Saturday, January 19, 2013

Book Club Time!

I'm kidding. Sort of.

I travel frequently and unlike my younger self, who used to scorn books, I've become a reader. Whether on the plane or at the hotel (I've done enough damage to my liver - don't even have a gall bladder anymore - that nights out on the road don't interest me), I break out my tablet and read.
Being a political junkie and the fact that a lot of modern fiction is tripe, I read a lot of political and societal stuff. I figured I'd share some that I think have shaped my view of things.

Bourbon for Breakfast - Jeffrey Tucker
For the most part, Tucker is an anarcho-capitalist. What is that, you may ask?
When most people think of anarchy, once they get past the violent imagery often associated with it (which is actually more like nihilism), that sort of anarchy believes in no government, but a shared society. Nothing is personally owned. People work for a common good. Socialism without the government and its stormtroopers. The other end of the spectrum, anarcho-capitalism, is also a lack of government, but everything of value is personally owned and free markets rule. Both types ignore the fact that at its core, Man is a greedy, selfish, pig of an animal that will fuck its own mother to get ahead. However, I find the ideas of the A-C crowd more appealing because of the simple tenant that you are responsible for your own progress or downfall. I can deal with that.
Anyways, this book by Tucker, as most of his others, is a collection of essays he's written and published on a website: The Ludwig von Mises Institute. The obvious question "Why would you pay for something when you can get it for free" is discussed in an essay he did on intellectual property. The short - It's a choice. I like the work he does and for that, I attach a value to it. Along with the ease of having all these essays in one place and format. So because of that, I feel it's worth the money he's asking.
Again anyways... some topics covered are why it takes forever to get anything from yourself to your dishes clean. How not to dress like a schmoe. Why a little bourbon added to your coffee once in a while isn't a bad thing.
He has a couple others, but this one got me into a lot of the authors at the Mises Institute.

The Law - Fredrick Bastiat
If you read nothing else, read this. In it's day, it was considered a pamphlet. You can find it for free online or pay a buck for an eReader copy.
I would fathom a guess that 90% of most modern political and economic writers who believe in free markets (I.E. Capitalists - Slight aside. The term Capitalist was originally derogatory. Marx came up with it as a way to describe those who believe in the power of the market and money to positively change peoples lives. I now wear it as a badge of honor) got their original thoughts from Bastiat. Written after the socialist sweep of the French revolution, he lays out the ideas and policies of what should drive a free society.

Economics In One Lesson - Henry Hazlitt
Taking some ideas from Bastiat, Hazlitt breaks down economic theories that affect our daily lives and makes them easy to understand. It's the original "Economics For Dummies" book, written first in the late 40's. A must.

Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
If you haven't heard of this book by now, you're either skipping lazily though life (this blog is DEFINITELY not for you) or you're a self-righteous cunt who believes in their own superiority. I guess that sounds a little harsh, but really, this book has been all over the place for the last few years.
This is Rand's seminal epic (it's huge if you've never seen the actual book before), but it has to be read by anyone who believes in a free society. Written in the 50's, it was like she could see the future and know exactly where we were headed. We're pretty much there.

Defending the Undefendable - Walter Block
Another writer from the Mises Institute, block makes the case for blackmailers, child labor, prostitutes, and other people and things that most people find reprehensible. You don't have to agree with what he says, but I encourage you to read his position. If you think logically, you can understand his positions.

For a general one - Anything by Thomas Sowell
G-d DAMN this man is good. I've read 5 of his books and I had to finish them once I started reading. He takes on economic as well as societal issues and he's spot on 95% of the time. For me anyways.

Another general recommendation - Anything by Andrew Napolitano
Like Sowell, I've read a lot of his books and he lays it out pretty clearly. Coming at it from a Libertarian angle, Napolitano will skewer anyone, Left or Right, who is violating the Constitution and trying to take away personal liberties.

Now for some I-now-need-to-drink-heavy books,
After America: Get Ready for Armageddon - Mark Steyn
A modern version of the book to follow, Steyn is a total downer. The future is black for America and Steyn describes why that is and how we got here.

Ex America: 50th Anniversary of The People's Pottage - Garet Garret
This is actually a collection of 3 essays Garret did in the time of and right after FDR. He describes why Roosevelt was such a fucktard and how the end, as laid out by Steyn, all started to come together thanks to the president in a wheelchair.

Pick one by both Sowell and Napolitano, then read the rest of these. If you don't come out the other side as a proponent of liberty and a truly free society, then you're a lost cause.
And I'm by no means suggesting you have to agree with any of these writers. But if they don't turn you on to the value of personal freedom and a life lived outside of more and more government control, line up to suck Obama's or Boehner's cock (or the next Progressive either party elects) because that's about all you're good for.

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