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.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

TGIF: Dying for the Empire is Not Heroic

Predictably, the news media spent most of the week examining words Donald Trump may or may not have spoken to the widow of an American Green Beret killed in Niger, in northwest Africa, in early October. Not only was this coverage tedious, it was largely pointless. We know Trump is a clumsy boor, and we also know that lots of people are ready to pounce on him for any sort of gaffe, real or imagined. Who cares? It’s not news. But it was useful to those who wish to distract Americans from what really needs attention: the U.S. government’s perpetual war.

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 InstituteHe 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, October 13, 2017

TGIF: Is Secession by Referendum Libertarian?

I have concerns about secession by referendum. Individual secession, of course, is no problem; that’s simply libertarianism. Before I get into my reasons, let me stipulate that smaller political jurisdictions are on net preferable to larger ones if for no other reason than the lower cost of exit. That in itself may constrain government impositions. Competition is good, and a race to reduce oppression would obviously be laudable by libertarian standards. But governments of any kind may find ways to collude with one another to minimize the effects of competition. Governments today cooperate with one another to catch tax evaders.

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 InstituteHe 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, October 11, 2017

Whose Money Is It?

My latest column at the American Institute for Economic Research is about tax reform: "Whose Money Is It?"

Friday, October 06, 2017

TGIF: Overcoming Confirmation Bias on Guns

Confirmation bias is one of the great obstacles to making the practical case for liberty. People see in events what they want to see. I think of the joke about the person who planned to take his hyperactive dog on a train trip and asked his veterinarian for a tranquilizer. The vet mistakenly handed the person a stimulant. On the train he gave the dog the pill, prompting it to run madly up and down the aisle the entire trip. The embarrassed owner said to his seatmate, “Gosh, think what would have happened if I hadn’t given the dog the tranquilizer!”

If any issue is prone to confirmation bias, it's gun violence.

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 InstituteHe 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, September 29, 2017

TGIF: Flags, Football, and Begged Questions

Defenders of Donald Trump’s condemnation of NFL players who “take a knee” during the national hymn — sorry, anthem — beg a few questions. They assume the truth of matters that are or should be in dispute. So, not so fast, Trump defenders. You have work to do.

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 InstituteHe 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!



Monday, September 25, 2017

Friday, September 22, 2017

TGIF: Trump's Americanized Fascism

Donald Trump delivered a depraved address to the UN General Assembly this week. It might not have been a new low for Trump, but that’s only because he went into the UN at an appallingly low level.

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 InstituteHe 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!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

TGIF: The American Führerprinzip

Why is the president of the United States expected to rush to a weather disaster zone to reassure the victims? Why do distressed people want to be comforted by the president, any president?

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 InstituteHe 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!


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Storm Clouds and False Silver Linings

Yet another column at the American Institute for Economic Research: "Storm Clouds and False Silver Linings."

What Gets Rewarded?

Here is another one of my columns for the American Institute for Economic Research: "What Gets Rewarded?"

Monday, September 11, 2017

Friday, September 01, 2017

TGIF: The Liberal Spirit and Its Opposite, Alt-Rightism


How ridiculous it is for Matt Lewis of The Daily Beast to write, “It seems observably true that libertarianism is disproportionately a gateway drug to the alt-right.”

To say the libertarian movement is a “gateway drug” is to say more than that some prominent members of the alt-right once called themselves libertarians. It’s also to say that alt-rightism provides a purer form of what those members had found in libertarianism (aka original liberalism, or simply liberalism).

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 InstituteHe 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!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

TGIF: Operation CYA - Afghanistan

Steve Bannon's Breitbart and others notwithstanding, that was Trump being Trump when he announced he would not be quitting Afghanistan, despite the manifest futility and counterproductivity -- that is, idiocy -- of America's 16-year war there. He is not a captive of "my generals." He is his own man.

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 InstituteHe 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, August 18, 2017

TGIF: Tribalism and Economic Nationalism - Cut from the Same Cloth


I have no idea what goes on in Donald Trump’s head, but I can imagine a connection between his refusal to renounce the support of alt-right white identitarians and his rejection of globalism — that is, the freedom of people to trade across national boundaries and to move, consistent with individual rights, as they see fit.

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 InstituteHe 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!


