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Healing Our World: In an Age of Aggression Paperback – January 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews


"... combines libertarianism with Western and Eastern spirituality ... challenges the reader to see things in spiritual clarity." -- Paul Whitfield, South Bend Tribune

"... may be the most important book of the decade." -- -- Joseph Terrano, Visions Magazine

"...outlines how non-aggression would look in real-life areas of job creation, health care, environment, poverty, crime, drugs...." -- Teri Murphy, Arlions News

From the Publisher

Winner of's "Book of the Year 2003" award

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 435 pages
  • Publisher: SunStar Press; 3rd edition (January 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0963233661
  • ISBN-13: 978-0963233660
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #420,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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68 of 68 people found the following review helpful By John S. Ryan on January 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
[Mary Ruwart's excellent book is now available in its third edition. This is a reposting of my review of the second edition.]
There are two books I recommend as introductions to libertarian thought. One of them is Murray Rothbard's _For A New Liberty_. This is the other.
Dr. Mary Ruwart's _Healing Our World_ is in some ways a better general introduction suitable for a broader audience, in large measure because it appeals to the better nature of everybody from conservative Christians to hippie mystics: she really _does_ mean, and quite rightly, that libertarian principles are the means for healing our world. Her essential point is that, _whatever_ our goals and beliefs, we can best serve them by honoring our neighbors' choices so long as they aren't threatening our lives or property. For when we do so, everybody wins; my gains aren't your losses, and there really is a common good at which we can both aim.
Moreover, Ruwart carefully and compassionately explains why the libertarian approach is a better way to bring about the (entirely legitimate) goals of the more modern sort of liberal: for example, improving the quality and availability of medical care (including alternative medicines), reducing pollution, saving the environment, and so forth. Readers of, say, the Objectivist/Randian literature might come away with the impression that concern for the well-being of persons other than oneself (let alone the "environment"!) is just incompatible with libertarianism. Ruwart argues that in fact libertarianism offers not only the best way to _promote_ such concern but the only viable way to put it into practice. (On this ground alone, there are probably lots of _libertarians_ who could profit from a close reading of Ruwart's book just to pick up its tone and tenor.
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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Lord Chimp on June 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
Like Murray Rothbard's classic _For a New Liberty_ from years ago, _Healing Our World_ -- despite having a title and cover one might associate with leftist-liberals -- is a fantastic sort of updated "total" defense of libertarianism and introduction to the concept.
Ruwart introduces the groundwork of the non-aggression axiom with less attention on natural rights and private property arguments and more on accessible, plain moral reasoning that is pretty much unassailable. She then introduces the reader to the consequences of aggression, particularly the government's aggression, on society. The government's use of aggression disrupts free interaction between people and thus makes us worse off. As Scott Ryan says below, she shows that liberty is a win-win situation.
Like Rothbard, she mounts a compelling case on numerous issues: Pollution, monopoly, war, foreign policy, welfare, courts, business regulation, minimum wage, police, et cetera et cetera. Her examination of education doesn't give much attention to the actual fact of the State influencing children but focuses on private schooling solutions.
Older versions of _For a New Liberty_ lacked a discussion of one of the most dangerous powers of the State: control over the (fiat) money supply. Ruwart explains fractional reserve banking, the consequences of a central banking system in a way that is _very_ easy to understand.
_For a New Liberty_ has nothing specifically about healthcare. Ruwart fortunately explores two government elements very detrimental to our health: the Food & Drug Administration and licensing/regulation of health care services.
She also expands on some out the arguments Rothbard made briefly in his chapter "Personal Liberty".
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Robert Haven VINE VOICE on March 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
Wow! If you read this book with an open mind, it will really make you think about the viability of a common-sense approach to solving (as much as is possible) the world's problems (poverty, war, pollution, etc.). Dr. Ruwart proposes that we should simply interact in society by the same basic unwritten rules we use in being a good friend or good neighbor. She shows, over and over, that when we break these rules (usually for well-intentioned goals), things go wrong and we hurt the ones we want to help.

Her philosophy should be of great interest to both liberals and conservatives as I believe it can achieve the ultimate objectives of those two sides of the political spectrum: peace, freedom, and prosperity. Or if you currently find yourself politically homeless, with your beliefs not fitting either label, you just may find in here a philosophy that fits your convictions.

Besides all that, "Healing Our World" is an easy and enjoyable read, with just enough historical references to illustrate the author's points without getting tedious. And I liked all the great quotations in the margins (from Julius Ceasar to Lao-tsu to Ann Landers).
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By James Ostrowski on January 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
I was happy to see that Mary Ruwart put out an updated edition of this great book. (Note: I am quoted in the book.) I loved the first edition and have always thought this was one of the most underrated libertarian books. Libertarians have a tendency to be negative because the political world is not to our liking, yet this book emphasizes the positive side of the case for libertarianism. For every problem that government would deal with by negative means--force and aggression--there is usually a positive solution--through individual peaceful action or voluntary cooperation. Mary explains this as well as anyone has. Hers is a holistic vision, emphasizing the interconnectedness of things. Here is a great example: "Through its domestic aggression, the United States has empowered virtually every threat to its national security in the past 50 years."
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