February 18, 2013
You Say You Want A Revolution I have become something of a slow reader of books. It can take me a month or two to get through a book that in my younger days I would have burned through in a few days. What has happened it that I simply lack the time to just sit and read. Thanks to iBooks and the Kindle app on my phone I read in stolen moments. Sitting in a waiting room, standing in line at the grocery store, waiting for the stragglers to get to a meeting, and of course sitting on the toilet. I am often reminded of a bit of dialog from The Big Chill (from memory)
"You can read War and Peace in the bathroom."
"Yes. But not in one sitting."
For the last several weeks I have been nibbling my through Free Market Revolution by Yaron Brook and Don Watkins. It's an excellent book and a wonderful refresher on the principles of the free market and the individual vs the collective. Their deconstruction of the entitlement state is clear, concise and brilliant. As I read through it I found myself trying to capture the message of the entire book in a brief statement that did not sound like a mediocre paraphrase of the oath from Atlas Shrugged:
I swear by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.
The best I could come up with is "What I have earned by the application of my abilities is not yours to take on the basis of your need."
Brook and Watkins provided a more thorough summation with this quote from Dean Alfange:
I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon—if I can. I seek opportunity—not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. . . . I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act for myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, this I have done. This is what it means to be an American.
If you believe that individual liberty and free market capitalism are the best and proper principles to guide mankind, read Free Market Revolution. You will find in it's pages a wealth of intellectual ammunition with which to confront the culture of need.
If you believe that one person's need gives them a claim on the lives of others and that the state should take care of all, please read Free Market Revolution. If you do so with an open mind you might learn something, and the might be some hope for you yet.
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