A Long Fall From the Moral Mountain Top

charlottesville.jpg

 

A few days removed from the events in Charlottesville, most people find themselves shocked at what transpired. Over the course of 48 hours, the Unite the Right rally is responsible for the world seeing Americans give the Nazi salute, the death of a protester, a helicopter crash, numerous arrests, and dozens of injuries. No, the violence was not isolated to one side of the conflict, but the event and the climate around it were certainly contributing factors to all of the separate incidents surrounding the Alt-Right rally.

Was it a mistake for the counter-protesters to show up with such an angry approach?

Yes.

Was a clash between the two groups very predictable?

Of course, it was.

Antifa and other groups who opposed the Alt-Right event were baited into a fight, and they took the bait all too willingly. If the opposition had just kept clear, or kept calm, no one would be debating who has the moral high ground. One group was either mellow, or at home, and the other was obviously having a torch-led march filled with Nazi salutes and hateful rhetoric. If cooler heads had prevailed, it was basically the Harlem Globetrotters against the Washington Generals.

Easy W.

Turn the lights off when you leave.

Unfortunately, that’s not how events unfolded, and now there is an opening for debate about who is to blame for each separate incident over the tragic Virginia weekend. I doubt very few people are going to argue that Nazism is a reasonable political ideology and a positive direction for our country, but they are also likely to denounce communism, as well as violence, in all its forms. Today, many people are condemning both sides for a deadly event, when there could have been watercooler talk, about how crazy those tiki torch-wielding Nazis are.

Lives were lost.

The battle of ideas was lost in a bloody stalemate, too.

Don’t let it happen again.

Advertisements

5 Republicans To Watch in 2020

republican.png

Over the weekend, while out with my friends, I asked “what Republicans will run for President in 2020?” They all sort of looked at me with strange looks, one of them said “this is why we don’t invite you to things” while another asked “who wants to play Buckhunter?” Being a politico is difficult sometimes. After most of the table cleared out to go play Buckhunter, I was left with two others. Besides myself (a Libertarian) I was left with a Republican and a Democrat. While the three of us don’t generally agree on many political issues, we all agreed that Robert Mueller convening a federal grand jury to look into Russian meddling likely meant that Trump would either be impeached, resign, or not run for re-election.

Over the next half hour we came up with a list of five Republicans who we all thought could win the nomination in 2020.

 

Mike Pence

Pence.jpg

 

The most obvious choice for the Republican nomination is current Vice President, and former Governor of Indiana Mike Pence.

Nobody wants to be Vice President, the position has no purpose outside of breaking a tie in the Senate, and most find it to be an exceptionally boring, and possibly worthless job.  John Adams, our nation’s first Vice President stated:


“My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.”

Adams may have been the first to complain about the office, but he wasn’t the last. The office is generally sought by those who have higher aspirations, and appearances suggest that Pence wants to be President. While he has denounced rumors that he would challenge Trump for the Republican nomination in 2020, he certainly has the pedigree for the position. Prior to being Governor of Indiana he served in the House of Representatives from 2001 till 2013, serving as the chairman of the House Republican Conference from 2009-2011.  

On the issues Pence is pro-life, pushed for a balanced budget amendment to Indiana’s state constitution, opposed government bailouts, is against increasing regulations, is for “stop and frisk” policies, supports the war on drugs, and is a hawk on foreign policy issues.

Pence would have a leg up for the nomination, especially if Trump doesn’t finish his first term. If he were to audition for the office, it’s hard to imagine that Pence, an establishment favorite, wouldn’t seek the nomination in 2020.

 

John Kasich

kasich.jpg

The current Governor of Ohio sought the Republican nomination in 2016, and has been a staunch opponent of President Trump since the beginning. Over the last few years he has done as much as he possibly can to distance himself from Donald Trump, including skipping last summer’s convention, even though it was being held in Cleveland. Kasich, also an establishment favorite, served in the House of Representatives from 1983 till 2001, and supposedly turned down Trump’s offer to become Vice President.

