Some Great Finds

Some Great Finds.

Went to the public library yesterday. They were giving away books (there were some for sale as well, but most of them were free). There were several thousand books, and when I was there, easily more than 100 people in there. Still, I made some impressive discoveries (including a number of left-wing classics).

Looking Backward: 2000-1887 by Edward Bellamy (Francis Bellamy‘s utopian socialist brother) (1887, 1995)

A work of fiction.

On the Front Burner: Issues in U.S. Foreign Policy by Seyom Brown (1984)

Haven’t cracked it yet, probably Cold War pragmatism type stuff.

Champions of Freedom: Great Economists of the Twentieth Century (2006)

Volume 34 of the Ludwig von Mises Lecture Series from Hillsdale College, several contributors, Steve Forbes, Bruce Caldwell, Richard Ebeling, Robert Skidelsky, Mark Skousen, Lee Coppock, Robert Barro, Donald Devine, and Gary Wolfram. Features recommended reading section with a few short essays from Ludwig von Mises. Front cover has Hayek, Mises, Keynes, Knight, Buchanan, and Friedman.

The Defense of Gracchus Babeuf by Gracchus Babeuf (1796, 1972)

If you don’t know who the guy is (I’m proud to say I already did), feel free to click here. A very interesting character, the “first” communist. Book features essay by Herbert Marcuse of the Frankfurt School (in my opinion, the Marxists with the most class).

An Autumn of War by Victor Davis Hanson (2002)

Interventionist fear mongering, no doubt. War on Terror, blah, blah, blah. But since I do respect Mr. Hanson (Greek history buff here), I am trying to collect all his works.

International Organizations and Ethnic Conflict by Milton Esman and Shibley Telhami (1995)

Lebanon, Rwanda, Somalia, Yugoslavia. Need I say more? Okay, how about Libya, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistn? Wrong decade? Sorry. Just look the other way.

The Communist Manifesto and other Revolutionary Writings: Marx, Marat, Paine, Mao, Gandhi, and others (2003)

Laugh Out Loud!

The Unforgettable Winston Churchill: Giant of the Century (1965)

One of those old neat Life Magazine specials. Might find some dirt on him in there.

So those are the paperbacks.

European Economic History: The Economic Development of Western Civilization by Shepard Clough (1968)

This should be good. I might not read it, but as a reference at least.

Not one, but two copies of Imperial Hubris by Anonymous (2004).

Blowback. He knows it. Do you?

Volumes 1-5 of Thomas MacAulay’s History of England and volumes 1-4 of the same (no dates in either set, which means they’re old)

I was amazed I got these for free! 9 books, older than dirt, classic works of history. Why did I buy two separate sets, one incomplete? Because I am a collector of everything MacAulay. Do I even need a reason? I already had yet another incomplete set, Volumes 1, 2, and 4, as well as a few other books by or about him. That includes the Lays of Ancient Rome, which was the book Tom Cruise picked up in the cave in Oblivion (saw it in theaters, that same friend I was drinking beer with that one time bought my ticket, what a guy).

Moving on to the stuff I actually bought:

Mid-Century Alaska: the United States Department of the Interior Office of Territories (1958)

Note the date. Pre-statehood. Got it for $1.50. Interesting book in itself but I bought it because it looks like the front and back cover might be gold leaf. It certainly could be metal/have metal in it, judging by the way it creases and it’s weight. Maybe I struck it rich. Book sold for a dollar in 1958, when an ounce of gold was $35.10. If an ounce of gold can be flattened into a 160 square foot sheet, couldn’t less than a 35th of an ounce be flattened to the size of a book cover approximately 144 square inches? You do the math. The gold could be 16oth of an ounce (worth 22¢ in 1958 but $8.75 or so today) and still fit this cover. That is when it is so thin light can shine through it.

And last but not least, Biblia Hebraica edited by Rudolf Kittel (1966)

Essentially an Old Testamment (Tanakh) written in the Hebrew (modern, I presume) language and alphabet. Read it from right to left.

What I’ve Been Working on the Last Two Weeks

What I’ve Been Working on the Last Two Weeks.

