Is it Time to RE-Start Libertarian Book Clubs?

Thirty years ago when I first came into the liberty movement and the Libertarian Party, people in positions of leadership considered it necessary for new people to educate themselves about libertarianism, for example, to join a book club to expose themselves to the principles and foundations of the liberty movement and the Libertarian Party.

Shortly after I joined the party, our LP state Chairman started a reading/book club for new members and those interested in learning more. We had about 15 people who met one evening per month to discuss that month’s reading.

One of the problems the Libertarian Party is experiencing today is that many people who have been members of the party for several years now still misstate publicly the definition of libertarianism and its basic tenets. In the last decade or so, libertarian book clubs have been nearly nonexistent. Perhaps it is time to again encourage the formation of these clubs, and in this day and time, it isn’t even necessary to meet physically.

The club I attended originally planned to meet for 12 months, but decided to go a bit longer to work in a couple of other books. One comment I heard over and over from my club-mates was that they would not have read most of those books if not for the club and the necessity of discussing them at the next meeting.

If you are the type of reader that needs the encouragement of other libertarians to get through some of the less entertaining books about Libertarianism, then start or encourage your LP leaders to start such a club, for failing that, start one of your own and ask your leaders to help you promote it.

Below is my own suggested Reading List for a 12+ month club:

INTRODUCTION (Month 1)

Libertarianism in One Lesson – David Bergland

HISTORY & PHILOSOPHY (Months 2 – 5)

The Discovery of Freedom – Rose Wilder Lane

Two Treatises of Government – John Locke
The Law – Frederic Bastiat

Individuals and their Rights – Tibor Machan

Free to Choose: A Personal Statement – Milton Freedman

ECONOMICS (Month 6 – 8)

Economics in One Lesson – Henry Hazlitt

A Concise Guide to Economics &
Minimum Wage, Maximum Damage – Jim Cox

The Anti-capitalist Mentality – Ludwig von Mises

SOCIAL POLICY (Months 9 & 10)

Healing our World – Mary Ruwart

Losing Ground – Charles Murray

POLITICS (Month 11 & 12)

The Road to Serfdom – F.A. Hayek

Our Enemy, The State – Albert Jay Nock

FICTION (optional months)

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress – Robert A. Heinlein

Atlas Shrugged (suggest taking 2 months) – Ayn Rand

Libertarian Continued Reading List

Thousands of books have been published on libertarian topics. To help you wade through this vast selection, here is a representative sample for your continued reading pleasure.

INTRODUCTION TO LIBERTY

  • Bergland, David. Libertarianism in One Lesson (ASG, LF)
  • Burris, Allan. A Liberty Primer (ASG, FF)
  • Ruwart, Mary. Healing our World (FF, LF)
  • Sprading, Charles ed. Liberty and the Great Libertarians (LF)
  • Narveson, Jan The Libertarian Idea AZ

ECONOMICS

  • Block, Walter & Michael Walker. A Lexicon of Economic Thought (FI)
  • Hazlitt, Henry. Economics in One Lesson (ASG, LF)
  • Friedman, Milton. Free to Choose (LF)
  • Reisman, George. The Government Against the Economy (LF)
  • von Mises, Ludwig. Human Action (FEE, FF, LF)

EDUCATION

  • Boulogne, Jack. The Zoo (FF, FEE)
  • Public Education and Indoctrination (FEE, FF)
  • Richman, Sheldon. Separating School and State (LF)

ENVIRONMENT

  • Anderson, Terry & Donald Leal. Free Market Environmentalism (FF)
  • Anderson, Terry L. ed. NAFTA and the Environment (FI)
  • Bast, Joseph, Peter Hill & Richard Rue. Eco-Sanity (LF)
  • Block, Walter ed. Economics & the Environment (FF, FI)

FICTION

  • Anderson, Poul. Harvest of Stars (LF)
  • Rand, Ayn. Atlas Shrugged (FF, LF)

HISTORY

  • Lane, Rose Wilder. The Discovery of Freedom (LF)
  • Paterson, Isabel. The God of the Machine (LF)
  • Weaver, Henry Grady. The Mainspring of Human Progress (FEE, FF)

LAW & CRIME

  • Bastiat, Frederic. The Law (FEE, LF)
  • Epstein, Richard. Simple Rules for a Complex World (LF)
  • Hamowy, Ronald ed. Dealing with Drugs (FF)
  • Lapierre, Wayne. Guns, Crime, and Freedom (LF)

PHILOSOPHY

  • Locke, John. Two Treatises of Government (LF)
  • Machan, Tibor. Individuals and their Rights (FF)
  • Narveson, Jan. The Libertarian Idea (LF)
  • Nozick, Robert. Anarchy, State, and Utopia (LF)
  • Rand, Ayn. The Capitalist Manifesto (FF, LF)
  • Smith, Adam. The Wealth of Nations (FF, LF)

POLITICS

  • Peter Brimelow. Patriot Games (LF)
  • Browne, Harry. Why Government Doesn’t Work (LF)
  • Hayek, F.A. The Road to Serfdom (FF, LF)
  • Herbert, Auberon. The Right & Wrong of Compulsion by the State (FF)
  • Horry, Isabella & Michael Walker. Government Spending Facts 2 (FI)
  • Kendall, Frances & Leon Louw. Let the People Govern (FF)
  • Nock, Albert Jay. Our Enemy, The State (FF, LF)
  • Palda, Filip. Election Finance Regulation in Canada (FI)

SOCIAL POLICY

  • Adie, Douglas K. The Mail Monopoly (FI)
  • Grant, R.W. Rent Control and the War against the Poor (ASG)
  • Hamowy, Ronald. Canadian Medicine: A Study in Restricted Entry (FI)
  • Murray, Charles. Losing Ground (LF)
  • Sarlo, Christopher. Poverty in Canada (FI)

WAR

  • Opitz, Edmund ed. Leviathan at War (FEE, LF)
  • Rummel, R.J. Death by Government (LF)

MAGAZINES & NEWSLETTERS

  • Reason – Reason is the flagship libertarian magazine. The writers are all first rate and the production values are good. Founded in the mid-seventies, Reason is not so much interested in libertarian theory as in libertarian practice. The typical issue will feature several articles on government problems and libertarian solutions as well as a mixture of book reviews and other columns. Reason can often be found in better book stores (not Coles!). Published 11 times per year. Subscription rate: US$26 per year. Contact: Reason Magazine on the World Wide Web, or write to their Subscription Department, P.O. Box 526, Mt Morris, IL, 61054 Phone 815-734-1102
  • Fraser Forum (FI)
  • Freedom Network News (FF)
  • The Freeman (FEE)
  • The Liberator (ASG)
  • Liberty – PO Box 1167 , Port Townsend WA 98368.
  • Liberty For All (LFA)

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