So much to read and learn, and so little time. Thanks in no small measure to the energy that Ron Paul’s candidacy unleashed, more people than ever are eager to cut through the propaganda and uncover the truth. But where to start? And how can you get the most out of the time you have to devote to reading and study?
I put together the resources that follow as my way of answering these questions. I’ve included books (many in free online versions) and articles, as well as audio and video files that are also free. For the current crisis, see especially The Bailout Reader. Take a look also at the reading list Dr. Paul includes in his book The Revolution: A Manifesto. Many of these titles also appear in the categories below: economics, sound money, foreign policy, the Constitution, and civil liberties.
Can we read our way to freedom? No, but we cannot be effective activists in the Ron Paul tradition unless we know some economics and history, and the various depredations, foreign and domestic, of the regime.
Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt; online here Essentials of Economics by Faustino Ballv; online here (.pdf) An Introduction to Austrian Economics by Thomas C. Taylor; online here and here (.pdf)
A useful companion
to Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson is this
series of videos, recorded in July—August 2008, in which various
professors comment on each of the book’s chapters — explaining the
argument, elaborating on it, and applying it to present conditions.
Video 1: The Lesson
Video 2: The Broken Window
Video 3: Public Works Mean Taxes
Video 4: Credit Diverts Production
Video 5: The Curse of Machinery
Video 6: Disbanding Troops and Bureaucrats
Video 7: Who’s Protected by Tariffs?
Video 8: “Parity” Prices
Video 9: How the Price System Works
Video 10: Minimum Wage Laws
Video 11: The Function of Profits
Video 12: The Assault on Saving
Additional Introductory Reading in Economics
The Concise Guide to Economics by Jim Cox
Making Economic Sense by Murray N. Rothbard
Economic Policy: Thoughts for Today and Tomorrow by Ludwig von Mises
Free Market Economics: A Reader by Bettina Bien Greaves
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism by Robert P. Murphy
Free Market Economics: A Syllabus by Bettina Bien Greaves
The Church and the Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.
Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? by Richard J. Maybury (a great introduction to economics for homeschoolers; study guide included)
This course with Professor Joseph Salerno of Pace University, courtesy of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, is available in both video and mp3 audio at the link above. (Suggested readings to accompany the lectures are listed here.) To learn more about the Austrian School of economics, read this essay and this essay.
Advanced Texts in Austrian Economics
Man, Economy, and State: A Treatise on Economic Principles by Murray N. Rothbard The Scholars’ Edition of this book, which we link to, also contains the book Power and Market, which had originally been intended as the concluding section of Man, Economy, and State but was released in 1970 as a separate book. The entire text is also available online here. A study guide is available for purchase and online here (.pdf).
Human Action: A Treatise on Economics by Ludwig von Mises
This entire book is available online here. A study guide to this book is still being compiled; the chapters that have been finished so far are available online here.
Money, Banking, and Economic Cycles by Jess Huerta de Soto
A sweeping and historic contribution to the literature of the Austrian School, showing how monetary freedom avoids the disadvantages of fiat money, including inflation, business cycles, and financial bubbles.
Foreign Aid and Development Economics
Equality, the Third World, and Economic Delusion by Peter Bauer
From Subsistence to Exchange and Other Essays by Peter Bauer
“The Marshall Plan: Myths and Realities” (.pdf) by Tyler Cowen
“The History of Foreign Aid Programs” (mp3) by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.
“Politically Contrived Gasoline Shortage” (.pdf) by Craig S. Marxsen
“The Anatomy of Social Security and Medicare” (.pdf) by Edgar K. Browning
Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950—1980 by Charles Murray
The Conquest of Poverty by Henry Hazlitt
The Economics and Ethics of Private Property (advanced) by Hans-Hermann Hoppe
“Money, Banking, and the Federal Reserve” (documentary, via Google Video)
What Has Government Done to Our Money? by Murray N. Rothbard
The Case for a 100 Percent Gold Dollar by Murray N. Rothbard; a new edition of What Has Government Done to Our Money containing this work can be purchased here. (The two are also available on mp3 audio here.)