Hey all, go check out my latest! Sorry, it’s not the first installment of the much-promised series on the standing army in the United States. I am stalling on those still. No, it’s for the Thorpe-Freeman Blog Contest, and who knows, if they like it I may walk away with $250 (to be put to good use, I assure you), some subscribers for NOL, and a little name recognition.

Something like this is relatively hard for me to write because 1) there’s an actual deadline, 2) it’s got to be under 1000 words, 3) I have to riff off of a piece already in The Freeman, and 4) ideally, it should be better than standard fare. I gave it my best. Be sure to let me know what you think either here or at the article itself.

So, because it has to be under 1000 words, I couldn’t say all that I wanted to say unless I either dumbed it down or limited myself to just the more savory tidbits, leaving the readers to fill in the gaps on the rest, if they have any interest. In the piece I managed to drop enough names and ideas and book titles to where readers hopefully won’t be at a loss as to what to do. Most regular visitors to NOL and FEE likely wouldn’t need much direction anyways. Perhaps they would simply get some enjoyment out of the piece. After all, my little essay is a modest paean to the founder of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), the great Leonard Read.

An FYI for my Christian readers: Read, who died thirty years ago last week, was a dedicated member of the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles (don’t be so shocked at its current state, it’s in California after all!) and along with his pastor, the Rev. James W. Fifield, an opponent of the New Deal and the Social Gospel. Fifield was the founder of Spiritual Mobilization, Inc., which published Faith and Freedom. This monthly journal went on to have a profound impact on a young man called R. J. Rushdoony, the first Christian Reconstructionist. Just some food for thought.

My Driver’s Side Window was Smashed by a Vandal Friday Night

My Driver’s Side Window was Smashed by a Vandal Friday Night.

He stole some change, my insurance and registration papers, and my door pass for getting into where I work. On the bright side, it took me less than 24 hours and cost only $25 to get the glass replaced. I did all the labor myself. On the weekend. Using Craigslist.

So far, no one has offered me this condolence:

“It is an ill wind that blows nobody good. Everybody must live, and what would become of the glaziers if panes of glass were never broken?”

You think maybe they have been reading Bastiat?

A Conservative

A Conservative.

WHY I AM ONE

The bizarre bohemian bilge that plagues conventionally left-wing schools of thought, whether from Marx or Rawls or Chomsky, is just not for me. For the most part anyways. Since I’ve become more (this is an understatement; I have gone much farther than, say, Glenn Beck) of a libertarian (a classical liberal while socialists are usually just reverse reactionaries), I’ve learned to make some exceptions. This has tended to be more on the level of semi-reluctant tolerance than on that of open-armed embrace. Continue reading

Humanitarian Wars can be Unjust too

Humanitarian Wars can be Unjust too.

[Originally posted at Notes on Liberty]

If you hate evils committed by individuals as much as you hates evils committed by institutions, and vice versa, as I think most people who are even remotely libertarian — wait, no! remotely human! — do, does it truly follow that you must condone one in order to combat the other? Maybe it does, at least in the short term, in a place and time where relationships between all these things have been so distorted. In this case, the distortion is caused primarily by the monopolization of not only judicious force, but very nearly all force, initiative and responsive, at every level, by a single institution (with many manifestations and interlocking jurisdictions). If you haven’t guessed already, that institution is the state. Continue reading

Hating Energy Dependence, Not Loving Energy Independence

Hating Energy Dependence, Not Loving Energy Independence.

I worked on this piece on and off from November 30th to January 21st. I wrote the bulk of it on the first day, and most of the editing since then had been cosmetic. It is somewhat related to a project I was helping a friend with, although that is not the reason I wrote it. This piece originally appeared on January 21st at Notes on Liberty, where it was my first for that blog.

WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT ENERGY DEPENDENCE?

Contrary to what one might be led to think, energy independence need not be the opposite of energy (inter)dependence. Likewise, contrary to what many advocates of free markets and free trade will say, energy dependence (perhaps not their choice of words), is not a good thing. Energy interdependence certainly can be a good thing, but in today’s world I can’t agree that every instance of it always is. Continue reading