Brad Miller

Advocates of Liberty

In Advocates of Liberty on August 10, 2011 at 2:53 pm

These are the writers and their works that have influenced me. They are not in any particular order. These are the giants’ shoulders on which  I stand upon. All of them advocated for Individual Liberty and against State Coercion in their own way.

1. Frederic Bastiat – He was a champion of Free Trade in France during a time of rising Socialism and Protectionism. His clear arguments for our Natural Right to Life, Liberty and Property along with  his infallible refutations of Socialism make his works a must read for anyone who loves Liberty. Bastiat Collection. His most famous works.

2. Leonard Read– From the starting of the first Libertarian Think Tank (Foundation for Economic Education), to helping bring Bastiat’s works to America, to his classic pamphlet on the Free Market, “I, Pencil”, Leonard Read ranks up there with one of the greatest champions of Liberty.  Why not Try freedom a lecture he gave in the 1950’s to a group in Argentina. It is a great introduction to the Philosophy of Freedom. A libertarian Think Tank that doesn’t focus on politics. FEE’s focus is on education. I recommend attending any of their events. Their current president Lawrence Reed is a great speaker.  “Elements of Liberty Leadership” Leonard Read stressed that those who love liberty do not face a numbers problem but an education problem. This work stresses the need to learn the ins and outs of Liberty and then the methodology to share that knowledge with others. 
This pamphlet changed how I saw the world. It explains that all the things we have around us are truly miracles  of the Free Market.  His main take is that not a single person on earth can make a simple pencil and that millions of people pursuing their own self-interest have a hand in making it. Easy to understand and a great gift to give to someone who is searching for a better understanding of the Free Market.  “I, Pencil” Pamphlet. Buy a ton and give them away they are only $2.00. You never know how that simple gesture can change the world!!!

3. Frank Chodorov – He was a radical Individualist who advocated for maximum individual freedom. As a member of the Old Right he was against government intervention at home and abroad.  “Income Tax: The Root of All Evil”. Chodorov’s classic argument against the income tax. You think you hate the income tax now? Read his 1954 examination of the strangling effects of the income tax upon the individual and afterward you will really hate it.  “Taxation is Robberty” pamphlet. A brilliant and brief explanation why Taxes are theft. He stresses that all involuntary exchange of property is theft whether the State does it or if another individual does it.  He also explains how Indirect taxation, a sales tax,  is a permission to live tax. (Fair Tax falls into this category)

4. Ayn Rand –   Her writings champion the idea of the Individual rather than the Collective. Whether you like her Objectionist Philosophy or not you can’t argue against her impassioned defense of Liberty.

Her Textbook of Americanism is a short treatise meant to arm those who love Liberty with the “intellectual weapons” needed to defend Individualism vs. Collectivism.  Its only about 10 pages long but like Read’s “I, Pencil” it is packed full of  powerful and to the point observations. “Textbook of Americanisms”  Atlas Shrugged is a classic. If you haven’t read it lately read it again. The Producers around the world are beginning to “shrug”. 

Rand’s “Anthem” is a dystopian vision of a society in which Collectivism is taken to its logical conclusion, the replacement of “I” with “We”. Those ideas of Collectivism are permeating our society and it is a sobering warning of where they lead.

Or you can read it for free on Project Gutenberg. “Anthem”

5. Murray Rothbard  He was above all else Mr. Anarcho-Capitalist. He more than anyone in starting in the 1970’s  advocating  for a Stateless Society in which all goods and services including courts and police are provided on the Free Market.  He was a student of Ludwig von Mises and in many ways was his successor in defending and proliferating the ideas of Liberty and Austrian Economics. He believed in Natural Rights and his epic “Man, Economy and State” is a must read for those who think that the idea of a Stateless Society is too radical to imagine. “Man, Economy, and State”. His classic treatise on Liberty and the case for the Stateless society.

6. Ludwig Von Mises – The man who more than anyone else is responsible for the preservation and proliferation of the ideas of Austrian Economics. His Human Action  presents a case for laissez-faire capitalistic society with only a minimum limited “night-watchman’ state. He developed the science of Praxeology, the study of Human Action to base this master work upon. Human Action

7. Albert Jay Nock – I first learned about the True Nature of the State from his Classic “Our Enemy the State”.  He described himself as a philosophical anarchist and advocated for a society free of the State. “Our Enemy The State” 1922.

For those who feel like they are alone in advancing the cause of Liberty should also read his essay “Isiah’s Job”.

8. John Stuart Mill –  He believed that individuals should be free to act as long as they do not harm others. He stressed that the individual when acting peacefully in respect to others was in all respects sovereign over himself. “On Liberty”  published in 1859 is a great starting point for those who want a primer on the ideas of Liberty.

9. Henry David Thoreau  He was an individualist of the first order who prefered peaceful disobedience to unjust laws.  His classic “Resistance to Civil Government” was a blue print for Ghandi and also Martin Luther King. And i is as relevant today in resisting the tyrannical State as it was in 1848.  My favorite line from “Resistance to Civil Government” is “that government is best which governs least” and “the best government is the one that governs none at all.”  “Resistance to Civil Government” 1848.

10. Etienne de La Boetie “The Politics of Obedience : Discourse of Voluntary Servitude”  Written in 1550 or 1560, Boetie’s  main point  in his essay is that no government can long endure without the consent of a majority of the citizens.  Only a few ever govern and the many always outnumber them. That is what puzzled him.  He explains that a lot individuals consent due to force, then by habit. Others consent because of the benefits they reap from the State. It is a fascinating study of human behavior and explains how only by the consent of the many can the few rule over them. 

/ /rothbard/boetie.pdf ” The Politics of Obedience: Discourse of Voluntary Servitude”  1552/53  Murray Rothbard writes a great introduction.

John Locke  should be on here and I know he is considered by many to be the father of Classical Liberalism, or Libertarianism as we call it today.  But I have yet to finish his classic “Second treatise on Government”.

You can find it here: “Second treatise on Government”  Published 1690

And that’s my take.


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