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books about Libertarianism
America's Way Back: Reclaiming Freedom, Tradition, and Constitution
Donald J. Devine
Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2013
Library of Congress JK31.D48 2012 | Dewey Decimal 320.512
“The solution for the modern GOP . . . This book provides plenty of intellectual ammunition for the modern conservative movement.” —SENATOR RAND PAUL
How can America recover from economic stagnation, moral exhaustion, and looming bankruptcy? Donald J. Devine shows the way.
Devine, a longtime adviser to Ronald Reagan, lays out a powerful case for the philosophical synthesis of freedom and tradition that Reagan said was the essence of modern conservatism. The secret of America’s success, he shows, has been the Constitution’s capacity to harmonize the twin ideals of freedom and tradition. But today, progressivism has so corrupted modern political thinking—in both parties—that leaders keep calling for the same failed tactics: more money poured into more big-government programs.
In America’s Way Back, Devine not only reveals where things went wrong, and why, but also points the way to reclaiming America’s freedom, prosperity, and creativity. The solution lies in a new “fusion” of traditional and libertarian thought.
Devine debunks the common view that marrying the two is nothing more than political calculation. He shows that without a deep philosophical commitment to harmonizing freedom and tradition, neither of these ideals can long survive.
In making the case for twenty-first-century fusionism, America’s Way Back updates the insights of Frank Meyer, the theorist Reagan specifically credited with “fashioning a vigorous synthesis of traditional and libertarian thought.“ Devine shows that, just as the fusionism of Meyer and William F. Buckley Jr. led to the conservative revival in the 1960s, a new harmony between freedom and tradition will revive America today.
“Prepare for enlightenment. . . . The [story] that Mr. Devine narrates aptly, informatively, is engaging as a summons to look around, look back, ask the vital question: Are conservatives doing the very, very best they can?” —Washington Times
“Intellectual yet highly readable . . . Devine has plenty of such instructive analysis and anecdotes to bolster his points. . . . You will learn about concepts your university should have introduced to you, only now via Devine’s graceful writing, incisive analysis, instructive anecdotes, and a plan to restore America’s greatness.” —Human Events
“The timing is right for [Devine’s] new book America’s Way Back. It lays out the course for a conservative intellectual renewal, to renew the nation by renewing her best traditions. . . . Reagan had a heckuva lieutenant in Don Devine. It is good to see him now mentoring the next generation of conservative leaders.” —L. Brent Bozell III, syndicated columnist, president of the Media Research Center
“A tour-de-force critique . . . We need to listen to people like Devine who are calling us back to a simpler, less complicated system of governance that allows decisions to be made at the local and state levels. If we don’t listen, if we just doggedly insist that the solution is to re-order, reform and re-imagine our failed programs, then we’ll end up going the way of the Titanic.” —Floyd Brown, Capitol Hill Daily
“A brilliant analysis of the major factors that have contributed to our nation’s decline. A very timely effort on perhaps the most critical issue of our time.” —George W. Carey, professor of government, Georgetown University
“A marvelous book. Read America’s Way Back if you fear ignorance and celebrate righteous, moral, intellectual knowledge.” —Craig Shirley, author of Rendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign That Changed America
Anarchism Volume One: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas, Volume One – From Anarchy to Anarchism
Edited by Robert Graham
Black Rose Books, 2005
Library of Congress HX826.A47 2005 | Dewey Decimal 335.83
Click here for orders in the UK & Europe.
Volume One of Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas is a comprehensive and far-ranging collection of anarchist writings from the classical era to 1939. Edited and introduced by noted anarchist scholar Robert Graham, this incomparable volume includes the definitive texts from the anarchist tradition of political thought. It deals both with the positive ideas and proposals the anarchists tried to put into practice and with their critiques of the authoritarian theories and practices confronting them.
ROBERT GRAHAM has written extensively on the history of anarchist ideas. He is the author of "The Role of Contract in Anarchist Ideology," in For Anarchism, edited by David Goodway, and he wrote the introduction to the 1989 edition of Proudhon's General Idea of the Revolution in the 19th Century, originally published in 1851. He has been doing research and writing on the historical development of anarchist ideas for over 20 years and is a well respected commentator in the field.
