Reading Recommendations on US Government, Libertarianism, Political Philosophy?
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Thread: Reading Recommendations on US Government, Libertarianism, Political Philosophy?

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    XCR Guru Sean K.'s Avatar
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    Reading Recommendations on US Government, Libertarianism, Political Philosophy?

    So a very intelligent friend of mine has, over the last couple of years, gotten into firearms which has opened his eyes to the notion of natural rights and the incessant battle to take away those rights by society (on the left AND right) and government.

    I'd say he still identifies as "conservative" and while raised Catholic, he's now from what I can tell, atheist....but he's slowly recognizing the problems in the conservative platform that seek to control and are contrary to the Constitution.

    He asked the other day that I recommend a book he could read so he could have an intelligent conversation on the topic of American politics, political thought and our rights.

    Frankly, what I've learned has been from mostly separate older works, not a contemporary single one. I'm not sure that such a thing exists.

    I rattled off a list of things that are worth the read and in the brief conversation, missed quite a lot as well.

    Things I'd recommend in no particular order:

    The DoI by Jefferson (and possibly Paine)

    Pretty much anything by Paine

    Obviously, the US Constitution

    Articles of Confederation

    Locke's 2nd Treatise

    Algernon Sidney's Discourses Concerning Government

    The Federalist/Anti-Federalist Papers


    Since he seems to be leaning more and more libertarian in philosophy....is there any contemporary work that you guys can recommend? Or even something older?

    Not really sure in which direction to point him so that he can make the decisions for himself...but still explains things in a clear, concise manner.

    Obviously, there are literally thousands of quotes from different authors on the subjects of liberty, oppression, government and society that all ring true and are worth contemplation and deep study....as examples off the top of my head; Frederick Douglass, Sam Adams, HDT, Plato, Aristotle, Lysander Spooner, etc., etc. but is there a condensed book or website that he could access to understand some of these basic principles?
    "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human liberty. It is the argument of tyrants; the creed of slaves."-William Pitt the Younger

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    Rifleman bgreed's Avatar
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    I would also recommend the free online courses put out by Hillsdale Colllege on the Federalist papers, US Constitution, American History, and others.

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    Newbie NewBlackDak's Avatar
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    1984
    animal farm
    The road to serfdom
    Atlas shrugged
    Human action



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    Rifleman bgreed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NewBlackDak View Post
    1984
    animal farm
    The road to serfdom
    Atlas shrugged
    Human action



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    Don't forget The Fountainhead.

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    XCR Guru TexasChris's Avatar
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    I haven't read this but, I always see it mentioned: A Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley.
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    Do what you've always done, get what you've always got. ----- Have gun. Will travel.

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    XCR Guru mjorin's Avatar
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    Definitely read about Cicero. Also, Stephen Pressfield's tides of war is about Athens and the Peloponnesian war. It had very close parallels to our current republic.
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    XCR Guru TomAiello's Avatar
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    There are a lot of good Libertarian works available free here: https://fee.org/books


    If he's a patriotic American, Thomas Paine is a great place to start.


    How intellectual is he?

    I'd suggest:

    The Road to Serfdom (FA Hayek) (https://www.amazon.com/Road-Serfdom-.../dp/0226320553)

    Hayek's work has the advantage of virtually unimpeachable mainstream academic credibility on account of Hayek winning the Nobel Prize in Economics and the Presidential medal of Freedom.


    The Law (Frederic Bastiat) (https://fee.org/resources/the-law/) or (The Law, by Frederic Bastiat)

    A little less accessible for the modern reader, but available free on line, and if you really engage with it, it can be a life changing experience.


    On Liberty (JS Mill) (https://www.gutenberg.org/files/3490...-h/34901-h.htm)

    The language is a little less accessible to the modern reader, but if he's reading 18th century documents in the original, then this is a good one too.


    Libertarianism in One Lesson (David Bergland) (https://www.institutcoppet.org/wp-co...one-lesson.pdf)

    There are many editions of this work, but the first edition can be had free in many places.


    Free to Choose (Rose and Milton Friedman) (https://www.amazon.com/Free-Choose-S.../dp/0156334607)

    This work has both good credentials (Milton Friedman won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1979) and an accompanying TV series (10 parts, from 1980). You can find more material related to it here: Free To Choose TV


    How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World (Harry Browne) (https://www.amazon.com/How-Found-Fre.../dp/B00M20I134)

    This is more a book of personal philosophy than politics, but it's pretty useful in explaining why Libertarianism works not just as a political ideal, but as a way to live your life.



    I'm personally a fan of No Treason (Lysander Spooner) but I wouldn't introduce things with that one for a right-ish American (works great for the left-ish variety, though).
    Last edited by TomAiello; 01-29-2019 at 08:07 AM.
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    XCR Guru TomAiello's Avatar
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    If you're looking for just one contemporary work, I'd start with Free to Choose.
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    - Tom Aiello
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    ...I don't care, I'm still free, you can't take the sky from me...

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    XCR Guru TomAiello's Avatar
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    Oh and if he's the type who is already worried about economics and policy, I'd take a look at The Creature From Jekyl Island as well. It's about the Federal Reserve:

    https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/A...reenergysys-20

    I think it can be found much less expensively from other sources, but I'd have to dig around to find a good one.



    War is a Racket, by Smedley Butler, is another good perspective that's more likely to catch the ear of a right-conservative American.
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    - Tom Aiello
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    ...I don't care, I'm still free, you can't take the sky from me...

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    XCR Guru Sean K.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomAiello View Post
    How intellectual is he?
    Hard to say. He's very much an introvert, highly intelligent, a very critical thinker (far more so than me about topics he's interested in), will diligently research topics in depth....but has never applied any of that to study about our society largely b/c I don't believe it ever really interested him that much. He's intensely private and I realize writing this how little I still really know him in spite of considering him a friend of two years but I very much admire and respect him and would like to be able to make some solid recommendations to help him develop himself in this area.


    I really appreciate everyone's input; Tom especially....I know that had to take some serious time to compose but I feel like it really hits the mark in terms of what I was looking for. Funny you mention War is a Racket by Butler. I was just recently turned on to that one myself.
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    "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human liberty. It is the argument of tyrants; the creed of slaves."-William Pitt the Younger

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