Politics

We’ll leave it to the history books of the future to decide whether the events in Charlottesville, VA in August of 2017 were a clear demarcation of events, indicating the start of a dangerous civil unrest. For the first time, clashes between rioters from the extreme left and those from the extreme right ended in a tragic loss of life. Regardless of protesters’ political views, lethal violence should never be the answer, but somehow when dealing with politics, it is.

Yet in the free market, fans of products don’t come to blows. Have you ever seen a frequent diner at Panera come up to a Subway aficionado and give them a knuckle sandwich? Has a Ford guy ever made it clear to a Chevy guy he is cruising for a bruising? When did a lover of Ella Fitzgerald’s music and an admirer of John Coltrane duke it out over who’s better? GE and Philips employees don’t punch each others’ lights out, nor do Colgate and Crest users come at each other armed to the teeth, and I can’t recall when an iRobot and a Dyson owner ever had a dust up.
Continue reading “Politics”

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”

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!

Critique of the State

Shedding more light where once was dark, this topic includes a wide array of critiques surrounding the function of the State, but mostly around policy critiques and warfare. As it relates to the State’s functioning, everything from central planning, coercion and government expansion through to propaganda, taxation and the act of voting are discussed.

The State apparatus and its institutions, the CIA, FBI, NSA, and other alphabet soup organizations – they are all brought to account together with their counterparts in the military-industrial complex and the deep state. The Supreme Court, criminal justice system and the prisons are not immune to critique. And the filth of politics and lobbying are described in great lengths in the books highlighted at Books of Liberty.

Policy critiques cover everything from abortion to welfare. It all starts with state intervention in the affairs of private individuals and foreign intervention (which includes the seemingly benevolent foreign aid) in the affairs of other groups of people. More specifically, US foreign policy and US military intervention are popular policies to critique.

Some of the other more common topics include: drugs, eminent domain, environmentalism, poverty, protectionism, muh roads, slavery, and other forms of public policy. Needless to say, these and other policies lead to ridiculous levels of government spending, itself a valid topic to criticize.

And of course, the most destructive activity perpetrated by the State is warfare. The wars abroad and at home are discussed at length. Of the ‘traditional’ wars, World War I and II and the so-called American ‘Civil War’ (always in quotation marks) feature in the most number of books, some of which include discussions on genocide and war crimes. But then there are also the wars on amorphous, undefined entities, such as: the war on drugs, which leads to domestic violence, militarization and a police state; and the war on terror, which brought us torture, more terror and the ever-increasing drone warfare.

With well over 500 books at the time of writing, and approval ratings of politicians and their awful policies in constant demise, there’s plenty of ammunition here for any critique of the State. Dig in! And as always, thank you for reading!

Anti-individualism

Sadly, where there is light, there must be shadow and the topics you’d find in this category pertain to the darker parts of human existence. I’ve included some books that espouse such ideals, for instance various communist treatises, books that advocate various forms of socialism, or those that hail democracy as some crowning achievement of mankind.

I, for one, feel that it is important to know the arguments of the opposing side to strengthen your understanding of your own position. There is much in favor of purposefully exposing yourself to material with which you viscerally and intellectually disagree. But if you do buy these books and enrich the authors or their publishers, please use our affiliate links so that at least a liberty-loving outfit such as mine would gain a buck or two out of this deal…

Aside from a few books that support such views, the majority of the titles tagged with the above topics are there to shine light on, and provide a critique of these views.

Other anti-individualist topics include: the seemingly benign bureaucracy that makes the State inefficient; the deceptive egalitarianism and the nanny state, a path paved with good intentions that we all know where it leads (hint: may include redistribution of wealth and slavery); the outright evil in ideologies such as Fascism and Marxism that lead to despotism, dictatorship, tyranny and totalitarianism; and crony capitalism (corporatism) and its predecessor mercantilism, which masquerades as capitalism in most people’s minds and leads to anti-capitalist views.

So what say you? Are you ready for the dark side? Browse through the books on both sides of the argument and you will increase your chances of either finding common ground or predicting your opponents’ objections. And as always, thank you for reading!

Philosophy of Freedom

Within this topic you’ll find a wide variety of books, many of which we hold in the highest regard. These books are also associated with other topics, such as anarchist traditions and practical liberty. All your great libertarian manifestos, books that discuss individual liberty, the non-aggression principle, laissez faire, objectivism, etc. are found within.

Anarchist traditions would be a great shortcut to find books specifically calling out anarchist principles. The name “anarchist traditions” is purposefully broad, because in addition to anarcho-capitalism and voluntaryism (with which I associate), there are books on anarcho-syndicalism, anarcho-communism or other forms of collectivist anarchism, as well as egoism and other schools of thought (with which I don’t).

Practical liberty has a hodge-podge of awesome content, from the great anti-war and abolitionist books to theoretical treatises on private defense and private law; from whistleblowing and WikiLeaks to other forms of activism and civil disobedience; from secession to jury nullification and describing revolution and resistance. We’ve even thrown in some interesting “how to” books on affecting change to further one’s activist ends.

The topic of philosophy is closely associated, as many of the books tagged to the philosophy of freedom contain deep philosophical arguments from ethics and epistemology to political theory and religion. A wide variety of ideologies are represented and critiqued within the pages of the books linked here, covering the full political spectrum: whether it is Fascism versus Communism; Neoconservatism versus Progressivism or Liberalism; Nationalism and Nazism versus International Socialism and everything in between.

Do any of these topics spark your curiosity? This is the ‘bread and butter’ of Books of Liberty. While it’s not the most popular tag, it’s first on my Top 100 for good reason. Have a look for yourself. And as always, thank you for reading!