When it comes to the issues, Kasich has been a staunch advocate for criminal justice reform; signing bills in 2012 and 2011 that make it easier for felons to find jobs, and advocating for shorter rehabilitation over prison for nonviolent offenders. Kasich favors “common core,” wants to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, and while he wants to cut corporate taxes, he also wants to raise taxes on oil companies, and move away from the income tax.

Governor Kasich has failed to rule out a 2020 Presidential run, and is planning several “policy forums” across Ohio and New Hampshire.

 

Nikki Haley

haley.jpg

The former Governor of South Carolina, and current UN Ambassador has never been a Trump supporter (despite serving in his cabinet). Her reputation is helped by the rumor that one of the key reasons she was chosen as UN Ambassador is because her former Lt. Governor in South Carolina, Henry McMaster, was a vocal Trump supporter. When Haley was named UN Ambassador McMaster became South Carolina’s Governor, the rumor is this was McMasters reward for supporting Trump.

Nikki Haley presents a unique opportunity for Republicans. Her Indian-American ancestry would essentially negate any perceived advantage Democrat Kamala Harris, another Indian-American, would have based on gender and ancestry alone. The fact that female minorities would have two qualified candidates to choose from would mean that they would be more likely to vote on policy issues, rather than following their heart strings.

While serving as Governor of South Carolina, Haley reduced unemployment from 11% to 4% and created 85,000 new jobs. She’s anti-Obamacare, pro gun rights, anti-immigration, and pro-life.

 

Rand Paul

rand.jpg

 

Another former presidential candidate, Senator Rand Paul is among the most ideologically consistent members of the Senate who easily won re-election last year. Senator Paul is a favorite among libertarian leaning republicans. During his time in office he has been critical of the NSA and the surveillance state that is supported by many establishment leaders, he’s been critical of our foreign policy, he’s one of only a few Republicans who has recently advocated for a full repeal of Obamacare, he’s  co-sponsored legislation with liberal Senators like Kamala Harris and Corey Booker on issues like criminal justice and bail reform. He’s been critical of Washington’s spending problem, while consistently vocalizing his opposition to new taxes and regulations.

While Paul may have some issues with establishment republicans; his crossover appeal with both libertarians and (some) democrats, as well as his popularity with millennials could mean a well-run campaign leading up to 2020 could secure his nomination.

 

Ben Sasse

sasse.jpg

 

The freshman Senator from Nebraska has always been a vocal opponent of Donald Trump. In the lead up to the 2014 election, Sasse ran as the “anti Obamacare” candidate and ran as a strong social conservative.  

When it comes to Obamacare, he has consistently voted to repeal as much of the act as possible. In his short time in office, he has also taken a surprisingly libertarian view on foreign policy issues; joining Senator Paul in opposing additional sanctions against Russia, and opposing selling weapons to Saudi Arabia.

When it comes to the economy, Sasse has consistently been against government regulations, while calling for more privatization and a revamp of the tax code.

Like Kasich, Sasse also hasn’t ruled out a 2020 run. In the last few months, Sasse has popped up across the state of Iowa; whether he’s talking policy, or just driving for Uber, the Nebraska Senator has made sure that Iowans know who he is.

 

As Republicans continue to distance themselves from President Trump, it doesn’t look like the party would have much difficulty in finding a better candidate in 2020.

2018: A Make It or Break It Midterm for Libertarians

Libertarian_Party_Porcupine_(USA).svg

 

Logging onto Facebook this morning I was met with a pleasant surprise – a message reminding me that it had been a year since I had signed on to the Gary Johnson campaign.  The public declaration that I was done with the Grand Ole Party meant absolutely nothing to the people on my friends list, let’s be honest most people don’t give a damn about your political leanings unless you’re constantly flaunting your beliefs.  The announcement did, however, mean a lot to me.

Prior to last July I was a Republican who had gradually lost faith in the Republican Party.  I was sick of the hypocrisy, the blatant violation of our civil liberties, the lack of fiscal conservatism, and the message of the Republican nominee for President. I felt, at the time, that Gary Johnson could legitimately carry a state in the general election.  My optimism turned out to be wrong; Johnson/Weld did not carry a state, nor did they receive an electoral vote.  Despite that, the ticket received nearly 4.5 million votes, carrying 3.27% of the vote, while appearing on the ballot in all 50 states and Washington DC. Disappointing according to my own expectations? Yes. But the election was monumental for the Libertarian Party.

