The Invisible Heart

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Judging
from the LRC
Bestseller list
, LRC readers are heavily partial to reading
non-fiction. Me too. Who has the time to read fantasy, keeping up
with reality is a full time job. And, the idea of reading a romance
novel has never occurred to me. I've never figured out who reads
all of those paperbacks with the longhaired studs on the covers.
Yet there are racks and racks of them at the supermarket.

But
I couldn't pass up a book with both "economics" and "romance"
in the title. The
Invisible Heart: An Economics Romance
will no doubt be disappointing
for those who like their romance novels with Fabio flexing on the
cover, damsel in his arms, his hair blowing in the breeze.

The
Invisible Heart's hero, Sam Gordon, is no muscleman, but teaches
economics at an exclusive private high school in Washington, D.C.
The nations capital is an unlikely place for a free market sort
like Sam to be teaching. But, suspending disbelief is what reading
fiction is all about.

Besides,
it is not as if Sam is a Rothbardian or runs around quoting from
Human
Action
. Sam is a Cato Institute sort of free marketer. He
sports a picture of Adam Smith on his wall and makes references
to Smith's Wealth
of Nations
and The
Theory of Moral Sentiments
. Sam also leans heavily on the
work of Milton Friedman.

The
book does, however, contain tips of the hat to Frdric Bastiat
and Friedrich von Hayek, as well as Robert Nozick's Anarchy,
State and Utopia
.

The
author, Russell Roberts, injects a lot of good economic insight
into the book through Sam's classroom lectures as well as Sam's
conversations with love interest, Laura Silver.

Laura
is a young, pretty English teacher, who on their first meeting,
thinks Sam is an arrogant jerk, because of his free market views
and the fact that he is not shy about expressing his opinion. But,
over time, Laura starts warming up to Sam. Conversely, Sam is smitten
with Laura from the start. This is yet another case where opposites
attract.

Sam
is constantly trying to educate Laura, her family and her friends
about free markets and how government intervention is not the answer
to life's problems. Most anyone who reads LRC will have fond (or
not-so-fond) memories of engaging in the same sorts of arguments.
At the same time, Roberts has cleverly intertwined a story line
that illustrates where many people acquire the government-is-good,
business-is-bad attitude that serves government so well.

Interestingly,
the book's hero also hates television, telling his students that
television "takes a toll on human decency," and believing
that "television is hazardous to your brain." Sam is in
good company.

But,
in the end, does Sam get the girl? Who cares? The important question
is whether Sam should go for the girl in the first place. Can a
free market, pro-liberty guy have a successful long-term relationship
with a big government, anti-capitalism girl? There is no question
they can fall in love. But, can a person who is passionate about
liberty make it work day-to-day with a person who believes that
more and more government is the answer? Not likely. In real life,
what start out, as intelligent conversations will eventually turn
into constant arguments and then name-calling. Who needs the aggravation?

Sam
is attracted to Laura because she is pretty. Laura is attracted
to Sam because he is smart. Beyond that, their views of the world
are drastically different. He probably will not change her point
of view and she will not change his. Unfortunately for guys like
Sam there are very few libertarian gals. For that matter, there
are too few libertarian guys. But maybe, The Invisible Heart
will reach a few romance novel readers and help expose those in
the dating pool to the free market message.

July
22, 2003

Doug
French [send him mail],
a student of Murray N. Rothbard, is a banker in Henderson, NV.


        
        

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