Books That Shaped Us

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LRC writers often fondly refer to seminal books which influenced them.  In my case, there are two that changed forever how I see the world about me.  I was extremely fortunate that I encountered them very early on my libertarian path to enlightenment almost four decades ago.  Once one carefully reads, grapples with, and internalizes these volumes, you are never the same.  Each is characterized by unrelenting logic, brilliant insights, and cogent reasoning.  The two books are Lysander Spooner’s No Treason:  The Constitution of No Authority, and Murray N. Rothbard’s Power and Market:  Government and the Economy. In No Treason, Spooner packs more intellectual dynamite into its explosive pages than any other book in print.  Playboy called it “(possibly) the most subversive document ever penned in this nation.”  No Treason blasts government by destroying  the very legitimacy of the American State.  Spooner meticulously (with the precision of a dedicated surgeon) dissects the  “social contract” basis of the United States Constitution.  When he is finished, the once bloated corpse on the autopsy table is gone.  The only remains are those of the heinous mass murderers and robbers which are its pretended agents.   Rothbard, in Power and Market, demolishes any rationale or pretext for economic intervention into civil society by the government.  In one fell blow, he forever separates the market economy from the coercive apparatus of the State.  The very notions of “political economy,” “public policy” or similar parasitism become obsolete.  Government is revealed, as Spooner earlier demonstrated, a criminal band of murderers, looters, thugs, and thieves.

8:00 pm on August 1, 2009