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Friday, August 11, 2017

TGIF: Trump's "Fire and Fury" Wouldn't Be the First for North Korea


Leave it to Donald Trump to threaten to rain "fire and fury" on North Korean people the same week that the world observed the 72nd anniversary of the U.S. government's atomic bombings of Japanese civilians. In case anyone missed the message, Defense Secretary James "Mad Dog" Mattis warned that the Kim Jong-un regime's actions risk the "destruction of its people." He wasn't talking about Kim's cruel communism.

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 InstituteHe 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!

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Truman, A-Bombs, and the Killing of Innocents



Today marks the 72nd anniversary of U.S. President Harry Truman's atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. The atomic bombing of Nagasaki took place three days later in 1945. Some 90,000-166,000 individuals were killed in Hiroshima. The Nagasaki bombing killed 39,000-80,000 human beings. (It has come to my attention that the U.S. military bombed Tokyo on Aug. 14--after destroying Hiroshima and Nagasaki and after Emperor Hirohito expressed his readiness to surrender.)

There isn't much to be said about those unspeakable atrocities against civilians that hasn't been said many times before. The U.S. government never needed atomic bombs to commit mass murder, but it dropped them anyway. (Remember this when judging the official U.S. moralistic stance toward Iran.) Its "conventional" weapons have been potent enough. (See the earlier firebombing of Tokyo.) Nor did it need the bombs to persuade Japan to surrender; the Japanese government had been suing for peace. The U.S. government may not have used atomic weapons since 1945, but it has not yet given up mass murder as a political/military tactic. Presidents and presidential candidates are still expected to say that, with respect to nuclear weapons, "no options are off the table."

Mario Rizzo has pointed out that Americans were upset by the murder of 3,000 people on 9/11 yet seem not to be bothered that "their" government murdered many more Japanese civilians in two days. Many more died as a consequence of the bombings.  Conservatives, ironically, were among the earliest critics of Truman's mass murder. It's also worth noting that the top military leaders of the day opposed the use of atomic bombs.

As Harry Truman once said, "I don't give 'em hell. I just drop A-bombs on their cities and they think it's hell." (Okay, he didn't really say that, but he might as well have.)

Some people still see the A-bombs as the only alternative to invasion, which would have cost many more civilian lives. Now there's the fallacy of the false alternative in dying color. Why couldn't the U.S. military have called it a day and gone home? Why the assumption that the state must destroy and conquer its "enemy"? Why demand unconditional surrender? (To back up a step, why go to war against Japan at all? Pearl Harbor was the result of systematic, intentional provocation -- as Herbert Hoover and others pointed out at the time) -- perhaps with Roosevelt's foreknowledge. A government less concerned with a rival for its and its allies' colonial possessions might have not gotten involved.)

Rad Geek People's Daily has a poignant post here. Rad says: "As far as I am aware, the atomic bombing of the Hiroshima city center, which deliberately targeted a civilian center and killed over half of the people living in the city, remains the deadliest act of terrorism in the history of the world."

Other things to read: Anthony Gregory’s “Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the US Terror State,”  David Henderson’s “Remembering Hiroshima,”  and G.E.M. Anscombe's "Mr. Truman's Decree."

Finally, if you read nothing else on this subject, read Ralph Raico's article here.

[A version of this post appeared previously.]

Saturday, August 05, 2017

TGIF: Immigration and Social Engineering

Immigration brings out the central planners across the political establishment. We see this clearly in the debate over Donald Trump's support for legislation that would cut legal immigration in half while tilting it toward well-educated English-speakers and against low-skilled non-English-speakers.

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 InstituteHe 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, July 28, 2017

TGIF: What the Left Should Like about Public Choice

Although the public choice school of political economy has been demonized in a new work of putatively progressive fiction masquerading as intellectual history, good-faith leftists (if they don’t already regard themselves as libertarians) may be surprised by how their cause could benefit from the insights of James Buchanan et al.
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 InstituteHe 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, July 21, 2017

TGIF: On Property and Aggression

Some critics on the left enjoy faulting libertarians for believing that property is a bulwark against aggression. To the libertarian argument that violations of property — including trespasses on land — constitute aggression, these critics respond that property ownership itself is aggression because it limits the freedom of others. Of course, property by nature limits the non-owners’ freedom of action, but not their rights, a distinction lost of these critics. In the libertarian, or radical-liberal, view, if I own a parcel of land, I may rightfully stop others from using it, even from simply walking across it. (Justice requires that the method I use be proportional to the severity of the rights violation. I can’t justly shoot an unthreatening person who merely steps on my land.) Our critics call that aggression. Thus they conclude that libertarians don’t oppose all aggression. Those who make this argument seek to deprive libertarians of the high moral ground by showing that they too favor (certain kinds of) aggression.