For the longest time the biggest hurdle facing the growth of third parties in this country has been ballot access.  A lack of ballot access ties up a third party’s limited resources, forcing them to focus on things other than campaigning.  Heading into the 2018 midterm elections, the Libertarian Party will have ballot access in 37 states.

What’s more important than ballot access, however, is that the Libertarian Party has incumbents that need to win re-election; Nebraska State Senator Laura Ebke, along with New Hampshire State Representatives Brandon Phinney, Caleb Dyer, and Joseph Stallcop all ditched their former parties, and registered as Libertarians in the last year. Now they all face re-election bids without the backing of the powerful two party duopoly. 

phinney.jpg

Brandon Phinney is one of 3 libertarians in New Hampshire’s House of Representatives 

All the aforementioned candidates had their own reasons for ditching their former parties. Joseph Stallcop, who serves in New Hampshire’s House of Representatives representing Cheshire 4, was elected as a Democrat. His decision to switch to the Libertarian Party, he told Authentic Liberty, was based in part because of the disrespect his ideas and views were generating among Democrats. Stallcops colleague, Brandon Phinney, explained his decision to switch parties as frustration with the direction, and leadership  of Republicans, a familiar sentiment. When Authentic Liberty asked Senator Laura Ebke why she switched parties, she pointed out several moments where she realized that the Republican Party no longer represented her values. Senator Ebke told us that “the recognition that the Republicans were going to nominate Trump, and then a “call out” for not being an adequately “platform Republican” at the 2016 State GOP convention by the Governor–when he called out a number of us by name” appeared to be the last straw. Like many people, Senator Ebke realized that the GOP didn’t care about policy, but party.

While Representative Stallcop is unsure if he will be running for re-election next year (he is set to graduate from college), the state of New Hampshire presents an interesting scenario for Brandon Phinney and Caleb Dyer, his colleagues in the only libertarian caucus in the nation. New Hampshire is one of a handful of states that allows for “fusion tickets,” which allow one candidate to run under multiple parties. Both Phinney and Dyer, former Republicans, could choose to seek both the Republican and Libertarian nominations for their districts,and in a comment to Authentic Liberty, Phinney stated that this is his intention; in doing so they would eliminate potential rivals while having their names appear multiple times on the ballot.  That scenario could be interesting, and increase their odds of reelection, but could also make them beholden to the whims of two different parties. A victory on a fusion ticket would also minimize the importance of the Libertarian Party; if, in this hypothetical situation, both candidates win both the Republican and Libertarian nominations, then win the election, outsiders could say that they only won because of the Republican Party, marginalizing the importance of libertarians.

Senator Ebke’s situation in Nebraska is also interesting. She serves in the only unicameral state legislature in the nation, and in Nebraska, all state elections are

Laura Ebke.jpg

Senator Laura Ebke is up for re-election in 2018

nonpartisan, when voters step into the ballot box in 2018 they will see a list of names with no party affiliation. Senator Ebke believes the nonpartisan nature of Nebraska’s state elections probably helps her, as she explained to Authentic Liberty “while many people will know the affiliation, the fact that it isn’t listed on the ballot, nor do we organize by party in the legislature–probably helps me some.” Senator Ebke says that the biggest difference she has noticed during her re-election bid is her ability to effectively raise money; “Libertarians–as a whole–seem to be far less likely to part with their money–whether $25 of $100. Republican (and probably Democrat) activists are used to being asked for cash, and attending fundraisers.”  With that said, she has had some success raising money for her re-election, and she will continue to need our support, if you’ve got $10, you can make a donation here.

