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, June 18, 2010

Cato Unbound Response

My Cato Unbound response to David Bernstein is here.


D. Saul Weiner said...

Well done, Sheldon.

A related issue that comes to mind is time-preference. Americans, and I think this is true of many libertarians too, tend to be very impatient, and thus may be more receptive to heavy-handed responses to (admitted) injustices than they otherwise would be. Stroke of the pen, law of the land. If we went the route you suggested, it would have taken longer to undo Jim Crow, but I believe the overall long-term outcome would have been far better.

In this case, where there was an obvious injustice and the remedy was not altogether unreasonable, the above point might not seem critical. But this same mindset carries over into every alleged crisis, including ones which the Feds have no business attempting to remedy and, in fact, they may have contributed greatly to or been responsible for. (Caveat, if Feds were responsible, they should remedy by undoing their mischief to the extent possible). So the same mindset that celebrates the gains coming out of the Civil Rights Act also provides the popular support for all sorts of liberty-destroying wars, both foreign and domestic. It fosters a mentality of dependence on government in general, rather than the workings of a free society.

D. Saul Weiner said...

On a related note, though more specific to the CRA, one might also question to what degree that act led to the Great Society laws (welfare expansion) which have done so much harm to the poor, especially urban blacks.

On the one hand, one might say that this is a separate matter, but looking at it from a dialectical perspective, perhaps it is part and parcel of the whole enterprise.