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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.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Thomas Szasz: An Appreciation


Thomas Szasz (sass), the most underrated libertarian in modern times, was born this day in 1920 in Budapest, Hungary. He came to the U.S. at 18 and died in 2012. A psychiatrist by training and a practicing therapist and professor, Szasz was the world's leading critic of organized psychiatry and its coercive powers (involuntary commitment, forced drugging, etc.), as well as the most incisive opponent of drug prohibition and, generally, of what he called the "therapeutic state." He opposed political power because he believed in self-ownership, individual liberty, and human dignity.

Szasz burst on the scene nearly 60 years ago with his pathbreaking book, The Myth of Mental Illness, which argued that the mind, not being an organ, cannot be diseased; thus the term "mental illness" is a category mistake. What is stigmatized by that "diagnosis" is the "patient's" behavior that disturbs someone else. The switch from "mental illness" to "brain disorder" did not change the fact that what is typically bothersome is behavior (which may indeed be objectionable and even coercive). The attribution of such behavior to a brain state is an unproven and even unprovable inference. Human action has reasons, not causes, Szasz would say.

At Amazon.com you'll find a cornucopia of books demolishing the case for the state's deputization of physicians, particularly psychiatrists. A good book to start with is Insanity: The Idea and Its Consequences, his magnum opus. You should also search his name at FEE.org for the columns he wrote while I edited The Freeman.

Meanwhile, to get a sense of what Szasz was about at the deepest level, see my "Szasz in One Lesson" and watch this interview I did with him.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

It Can't Be Said Too Often

When men hire themselves out to shoot other men to order, asking nothing about the justice of their cause, I don’t care if they are shot themselves.
--Herbert Spencer

Friday, April 13, 2018

TGIF: The Dangerous Deficit in Trade Understanding

I was chatting with my tobacconist the other day -- I have no rabbi, no priest, no minister, no imam, no chiropractor, and no lawyer, but I do have a tobacconist -- when it struck me that my trade deficit with him is astronomical.

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.

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Friday, April 06, 2018

TGIF: Who's Afraid of Russian Propaganda?

If the reader will indulge me, I want to relate some further thoughts about the concern over Russia and the American political system. For the sake of discussion I will assume that expressions of this concern are sincere, that "Russia" did what it's alleged to have done, and that the American political system, over which officialdom is fretting, is generally wholesome. (In fact, I believe those assumptions to be rubbish.)

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 30, 2018

TGIF: Cambridge Analytica -- Bogey of the Week

The panic over Cambridge Analytica looks like an acknowledgment that Russiagate is a losing horse. 
CA is the latest excuse for Hillary Clinton's ignominious loss to Donald Trump, following "the Russians" and former FBI Director James Comey. Since those others haven't exactly carried the day -- still no evidence given against Russia and plenty of unflattering stuff came out about Trump when Comey was grandstanding -- it must have been time for a new tack. CA's psychographic microtargeting appeared to fill the bill.

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 23, 2018

TGIF: The Iraq Invasion after 15 Years

On the 10th anniversary of the U.S. government's criminal, catastrophic, and still-to-this-day consequential war against Iraq in March 2003, I wrote:
It is no exaggeration to say that most news operations were little more than extensions of the White House Office of Communications. Abandoning even the pretense of an adversarial relationship with the government, the media became shameful conduits for unsubstantiated and outright false information about Saddam Hussein’s alleged threat to the American people. Included among the falsehoods were reports that Saddam had a hand in the 9/11 attacks, had trained al-Qaeda fighters, and had attempted to obtain uranium ore and aluminum tubes for nuclear bombs. 
Put bluntly, the disastrous invasion of Iraq, which was sold on the basis of lies told by President George W. Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney, [CIA Director George Tenet,] Secretary of State Colin Powell, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice, and others might not have happened without the enthusiastic help of the New York TimesWashington PostWall Street Journal, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, and others. The blood of more than a hundred thousand — perhaps more than a million — Iraqis and 4,500 [now nearer to 5,000] Americans is on their hands too.


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!