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What Social Animals Owe to Each Other

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Constitution or Liberty

Someone excerpted the last four minutes of a lecture I gave at a FEE seminar a few summers ago. Enjoy!


Tom said...


Good talk. I think it depends who one is talking to. If you're talking to a conservative who already claims to "believe" in the Constitution, the "not in the Constitution" argument may persuade him to reject his inconsistencies. Modern liberals, on the other hand, have no stated belief in limited government and many times use the Constitutions pro-State clauses to justify further State expansion. I think the Constitution argument is just a means to an end. A hook,if you will. Unfortunately, many libertarians make it an end in itself.
Here's a quick anecdote that bolters the point of your talk. Last year, Walter Block was on the Thom Hartmann radio show. (Hartmann is a nearly total statist who calls himself a progressive). Block was defending libertarian opposition to anti-discrimination laws. As soon as Hartmann tried to use a Constitutional argument against him, Block said that he's not concerned with the Constitution but with liberty. After that, the interview was effectively over. Once Hartmann realized he couldn't use the Constitution to cage Block, he sabotaged the interview.

Szasz once commented that he went through psychiatric residency without coercing anyone. But he didn't elaborate. Do you know how he pulled it off?

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed that talk, Dr. Sheldon. Give me the Articles any day over the Constitution. It's obvious that the Constitution has failed in every way to curb tyranny.