Winning re-election to these offices should be the focus of the Libertarian Party. As we move forward we cannot simply be content with the occasional officeholder quitting their party out of protest, and registering as a libertarian.  Libertarians need to learn how to win elections; we need an effective, proven blueprint, and we need to show the Republicans and Democrats that we can do more than just steal a few votes. The best way to do that is by continuing to seek support from the party at both the state and national level. If we cannot support our candidates and win elections as libertarians, then party members really need to question if there is any advantage to running for office as a libertarian.

The Problem With Pundits

 

Once upon a time, the news was boring.

People tuned in, got their news, then tuned out and went about their lives.

Edward R. Murrow, Journalist

It was the news, after all. It provided a simple, necessary service.  It told you what was happening in the world.  People listened, watched, or read, then that was it. Facts are and ever have been rather boring.

Then one day a man named Bill O’Riley decided to do something different with his news show. He decided to give his opinion on the news. This was not something new. Journalists had put their opinions into the news for a long time…in editorials.  People gave their opinion on the news all the time, like Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern, but they didn’t claim to be journalists.  It was just entertainment after all.  The news was serious business.  Sometimes, in a very rare case, a journalist would put their integrity and career on the line like Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite, to speak out against something they felt was wrong. But it was extremely rare

Bill O’Riley, the first pundit

.

Bill O’Riley was different, he decided to give his opinion on every bit of news he reported on. Thus, the first modern pundit was born. It was a ratings hit. People flocked to watch his show, to listen to someone who gave more than just the facts. Some thought he was right.  Some thought he was wrong.  Some thought he was funny.  Others were shocked and angry. The reactions of his viewers went though the roof and all over the place. And more and more people watched his show. The news became entertaining.  A new word was created: “infotainment.”

Since Bill O’Riley was conservative, he gave conservative opinions. Some liberals didn’t like that. One liberal, Keith Olbermann really didn’t like that. He started giving his opinion on every bit of news he reported on as well. His network encouraged him. After all, wasn’t Bill O’Riley’s show the toast of his network? Wasn’t he bringing in more ratings and viewers to his network? Why not make a liberal counterpart to get some of that infotainment money and give the “correct” opinion?

Keith Olbermann, the second pundit

So Keith Olbermann was free to give his opinion on the news, and boy did he. He, too, became popular and famous.  After all, it was infotainment.

That left the other journalists all across the political spectrum talking. Why shouldn’t they give their opinion on the news too? It drove ratings up, which was good for their company. It drove their popularity up which was good for their careers. It got people interested in the news, which was definitely good for the news in general, right?

The news was boring, you see. Giving your opinion on it made it entertaining. Entertaining meant more people would tune in and more people would be informed, right?

So all the other journalists started giving their opinion as well. But the thing about opinions are that they are not facts. They’re opinions. They could be wrong. They could not take into account all the facts. They could suppress facts. They could spin facts into a narrative.

…Gave rise to a sea of pundits.

And so the news stopped being boring. Because it stopped being news.
It became someone else’s opinion…and pesky things like facts only existed now to support the opinion.  If they didn’t support the opinion, then, well, clearly these weren’t facts at all.  After all, they flew in the face of the Truth!

And now the people complain about fake news.  The people do not know whether the news they’re getting is real or fake.  The people believe in the opinions given to them by whatever pundits resonate with them and disregard all others.

And the people did not live happily ever after.

Austin Petersen Announces Senate Run

 

Yesterday, as American’s complained about the Fourth falling on a Tuesday, former Libertarian Presidential candidate Austin Petersen, in front of a crowd of several hundred supporters, announced his intention to seek Missouri’s Republican nomination for US Senate.  

Petersen stands with his father before his announcement.

The announcement that Petersen would be running for Senate came as no surprise – for months the 37 year old has dropped some not-so-subtle hints that he planned to challenge Senator Claire McCaskill in 2018. What was somewhat of a surprise, however, was that Petersen was deciding to switch parties.

The decision to run as a Republican wasn’t easy for Petersen, and in his farewell letter to the Libertarian Party, Petersen describes what led to him making such a decision;

For the last eight weeks, I’ve spent six hours a day calling my supporters to ask them their thoughts on how I might best advance liberty. I took the time to listen to every single persons’ opinion about a potential opportunity to seek a seat in the U.S. Senate here in my home state of Missouri.

