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, March 07, 2007

If Bush Didn't Exist, Hugo Chavez Would Have to Invent Him

The New York Times reported yesterday that:
President Bush arrives here [Brazil] on Thursday with an energy partnership plan to create jobs and decrease poverty and inequality, a marked shift in Washington’s priorities for Latin America aimed at countering the challenge posed by President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela.
The problem is that U.S. government involvement gives Chávez a reason for amassing more power. George II is playing right into his hands. But that doesn't mean the administration doesn't know what it's doing. It knows perfectly well. But an ascendant Chávez happens to give the U.S. government a pretext for further intervention. In other words, Bush and Chávez need each other. They are actually getting along very well.

A president who really wanted a proper relationship with the people of Latin America would call off the drug war -- the farmers there really love having their crops destroyed -- and then end all other forms of intervention in the region.


Anonymous said...

Why would Chavez allow Bush, whom he has referred to as "the devil" into the country? Who can predict the outcome of a relationship between two such powerful egomaniacs?

Matt said...

I think you have hit the nail on the head with this post. If you look at what has taken place in China and Vietnam, they have slowly moved to more liberal policies. I think you could apply this argument to North Korea and, when it existed, the USSR.

I am not sure that more social freedom follows more economic freedom, Singapore being the rarity, but the two certainly help. If we had engaged the North Koreans we had engaged the Chinese and the Vietnamese we may not have the headlines of a looney Kim Jong Il.

The more isolation we provide; the more incentive there is to view the US as the bad guy and its minute association with capitalism as the problem. This was true of Japan and why they attacked the US at Pearl Harbor. FDR had economically isolated the island and they were resentful, eventually lashing out.

Anonymous said...

Why is socialism feared,Your politicians seek office based on social issues.Socialism is just a system by which they can deliver on their promises. Therefore it means that your politicians will nerver be able to deliver on their promises because it's imposible to do so under a capitalist system.

Sheldon Richman said...

anon: Bush is not stopping in Venezuela, just Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico.

It depends on what you mean by socialism. Stalinist state socialism means oppression and poverty; see Cuba and North Korea. If you simply mean a decentralized market system where capital gets no state privileges (Tucker- or Proudhon-type socialism), then it is not to be feared. Most people don't understand the word that way, just as most people don't understand capitalism to mean the free market. The terms are all screwed up.

Anonymous said...

Can you futher explain Tucker or Proudhon-type socialism? What kind of privilege would capital get in this system?

Sheldon Richman said...

No privilege at all. First, both were anarchists. No state, no privilege. Tucker clearly believed in private property. Proudhon, despite some seemingly anti-property statements, also endorsed private property as a bulwark against oppression. They differed from Locke in that they believed ownership ends when occupancy ends -- that is, no absentee ownership and rent. Google will find lots of stuff on both men.

See my earlier post here.

Also look in the box here titled "Sheldon's shared items." The first item is "Proudhon and Market Anarchism." Check it out.