I think the fundamental flaw in the argument is that it drops the context in which moral and political philosophy is pursued....

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!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Trump, Putin, Sisi, Salman, and Netanyahu

If Trump were being criticized merely for ignoring Putin's authoritarian rule when Trump speaks about him -- and not for Trump's wish for detente -- I would have no objection. Of course, to be consistent, his critics would also have to fault Trump for how he talks about Sisi, Netanyahu, and wise King Salman.

Friday, July 14, 2017

TGIF: We Are the Economy They Want to Regulate

Critics of the libertarian philosophy think they can score points by calling libertarians “market fundamentalists.” It’s supposed to conjure images of dogmatic religious fundamentalists, just like the term global warming denier is supposed to conjure images of Holocaust deniers. It’s a smear, of course, and if you think the tactic discredits those who employ it, I agree.

The fact is that libertarians cannot be market fundamentalists. Why not? Because in the libertarian worldview, the market is not fundamental. What’s fundamental is every person’s right to be free from aggressive force. So fine, I’m a freedom fundamentalist. Guilty.

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, July 07, 2017

TGIF: How to Spite Putin

I don't think the Russian government meddled in the 2016 presidential election. But maybe I'm wrong. What to do? I have an idea. It's so clever and foolproof that I'm surprised no one in the ruling elite and its mass media has thought of it.

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, June 30, 2017

The Minimum Wage: Bad for Low-Skilled Workers

My article "The Minimum Wage: Bad for Low-Skilled Workers" now appears at the American Institute for Economic Research.

TGIF: The American Way of War

The most striking fact about the United States of America is not its supposed founding principles — more often lauded than observed — but how often “the greatest country on earth” has waged war. If we count wars against internal “enemies” (i.e., the Indians), covert foreign wars, and aid to other states’ aggressive external and internal wars, we can see the United States has been at war almost continuously since it broke free from Britain. By one estimate this nation has been at war 214 out of the 228 years since the Constitution took effect — that’s 94 percent of the time — and there were wars during the Articles of Confederation period too. Contrary to popular misconception, the war state did not begin in 1945. From the start, war was an acceptable means to national policy ends, whether to open markets or to install friendly regimes.

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!

Privatization Is the Best Infrastructure Program

My article "Privatization Is the Best Infrastructure Program" was published by the American Institute for Economic Research.

Friday, June 16, 2017

TGIF: Wrong Lessons from the Congressional Shootings

I’ll start off by saying that no one should commit violence except as a last resort in immediate defense of self or other innocent life. I know this subject lends itself to endless hypothetical scenarios, but that’s all I’m going to say — except for this: political violence has a poor chance of achieving liberty or any other good thing, but an excellent chance of producing repression by the state and other bad things. It carries within itself the seeds of many evils, so even in purported good causes, violence as a strategy must be viewed with the deepest apprehension.

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, June 09, 2017

TGIF: Let's All Calm Down about Russia

I can understand why the ruling elite, broadly conceived to include the intel bureaucracy and the military-industrial complex, has an interest in positing Russia as our enemy. The reasons are obvious enough. What I can't understand is why common Americans would fall for it. They have everything to lose and nothing to gain from swallowing this line.

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, June 02, 2017

TGIF: An Idiot Abroad

I've got a few leftover thoughts from Donald Trump's trip to Europe. As usual, I oppose both Trump and his mainstream critics. It's possible for both sides to be wrong in a dispute.

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!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Revisionist History Day, 2017



Today is Revisionist History Day, what others call Memorial Day. Americans are supposed to remember the country's war dead while being thankful that they protected our freedom and served our country. However, reading revisionist history (see a sampling below) or alternative news sites (start with Antiwar.com and don't forget to listen to the Scott Horton Show) teaches that the fallen were doing no such thing. Rather they were and are today serving cynical politicians and the "private" component of the military-industrial complex in the service of the American Empire.

The state inculcates an unquestioning faith in its war-making by associating it with patriotism, heroism, and the defense of "our freedoms." This strategy builds in its own defense against any criticism of the government's policies. Anyone who questions the morality of a war is automatically suspected of being unpatriotic, unappreciative of the bravery that has "kept us free," and disrespectful of "our troops," in a word, un-American.

