On Tuesday, author Stephen Kinzer appeared on the Tom Woods show to discuss his new book, The True Flag. This piece takes as its subject the fierce debate on then-nascent American imperialism — genuine debate in that Kinzer begins with chronicling Congress’ 32-day debate on the American acquisition of the Philippines, which started on the same day as the opening session of the American Anti-Imperialist League. The heart of the debate is this: how can a democratic republic formed on the basis of consent by the governed initiate and persist in policies that involve controlling countries against their will? Kinzer has written such books as All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup, Overthrow, and a look at Turkey as it stands between worlds. The Anti-Imperialist League’s most famous member was Mark Twain (see Weapons of Satire for Twain’s anti-imperial writings), though it also included men like Andrew Carnegie and Samuel Gompers. Kindred books: Bill Kauffman’s Ain’t My America, and Tom Woods’ own anthology, We Who Dared Say No to War.
Before yesterday, I’d planned to spotlight Econtalk’s recent interview on the book Narconomics: How to Run a Drug Cartel.