Of the thousands of people I spoke to, all encouraged a run, hundreds donated, and the vast majority offered their opinion regarding which party I should align with. Over 98% of them, including registered Libertarians, independents, Republicans, and even Democrats, said to run GOP.

Those who think that running as a Republican would show Petersen’s “true colors” were right. During his 30 minute speech to the crowd, Petersen passionately discussed the issues that matter most to him; repealing and not replacing Obamacare, reducing regulation, auditing the Pentagon to find bureaucratic waste, criminal justice reform, lowering taxes, treating drug addiction as a public health problem instead of a criminal issue, etc. If his platform sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the exact same set of values he ran on while seeking the Libertarian nomination for president last summer.  

Petersen’s announcement came one day after establishment favorite, Representative Ann Wagner, announced she will not challenge Claire McCaskill in 2018. In her statement on said decision, Wagner rationalized her decision;

“While I am grateful for the incredible support and encouragement I have received from across Missouri to run for United States Senate, I am announcing today my intention to run for re-election to the United States House of Representatives in 2018. The 2nd District is my home. It’s where I grew up, went to school, have worked and volunteered, raised my kids, and attend church every week — there is no greater honor than representing a place and people that I love.”

The former US Ambassador to Luxembourg has several reasons not to run for Senate, as the “Washington Examiner” reported;

“Republicans close to the congresswoman stressed that the decision had little, if anything, to do with the politics of giving up her relatively safe seat to run for Senate with an unpopular Republican in the White House and a healthcare agenda that has been rejected by a broad cross-section of Americans.”

With Wagner withdrawing her name from consideration, attention shifts to other potential Republican nominees. Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer and Vicky Hartzler are both expected to explore their own senate runs, but it is Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley that seems to be the establishment favorite.  The 37 year old is a favorite of Mitch McConnell, and has only been on his current job for six months. Supporters have  urged him to run believing Hawley can unite all conservatives.  

While the charismatic Hawley has made waves recently for suing three pharmaceutical companies in the state (which could be seen as a political counter measure since Claire McCaskill has made opiod abuse a focus) friends of liberty should be wary of throwing their support behind a candidate supported by political insiders. After all, there are enough Senators who wax poetically about the virtue of the Constitution and civil liberties, right up until the point where they support warrant-less wiretaps.

While Hawley, if he announces his intent to run, may be the favorite heading into the Republican primary, Petersen is hoping to use Missouri’s own primary rules against them.

Missouri holds an “open primary” meaning that any registered voter, regardless of party affiliation, can vote in the Republican primary.  Petersen hopes that this will play to his advantage as he intends to seek support not only among the base, but among Libertarians and Independents as well.  If Petersen is able to successfully convey his message, he could not only win the nomination, but pose a real challenge to McCaskill as well.

Evergreen State College: A National Embarrassment

evergreen15

 

For years conservatives have been deriding the increased liberalization of America’s college campuses; mocking recent trends like “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings” has recently led to some of those same groups purposefully trying to “trigger” their liberal counterparts.  2017 has seen several examples of this campus liberalization, and until last month, Cal Berkeley was the center of these protests.  That all changed in late May, when the world was introduced to “Evergreen State College” in Olympia, Washington.

The small liberal arts school of about 4500 students was founded as a “non-traditional” college back in 1967 as a way to even out the distribution of “higher learning” opportunities for students, at the time, students from that part of the state didn’t have many college options, so Evergreen State College was born.  The college quickly earned a reputation as being one of the most liberal colleges in America, and in 1970 the school started sanctioning “A Day of Absence.”

“A Day of Absence” traditionally takes place in the Spring, and until this year was a day in which people of color were urged to avoid campus, and instead attend a number of off-campus events meant to promote diversity.  “A Day of Absence” was traditionally followed by “A Day of Presence” in which minorities would return to campus the next day, joining their white friends in a series of on-campus lectures and activities.  