"Robert Graham is an outstanding scholar of anarchism and has made an exceptionally stimulating choice of texts: some familiar, others--especially those from East Asia--entirely unknown to me. The publication of this first instalment of what promises to be a notable anthology is an important event for anarchists." - David Goodway, Anarchist Historian, University of Leeds, UK
"Will definitely meet the need for a comprehensive study of all the strands, ideas and themes of anarchist and libertarian thought." - Stuart Christie, Anarchist Writer/Publisher
"An excellent and long-overdue anthology of anarchist writings. It shows the depth, diversity and relevance of anarchist thought and action. Highly recommended." - Peter Marshall, Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism
"This judicious collection is admirable in its chronological, geographical, and thematic range. There is nothing comparable in presenting anarchist and libertarian responses both to the challenges of theory and to those of practices forged in the fires of historical crises." - Wayne Thorpe, The Workers Themselves: Revolutionary Syndicalism and International Labour, 1913-1923
"Admirably displays the range and inventiveness of anarchist approaches." - Colin Ward, Anarchism: A Very Short Introduction and Anarchy in Action
Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1: EARLY TEXTS ON SERVITUDE AND FREEDOM
1. Bao Jingyan: Neither Lord Nor Subject (300 C.E.)
2. Etienne de la Boetie: On Voluntary Servitude (1552)
3. Gerrard Winstanley: The New Law of Righteousness (1649)
CHAPTER 2: ENLIGHTENMENT AND REVOLUTION
4. William Godwin: Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793-97)
5. Jean Varlet: The Explosion (1794)
6. Sylvain Maréchal: Manifesto of the Equals (1796)
CHAPTER 3: INDUSTRIALIZATION AND THE EMERGENCE OF SOCIALISM
7. Charles Fourier: Attractive Labour (1822-37)
8. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: What is Property (1840)
9. Proudhon: The System of Economic Contradictions (1846)
CHAPTER 4: REVOLUTIONARY IDEAS AND ACTION
10. Michael Bakunin, The Reaction in Germany (1842)
11. Max Stirner: The Ego and Its Own (1844)
12. Proudhon: The General Idea of the Revolution (1851)
13. Anselme Bellegarrigue: Anarchy is Order (1850)
14. Joseph Déjacque: The Revolutionary Question (1854)
15. Francisco Pi y Margall: Reaction and Revolution (1854)
16. Carlo Pisacane: On Revolution (1857)
17. Joseph Déjacque: On Being Human (1857)
CHAPTER 5: THE ORIGINS OF THE ANARCHIST MOVEMENT AND THE INTERNATIONAL
18. Proudhon: On Federalism (1863/65)
19. Statutes of the First International (1864-1866)
20. Bakunin: Socialism and the State (1867)
21. Bakunin: Program of the International Brotherhood (1868)
22. Bakunin: What is the State (1869)
23. Bakunin: The Illusion of Universal Suffrage (1870)
24. Bakunin: On Science and Authority (1871)
CHAPTER 6: THE CONFLICT IN THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL
25. Bakunin: The Organization of the International (1871)
26. The Sonvillier Circular (1871)
27. The St. Imier Congress (1872)
CHAPTER 7: THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR AND THE PARIS COMMUNE
28. Bakunin: Letters to a Frenchman on the Present Crisis (1870)
29. Bakunin: The Paris Commune and the Idea of the State (1871)
30. Louise Michel: In Defence of the Commune (1871)
31. Peter Kropotkin: The Paris Commune (1881)
CHAPTER 8: ANARCHIST COMMUNISM
32. Carlo Cafiero: Anarchy and Communism (1880)
33. Kropotkin: The Conquest of Bread (1892)
34. Kropotkin: Fields, Factories and Workshops (1898)
35. Luigi Galleani: The End of Anarchism (1907)
CHAPTER 9: ANARCHY AND ANARCHISM
36. José Llunas Pujols: What is Anarchy (1882)
37. Charlotte Wilson: Anarchism (1886)
