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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 17, 2017

TGIF: Things to Keep in Mind During the Health Care Debate

As the debate proceeds over what should succeed the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), here are a few basic ideas to keep in mind.

Read TGIF at The Libertarian Institute.

TGIF (The Goal Is Freedom) appears on Fridays. Sheldon Richman, author of America's Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited, keeps the blog Free Association and is executive editor of The Libertarian Institute. He is also a senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com. Become a Free Association patron today!

Op-ed: American Church

The op-ed version of my article "Donald Trump Assumes Command of the American Church" appears this morning in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Friday, March 10, 2017

TGIF: The Religion of the State


In 1912 the pioneering French sociologist Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) published The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, which presented his findings (not without controversy) on primitive clan-based religious culture. Durkheim sought to identify the nature of religion by studying it in what he took to be its pristine form. In the course of his work, he realized that modern secular societies had many important similarities to the societies he was observing. For Durkheim, religion satisfied a need for social solidarity and identification that would also require satisfaction in a secular scientific epoch. His observations are pertinent to the proposition that religion and purportedly secular ideologies like nationalism, rather than being opposites, are actually two members of the same family. One implication of this insight is that the West’s proud determination to separate church and state has overlooked the dangers of joining ostensibly nonreligious worldviews to the state.

Read TGIF at The Libertarian Institute.

TGIF (The Goal Is Freedom) appears on Fridays. Sheldon Richman, author of America's Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited, keeps the blog Free Association and is executive editor of The Libertarian Institute. He is also a senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com. Become a Free Association patron today!

Friday, March 03, 2017

Some Israelis Understand the Monstrous Injustice their Country Commits

Cable Noise Network: Mouthpiece for the War State

CNN and its Pentagon stenographer, Barbara Starr, are shameless mouthpieces for the war state. In an article touting the Pentagon's unverified claim that last month's special-ops raid in Yemen, greenlit by Donald Trump, has yielded actionable intel, we find this astounding sentence:

"AQAP [al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] is considered by many analysts to be al Qaeda's most capable affiliate, and the organization has been able to carve out a safe haven in Yemen amid the ongoing civil war there between government loyalists and Houthi rebels."

Missing from the story is the fact that it is Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies -- enabled by the U.S. military -- that are warring against the Houthis and "carv[ing] out a safe haven" for the disciples of Osama bin Laden. The merciless Saudi bombing campaign and naval blockade -- which could not be taking place without U.S. assistance -- threaten mass starvation in the Middle East's poorest country. The Obama administration joined the Saudi effort nearly two years ago apparently to placate the Gulf states, which were upset by the Iran nuclear deal. Donald Trump, who's obsessed with Iran, shows no sign of ending that war. The Houthis, who practice a form of Shi'ite Islam, are wrongly portrayed as Iranian agents.

So while Navy SEALs kill al-Qaeda operatives and others -- including unaffiliated tribesmen, women, and children -- the U.S. government also helps al-Qaeda because of its obsession with Iran and its alliance with the cradle of "radical Islamic terrorism": Saudi Arabia.

Cross-posted at The Libertarian Institute.

TGIF: Trump Assumes Command of the American Church


As Donald Trump demonstrated in his first address to Congress, no matter how loathsome a ruler may be, he can bring an assembly of politicians to its feet and disarm critics simply by invoking the quasi-secular faith -- Americanism -- and eulogizing the latest uniformed war-state employee to sacrifice his life for it. Trump has indeed shown he can fill the job expected of any president: supreme head of what Andrew Bacevich calls the Church of America the Redeemer.

Read the rest at The Libertarian Institute.

TGIF (The Goal Is Freedom) appears on Fridays. Sheldon Richman, author of America's Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited, keeps the blog Free Association and is executive editor of The Libertarian Institute. He is also a senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com. Become a Free Association patron today!

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Liberal Islam

Part of the West's ideology holds that Islam is irredeemably illiberal. So if "we" have to use violence against Muslim societies, so be it: they are too medieval to be reasoned with. But of course it ain't so.

Writes Christopher de Bellaigue, author of The Islamic Enlightenment, in The Spectator:
In fact, rarely has there been a better time to test the belief — widespread in the Trump White House, among Europe’s rising populists, and the Kremlin — that Islamic society is incapable of reforming because it hates progress. Wouldn’t it be awkward if proof were adduced to show that, on the contrary, for long periods in their recent history the central and most influential lands of Islam, having been confronted by dynamic western modernity, embraced that modernity in spades and only lapsed into Islamist recalcitrance after the first world war obliterated them physically and the victorious allies tried to subjugate them politically? But this is what happened in Turkey, Egypt and Iran during the ‘long’ 19th century until 1914.... 
Now, amid the beastliness of Isis and its fellow travellers, and the tendency of a growing number of westerners to demonise not Islamism or the terrorists but Islam tout court, it seems vital to recall that hopeful century when the lands of Islam engaged lustily with modernity in the hope that something of it can be recaptured — as, indeed, it briefly looked as though it might during the Arab Spring. The alternative is to perpetuate the self-fulfilling consensus around which the Isis ideologues and our own populists unite: a story of inevitable conflict and alienation based on a historical fallacy.
Read the details here.

Cross-posted at The Libertarian Institute.