To counter this common outlook, which people are indoctrinated in from birth and which is shared by conservatives and progressives alike, we should do what we can to teach others that the government's version of its wars is always self-serving and threatening to life, liberty, and decency.

In that spirit, I quote a passage from the great antiwar movie The Americanization of Emily. You'll find a video of the scene below. This AP photo is a perfect illustration of what "Charlie Madison" is talking about.
I don't trust people who make bitter reflections about war, Mrs. Barham. It's always the generals with the bloodiest records who are the first to shout what a Hell it is. And it's always the widows who lead the Memorial Day parades . . . we shall never end wars, Mrs. Barham, by blaming it on ministers and generals or warmongering imperialists or all the other banal bogies. It's the rest of us who build statues to those generals and name boulevards after those ministers; the rest of us who make heroes of our dead and shrines of our battlefields. We wear our widows' weeds like nuns and perpetuate war by exalting its sacrifices....

My brother died at Anzio – an everyday soldier’s death, no special heroism involved. They buried what pieces they found of him. But my mother insists he died a brave death and pretends to be very proud. . . . [N]ow my other brother can’t wait to reach enlistment age. That’ll be in September. May be ministers and generals who blunder us into wars, but the least the rest of us can do is to resist honoring the institution. What has my mother got for pretending bravery was admirable? She’s under constant sedation and terrified she may wake up one morning and find her last son has run off to be brave. [Emphasis added.]

Here's an all-too-incomplete list of books in no particular order (some of which I've read, some of which I intend to read):
  • We Who Dared to Say No to War: American Antiwar Writing from 1812 to Now, edited by Murray Polner and Thomas E. Woods Jr.
  • The Failure of America's Foreign Wars, edited by Richard M. Ebeling and Jacob G. Hornberger
  • America's Second Crusade, by William Henry Chamberlin
  • Great Wars and Great Leaders: A Libertarian Rebuttal, by Ralph Raico
  • Why American History Is Not What They Say: An Introduction to Revisionism, by Jeff Riggenbach
  • War Is a Lie, by David Swanson
  • War Is a Racket, by Smedley D. Butler
  • WartimeUnderstanding and Behavior in the Second World War, by Paul Fussell
  • Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the American Civil War, by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel
  • The Tragedy of American Diplomacy, by William Appleman Williams
  • Empire as a Way of Life, by William Appleman Williams
  • The Civilian and the Military: A History of the American Antimilitarist Tradition, by Arthur Ekirch
  • The Politics of War: The Story of Two Wars which Altered Forever the Political Life of the American Republic, 1890-1920, by Walter Karp
  • The Costs of War, edited by John Denson
  • Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq, by Stephen Kinzer
  • All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror, by Stephen Kinzer
  • Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, by Chalmers Johnson
  • The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic, by Chalmers Johnson
  • War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, by Chris Hedges
  • A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East, by David Fromkin (This book has serious flaws, but it nonetheless shows the cynicism of the European imperialists.)
  • The Gun and the Olive Branch: The Roots of Violence in the Middle East, by David Hirst
  • Faith Misplaced: The Broken Promise of U.S.-Arab Relations, 1820-2001, by Ussama Makdisi
  • Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, by Max Blumenthal
  • Genesis: Truman, Jews, and the Origins of the Arab/Israeli Conflict, by John B. Judis
  • The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination, by Jeremy R. Hammond
  • The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, by Ilan Pappe
  • The General's Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine, by Miko Peled
  • Assault on the Liberty, by James N. Ennes Jr.
  • Wilson's War: How Woodrow Wilson's Great Blunder Led to Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, and World War II, by Jim Powell
  • American Empire: Before the Fall, by Bruce Fein
  • Endless Enemies: The Making of an Unfriendly World, by Jonathan Kwitny
  • The Emergency State: America's Pursuit of Absolute Security at All Costs, by David C. Unger
  • The War State: The Cold War Origins Of The Military-Industrial Complex And The Power Elite, 1945-1963, by Michael Swanson
  • Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, by Nicholson Baker
  • Pearl Harbor: The Seeds and Fruits of Infamy, by Percy Greaves
  • Infamy: Pearl Harbor and Its Aftermath, by John Toland
  • Day of Deceit: The Truth about  FDR and Pearl Harbor, by Robert Stinnett
  • Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers, by Daniel Ellsberg
  • The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives, by Nick Turse
  • Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, by Nick Turse  
  • "War is the Health of the State," by Randolph Bourne
  • War, Peace, and the State, by Murray Rothbard
  • “‘Ancient History’: U.S. Conduct in the Middle East Since World War II and the Folly of Intervention,” by Sheldon Richman
  • "War's Still a Racket," by Sheldon Richman
  • "The American Disease," by Sheldon Richman
By the way, if you can't help but think of this day as "memorial day," then at least spend part of it remembering how the U.S. government has caused the deaths of so many people.

