Archive for recommended books
I must recommend two important books for Libertarian Christians.
The first is Turn Neither to the Right Nor to the Left, by D. Eric Schansberg. This book was published in 2003 but I only recently saw a copy. Here is a great quote: “Human government is responsible for the most gruesome events in history.” The chapter on “Why Christians Shouldn’t Legislate Morality” is worth the price of the book. I don’t plan on reviewing the book since it came out so long ago, but I highly recommend it.
The other book is one that I really wanted to review: Blood Guilt: Christian Responses to America’s War on Terror, by Philip P. Kapusta. I read it and re-read it and took lots of notes, but I just wasn’t able to get a review written. The format is simply 37 essays in mostly chronological order written since Sept. 11, 2001, about various aspects of Christianity and war, often tied to current events. Because of the book’s format and the style of some of the essays, the book is somewhat hard to read. A very unusual and unique book. Here is a quote I used in a recent LRC article:
In fighting against these nations, the armies of Israel acted as God’s agents of wrath and were used to execute His judgments. The wars of Israel were always to be at God’s command, subject to His laws, and for the occupation and the defense of the Land of Promise. The children of Israel could only kill when killing in the name of God – that is, when killing in obedience to a direct mandate from God.
Unlike the children of Israel, who were brought out of Egypt and given a land of their own and provided with a set of laws to govern them within God’s divine kingdom, Christians have not been given a similar tract of land to defend or fight for. Neither have Christians been given a king upon earth who enforces God’s laws when violated.
The book can be purchased through Amazon. The book is specifically designed for Christians. Do I accept everything the author says in the book? No. But these things are in the minority. The essays on just war theory not being Christian are excellent. I highly recommend the book.
Tags: Book Reviews, christian libertarianism, recommended books
God created a remarkable world, a world where if you follow good ethics and work hard then the results are win-win for everyone. Whereas aggression always involves pillaging one person for the sake of another, voluntary interaction benefits all parties involved.
Skyler Collins has just released an edited volume of essays on “voluntaryism,” which is really just another way of saying that liberty ought to be the default in everything. The book is called Everything Voluntary, and it is available in full online for absolutely FREE. If you want a physical copy, you can get that too for $12 via Amazon’s CreateSpace.
I was blessed with the opportunity to preview the draft copy, and this is my endorsement of the book:
"Skyler Collins has assembled a great panoply of voluntaryist literature for the curious reader. From the basics of ethics to the details of parenting, these collected essays have the potential to change your entire perspective on life itself — for the better!"
I hope you’ll check it out and see if it challenges you in some small way, or educates you in the philosophy of liberty a little more.
Tags: Book Reviews, culture, libertarianism, recommended books, statism, voluntaryism
Review of Andrew Napolitano, It is Dangerous to be Right When the Government is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom (Thomas Nelson, 2011), 320 pp. Hardcover: $24.99 ($16.49 on Amazon.com).
I am long overdue to comment on what I sincerely believe to be one of the best new libertarian works from 2011, Judge Andrew Napolitano’s It is Dangerous to be Right When the Government is Wrong. To a great extent, I am tempted just to stop here and tell everybody to buy the book and read it immediately, but such would make me a very poor reviewer overall. The heroic host of FreedomWatch deserves better than that.
The prime beauty of Napolitano’s work is encapsulated in the Introduction, titled “Where do Our Rights Come From?” Napolitano takes his legal background as a judge and explains the natural law and natural rights (which he says are separate but related concepts) in an incredibly powerful way. He places the natural law and our rights as human beings in contradistinction with the fake “laws” that governments impose. The “legal positivism” philosophy, which says that whatever the state says is law, is denounced as a falsehood. What is more, Christians will clearly see Napolitano’s Christian faith (with a Catholic background) through his discussions of the origins of the natural law.
Napolitano continues in the “chapters” of the book working out this understanding of the eternal law, natural law, and natural rights, approaching a variety of topics including economic freedom and property rights, free speech, freedom of association, self-defense, freedom to travel and immigration, sound money, and doing what you want with your own body. Dealing with these topics is not novel, but what makes Napolitano’s explanation special is the data presented in the book. Example after example is provided that illustrate the principles in enlightening ways, and all the examples are backed up in the notes with websites, books, articles, and various other source materials.
The “Ride on Dr. Feinberg’s Bus” chapter, for instance, was particularly interesting to read. Napolitano poses a hypothetical situation for us to consider, a ride on the bus that becomes annoying and disgusting to the point of absurdity, but that none of the actions, however annoying they may be, can be considered criminal. Without getting too detailed with the specifics, Napolitano then explains why there must be a moral limit upon what kind of actions can be made illegal (hint: only aggressive behavior). Besides colorful examples, the statistics in the book are a terrific resource for future use. Indeed, I have already referenced this book a number of times when writing articles and discussing particular topics (namely, guns and health care) with my non-libertarian friends.
Part of what excites me about the book is that it is clearly targeting people who are questioning the government, but don’t know where to start building their philosophy of government. He says, “If there is any message that I hope to communicate in this book, it is that all of us should be constantly questioning the validity of our officials’ commands… We must stop obeying the unjust laws with which the government enslaves.” Napolitano has gone back to the basics and covers the gamut of personal liberty boldly and convincingly. This is not a new thing to do, but this book is special because it does so in a more accessible way to outsiders than I generally have the pleasure of reading. I cannot imagine someone from the left or right putting down the book and rejecting the fundamental claims about law and rights without understanding that by doing so they spurn all the benefits of Western civilization itself.
I do not know if this will be a book looked upon in a century as a timeless classic. However, this is a book whose time has come. In a day when so many of us do not understand what the basis of law is, Napolitano has provided an accessible book that will remind some, educate all, enlighten our way, and encourage many to take a strong stand against the tyranny of statism.
Interested in learning more? Check out the book at Amazon.com. Remember that you support the work of LibertarianChristians.com every time you make a purchase at Amazon for 24 hours after clicking an LCC link!
Tags: Book Reviews, free market, free society, government, justice, law, libertarianism, natural law, recommended books, rights
Let’s take a stroll today through something other than politics today. I recently read a book by Douglas Sean O’Donnell called The Beginning and End of Wisdom, and I thought you might like to hear about it. Becoming wise in the Lord is what every Christian aspires to do, and the Wisdom Literature in the Old Testament is a great way to start. Here is the review I posted on Amazon…
Understanding the Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job) is a difficult task at times. On the one hand, the messages are frequently simple to understand and clearly applicable to anyone at any stage of life. On the other hand, connecting this literature to Jesus in the New Testament is complex. O’Donnell’s book engages the reader to think differently about the Wisdom Literature and see Christ in ways that perhaps he or she has never considered before.
Tags: Bible, Book Reviews, morality, recommended books, theology, Wisdom Literature
Every year, I like to construct a list of some of the best books released in the past year and a few a others that are worth recommending at any time. Of course, this is my opinion, but if you’re looking for a gift for your libertarian loved one this Christmas season then perhaps you’ll give one of these books a go. So without further adieu, the Top 10 Libertarian Books for Christmas 2011!
1. It is Dangerous to Be Right When the Government is Wrong by Andrew Napolitano – The Judge, host of FreedomWatch on Fox Business, has put together an amazing book that analyzes a host of topics from the standpoint of natural law. I will be reviewing this book on LCC soon but I’m going to say it now – you need to read this book. The data and stories he presents in the book make it easily worth every penny and a well-deserved place on your (or anyone else’s) bookshelf.
2. Libertarianism Today by Jacob Huebert – This book was on the list last year, but it warrants another mention because you can get it at a significantly reduced price by purchasing directly from the publisher. Huebert’s book is definitely a must-read, and is one of the best recent books on hardcore libertarianism in the past few years. LCC writer Laurence Vance has called it, “The best introduction to libertarianism on the market.”
3. Bourbon for Breakfast and It’s a Jetsons World by Jeffrey Tucker – Check out the LCC review of Bourbon for Breakfast, and you’ll see that it is a super read for anyone looking to circumvent statist restrictions upon their lives. Tucker’s followup work tells exciting stories of the little everyday miracles of the free market at work.
5. Rollback by Thomas Woods – I am a huge fan of Tom Woods and have known him for over 5 years now. His latest book makes an eloquent case for dismantling pretty much everything the government currently does today.
6. Great Wars and Great Leaders by Ralph Raico – Leaders who take a country to war are often heralded as “great,” but the libertarian perspective dispenses such ideas as folly. War is the health of the state and the enemy of liberty, and Raico’s historical work is great ammunition in the war of ideas that we fight daily.
7. Myth of a Guilty Nation by Albert Jay Nock – This is an old book newly reprinted by the Mises Institute, and I’m excited to see it available again (because I’m a big fan of Nock and haven’t ever read this one). From the Mises.org description: “Nock’s book reminds us of what most everyone has forgotten, namely, that this was sold as a war for freedom and self-determination over imperial ambition. Along with that came some of the most rabid war propaganda ever fabricated until that point in time, all designed to make Germany into a devil nation. Nock’s brave book took on that idea and demonstrated that there was fault enough to go around on all sides. All through the 1920s, a Nockian-style retelling of the facts behind the war led to a dramatic shift in public opinion against World War I.” Awesome!
8. The Bastiat Collection Pocket Edition by Frederic Bastiat – If you haven’t read Bastiat’s The Law, you need to get on that immediately! This book contains all the major works of Bastiat in a very small volume, and makes a great gift.
9. Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt – Need to learn a little more about economics? Start with the classic by Hazlitt, and never forget the first lesson again…
10. Christian Theology of Public Policy and Bible and Government by John Cobin – I would be remiss to write a book list on LCC and not mention the excellent work of John Cobin, especially in this volume. As Christian libertarians, these are must reads, and don’t forget to check out Cobin’s free Christian Theology of Public Policy Short Course series on LCC!
Check out other Top 10 book lists and book reviews on LCC for more ideas, and remember that every time you shop at Amazon.com through a LibertarianChristians.com link you are supporting the work of LCC! Thanks!
Tags: Book Reviews, economics, history, politics, recommended books, theology