But that is certainly true of other roots in the philosophy.