The state makes a mess of everything it touches, argues Jeffrey Tucker in Bourbon for Breakfast. Perhaps the biggest mess it makes is in our minds. Its pervasive interventions in every sector affect the functioning of society in so many ways, we are likely to intellectually adapt rather than fight. Tucker proposes another path: see how the state has distorted daily life, rethink how things would work without the state, and fight against the intervention in every way that is permitted.
Whether that means hacking your showerhead, rejecting prohibitionism, searching for large-tank toilets, declining to use government courts, homeschooling, embracing alternative microcultures, watching profreedom movies, baking at home, maintaining manners and standards of dress, publishing without copyright, and just living outside what he calls the "statist quo," we should not lose touch with what freedom means, even in these times.
The essays cover commercial life, digital media, culture, food, literature, religion, music, and a host of other issues — all from the perspective of a Misesian-Rothbardian struggling to get by in a world in which the walls of the state have been closing in. He writes about the glories of commerce, the horrors of jail, the joy of private life, and defends a kind of aristocratic radicalism in times of increasingly restricted choices.
"From federalized showerheads to the libertarian Jetsons, Jeffrey Tucker has written a funny and important book about state meddling, and the possibility of pure freedom. Read Bourbon for Breakfast, and give a copy to everyone you know. It's a smart, subversive, and devastatingly effective case for liberty." – Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., Chairman of the Mises Institute and editor of LewRockwell.com
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I casually read the first few chapters of this book on my computer after downloading the free PDF from the mises.org website, and promptly purchased a hard copy of the book for deeper reading and study. This was before I read chapter 27 of the book, "Books, Online and Off", in which the opinion is offered that online and offline books serve separate purposes; and by offering books for free online one can increase the interest in, and future sales of, the hard copy book. I am one of many who prove this thesis correct.
Chapter 2, "The Turn of the Screw", was so ridiculously simple a concept I chastise myself for not being able to figure this out on my own. After turning up the temperature on our water heater, the water coming out of the kitchen sink is actually hot for once, and many of the benefits outlined in this chapter prove true to me and my family.
Chapter 38, "Protectionism and My Stuffy Nose", was another eye opener. To me, Sudafed was a sleeping pill and not a decongestant; for so long it failed me as a decongestant I gave up on that being it's purpose. I admit that in my ignorance I didn't even know there was "the good ole' stuff" behind the counter locked away where only the pharmacist can access it. To treat my most recent cold I visited the nearest Walgreens and browsed the decongestants, not able to find any medicine containing pseudoephedrine, so I asked the pharmacist and she pointed me to a locked case behind her with what looked like boxes of the same decongestants, but of course these were different. After providing ID and signing a form promising not to use the pills for nefarious purposes, I took a dosage and what do you know? It worked like a charm!
Chapters 42 and 43 detailing appropriate dress and manners represent arts that are lost on my generation (I'm 28 years old), and his suggestions really ought to be required reading for young people today. I cleave to the same set of work ethics described in the book, as well as a similar standard of manners and proper dress and I am sometimes fascinated at how easily I have been able to outperform and surpass my colleagues, both academically and professionally.
I can't recommend this book enough; there are so many practical tips on living outside the "statist" quo that everyone will get something, and many will get lots of things, out of reading this book.Read more ›
Jeffrey Tucker, noted economist, musician, author, manager, publisher, and polymath, has compiled an enriching and energetic book of essays covering a vast amount of information from the philosophical to the practical, all tinged with his own brand of humor, brilliance, and perception. Like a patchwork quilt containing a mosaic of shapes and colors, Bourbon for Breakfast zings along at a fast pace guaranteed to make a reader smile, frown, grow frightened, laugh with joy, and maybe even develop some righteous anger along the way.
Beginning with several essays on household topics such as inadequate toilets, over the counter drugs, ceiling fans, and razors, the book slowly and deliberately takes a broader look at how government intervention continually makes things worse regardless of the situation. Fun essays on the Jetsons, getting haircuts, and several musical allusions are balanced with serious references to war, power, politics, and corruption. Among the most educational moments are the topics on various writers from the past and from today including Mark Twain, Murray Rothbard, Garet Garrett, and a nice piece on Rube Goldberg. Packed around these are mention of Ludwig Von Mises, Ayn Rand, Henry Hazlitt, and Leonard Read and several others. Further ideas on publishing, copyright, and free exchange of ideas leave the reader breathless with excitement, imagining a world of open, free market benefits.
The writing is smooth, the stories are vastly entertaining, and the higher purpose of the book is accomplished, resulting in a suspicion of virtually anything connected to government action. Tucker's insights are remarkable and his sense of mission to make the world a better place through individual effort apart from the state is relentless. And yet, excellent writing aside, some of the veiled coercive pieces on music, dress, and food almost detract from the concept of individuality at times. Perhaps propounding a libertarian cause is related primarily to freedom from government intervention but not individual insistence.