38. Élisée Reclus: Anarchy (1894)
39. Jean Grave: Moribund Society and Anarchy (1893)
40. Gustav Landauer: Anarchism in Germany (1895)
41. Kropotkin: On Anarchism (1896)
42. E. Armand: Mini-Manual of the Anarchist Individualist (1911)
CHAPTER 10: PROPAGANDA BY THE DEED
43. Paul Brousse: Propaganda By the Deed (1877)
44. Carlo Cafiero: Action (1880)
45. Kropotkin: Expropriation (1885)
46. Jean Grave: Means and Ends (1893)
47. Leo Tolstoy: On Non-violent Resistance (1900)
48. Errico Malatesta: Violence as a Social Factor (1895)
49. Gustav Landauer: Destroying the State by Creating Socialism (1910/15)
50. Voltairine de Cleyre: Direct Action (1912)
CHAPTER 11: LAW AND MORALITY
51. William Godwin: Of Law (1797)
52. Kropotkin: Law and Authority (1886)
53. Errico Malatesta: The Duties of the Present Hour (1894)
54. Kropotkin: Mutual Aid (1902) and Anarchist Morality (1890)
CHAPTER 12: ANARCHO-SYNDICALISM
55. The Pittsburgh Proclamation (1883)
56. Fernand Pelloutier: Anarchism and the Workers' Unions (1895)
57. Antonio Pellicer Paraire: The Organization of Labour (1900)
58. The Workers' Federation of the Uruguayan Region (FORU): Declarations from the 3rd Congress (1911)
59. Emma Goldman: On Syndicalism (1913)
60. Pierre Monatte and Errico Malatesta: Syndicalism - For and Against (1907)
CHAPTER 13: ART AND ANARCHY
61. Oscar Wilde: The Soul of Man Under Socialism (1891)
62. Bernard Lazare: Anarchy and Literature (1894)
63. Jean Grave: The Artist as Equal, Not Master (1899)
CHAPTER 14: ANARCHY AND EDUCATION
64. Bakunin: Integral Education (1869)
65. Francisco Ferrer: The Modern School (1908)
66. Sébastien Faure: Libertarian Education (1910)
CHAPTER 15: WOMEN, LOVE AND MARRIAGE
67. Bakunin: Against Patriarchal Authority (1873)
68. Louise Michel: Women's Rights (1886)
69. Carmen Lareva: Free Love (1896)
70. Emma Goldman: Marriage (1897), Prostitution and Love (1910)
CHAPTER 16: THE MEXICAN REVOLUTION
71. Voltairine de Cleyre: The Mexican Revolution (1911)
72. Praxedis Guerrero: To Die On Your Feet (1910)
73. Ricardo Flores Magón: Land and Liberty (1911-1918)
CHAPTER 17: WAR AND REVOLUTION IN EUROPE
74. Élisée Reclus: Evolution and Revolution (1891)
75. Tolstoy: Compulsory Military Service (1893)
76. Jean Grave: Against Militarism and Colonialism (1893)
77. Élisée Reclus: The Modern State (1905)
78. Otto Gross: Overcoming Cultural Crisis (1913)
79. Gustav Landauer: For Socialism (1911)
80. Malatesta: Anarchists Have Forgotten Their Principles (1914)
81. International Anarchist Manifesto Against War (1915)
82. Emma Goldman: The Road to Universal Slaughter (1915)
CHAPTER 18: THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION
83. Gregory Maksimov: The Soviets (1917)
84. All-Russian Conference of Anarcho-Syndicalists: Resolution on Trade Unions and Factory Committees (1918)
85. Manifestos of the Makhnovist Movement (1920)
86. Peter Arshinov: The Makhnovshchina and Anarchism (1921)
87. Voline: The Unknown Revolution (1947)
88. Alexander Berkman: The Bolshevik Myth (1925)
89. Emma Goldman: The Transvaluation of Values (1923)
CHAPTER 19: ANARCHISM IN LATIN AMERICA
90. Comrades of the Chaco: Anarchist Manifesto (1892)
91. Manuel González Prada: Our Indians (1904)
92. Rafael Barrett: Striving for Anarchism (1909/10)
93. Teodoro Antilli: Class Struggle and Social Struggle (1924)
94. López Arango and Abad de Santillán: Anarchism in the Labour Movement (1925)
95. The American Continental Workers' Association (1929)
CHAPTER 20: CHINESE ANARCHISM
96. He Zhen: Women's Liberation (1907)
97. Chu Minyi: Universal Revolution (1907)
98. Wu Zhihui: Education as Revolution (1908)
99. Shifu: Goals and Methods of the Anarchist-Communist Party (1914)
100. Huang Lingshuang: Writings on Evolution, Freedom and Marxism (1917-29)
