Reclaiming Liberty by James Ronald Kennedy. Gretna LA: Pelican Publishing Co., 2005. 342 pp.
Here is a new book from one of the Kennedys. No, I don’t mean another ghost-written socialist screed from the Massachusetts criminal gang of that name. I mean a lively and provocative contribution to the literature of freedom by the Louisiana Kennedys. They who previously gave us best-sellers like The South Was Right! And Why Not Freedom!
Reclaiming Liberty is a detailed response to the frequently heard complaint: "You have told us what’s wrong with the country. Now why don’t you tell us what we can do about it?"
The author dedicates his work to "two of the intellectual giants on whose shoulders I stand to see before us a day of liberty" — Murray N. Rothbard and M.E. Bradford. That should tell where Ronnie Kennedy is "coming from," as they say. Not to mention that his text is supported by short supplementary essays by the likes of Hulsmann, Anderson (William L.), Trask, Reisman, and Edmonds, writers whose names and wisdom might ring a bell with readers of LewRockwell.com.
The author has sought to develop a sound Constitutional and free market diagnosis of the defects of the current United State — in terms that are ready for common discourse. But in a much rarer effort, he has offered concrete positions that are usable in such practical pursuits as election campaigns — "an audacious vision and a plan to implement it." This is how a Presidential campaign platform conducted in the interest of liberty might look. In fact, there is reason to believe that the work is part of an exploratory gambit for a presidential effort by the author’s twin brother, Walter Donald (Donnie) Kennedy.
A few chapter titles give a good idea of the contents: "Conservatism: A Century of Failure," "Taxes and Other Ways to Steal," "The Health Care Tooth Fairy," "Secession: Treason or Patriotism?," "The Bipartisan War Machine," and "Voting: A Privilege to be Earned."
We may not agree with all of the prescriptions, but they are well worth contemplation. Many of us have given up on the electoral process entirely, I suspect. Nonetheless we ought to respect Reclaiming Liberty’s political realism and understanding that an electoral campaign, even if doomed to losing, can be a mighty educational tool.
My great concern over the publication of this platform is that the Republicans will have plenty of time to steal its rhetoric and bury its principles before 2008. They cynically stole and then buried the anti-government anti-Liberal ideas that George Wallace had demonstrated were vote- getters. They performed the same trick with the religious and moral concerns that became a power in the Eighties. That is what Republicans do and have always done: preach to the concerns of decent folks, get elected, and then serve the real interests they represent: plundering politicians, petty fascists, and government-connected "free enterprise" corporations.