This year, however, the tables were turned.  Rashida Love, Director of the  “First Peoples Multicultural Advising Services” office at the “school,”  pushed an event in which white people were told they had to leave campus for 2017’s “Day of Absence.” Chloe Marina Manchester, writing for the school newspaper, explained this year’s changes:

This year, however, it was decided that on Day of Absence, white students, staff and faculty will be invited to leave the campus for the day’s activities. This decision was reached through discussion with POC Greeners who voiced concern over feeling as if they are unwelcome on campus, following the 2016 election.”

While the paragraph is frustrating to some, it isn’t the worst thing in the world, after all, white students and staff were only invited to stay off campus. It’s not like they were forced out by a shouting mob.

Just Kidding, That’s Exactly What Happened

On May 23rd, a group of 50 students surrounded Biology Professor Bret Weinstein, calling him a “white supremacist” and other insults for refusing to participate in this years “Day of Absence.”

 

Professor Weinstein isn’t some far-right radical, either.  Weinstein describes himself as “extremely progressive” and actively supported the candidacy of Bernie Sanders.  In the past he was extremely vocal in his support of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement and seems to be a perfect fit for such a liberal school.  However, he did take issue with this years event; particularly how there was no discussion surrounding the validity of the event, and in an email to Rashida Love he expressed how he feels that this year’s day of absence was an act of oppression and force.

Email sent by Bret Weinstein to Rashida Love

After  these protesters surrounded and threatened Weinstein, the protesters barricaded themselves in the “Trans & Queer Unity Lounge” before issuing a set of demands to school President George Bridges.

 

Bridges proceeded to meekly defend the protesters, caving to the students demands which included “cultural competency” training for all faculty and staff.

Protests Continue

The weak response from Bridges, as well as other faculty and staff, have led the situation to go on for far too long.  Culminating in duel protests last Thursday that ended in violence. Riot police had to break up the protests, and one person was arrested.  

The protests were held by “Patriot Prayer,” a Portland based conservative group. And “Antifa,” the violent, left wing, “anti-fascist” group.  Antifa was there protesting, what they called, a “white supremacist group.” In response to those claims, “Patriot Prayer” organizer Joey Gibson said:


“I love all people, because they’re human. It doesn’t matter what the color of their skin is. Ok? And I’m sick of hearing about that,” Gibson said. “If we’re white supremacists, why do we have more people of color rolling with us than they do? That’s what I want to understand. All those people dressed in all black, they’re the most whitest (sic) people I’ve ever met in my life.”

The situation has gotten so bad that students attending Friday’s graduation had to go through metal detectors.

In the wake of these protests, the “college” has announced that they still plan on going forward with their re-vamped “Masters in Teaching” programming which emphasizes training teachers to indoctrinate students in left-wing ideology. Program director J. Patrick Naughton wrote in the programs catalog that:

 

“Our schools are called upon to help children and youth develop physically, emotionally, and cognitively in order to create meaningful lives for themselves and to participate collaboratively and creatively in public life. In our increasingly diverse and complex society, public education must play a key role in nurturing and educating citizens who care about equity and justice for all beings. We focus on preparing teachers ready and willing to take on these responsibilities every day. “

This emphasis on social justice is mandatory, even for teachers who are training to teach subjects like math or science, in the program students will;  

“examine and consciously act on differences such as ethnicity, race, class, gender, gender expression, culture, religion, language, ability, and sexual identities.”

Schools are supposed to be a place of higher learning, yet more frequently publicly funded schools are being used to push a political agenda.  With luck, Evergreen State College will lose the $24 million dollars in public money currently allocated to them for next year.

6 Books to get Liberty Lovers Through the Summer

 

Television is depressing.  You can’t turn on the TV without hearing about some crazed students  calling for justice; or about a mentally ill man trying to assassinate members of congress.  Thankfully, there are dozens of incredible books and essays out there that can keep liberty-lovers sane, here’s a few of them.

“The Law” by Frederic Bastiat

First published in 1850, Frederic Bastiat’s classic essay on our natural rights, and the role of the state has influenced generations of libertarians worldwide.  Bastiat reiterates that all individuals are born with “Natural Rights” based on “Natural Law.” Bastiat; like Thomas Paine, John Locke, and Thomas Hobbes; proclaims that every individual is born with a set of inalienable rights that supersede the laws of the state. Life, Liberty, and Private Property, no state can take that away.  

