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, September 11, 2013

Ten Lessons, Plus One, We Should Learn from 9/11

Ten Lessons, Plus One, We Should Learn from 9/11:

1. Killing one or many innocents, regardless of one's grievances, is monstrous. This elementary principle would seem to apply to George Bush, and now Barack Obama, as much as to Osama bin Laden. Can someone say why it doesn't?

2. Despite all its guarantees -- contrary to its ideological justification for existing -- the state can't protect us -- even from a ragtag group of hijackers. Trillions of dollars spent over many years built a "national security apparatus" that could not stop attacks on the two most prominent buildings in the most prominent city in the country -- or its own headquarters. That says a lot. No. That says it all. The state is a fraud. We have been duped.

3. The shameless state will stop at nothing to keep people's support by scaring the hell out of them. (Robert Higgs writes about this.) That people have taken its claims about "why they hate us" seriously after 9/11 shows what the public schools and the mass media are capable of doing to people. But the people are not absolved of responsibility: They could think their way out of this if they cared to make the effort.

4. Blowback is real. Foreign-policy-makers never think how their decisions will harm Americans, much less others. They never wonder how their actions will look to their targets. That's because they are state employees.

5. As Randolph Bourne said, getting into a war is like riding a wild elephant. You may think you are in control -- you may believe your objectives and only your objectives are what count. If so, you are deluded. Consider the tens of thousands of dead and maimed Iraqi and Afghanis (and dead Pakistanis and Yemenis and Somalis and Libyans). What did they have to do with 9/11?

6. No one likes an occupying power.

7. Victims of foreign intervention don't forget, even if the perpetrators and their subjects do.

8. Terrorism is not an enemy. It's a tactic, one used by many different kinds of people in causes of varying moral hues, often against far stronger imperial powers. Declaring all those people one's enemy is criminally reckless. But it's a damn good way for a government to achieve potentially total power over its subjects.

9. They say the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Maybe, maybe not. But it seems abundantly clear that the enemy of my friend is also likely to be my enemy. See the U.S.-Israel relationship for details.

10. Assume "your" government is lying.

11. Politicians will stop at nothing to shamelessly exploit the memory of the American victims of blowback if it will aggrandize their power. No amount of national self-pity, self-congratulation, and vaunting is ever enough.

(Adapted and re-posted from 2006.)


Anonymous said...

I think you have a couple extra zeros on that Iraqi death toll.

Joe said...

@Anonymous, I don't know where Sheldon got his number but it is in the ballpark of this (and see also Iraqi Casualties in Antiwar.com.

Anonymous said...

This is transparent and Biased to a ridiculous extent.

Sheldon Richman said...

Anon, that's it? No evidence? No argument? Of course it's transparent, and I certainly have a point of view. But it's based on evidence and argument. You present neither.

Anonymous said...

I say their 24/7 has been going on for far longer than the past 13 yrs. The fact that they harboured terrorists was reason enough. We eliminated the threat, which when you remove a dictator will always cause chaos. If you live in America then get the fuck out. Innocent men, woman, and children lost their lives. No matter what you say or do will never have any affect on the emotional status of this horrific event. Get your facts straight before bashing a country that has offered safe haven to millions of people over the course of her history.


Anonymous said...

I don't get the math - it says hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are suffering deaths "everyday": that makes 365,000 dead since this was written, likely manythousands more. And if we go back to 2001, thats 13 x 365,000 = 4,745,000 Palestinians dead. Where do they get all those people from? The Palis have been at war for much longer than that

Sheldon Richman said...

I think that poster was poorly worded. It surely meant "suffering," not "suffering death."

Anonymous said...

Who quotes themselves...?

Anonymous said...

I think you have lost your fucking mind. So did you become an expert on 9/11 because you have a blog?