Friday, May 26, 2017

TGIF: Trump’s Mideast Mission Impossible

By now, comparing someone to the underwear gnomes of South Park fame is trite. Were it not for Donald Trump, I wouldn’t go near it. But I cannot resist because it’s a salient feature of his way of “thinking” — although posing would be the better word here.

Behold: “If Israeli and the Palestinians can make peace, it will begin a process of peace all throughout the Middle East,” he said, adding, with his characteristic precision, that “would be an amazing accomplishment.”

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!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Monday, May 22, 2017

Who Cares if Trump Went to the Western Wall?

Why all the hoopla about Donald Trump's being the first sitting president to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem? It's considered one of the holy sites in Judaism, but classical Reform Judaism regarded the adoration of objects and soil, even a temple wall. as idolatry, a counterfeit form of Judaism that violated the spirit of the prophets. Moreover, the wall was not actually a wall from the temple, which was built by the Roman agent Herod the Great, but "part of a perimeter retaining wall" that Herod also built.

Finally, in 2007 Israeli archaeologists found evidence that, in the words of Ehud Nesher of the Authority, "the site was a massive public project worked by hundreds of slaves." The first temple, Solomon's Temple, was also built with slave labor.

Friday, May 19, 2017

TGIF: The Real Danger from Trump Is Ignored

While the chattering classes spend all their time rehashing Donald Trump’s alleged — there’s a word you don’t much see in the media anymore — coordination with Russians over their alleged — there it is again — hacking of the Democrats’ email, a story with far more ominous implications is being ignored. I refer to Trump’s trip, beginning today, to Saudi Arabia and Israel.

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!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Who Wrote the Book on Election Meddling?

The United States, of course -- including Russian elections. Writes Markar Melkonian:
Does the USA meddle in the presidential elections of other countries?
Our friends in South America might have insights here—hundreds of cases of economic and military blackmail, election fraud, assassination, and the violent overthrow of democratically elected leaders. So too in Europe (Greece, Italy, Portugal, Georgia, Ukraine, etc.), east Asia (Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, the Philippines, etc.), north Africa (Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco), and dozens of other countries on five of the six inhabited continents. (Joshua Keating, “Election Meddling Is Surprisingly Common,” Slate.com, 4 Jan., 2017; Tim Weiner, CIA: Legacy of Ashes, 2008; Noam Chomsky, Deterring Democracy, 1992, 2006.)... 
In the welter of red-faced indignation, the torrents of denunciations from Senate hearings and press conferences, talk shows and podcasts, one might have expected someone to pose the rather obvious question whether American agencies have ever meddled in Russian presidential elections. And yet (surprise surprise!) America’s corporate-owned press of record, an institution that constantly flaunts its “objectivity,” has failed to raise that straightforward question. 
So, let us raise it here: Has the USA engaged in this sort of meddling? And if so, what effect has it had on Russia? 
The answer to the first question, of course, is a resounding Yes. [Emphasis in original.]
This all brings to mind Tom Lehrer's musical analysis from the 1960s, "Send the Marines":
For might makes right,
And till they've seen the light,
They've got to be protected,
All their rights respected,
'Till somebody we like can be elected.
Americans will live in a perpetual war state as long as they remain historically illiterate about the state they labor under.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Nakba Day 2017

Palestinian_refugees

Yesterday was Nakba Day, the day set aside to remember the catastrophe that befell the Palestinian Arabs in 1948 in connection with the creation of the “Jewish State” of Israel. Over 700,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes and villages, and many massacred, in an ethnic-cleansing operation that should shock the conscience. Hundreds of villages were erased and replaced by Jewish towns. The Arabs who remained in the Israeli state that was imposed on them by Zionist military forces have been second-class citizens, at best, from that time.

