Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Librarian meets Libertarian

This past Saturday, I spent a fantastic afternoon wandering around Baldwin City, enjoying the sights and sounds of the Maple Leaf Festival.  I was surprised by how attractive the town is – a true Baldwin, in the 1990’s sense of the term.  And while I don’t recall seeing many changing maple trees, there were plenty of other attractions to draw my attention.  I patronized food trucks, a petting zoo (where the animals were clearly on diuretics - which I won't go into), and any number of collapsible tables peddling holiday-themed yard adornments.   My only complaint about the afternoon was that the weather was too summery (more cherry limeade than warm apple cider), but all-in-all, I couldn’t have asked for a nicer place to dawdle about for a couple of hours.

In the course of my dawdling, I found myself in a tent that had been put up by a local Libertarian organization.  They were there having festival-goers take a short survey (the World’s Shortest Political Survey) to determine where on the political spectrum they fall – presumably, to make people aware of their unrealized libertarian leanings.   Each person who took the test had their results posted as a dot on a big board that mapped-out the crowd’s political proclivities, most tending toward the libertarian quadrant.  My dot, along with a few other Big Government Liberals and Conservatives,  was one of the far-flung exceptions (our dots looked like the first outlying wild guesses in a game of Battleship).  The gentleman administering the survey was a little flummoxed in how to relay my results, but to his credit he tried to give it a positive spin, “You see, it’s just that you like for the government to make all of your decisions for you – and that’s OK!”

With that vote of confidence, I left the festival with a piqued interest in libertarianism - and in my preliminary poking around on the internet, I found that October is International Libertarian Month.  So to help celebrate, I have compiled a short list of libertarian titles that can be checked out here at the Lawrence Public Library (if it doesn’t conflict with your core political beliefs):

Anthem - by Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand’s classic tale of a future dark age of the great “We”—a world that deprives individuals of name, independence, and values—anticipates her later masterpieces, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. - R.R. Bowker  

The Declaration of Independents:  How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America by Nick Gillespie
Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch write for Reason, the libertarian magazine of Free Minds and Free Markets.  "Why do we have more choices at the local coffee shop than we do at the ballot box?" - R.R. Bowker

Free to Choose: A Personal Statement by Milton and Rose Friedman
The international bestseller on the extent to which personal freedom has been eroded by government regulations and agencies while personal prosperity has been undermined by government spending and economic controls. - R.R. Bowker

Liberty Defined:  50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom by Ron Paul
In Liberty Defined, congressman and #1 New York Times bestselling author Ron Paul returns with his most provocative, comprehensive, and compelling arguments for personal freedom to date. - R.R. Bowker

Radicals For Capitalism:  A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement by Brian Doherty
In this revelatory book, based on original research and interviews with more than 100 key sources, Brian Doherty traces the evolution of the movement through the unconventional life stories of its most influential leaders- Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, Ayn Rand, Murray Rothbard, and Milton Friedman... - R.R. Bowker

Realizing Freedom: Libertarian Theory, History, and Practice  by Tom Palmer
Palmer (of the Cato Institute and the Atlas Economic Research Foundation) collects 33 papers, published over the past few decades, discussing and promoting capitalist libertarianism as the best means to achieve freedom, justice, and social order. - Book News

What It Means To Be a Libertarian: a Personal Interpretation by Charles Murray
"This book tries to explain how we can believe the less government, the better. It contains no footnotes. It has no tables and but a single graph. My purpose is to explain a way of looking at the world." - Charles Murray

Ransom - Reference

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