Although it’s only 75 pages long, “The Law” has stood the test of time because it identifies not only our natural rights, but what the state can, and more importantly cannot, do.  

“Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.”

The entire book can be found online for free, here.

“Economics in One Lesson” by Henry Hazlitt

A journalist by trade, Henry Hazlitt spent decades covering economics, finance, and business for a variety of publications in the United States throughout the 20th century.

First published in 1946, “Economics in One Lesson” has influenced brilliant economists like Milton Friedman and Thomas Sowell.

The relatively short essay uses a plethora of examples to explain the mistakes most people make when approaching economics; primarily, thinking about the immediate effects of an economic policy, rather than seeing how that policy could affect all groups in the long-term.  

“The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.”

All 24 chapters can be found for free here.

“1984” by George Orwell

Published in 1949, George Orwell’s classic is set in a dystopian future in what was Great Britain, but has since been named “Airstrip One,” a province of “Oceania,” one of three superstates in a state of perpetual war.  

Oceania is run by “Big Brother,” a tyrannical government figure who oversees mass surveillance programs, and is controlled by elites who seek to squash individualism, and punish the population for “Thought Crime,” which is the terrible crime of questioning the government through unspoken thought.

The protagonist of the novel, Winston Smith, works at the “Ministry of Truth” as an editor.  As an editor for the Ministry, Smith is in charge of revising history to fit the narrative that “Big Brother” is trying to portray.  Although good at his job, he secretly hates the government, he doesn’t dare try and change anything, that is, until he begins seeing Julia, who shares his loathing of the controlling party.

“Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.”

Recently Orwell’s classic has been more prophetic than fiction. The book can be purchased for about $10 here.

“The Federalist Papers” and “The Anti-Federalist Papers” by Various Authors

Perhaps the most important collection of essays in American history, “The Federalist Papers” and “The Anti-Federalist Papers” first appeared in 1787, and were penned by various authors, including James Madison, George Mason, Patrick Henry, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and various others.  

As Americans we tend to see the solidarity of the Founding Fathers; the “Declaration of Independence” and our Constitution are generally seen as an act of unity between men who wanted true independence from Great Britain.  These essays squash that notion.  While the “Federalist Papers” argued on behalf of the Constitution, the “Anti-Federalist Papers” believed that the Constitution lacked written protections for the individual.  The incredible arguments presented by both sides have influenced thinkers worldwide for over 200 years, and culminated in the “Bill of Rights.”

The “Federalist Papers” can be found for free here , while the “Anti-Federalist Papers” can be found for free here.

“Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury’s American Classic, first appeared in 1953 and is set in an America where books are being rounded up and burned as a way to squash public dissent.  

The book focuses on fireman Guy Montag, whose job is to round up, and burn the possessions of those who read outlawed books. Montag comes to question the validity of his job when he meets Clarisse McClellan, a free-thinking teenage girl who just moved to his neighborhood.  

Bradbury stated that he released the book as a commentary on how mass media reduces interest in reading literature, and can have a brainwashing effect on people.  Bradbury, like Orwell, appears to be more of a prophet than an author, his masterpiece will only set you back $10.

“With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word ‘intellectual,’ of course, became the swear word it deserved to be.”

“The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom” by David Boaz

David Boaz, an Executive Vice President at the “Cato Institute,” gives us what is perhaps the most comprehensive book about Libertarianism ever penned.  

In his book, Boaz discusses everything from private property rights, to drug legalization in a manner that is incredibly easy to read.  This book, more than any on the list, will give the you an incredible introduction to libertarian thought.  I highly recommend spending the $16 dollars and adding it to your personal library.

“As a moral matter, individuals must be free to make their own decisions and to succeed or fail according to their own choices. As a practical matter, as Frum points out, when we shield people from the consequences of their actions, we get a society characterized not by thrift, sobriety, diligence, self-reliance, and prudence but by profligacy, intemperance, indolence, dependency, and indifference to consequences.”