Since 1967 the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, many of whom were refugees from the 1948 catastrophe, have lived under the boot of the Israeli government. Their day-to-day lives are under the arbitrary control of the Israeli government. Gaza is an open-air blockaded prison camp subject to periodic military onslaughts (the latest was last year), while the West Bank is relentlessly gobbled up by Jewish-only settlements and violated by a wall that surrounds Palestinian towns and cuts people’s homes off from their farms. For the Israeli ruling elite, the so-called peace process is a sham. Benjamin Netanyahu, who is now embarking on an unprecedented fourth term as prime minister, rejects any realistic plan to let the Palestinians go -- that is, have their own country on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. He insists that they must recognize Israel as the Jewish state, that is, as the state of Jews everywhere, even though it sits largely on stolen property (PDF) -- which raises an interesting question: Is subjugation of the Palestinians an instantiation of Jewish values or is it not? If it is (as apparently most of its supporters believe), then what does that say for Jewish values? If it is not, then what does that say for Israel's purported status as the Jewish State?

Again, I note that the best short introduction to the catastrophe is Jeremy Hammond’s The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination: The Struggle for Palestine and the Roots of the Israeli-Arab Conflict. Further, Hammond debunks the myth that the United Nations created the state of Israel.

Hammond

Additional reading: "Why the Inconvenient Truths of the Nakba Must Be Recognized," by Tom Pessah; "The Anti-Semite's Best Friend," by Jonathan Cook;  "Israel Must Recognize Its Responsibility for the Nakba, the Palestinian Tragedy," by Saeb Erekat; and "The sacking of Jaffa during the Palestinian Nakba, as narrated by three Omars," by Allison Deger.

(Another version of this post appeared previously.)

Friday, May 12, 2017

TGIF: The Debate Over Taxation Cannot Be Value-Free

Lenin reportedly said, "The best way to destroy the capitalist system [is] to debauch the currency." If by "capitalist system" we mean only what Adam Smith called "the obvious and simple system of natural liberty," we could improve on the quote: the best way to destroy it is to debauch the currency of thought and communication, language. Orwell understood this and made it the centerpiece of Nineteen Eighty-Four.

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!

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Separate State and State!

The tricky thing about separating church and state is that the state is a kind of church. Other churches are allowed to exist as long as they do not pose serious competition to the official one.

Friday, May 05, 2017

TGIF: The War Party Talks Nonsense on Korea

The Really Serious People — you know, the politicians and pundits who have been wrong on every call on foreign policy in recent memory — think that talking to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un would be foolish because it would “legitimate” him and his brutal regime. This war caucus is ably represented by retired Rear Adm. John Kirby, formerly the mouthpiece for the Obama administration’s Pentagon and State Department and now a CNN contributor.

But I call that the Really Stupid Argument against seeking a peaceful resolution of this unnecessary standoff and finally bringing an end to the 67-year American war against Korea.

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!

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Trump and Nearly Everyone Else Are Wrong about the Civil War

Memo to just about everyone: secession does not equal war. The Lower South of the United States seceded over slavery, but Lincoln's war was about holding the Union together no matter how many deaths it took. He said that he had no legal authority to end slavery and that if keeping the Union intact required the freeing no slaves, that's what he would do.

Thus had the Lower South been allowed to leave, no war would have followed. Logically, then, the Civil War was not about slavery, as everyone on TV is saying. It was about compulsory perpetual union. (For details see Jeffrey Rogers Hummel's Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the American Civil War.)

Slavery was abolished in many places peacefully. How many times was a national union preserved peacefully?

It's so funny to listen to the ignorant lecturing the ignorant.

The Biggest Gaffe at the White House Correspondents' Dinner

During his monologue At the White House Correspondents' Dinner, comedian Hasan Minhaj criticized Donald Trump for not understanding the First Amendment -- and in doing so, showed he -- Minhaj -- does not understand the First Amendment. He said:

“The man who tweets everything the enters his head, refuses to acknowledge the amendment that allows him to do it.”

No, the amendment does not allow him or us to do anything. In theory it does nothing more than recognize a natural right to freedom that exists independent of the Constitution and of the state.

I've yet to hear that anyone in the media, which so reveres the First Amendment, corrected Minjah.

Friday, April 28, 2017

TGIF: Talk to, Don't Provoke, North Korea

There’s little more we can do than hope that some cool heads around Donald Trump are telling him he’d be nuts to attack North Korea. I don’t know who they might be. Still, we must hope.