The Case for Gold by Ron Paul and Lewis Lehrman
The Gold Standard: Perspectives in the Austrian School, ed. Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. (online in .pdf here)
A History of Money and Banking in the United States from the Colonial Period to World War II by Murray N. Rothbard; online here (.pdf)
The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve by G. Edward Griffin
“The Myth of the ‘Independent’ Fed” by Thomas J. DiLorenzo
“Did Greenspan Deserve Support for Another Term?” (.pdf) by Joseph T. Salerno (mp3 audio)
“The Path to Sound Money” (mp3 audio) by George Reisman
“The Economics of Inflation” (mp3 audio) by George Reisman
The Business Cycle
What makes the economy experience periodic booms and busts? Contrary to what Karl Marx claimed, these are not an inevitable feature of a market economy. Economist F.A. Hayek won the Nobel Prize in economics for showing how central banking (the Federal Reserve System in the American case) and its manipulation of the interest rate initiates unsustainable booms that lead inevitably to a bust. This is known as the Austrian theory of the business (or trade) cycle, and it’s the subject of this section.
The Austrian Theory of the Trade Cycle and Other Essays (online here; free audiobook here). The ideal place to start on this subject. This short book consists of short essays on Austrian business cycle theory. No prior knowledge is necessary.
“Business Cycle Primer” by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
“Sound Money and the Business Cycle” by John P. Cochran
“Who Predicted the Bubble? Who Predicted the Crash?” (.pdf) by Mark Thornton
“Predicting Booms and Busts” (mp3 audio) by Mark Thornton
Banking and the Business Cycle (mp3 audio) by Joseph T. Salerno
What About Deflation?
Because the possibility of “deflation” is so often raised as an objection to a commodity standard, we include a separate section of articles and lectures refuting this specific claim. Much of the material in this section is for the advanced student.
“Deflation and Depression: Where’s the Link?” by Joseph T. Salerno
“An Austrian Taxonomy of Deflation — With Applications to the U.S.” (.pdf) by Joseph T. Salerno
“Deflation and Japan Revisited” (.pdf) by Richard C.B. Johnsson
Audio (in mp3 audio):
“On Deflation” by Joseph T. Salerno
“The Economics of Deflation” by Jörg Guido Hülsmann
“Deflation and Liberty” by Jörg Guido Hülsmann
“The Gold Standard in Theory and in Myth” by Joseph T. Salerno
Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire by Chalmers Johnson
Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror by Michael Scheuer
The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War by Andrew J. Bacevich
The Old Right and War:
Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement by Justin Raimondo
Other Important Books:
Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic by Chalmers Johnson
Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq by Stephen Kinzer
The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic by Chalmers Johnson
Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism by Robert A. Pape
American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U.S. Diplomacy by Andrew J. Bacevich
The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism by Andrew J. Bacevich
The Costs of War: America’s Pyrrhic Victories, ed. John V. Denson
We Who Dared to Say No to War: American Antiwar Writing From 1812 to Now by Murray Polner and Thomas E. Woods, Jr.
“What Do the Terrorists Want?” (.pdf) by James L. Payne
Scott Horton’s Antiwar Radio has featured some of the most important intellectuals, journalists, and political figures of our day, and its archive is a treasure trove of knowledge. Scott suggests the following as some of his best and most informative interviews. Access his full archive, subscribe to his podcast, and listen live from 12:00pm—2:00pm Eastern.
Michael Scheuer, 22-year CIA veteran, former head of the agency’s Osama bin Laden unit, and author of Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror
Chalmers Johnson, author and professor emeritus of the University of California, San Diego
Philip Giraldi, former CIA officer and columnist, The American Conservative
Ron Paul on Terrorism and more
Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for the Independent
Ron Paul on Iraq and Afghanistan
Carah Ong, Iran Policy Analyst, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation
Scott Ritter, former UN weapons inspector
Larry Velvel, dean, Massachusetts School of Law
Gareth Porter, reporter, IPS News
The Economics of Foreign Policy
“The Trillion-Dollar Defense Budget Is Already Here” by Robert Higgs
“The Neglected Costs of the Warfare State” (.pdf) by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.