101. Li Pei Kan (Ba Jin): On Theory and Practice (1921-1927)
CHAPTER 21: ANARCHISM IN JAPAN AND KOREA
102. Kôtoku Shûsui: Letter from Prison (1910)
103. Ôsugi Sakae: Social Idealism (1920)
104. Itô Noe: The Facts of Anarchy (1921)
105. Shin Chaeho: Declaration of the Korean Revolution (1923)
106. Hatta Shûzô: On Syndicalism (1927)
107. Kubo Yuzuru: On Class Struggle and the Daily Struggle (1928)
108. The Talhwan: What We Advocate (1928)
109. Takamure Itsue: A Vision of Anarchist Love (1930)
110. Japanese Libertarian Federation: What To Do About War (1931)
CHAPTER 22: THE INTERWAR YEARS
111. Gustav Landauer: Revolution of the Spirit (1919)
112. Errico Malatesta: An Anarchist Program (1920)
113. Luigi Fabbri: Fascism: The Preventive Counter-Revolution (1921)
114. The IWA: Declaration of the Principles of Revolutionary Syndicalism (1922)
115. The Platform and its Critics (1926-27)
116. Voline: Anarchist Synthesis
117. Alexander Berkman: The ABC of Communist Anarchism (1927)
118. Marcus Graham: Against the Machine (1934)
119. Wilhelm Reich and the Mass Psychology of Fascism (1935)
120. Bart de Ligt: The Conquest of Violence (1937)
121. Rudolf Rocker: Nationalism and Culture (1937)
CHAPTER 23: THE SPANISH REVOLUTION
122. Félix Martí Ibáñez: The Sexual Revolution (1934)
123. Lucía Sánchez Saornil: The Question of Feminism (1935)
124. The CNT: Resolutions from the Zaragoza Congress (1936)
125. Diego Abad de Santillán: The Libertarian Revolution (1937)
126. Gaston Leval: Libertarian Democracy
127. Albert Jensen: The CNT-FAI, the State and Government (1938)
128. Diego Abad de Santillán: A Return to Principle (1938)
CHAPTER 24: EPILOGUE AND PROLOGUE TO VOLUME 2
129. Emma Goldman: A Life Worth Living (1934)
130. Herbert Read: Poetry and Anarchism (1938)
131. Malatesta: Toward Anarchy
2005: 536 pages, bibliography and index
Stephen Darwall, Editor
University of Michigan Press, 1995
Library of Congress JC585.E675 1995 | Dewey Decimal 323.44
and libertarian are frequently seen as opposing political labels. These two views and their oppositions are the topic of this collection of important essays by an exceptionally distinguished group of thinkers. Each was originally given as one of the lectures in the Tanner Lectures on Human Values series. This collection of essays can be read as a critique of libertarianism. A libertarian, in contemporary discussion, is one who supports no more than a minimal state—a government that protects individuals from assault, murder, theft, and other invasions of their "Lockean" rights but otherwise does not interfere with voluntary economic or personal activity. Egalitarian, on the other hand, generally refers to someone who is prepared to favor such interference if it is necessary to reduce substantial inequalities of certain kinds and if, perhaps, it is democratically authorized. Several of the essays, those of John Rawls, T. M. Scanlon, G. A. Cohen, and Ronald Dworkin, advance different versions of this liberal egalitarian line of argument. Each maintains that the ideas of freedom and equality are part of a fundamental justificatory ideal from which any rights-specifying norms, including those of libertarianism, would have to be derived. Each proposes a distinctive vision of this fundamental ideal. And each argues, on this basis, for egalitarian moral or political principles. Amartya Sen's essay can also be placed within a broadly liberal egalitarian tradition, although it is less an argument for substantive equality (and against libertarianism) than a discussion of what form a reasonable egalitarianism might take. Quentin Skinner directly criticizes libertarianism in ways that arguably tend to support egalitarianism, although this is not his primary aim.
