As I was getting acquainted with the ideas of liberty I read many e-books and listened to many audio books courtesy of the Mises Institute. Almost every topic that came up went through the same process:
- Hey, Daniel! Here’s something you know about!
- Wha…? Wait! What’s going on? What are you saying about this topic that I am very familiar with and have strong, (supposedly) well-informed and grounded opinions on?
- Worldview shattered.
There were many topics that went down easily. But the idea that democracy was not the best form of government was beyond me. “Sure enough, democracy can be put in practice in a variety of ways, and maybe this particular implementation is less effective than another,” said I. “Perhaps we just need technology to get to the stage where we can have direct democracy, deciding upon every aspect directly,” I continued pondering. But that an idealized version of democracy – it too! – is inferior to some other system was an altogether inconceivable notion.
Somehow the Boston Public Library had Democracy – The God that Failed (it hadn’t been checked out in years, but still…). I checked it out and read it cover-to-cover in a matter of a few days. Yes, some things infuriated me about the book (wouldn’t be a good book if it hadn’t), but by the end of it I was sold. Rare are the books that outline a topic so convincingly that it’s enough to read just that one.
Books to pique your interest
Since then I have discovered more books on this topic (both newer and older) and I can’t honestly say which one is the best for convincing the uninitiated. Books of Liberty has over 60 books that cover the topic of democracy in some form or another, and hundreds more on related topics such as voting, public choice theory, bureaucracy, socialism, politics, etc.
Hans-Hermann Hoppe has made incredible contributions to this topic with the aforementioned book and dozens of related articles. Other honorable mentions include:
- Joseph Schumpeter’s classic and spectacular Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy;
- Jason Brennan’s aptly titled Against Democracy; and
- Frank Karsten and Karel Beckman’s concise primer on the topic Beyond Democracy (which has surprisingly been translated into 20 languages!).
You often hear someone proudly declare how great it is the US is ‘exporting democracy’, or ‘making the world safe for democracy’, or you hear the absurd claims being made that ‘we are the State’ because of the democratic system.
If you haven’t already, I invite you to browse through the dozens of books on the matter at Books of Liberty and find a book that speaks to you. And as always, thank you for reading!