But these possible criticisms pale in comparison with the general strength of the book and the multitude of essays on topics that are inspirational and educational. Regardless of a person's political bent, truth permeates each page of this marvelous volume, making the reader recognize the absurdity of much of our current political machinations. Highly recommended for academics, professionals, and anyone seeking freedom from intervention, be warned that a book such as this is bound to contain an opportunity for agreement and yes, likely a few points on which to disagree. This makes Bourbon for Breakfast even more charming and personal. For further information on Tucker and Free market ideals, readers are encouraged to visit the Ludwig Von Mises Institute website.
An excellent read in all respects and a book deserving of a place in anyone's library, Bourbon for Breakfast is one of those rare achievements that comes along every few years. Read it for enjoyment, read it for knowledge, and mostly read it for personal gain.Read more ›
_Bourbon for Breakfast_ is a fun introduction to libertarianism that's not a textbook. The book of approximately 350 pages is a compilation of articles from the past couple of years on sundry topics by Jeffrey Tucker, the Editorial Vice-President of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. Articles are arranged by topic and cover the following general subjects:
-Water and life -Commerce -Technology -Crime -Health and manners -Food -Books -Movies
The thread that ties the articles together is the libertarian lens through which the subjects are viewed. Says Tucker, "This book is about seeing that just because government mandates certain things and forbids others does not mean that we must follow or even tolerate the official roadmap for our lives." (p. 7) So whether commerce, crime, food, or other areas of life, Tucker reveals what the world would look like absent government sprawl. And let me say: Tucker has persuaded me (full disclosure: not a libertarian) that the world would be much better off. Whether that persuasion is a function of Tucker's cogency or the glaring incompetence of government, I don't know for sure. A bit of both, I suspect.
There is an obvious sense of humor in Tucker's writing and it makes for a fun read. In his article extolling the virtues of the garbage disposal, for example, he says:
"For years, I've reveled in it. They still don't have them in Europe, where things seem to have regressed since the Middle Ages when sewage systems became more common. Nowadays, the Euro-people commonly toss their trash in their own yards, and try to cover up for this primitive reality by calling it 'composting.' If you were a New Yorker before 1997, you were guilty of a crime if you used a garbage disposal. But the state finally relented and granted the freedom to grind." (p. 29)
Examples could be multiplied, but hopefully that whets your appetite for the book.
For folks seeking a fun introduction to libertarianism that's not a textbook, read _Bourbon for Breakfast_. It's even available for free online. For libertarians, I think Tucker's book will be a nice addition to their library.Read more ›
Jeffrey Tucker is Chief Liberty Officer and founder of Liberty.me, the global liberty community with advanced social and publishing features. He is also distinguished fellow of the Foundation for Economic Education, executive editor of Laissez-Faire Books, research fellow at the Acton Institute, policy adviser of the Heartland Institute, founder of the CryptoCurrency Conference, member of the editorial board of the Molinari Review, and author of five books. He has written 150 introductions to books and many thousands of articles appearing in the scholarly and popular press. His new book is Bit by Bit: How P2P Is Freeing the World , with an introduction by Patrick Byrne of Overstock.com and a foreword by investor Roger Ver.
He created the first commercial service of online book distribution that published entirely in the commons (The Laissez Faire Club) and he was an early innovator in online distribution of literature during his tenure as builder and editor of Mises.org. He created the the first live classroom in the liberty-oriented ideological space and assembled the official bibliography of famed economic writer Henry Hazlitt, a project that included more than 10,000 entries. Early in his career, following his degree in economics and journalism, he served as research assistant to Ron Paul at his private foundation.
Jeffrey Tucker has been a two-time featured guest on John Stossel's show, interviewed on Glenn Beck's television show, appeared frequently on Huffington Post Live and Russia Today, been the two-time Master of Ceremonies at Libertopia, been featured at FreedomFest, the featured speaker at Liberty Forum three years, keynoted the Young Americans for Liberty national convention, has spoken at many dozens of colleges and universities in the U.S. and around the world including Harvard University and Boston University, has been quoted in the New York Times and Washington Post, and is in constant demand as a headline speaker at libertarian, technology, and monetary conferences around the world.
His books are: Bourbon for Breakfast: Living Outside the Statist Quo (2010), It's a Jetson's World: Private Miracles and Public Crimes (2011), Beautiful Anarchy: How to Create Your Own Civilization in the Digital Age (2012), Freedom Is a Do-It-Yourself Project (2013), and Sing Like a Catholic (2009). Four of his books have been translated into Spanish and published.