Illiberal Justice: John Rawls vs. the American Political Tradition
David Lewis Schaefer
University of Missouri Press, 2007
Library of Congress JC574.S32 2007 | Dewey Decimal 320.510973
Often considered the greatest American political philosopher of the twentieth century, and the most important liberal theorist since John Stuart Mill, John Rawls enjoys a practically sacrosanct status among scholars of political theory, law, and ethics. In Illiberal Justice, David Schaefer offers the most thorough challenge to Rawls’s doctrine yet published, demonstrating how his teachings deviate from the core tradition of constitutional liberalism as exemplified by leading American statesmen from the founders through Lincoln and beyond.
Illiberal Justice is the first comprehensive overview of all of Rawls’s writings, emphasizing the continuity in his thought and intention to a greater extent than other scholars have done. Schaefer offers a fundamental critique of both Rawls’s conception of political philosophy and the policy judgments he derives from his “principles of justice.” Schaefer argues that Rawls’s failure to ground his teaching about justice in a serious analysis of human nature or an empirical grasp of political life is symptomatic of a larger crisis within contemporary liberal political and jurisprudential theorizing.
Although Rawls is commonly viewed as a welfare-state liberal, Schaefer stresses that his writings actually embody a radical transformation of liberalism in the direction of libertarianism that deviates sharply from the American liberal tradition. Citing empirical evidence of the persistence of political and economic opportunity in America, Schaefer challenges Rawls’s allegations that our polity suffers from grave injustices. He points out the strikingly apocalyptic tone of Rawls’s last writings, in which Rawls even questions whether human existence is worthwhile if his principles are not actualized.
Illiberal Justice is not only a critique of Rawls’s political program and philosophic methodology, it is also a defense of the American constitutional order against Rawls’s dogmatic theorizing, which Schaefer argues has exercised an increasing, and detrimental, effect on our jurisprudence. By combining a thorough critical exegesis of Rawls’s texts with a broad engagement with the tradition of political philosophy and American political thought, Schaefer makes an important contribution to both our understanding of Rawls and the enterprise of political philosophy.
Leave Me Alone and I'll Make You Rich: How the Bourgeois Deal Enriched the World
Deirdre Nansen McCloskey and Art Carden
University of Chicago Press, 2020
Library of Congress HC51.M396 2020 | Dewey Decimal 330.12209
The economist and historian Deirdre Nansen McCloskey has been best known recently for her Bourgeois Era trilogy, a vigorous defense, unrivaled in scope, of commercially tested betterment. Its massive volumes, The Bourgeois Virtues, Bourgeois Dignity,
and Bourgeois Equality,
solve Adam Smith’s puzzle of the nature and causes of the wealth of nations, and of the moral sentiments of modernity. The world got rich, she argues, not chiefly by material causes but by an idea and a sentiment, a new admiration for the middle class and its egalitarian liberalism.
For readers looking for a distillation of McCloskey’s magisterial work, Leave Me Alone and I’ll Make You Rich
is what you’ve been waiting for. In this lively volume, McCloskey and the economist and journalist Carden bring together the trilogy’s key ideas and its most provocative arguments. The rise of the west, and now the rest, is the story of the rise of ordinary people to a dignity and liberty inspiring them to have a go. The outcome was an explosion of innovation after 1800, and a rise of real income by an astounding 3,000 percent. The Great Enrichment, well beyond the conventional Industrial Revolution, did not, McCloskey and Carden show, come from the usual suspects, capital accumulation or class struggle. It came from the idea of economic liberty in Holland and the Anglosphere, then Sweden and Japan, then Italy and Israel and China and India, an idea that bids fair in the next few generations to raise up the wretched of the earth. The original shift to liberalism arose from 1517 to 1789 from theological and political revolutions in northwest Europe, upending ancient hierarchies. McCloskey and Carden contend further that liberalism and “innovism” made us better humans as well as richer ones. Not matter but ideas. Not corruption but improvement.
Leave Me Alone and I’ll Make You Rich
draws in entertaining fashion on history, economics, literature, philosophy, and popular culture, from growth theory to the Simpsons. It is the perfect introduction for a broad audience to McCloskey’s influential explanation of how we got rich. At a time when confidence in the economic system is under challenge, the book mounts an optimistic and persuasive defense of liberal innovism, and of the modern world it has wrought.