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!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Government Fuel-Economy Standards: A Big Mistake

My latest article for the American Institute for Economic Research is "Government Fuel-Economy Standards: A Big Mistake."

Humpty Trumpty and His Wall

Humpty Trumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Trumpty had a great fall.
Because the wall was a figment of his imagination.

Media Economic Illiteracy

Observe the media's economic illiteracy: reporters and pundits wonder why the nominal 35 percent corporate tax rate should be lowered when corporations pay a real rate that is so much lower. What those reporters and pundits don't see is that many actions that corporations take to lower the real tax rate are nonproductive actions that would not be taken were it not for the high nominal rate. This constitutes a waste of resources to society.

PS: Corporate taxation is at least double taxation. So even a believer in taxes ought to oppose it.

Friday, April 21, 2017

TGIF: The Only Solution to the Trumps’ Conflicts of Interest

Pundits at CNN and other news outlets are much distressed over the report that Ivanka Trump’s clothing and accessories company won trademark recognition from the government of China just as that country’s president was sitting down with President Trump and the First Daughter for dinner at Mar-a-Lago.

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!

Dodd-Frank Only Makes Things Worse

My latest article at the American Institute for Economic Research is "Dodd-Frank Only Makes Things Worse."

Friday, April 14, 2017

TGIF: What a Perverse Presidential Incentive System!

All I can say is, we’ve got a hell of a political system on our hands when the surest way for a president to win the adoration of those who thought him a dangerous, ignorant, narcissistic, erratic, and bullshitting blowhard yesterday is to drop a bomb or fire a cruise missile today.

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!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Will Grigg: Principled, Committed, Indefatigable

Unfortunately, I never met Will Grigg, our managing editor at The Libertarian Institute. I will always regret that. Our only direct contact was by phone during several conference calls in which he, Scott Horton, Jared Labell, and I hatched our little conspiracy on behalf of liberty. We also had some exchanges on Facebook, long before The Libertarian Institute was a twinkle in Scott's eye. Before that, I knew of him only through Scott's interviews with him and his blog, Pro Libertate.

But despite the paucity of personal contact, Will certainly make a lasting impression on me. He had that effect on people. How could he not? His work shines forth with unrelenting research, deep understanding, immovable integrity, and precise, compelling prose. He inspired readers with every meticulously chosen noun, verb, adjective, and adverb. He enriched our lives.

Will's love of liberty, justice, and truth knew no bounds. No one exposed the outrages of the "criminal justice" (sic) system better than he. No one worked harder to uncover the facts. No one was more implacable in judging those facts in the light of the goodness of freedom and the evil of the state. He is gone now, but I will continue to learn from him and the great work he left us.

Will Grigg will be missed by many. We honor him best by continuing his work.

Goodbye, friend.

Will Grigg (1963-2017)

Will Grigg, RIP

Will Grigg, a great friend of liberty and justice, and a co-founder of The Libertarian Institute, not to mention a loving husband and father, died yesterday at 54. He will be missed.

See tributes here, here, and here.

(More to come.)

Understanding Trade

My latest article at the American Institute for Economic Research is "Understanding Trade." Please check it out.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Chesterton on the Maniac

And if great reasoners are often maniacal, it is equally true that maniacs are commonly great reasoners. When I was engaged in a controversy with the CLARION on the matter of free will, that able writer Mr. R.B.Suthers said that free will was lunacy, because it meant causeless actions, and the actions of a lunatic would be causeless. I do not dwell here upon the disastrous lapse in determinist logic. Obviously if any actions, even a lunatic's, can be causeless, determinism is done for. If the chain of causation can be broken for a madman, it can be broken for a man. But my purpose is to point out something more practical. It was natural, perhaps, that a modern Marxian Socialist should not know anything about free will. But it was certainly remarkable that a modern Marxian Socialist should not know anything about lunatics. Mr. Suthers evidently did not know anything about lunatics. The last thing that can be said of a lunatic is that his actions are causeless. If any human acts may loosely be called causeless, they are the minor acts of a healthy man; whistling as he walks; slashing the grass with a stick; kicking his heels or rubbing his hands. It is the happy man who does the useless things; the sick man is not strong enough to be idle. It is exactly such careless and causeless actions that the madman could never understand; for the madman (like the determinist) generally sees too much cause in everything. The madman would read a conspiratorial significance into those empty activities. He would think that the lopping of the grass was an attack on private property. He would think that the kicking of the heels was a signal to an accomplice. If the madman could for an instant become careless, he would become sane. Every one who has had the misfortune to talk with people in the heart or on the edge of mental disorder, knows that their most sinister quality is a horrible clarity of detail; a connecting of one thing with another in a map more elaborate than a maze. If you argue with a madman, it is extremely probable that you will get the worst of it; for in many ways his mind moves all the quicker for not being delayed by the things that go with good judgment. He is not hampered by a sense of humour or by charity, or by the dumb certainties of experience. He is the more logical for losing certain sane affections. Indeed, the common phrase for insanity is in this respect a misleading one. The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.
--G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy 