“Do We Need to go to War for Oil?” (.pdf) by David R. Henderson
“The Myth of War Prosperity” by Robert Higgs
“War and Inflation: The Monetary Process and Implications” by Joseph T. Salerno
“War and the Money Machine” by Joseph T. Salerno
Depression, War, and Cold War by Robert Higgs
Pentagon Capitalism by Seymour Melman
Friends of the Constitution: Writings of the “Other” Federalists, 1787—1788, eds. Colleen A. Sheehan and Gary L. McDowell
The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution (volumes VIII—X, on Virginia, are especially interesting)
Federalism: The Founders’ Design by Raoul Berger
The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution by Kevin R.C. Gutzman
Who Killed the Constitution? The Fate of American Liberty from World War I to George W. Bush by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. and Kevin R.C. Gutzman
The Constitutional Thought of Thomas Jefferson by David N. Mayer
No Treason by Lysander Spooner
33 Questions About American History You’re Not Supposed to Ask by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.
“The Constitution: Four Disputed Clauses” (mp3 audio) by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. (the Woods audio archive contains several dozen lectures, some of which involve the Constitution)
New Views of the Constitution of the United States (1823) by John Taylor (probably the best Jeffersonian overview of the Constitution; available in html and at Google Books)
A Brief Enquiry into the True Nature and Character of Our Federal Government (1840) by Abel Upshur. A brilliant and unjustly neglected short book on the nature of the Union created by the Constitution. Available online and as Classic Reprint No. 120 from Vance Publications. Read the foreword.
“The Original Meaning of the Commerce Clause” by Randy Barnett
Virginia’s American Revolution: From Dominion to Republic, 1776—1840 by Kevin R.C. Gutzman
“Madison and the Compound Republic” by Kevin Gutzman (later published as “‘Oh, What a Tangled Web We Weave…': James Madison and the Compound Republic,” Continuity 22 [Spring 1998]: 19—29)
Freedom Under Siege by Ron Paul
How Would a Patriot Act? by Glenn Greenwald
“The Bill of Rights: Searches and Seizures” by Jacob Hornberger
“The Bill of Rights: Due Process of Law” by Jacob Hornberger
“The Enemy Combatant Attack on Freedom, Part 1″ by Jacob Hornberger
“The Enemy Combatant Attack on Freedom, Part 2″ by Jacob Hornberger
“Tyranny and the Military Commissions Act” by Jacob Hornberger
“Bush’s Wiretap Crimes and the FISA Farce” by James Bovard
“The Bush Torture Memos” by James Bovard
Bad Trip: How the War on Drugs Is Destroying America by Joel Miller
Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed by Judge James Gray
Marijuana Myths Marijuana Facts: A Review of the Scientific Evidence by Lynn Etta Zimmer and John P. Morgan
Marijuana as Medicine? by Alison Mack and Janet Elizabeth Joy
Bad Neighbor Policy: Washington’s Futile War on Drugs in Latin America by Ted Galen Carpenter
“How the U.S. Government Created the u2018Drug Problem’ in the U.S.A.” by Michael E. Kreca
“How the Drug War in Afghanistan Undermines America’s War on Terror” (.pdf) by Ted Galen Carpenter
This is adapted from Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty. Special thanks to Anthony Gregory for his assistance with resources on the drug war.
Thomas E. Woods, Jr. [view his website; send him mail] is senior fellow in American history at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He is co-editor (with Murray Polner) of We Who Dared to Say No to War: American Antiwar Writing from 1812 to Now and co-author, most recently, of Who Killed the Constitution? The Fate of American Liberty from World War I to George W. Bush. His other books include Sacred Then and Sacred Now: The Return of the Old Latin Mass, 33 Questions About American History You’re Not Supposed to Ask. How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization (get a free chapter here), The Church and the Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy (first-place winner in the 2006 Templeton Enterprise Awards), and the New York Times bestseller The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History. His latest book is Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse.