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The following is an additional list of books that I personally recommend. If any of my recommendation overlap those already recommended above, then I'd say that's all the more evidence of how important those books are. But since nobody visits the Classic Liberal for standard fare ... this list should be no exception.
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If you don't understand economics, there's no point in arguing politics. The following economics books are very highly recommend.
The Mainspring of Human Progress provides an overview of the central importance of human freedom in liberating people from poverty, famine, and death. It is striking how the author continues to remind the reader that the “state of nature” is not a blissful oneness with the creator and creation but rather a grim poverty and struggle for survival.
Free PDF Version: The Mainspring of Human Progress
Thomas Woods Jr. Woods provides an easy to read, free-market, conservative analysis of the financial collapse of 2008–09. He explains what led up to the current economic crisis, who's really to blame (Federal Reserve System), and why government bailouts won't work. Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse is a book for everyone concerned about how the financial crisis impacts them as well as to business leaders and investors wishing to be more knowledgeable about the crisis.
If not socialism, and if not fascism or interventionism, what form of social arrangements are most conducive to human flourishing? Mises's answer is summed up in the title, by which he meant classical liberalism.
"The program of liberalism, therefore, if condensed into a single word, would have to read: property, that is, private ownership of the means of production... All the other demands of liberalism result from his fundamental demand."
Free PDF Version: Liberalism
The most powerful case against the American central bank ever written. This work begins with a mini-treatment of money and banking theory, and then plunges right in with the real history of the Federal Reserve System. Rothbard covers the struggle between competing elites and how they converged with the Fed.
Rothbard calls for the abolition of the central bank and a restoration of the gold standard. His popular treatment incorporates the best and most up-to-date scholarship on the Fed's origins and effects.
Free PDF Version: The Case Against the Fed
In this timely new P.I. Guide, Murphy reveals the stark truth: free market failure didn't cause the Great Depression and the New Deal didn't cure it. Shattering myths and politically correct lies, he tells why World War II didn t help the economy or get us out of the Great Depression; why it took FDR to make the Depression Great; and why Herbert Hoover was more like Obama and less like Bush than the liberal media would have you believe. Free-market believers and capitalists everywhere should have this on their bookshelf and in their briefcases.
"A superb history....Two hundred years after the establishment of the American Constitution, I can think of no more important reading that Mr. Higgs' book, aside from the Constitution itself."--R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., Editor-in-Chief, The American Spectator
"A book of major importance, thoroughly researched, closely argued, and meticulously documented. It should be high on the reading list of every serious student of the American political system."--Political Science Quarterly
Higgs, a political economist, analyzes how the American federal government has come to exercise so much control over individuals and the marketplace in this century. Essentially he proposes that government control, which increases during a war or economic depression, continues after the crisis, with each increase influencing the prevailing ideology, making further increases more acceptable to the public. The process involves government taking on new functions more than expanding traditional ones. Because of this ratchet-like movement toward ever bigger government, Higgs is somewhat pessimistic about the survival of individual rights and a free society. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.
Charles Goyette reveals the governmental errors that led to the current economic crisis and the bumpy road ahead. The signs are clear: Federal debt is compounding while growth has stalled, and America's foreign creditors are questioning the dollar's reserve currency status. Meanwhile, the "hidden" federal debt, much larger than the official debt, makes things even worse.
So what can you do to safeguard your assets when the dollar heads south? This book is the essential guide for protecting yourself--and even profiting--in this time of financial turbulence. In clear detail, Goyette explains the alternative investments--from gold and silver to oil and agriculture-- that will remain strong in the face of mounting inflation. The Dollar Meltdown gives you the tools to maintain the value of your savings and captilize on the coming opportunities.
Don't get left holding the bag after decades of government irresponsibility. The Dollar Meltdown shows you how to take the safety of your finances into your own hands.
Henry Hazlitt has been interpreting business trends for the American people for the past 35 years. Starting in the field of economics as a reporter on the Wall Street Journal, he has served on the financial and editorial staffs of several of the great New York newspapers, including the Sun, the Herald, and the Times. In addition, he has been associated with The Nation and edited American Mercury and the Freeman. Mr. Hazlitt has traveled extensively in Europe and South America for on- the-spot studies of world economic conditions. Since 1946, he has been a contributing editor to Newsweek magazine, where his weekly column, "Business Tides," is a regular feature. Born in Philadelphia , in 1894, he attended the College of the City of New York and served with Air Service, U. S. Army, in World War I. He is the author of many books and pamphlets dealing with economics, among which are Will Dollars Save the World? and The Great Idea. We is also well known as a lecturer and literally critic.
At first glance, abolishing the Federal Reserve and returning to the gold standard seems a quaintly eccentric idea, but Texas congressman Paul presents a plan to eliminate our country's central bank, and return to a private banking system, that's both serious and plausible. The questionable aspects involve Paul's predicted results: not only will ending the Fed eliminate inflation (the government cannot print more money than it has gold reserves), but also business booms and busts, wars, income inequality, trade imbalances and the growth of government. Further, and perhaps most important, it would "disempower the secretive cartel of powerful money managers who exercise disproportionate influence over the conduct of public policy." Paul tends to gloss over those periods in history, including the Panic of 1907, in which private banking and the gold standard were law: "the bad reputation of nineteenth century American banking... is largely the result of... propaganda agitating for the creation of the Fed." With respect to "secretive cartels," Paul takes up the interesting question of whether J.P. Morgan is in fact preferable to Ben Bernanke. An engaging response to big-government solutions for the financial crisis, this knowledgeable and opinionated look at U.S. economics, from a firebrand public servant, should provoke much thought.
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Conscience of a Conservative written by legendary author Barry Goldwater is widely considered to be one of the top 100 greatest books of all time. This great classic will surely attract a whole new generation of readers. For many, Conscience of a Conservative is required reading for various courses and curriculums. And for others who simply enjoy reading timeless pieces of classic literature, this gem by Barry Goldwater is highly recommended. Published by Classic House Books and beautifully produced, Conscience of a Conservative would make an ideal gift and it should be a part of everyone's personal library.
What Ms Schlafly set out to demonstrate--and she succeeded to a considerable degree--was that the Eastern Establishment of the Republican Party, with its money, access to the media and advertising expertise, had for years wielded an inordinate influence over who would be the eventual presidential nominee every four years. At first blush this might seem to confirm the reformers intuition, but, as Ms Schlafly said, what these men believed in was not conservative politics, as we understand it today, but their own rather large pocketbooks. This led them to favor stability, domestic and global, above all other causes, and meant that they were de facto defenders of the New Deal and relentless advocates of détente with the Soviets.
In this thin volume, Ms Schlafly argued that for Republicans to compete and win on the presidential level they would need to shuck off the influence of the Easterners, the moneyed interests, and select truly conservative candidates who would draw sharp contrasts with the Democrats, not try to fudge their differences. When she first wrote the book it was to justify a Goldwater candidacy, and she rewrote it somewhat later in 1964 to prepare Republicans for the vicious assault that she correctly predicted that Madison Avenue would launch against him, with establishment Republicans in the East joining with Democrats to defeat a man who threatened both big government and the rather stable balance of terror that was the Cold War.
This remarkable piece of history will change the way you look at American politics. It shows that the corruption of American "conservatism" began long before George W. Bush ballooned the budget and asserted dictatorial rights over the country and the world. The American Right long ago slid into the abyss. Betrayal of the American Right is the full story, and the author is none other than Murray N. Rothbard, who witnessed it all first hand. He tells his own story and reveals that machinations behind the subversion of an anti-state movement into one that cheers statism of the worst sort. The book was written in the mid-1970s and is only now published for the first time. Each time a prospective publisher promised to go ahead, the deal fell through. Even so, it has been privately circulated for the 30 years since it was written - and everyone lucky enough to own a copy of the manuscript knew he had a treasure. People who have read it swear that it is the best account ever how the old right was subverted to become a propaganda branch of the state, not just recently but fifty years ago. So Rothbard's account is not only a critical historical document; it also has explosive explanatory power.
Free PDF Version: The Betrayal of the American Right
Throughout our history, the federal government has lied to send our children off to war, lied to take our money, lied to steal our property, lied to gain our trust, and lied to enhance its power over us. Not only does the government lie to us, we lie to ourselves. We won't admit that each time we let the government get away with misleading us, we are allowing it to increase in size and power and decrease our personal liberty.
In acquiescing to the government's continuous fraudulent behavior, we bear partial responsibility for the erosion of our individual liberties and the ever-expanding federal regulation of private behavior. This book attacks the culture in government that facilitates lying, and it challenges readers to recognize that culture, to confront it, and to be rid of it.
First published in 1952, Witness was at once a literary effort, a philosophical treatise, and a bestseller. Whittaker Chambers had just participated in America's trial of the century in which Chambers claimed that Alger Hiss, a full-standing member of the political establishment, was a spy for the Soviet Union. This poetic autobiography recounts the famous case, but also reveals much more. Chambers' worldview--e.g. "e;man without mysticism is a monster"e;--went on to help make political conservatism a national force.
Claiming that most textbooks and popular history books were written by biased left-wing writers and scholars, historian Thomas Woods offers this guide as an alternative to "the stale and predictable platitudes of mainstream texts." Covering the colonial era through the Clinton administration, Woods seeks to debunk some persistent myths about American history. For instance, he writes, the Puritans were not racists intent on stealing the Indians' lands, the Founding Fathers were not revolutionaries but conservatives in the true sense of the word, the American War Between the States (to even call it a civil war is inaccurate, Woods says) was not principally about slavery, Abraham Lincoln was no friend to the slaves, and FDR's New Deal policies actually made the Depression worse. He also covers a wide range of constitutional interpretations over the years, particularly regarding the First, Second, Ninth, and Tenth amendments, and continually makes the point that states' rights have been unlawfully trampled upon by the federal government since the early days of the republic.
There are very few books in which you can open up any page and immediately find a quotable and inspiring passage that will make you think hard, laugh out loud, or see things a completely new way. This is certainly one of them.
He covers every topic related to economics and politics, from the business cycle, to trade, to the drug war, to environmentalism. His central thesis is that the threat to liberty comes from both the left and the right, and that neither really offers a consistent way out. The real problem is much deeper than either the right or the left recognizes. It is the institution of the state itself, which everyone seems to want to use to his own philosophical advantage.
The problem, he writes, is that not that we have chosen the wrong flavor of public policy but that we have public policy at all. All forms of policy decisions made by state institutions that affect the uses of private property according to political priorities amount to invasions of liberty. Relentlessly moving from left-wing to right-wing and back to left-wing policy is not progress; it means continued movement down the road to serfdom.
In this broadside against the received wisdom of America's elite liberal intelligentsia, noted conservative Sowell, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, offers some strenuous arguments as well as fuzzy generalizations. Thus, his attacks on the war on poverty, sex education and criminal justice policies forged in the 1960s counter some slippery rhetoric by their defenders, yet his suggestion that these policies exacerbated things is questionable. Sowell deconstructs how statistics can be distorted to prove assumptions (that lack of prenatal care is the cause of black infant mortality) and gleefully skewers "Teflon prophets" such as John Kenneth Galbraith (who said that big companies are immune from the market) and Paul Ehrlich (who said starvation loomed). While "the anointed" favor explanations that exempt individuals from personal responsibility and seek painless solutions, those with the "tragic vision" see policies as trade-offs. Sowell scores his targets for disdaining their opponents, but this book also invokes caricature-these days, many of "the anointed" are less unreconstructed than he assumes.
"All men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights" wedded the American soul to the concept that freedom comes from our humanity, not from the government. But American governments legally suspended the free will of blacks for 150 years, and then denied blacks equal protection of the law for another 150 years. How did this happen in America, how were the Constitution and laws of the land twisted so as to institutionalize racism, and how did it or will it end? In a refreshingly candid book, Dred Scott's Revenge: A Legal History of Race and Freedom In America, Judge Andrew P. Napolitano takes a no-holds-barred look at the role of the government in the denial of freedoms based on race.
"The best history of the law and race I've ever read. . . Judge Napolitano has written a challenge to anyone who thinks they understand the roots of America's tangled race relations." -- Juan Williams, National Public Radio
Books For Smart Activists!