Friday, April 07, 2017

TGIF: The Bogosity of Trump's "America First"

It says something about the complexity of language (and me perhaps) that I took so long to realize that Donald Trump’s “America First” slogan, which I found off-putting from the start, consists of the same words as the name of the pre-World War II organization I’ve respected for decades.

The same phrase coming from Trump and John T. Flynn, author of the must-read anti-fascist work As We Go Marching, has two different meanings for me, as though the very words were different.

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!

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Trump Changes His Mind about Assad

In his news conference with King Abdullah of Jordan today, President Trump said that since the chemical attack in Syria, "my attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much." He boasted of his "flexibility" in the face of change. All of this suggests his willingness to destroy President Bashar al-Assad's regime, something he has opposed until now. In other words, it will be war

He also bashed President Obama again for not solving this problem when Assad was believed to have crossed Obama's red line with the use of chemical weapons. Trump has yet to acknowledge that in 2013 via Twitter he warned Obama not to attack Syria because it would have disastrous consequences.

At any rate, Trump seems to have boxed himself in. If he doesn't attack, his current criticism of Obama will look ridiculous. Can he allow that?

Meanwhile, the bin Ladenites in Syria and ISIS are licking their chops.

Hey, wait a minute!

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Latest Articles

My latest articles, "Separating Culture and State" and "Abolish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau," appear at the website of the American Institute for Economic Research.

A Day that Should Live in Infamy

It's been 100 years since Woodrow Wilson committed the blunder of the 20th century by taking the United States into what was then known as the Great War in Europe. Enabling the Allies to win what would later become known as World War I, and to dictate humiliating terms to Germany at the Paris Peace Conference, set the stage for Hitler and the Nazis less than 20 years later and a new world war six years after that. It was really just one war with an intermission.

I wrote about what US entry meant domestically here.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Getting It Straight

“Production is the sole end and purpose of all consumption.”
–Donald Trump (not in so many words)

TGIF: Trump Never Was a Noninterventionist

Can Donald Trump’s foreign policy “doctrine” and presidential actions accurately be described as noninterventionist? Strangely, Glenn Greenwald thinks so. In “Trump’s War on Terror Has Quickly Become as Barbaric and Savage as He Promised,” Greenwald writes, “Trump explicitly ran as a ‘non-interventionist’ — denouncing, for instance, U.S. regime change wars in Iraq, Libya, and Syria (even though he at some points expressed support for the first two). Many commentators confused ‘non-interventionism’ with ‘pacifism,’ leading many of them — to this very day — to ignorantly claim that Trump’s escalated war on terror bombing is in conflict with his advocacy of non-interventionism. It is not.”

I’m a big fan of Greenwald’s work, but I believe he is among the confused here.

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 24, 2017

One More Flaw in Conservative Health Care Reform


Conservatives oppose federally mandated health insurance benefits (maternity, etc.), but they favor states having the power to mandate such benefits, which they already have. But conservatives (e.g., the Heritage Foundation) say they also favor a nationwide insurance market, that is, competition across state lines, which is not the case today.

The problem is that you cannot have free competition nationwide and state-mandated benefits. Would someone who lives in a state with lots of mandates be free to buy a basic catastrophic policy from a company in a no-mandate state? If not, then there is no nationwide market. If so, then the mandates aren't really mandates.

TGIF: Trump’s Military Budget Is Not NATO’s Fault

President Trump’s budget proposal would increase military spending $54 billion, not quite a 10 percent increase over the current level.  According to Quartz, the increase alone is more than all but two countries — China and Saudi Arabia — spend on their militaries. (China spends $145 billion, Saudi Arabia $57 billion, Russia $47, and Iran $16 billion, the International Institute for Strategic Studies reports.)

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 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!