Popular Culture

Politics is downstream from culture, as Andrew Breitbart used to say. Think what you want of the outfit that now bears his name, which has morphed greatly from what he had left behind before his death, but Andrew Breitbart was very astute in understanding that if you change the cultural narrative you can alter the political landscape as a consequence.

This phrase confirms another sentiment expressed by many libertarians over the years regarding the nature of a democratic government: politicians need to get re-elected. They will tend not to act upon something that is unpopular or if it is not accepted within their culture. Therefore an ideology must have already achieved critical mass in the hearts of the people before legislation can be passed to set it in stone. Continue reading “Popular Culture”

The Lucifer Effect

Have you ever wondered why otherwise good people end up doing bad things? I’m not talking about telling white lies or eating grapes out of the bag in the grocery store. I’m talking about whole nations swept up in a Nazi stupor. I’m talking about Guantánamo Bay, Abu Graib, and drone bombing of wedding parties and hospitals. On home ground, I’m talking about police brutality. And, to a lesser extent, I’m also talking about college kids who mentally and physically abuse their peers in psychological experiments or, more commonly, in hazing rituals. Regardless of the degree, I’m talking about acts of evil.

There is an easy answer that comes to those who have not taken the time to contemplate this issue or to those who would rather not find out what human nature is actually like. Continue reading “The Lucifer Effect”

Cultural Issues

Legal and political issues aside, it is often the cultural and social issues that are upstream from any legislative action. Especially in a democracy, politicians know that to get reelected they need to tread a fine line and take a stand on topics that are culturally in vogue. Books providing cultural analysis or ones that talk of the social order are numerous within our site.

Popular at the time of this post are debates about racism, sexism, feminism and other such social justice issues relating to discrimination, freedom of association, freedom of speech, human rights, or political correctness. These topics and others, such as popular culture, American culture and Western Civilization, are all represented within the books at Books of Liberty.

Observations from many writers on these issues are provided through commentary and opinion and often investigative journalism leads down an interesting path, shedding light on such issues.

You’d be anywhere from shocked to amused if you choose one of these books, so choose wisely. And as always, thank you for reading!

Recommended Starting Points

With the world at your fingertips, where do you start?

I’ve often found myself contemplating what book I should read next. I’d be lying if I said that I’ve read through all my books at home. Yet sometimes what you have just isn’t what you’re in the mood for. Worse still, sometimes you don’t even know what you are in the mood for.

I’ve decided to create a series of posts over the next couple of months, in which I will highlight some interesting topics that can point you in the direction of a captivating journey. Most blog posts thereafter will be about books and topics, but this series is focused on the more fundamental starting points.

Edit: This series of posts has proven so useful, I’ve decided to copy them into the main site, providing recommended starting points at Books of Liberty. Moreover, depending on the topic tags associated with the books, the relevant starting points are also copied into each book page to help you find similar books to the one you’re looking at. So if you’re reading this after May 2017 and the contents look familiar, you’ll know why.

But before we get started, a note on the default order of the topics on our main page. Books of Liberty does not categorize books within a rigid hierarchy. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I designed it such that you can choose any number of topics (regardless of whether they relate to one another) and discover books where those topics intersect.

However, much like in Animal Farm, while all topics are equal, some topics are more equal than others. After analyzing the interrelationship between the topics and books, I’ve identified the top 100 that seem to correlate with the widest range of topics (surprisingly, these aren’t the 100 most popular topics). But there is not a single book in our records or a single other topic that is not connected to one of these 100 topics. So if you sort by top 100 and scroll through them you’re bound to find an interesting starting point.

Otherwise, you can sort the list of topics by popularity to find the topics that are represented in the largest number of books. Furthermore, you can sort the topics alphabetically or simply type in the topic search bar a topic of interest. The search bar has an autocomplete function, so as you start typing you will be shown a hint of which topics are available from which you can choose.

If I had to narrow down the almost 800 topics or even the ‘Top 100’ to the ones that provide the best starting points, these would be the ones with which I would start and the ones on which I will focus in this upcoming series:

Over the next 17 blog posts I will cover each of the above bullet points in more detail. Within each blog I will further link to more topics associated with the main topic, so explore each link that tickles your fancy? And as always, thank you for reading!