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It's hard to imagine what the common ground would be, when the people in the discussion include medical doctors, lawyers, a manufacturing CFO, an activist jailed during South Africa's apartheid era, a Norweigan electrical engineer, a computer scientist from Zimbabwe, a home-schooling mom, a Mexican investment banker, a paramedic whose property fight went all the way to the Supreme Court, and a wholesaler dealing in native American crafts and arts. To further complicate the picture, they all started out in very different places. Some were Democrats, some Republicans, some Communists, others totally unpolitical, and yet here they are, all in one compendium telling their stories of why they now feel that Libertarianism is the path to freedom.
There are so, so many books out there that talk about the principles behind the Libertarian ideal, with focus on a "purist" way of thinking and a somewhat algorithmic/mechanical feel that reduces reality to economic formulas, and seems to push out all but the "true believers," but this book is very different.
Sure, there's philosophy thrown in but the core of the book is the personal stories. Who the people were, what happened to them, what they saw around them, and what they lived through that convinced them to rethink everything they thought they knew.
Mark Twain is reported to have said "It's not the things you don't know that get you into trouble, it's the things you know for sure that ain't so." The writers in this edition have all been through a growth process, one that made them look closely at their beliefs, at what they were sure they knew, either from an intellectual perspective, or because life threw them some very nasty curve balls which forced them to do so.Read more ›
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I read Why Liberty? as one of the judges in this years LAVA Awards. As such, I may have been a little more critical than if I were reading the book for pleasure. Before you read my review, I want to make it clear that I give this book a solid 7 out of 10.
Why Liberty? is ananthology, with over 50essays from various well-known and not so well-known liberty-minded individuals. Themajority of the authors stated their opinions in a clear concise manner. Some of the other essays were difficult to read or follow thetrain of thought. Someof the (non-native English speaking) authors would use words and phrases from their native tongue without giving a translation, whichmakes it difficult to concentrate when one much look up translationsin the middle of an essay. Overall,I believe that many of the essays could have been better edited, assome had difficult sentence structures. Additionally,onerecurring spelling that appeared was "learnt" while this is anacceptable alternative spelling of "learned," it doesn't lookright.
One major turn-off for me was the writing on Objectivist philosophy while describing their path to the ideas of liberty. My understanding of Objectivism is that it is a completelydifferent ideology from libertarianism, and another author spoke of his conservative ideology, which is in many ways contrary to liberty.
I honestly believe,the book was too long and could have been better edited. I say thatnot to discount the work done by Marc Guttman, but as constructivecriticism. While I enjoyed the insights offered by all of theauthors, I believe that some of the essays could have been split off into a second edition. I also believe that Marc could have rearranged some of the essays to make it flow a little better; for example,there was an essay from Suzette Kelo and one from her attorney, I think these two essays should have been switched in the order in which they appeared in the book.
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