The Mystery of Fascism: David Ramsay Steele's Greatest Hits
David Ramsay Steele
St. Augustine's Press, 2019
Library of Congress JA66.S7825 2019 | Dewey Decimal 320
David Ramsay Steele, PhD, is a libertarian writer with a powerful underground reputation for producing caustic, entertaining, knowledgeable, and surprising arguments, often violently at odds with conventional thinking. For the first time, some of Dr. Steele’s “greatest hits” have been brought together in an anthology of provocative essays on a wide range of topics. The essays are divided into two parts, “More Popular than Scholarly” and “More Scholarly than Popular.”
“Scott Adams and the Pinocchio Fallacy,” Steele’s 2018 refutation of the popular claim that we might be living in a “simulated reality,” has been hailed as a totally irresistible debunking of that fallacy as promoted by The Matrix movie and by Scott Adams (among many pundits).
“What Follows from the Non-Existence of Mental Illness?” (2017) preserves the crucial insights of “psychiatric abolitionist” Thomas Szasz, while exposing Szasz’s major misconceptions.
In “The Bigotry of the New Atheism” (2014), Steele, himself an atheist, brings out the intolerant quality of the “New Atheists.” Steele powerfully argues that while “enthusiastic belief systems” may give rise to enormous atrocities, the historical evidence goes against the theory (promoted by Harris, Dawkins, and Hitchens) that these appalling outcomes are more likely when those belief systems include belief in God.
“Taking the JFK Assassination Conspiracy Seriously” (2003) has been reprinted many times, continues to be viewed online many thousands of times, and like many of Steele’s writings, keeps making converts. It is acknowledged to be the most persuasive brief popular statement of the Lone Nut theory.
“The Mystery of Fascism” (2001), which gives this collection its title, is still continually viewed and cited, for its demonstration that fascism arose directly out of far-left revolutionary Marxism and revolutionary syndicalism. Conventional ideologues of both right and left have been provoked by this highly readable piece to start thinking outside the box.
The earliest piece in this collection, “Alice in Wonderland” (1987) is a devastating critique of the Ayn Rand belief system and the Ayn Rand cult.
“Gambling Is Productive and Rational” (1997), mercilessly strips away the loose thinking which favors intolerance and prohibition of gambling. Steele argues that gambling adds to human well-being and ought to be completely legalized everywhere.
Other topics include the recovered memory witch hunt of the 1990s, the benefits of replacing democratic voting with selection of political positions by lottery, the unexpected results of research into the causes of human happiness, the reasons why Dexter (a TV show sympathetic to a psychotic serial killer) was politically “safe,” why economic growth can go on for ever, why the most popular moral argument against eating meat just doesn’t work, how Hillary Clinton could have won the presidency in 2016, why Friedrich Hayek is wrong about social evolution, the inevitable disappearance of market socialism, Robert Nozick’s muddled thinking about economics, and the proper way to view anti-consensus theories such as the Atkins Diet.
Non-Design: Architecture, Liberalism, and the Market
University of Chicago Press, 2021
Library of Congress NA680.F62 2021 | Dewey Decimal 720.9730904
Anthony Fontenot’s staggeringly ambitious book uncovers the surprisingly libertarian heart of the most influential British and American architectural and urbanist discourses of the postwar period, expressed as a critique of central design and a support of spontaneous order. Non-Design
illuminates the unexpected philosophical common ground between enemies of state support, most prominently the economist Friedrich Hayek, and numerous notable postwar architects and urbanists like Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, Reyner Banham, and Jane Jacobs. These thinkers espoused a distinctive concept of "non-design,"characterized by a rejection of conscious design and an embrace of various phenomenon that emerge without intention or deliberate human guidance. This diffuse and complex body of theories discarded many of the cultural presuppositions of the time, shunning the traditions of modern design in favor of the wisdom, freedom, and self-organizing capacity of the market. Fontenot reveals the little-known commonalities between the aesthetic deregulation sought by ostensibly liberal thinkers and Hayek’s more controversial conception of state power, detailing what this unexplored affinity means for our conceptions of political liberalism. Non-Design
thoroughly recasts conventional views of postwar architecture and urbanism, as well as liberal and libertarian philosophies.
