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Land of Promise

What would a country founded by Christians on libertarian principles look like? James Wesley Rawles endeavors to provide an answer to this question in his latest work, Land of Promise. I received an advance copy of the book in exchange…

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Ending the War on Drugs

Review of Dean Becker, To End the War on Drugs: A Guide for Politicians, the Press, and the Public (DTN Media, 2014), iv + 337 pgs., paperback.

It was a hundred years ago this month that Congress enacted the Harrison Narcotics Act to make the importation, manufacturing, sale, and distribution of cocaine and opiates illegal without being registered with the Bureau of Internal Revenue, recording each transaction, and paying an annual tax and licensing fee. This was the federal government’s first major salvo in the war on drugs.

Dean Becker has just launched his own salvo, but in the opposite direction. He is a man on a mission—a mission to end the drug war. His new book, To End the War on Drugs, will tell you why Bush drug czar John Walters refused not only to consent to an interview, but to even talk to the author.

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Can Ayn Rand and Christianity hold a civil conversation? A review of “The Soul of Atlas”

soul-of-atlasBook review of The Soul of Atlas by Mark Henderson. 2013 Reason Publishing, 246 pages.

Although libertarians have been known to say that it usually begins with Ayn Rand, Christians – especially Christian libertarians – have varying views of Rand and the objectivist philosophy. Even here at LCC, we have published both positive and negative viewpoints on Rand.

I was immediately interested when Mark Henderson contacted me about his recently published book The Soul of Atlas. Mark’s utmost desire in the book is to show that Christianity and objectivism have some common ground, and that this common ground is a great place to start a conversation where one can learn from the other. Mark accomplishes this goal through a survey of fundamental tenets of both philosophies and an intensely personal autobiographical presentation of himself.

Mark grew up in a Christian home, but his faith was rocked when his parents divorced. His mother remarried to objectivist John Aglialoro. His father also eventually remarried, but remained a Christian. During his teenage and young adult years, he describes the evolution of his personal philosophy as deeply affected by his “two fathers.” He struggled with his faith in God for multiple reasons, not the least of which were the things he was learning from John about Rand and objectivism. To make matters worse, he was also diagnosed with cancer as a teenager. Mark spent years working out what he believed, and the Soul of Atlas shows a sensitivity to these disparate viewpoints that one rarely sees from either side. His personal experiences with his “two fathers” allow him to put forward a unique perspective.

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Sow It Everywhere

Review of Martin A. Lee, Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana—Medical, Recreational, and Scientific (Scribner, 2012), vii + 519 pgs., hardcover.

Although I don’t use marijuana for medical, recreational, or scientific purposes, I highly recommend this book to every reader no matter how he wants to use or not use marijuana or what he thinks about the ethics and morality of marijuana use and the medical effectiveness and therapeutic benefits of marijuana.

I know that I am putting things backward. A reviewer’s endorsement of a book is usually implied during the course of a review and certainly stated in no uncertain terms at the end of the review. But this book is so good, so important, and so necessary that I am stating right up front that if you never read anything ever again about the war on drugs, including my book, The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom, or anything I have written about the federal war on marijuana or hemp, and even including the rest of this review, this is the one book that you must read. It is the most important book ever written about marijuana.

Although it is a well-written and engaging book, Smoke Signals is not an easy read. First of all, it is over 500 pages. Even not counting the index, acknowledgments, notes, bibliography, and appendices, it is still over 400 pages. You will not read this book in an afternoon. Because of so many other reading and writing commitments, I actually read the book over the course of many months. But I assure you that it will be worth the time you put into reading it. The second reason it is not an easy read is because, for all but the most intransigent liberal or conservative statist, the reader will early on find the federal war on drugs, and especially marijuana, to be so bizarre, unnecessary, so perplexing, so asinine, and so evil that it is sometimes hard to keep reading without slamming the book shut and pulling out your hair.

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