The Perversion of Autonomy: Coercion and Constraints in a Liberal Society, Revised and Expanded Edition
Willard Gaylin and Bruce Jennings
Georgetown University Press, 2003
Library of Congress JC599.U5G36 2003 | Dewey Decimal 320.512
Modern psychological and political theory meet head-on in this powerful re-evaluation of America's contradictory and sometimes dangerous addiction to individualism. Best-selling author Gaylin and co-author Jennings investigate the contentious intersections of interdependence and autonomy, rights and public responsibility. They examine the painful abrasion occurring between America's tradition of personal freedom and privacy, as it rubs against the still valuable if almost vanishing ideals of sacrifice and social order.
Our current culture of autonomy—championed by both liberals on the left and libertarians on the right—is based on the idea of rationality as the motivation for human conduct. But, as the authors remind us, people are not simply rational creatures—appeals to emotions are always far more effective than logical argument in changing our behavior.
This timely edition includes a new preface; updated examples and illustrations throughout; and new coverage of contemporary social critics and their work since the publication of the first edition. Two essential new chapters, one on the movement to forgo life-sustaining treatment and the other on physician-assisted suicide, particularly clarify the authors' arguments. Drawing on these and numerous other illustrations—with significant emphasis on the state of American health care—Gaylin and Jennings demonstrate that society has not just the right but the duty to occasionally invoke fear, shame, and guilt in order to motivate humane behavior.
As cases of AIDS are once again on the upswing, as the dangerously mentally ill are allowed to wander free and untreated, as starvation and poverty still hold too many in its grip in the richest nation on the planet, this controversial book, considerably revised and expanded, is needed more than ever. If we are to indeed preserve and nurture a genuinely free—and liberal—society, the authors suggest that these "coercions" may be essential for the health and the maturity of a nation where we all too often avert our eyes, not seeing that our neighbor is in pain or trouble and needs our help.
The Politics of Bitcoin: Software as Right-Wing Extremism
University of Minnesota Press, 2016
Since its introduction in 2009, Bitcoin has been widely promoted as a digital currency that will revolutionize everything from online commerce to the nation-state. Yet supporters of Bitcoin and its blockchain technology subscribe to a form of cyberlibertarianism that depends to a surprising extent on far-right political thought. The Politics of Bitcoin exposes how much of the economic and political thought on which this cryptocurrency is based emerges from ideas that travel the gamut, from Milton Friedman, F.A. Hayek, and Ludwig von Mises to Federal Reserve conspiracy theorists.
Forerunners: Ideas First is a thought-in-process series of breakthrough digital publications. Written between fresh ideas and finished books, Forerunners draws on scholarly work initiated in notable blogs, social media, conference plenaries, journal articles, and the synergy of academic exchange. This is gray literature publishing: where intense thinking, change, and speculation take place in scholarship.
Weapon of Choice: Fighting Gun Violence While Respecting Gun Rights
Ian Ayres and Fredrick E. Vars
Harvard University Press, 2020
Library of Congress HV7436.A96 2020 | Dewey Decimal 363.330973
How ordinary Americans, frustrated by the legal and political wrangling over the Second Amendment, can fight for reforms that will both respect gun owners’ rights and reduce gun violence.
Efforts to reduce gun violence in the United States face formidable political and constitutional barriers. Legislation that would ban or broadly restrict firearms runs afoul of the Supreme Court’s current interpretation of the Second Amendment. And gun rights advocates have joined a politically savvy firearms industry in a powerful coalition that stymies reform.
Ian Ayres and Fredrick Vars suggest a new way forward. We can decrease the number of gun deaths, they argue, by empowering individual citizens to choose common-sense gun reforms for themselves. Rather than ask politicians to impose one-size-fits-all rules, we can harness a libertarian approach—one that respects and expands individual freedom and personal choice—to combat the scourge of gun violence.
Ayres and Vars identify ten policies that can be immediately adopted at the state level to reduce the number of gun-related deaths without affecting the rights of gun owners. For example, Donna’s Law, a voluntary program whereby individuals can choose to restrict their ability to purchase or possess firearms, can significantly decrease suicide rates. Amending red flag statutes, which allow judges to restrict access to guns when an individual has shown evidence of dangerousness, can give police flexible and effective tools to keep people safe. Encouraging the use of unlawful possession petitions can help communities remove guns from more than a million Americans who are legally disqualified from owning them. By embracing these and other new forms of decentralized gun control, the United States can move past partisan gridlock and save lives now.