7 Essential Liberty Books

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Seven Essential Books for Your Liberty Library
By Burnie Thompson

“The Law” by Frederic Bastiat
The 19th century French philosopher discusses the selfish nature of mankind and the proper role of government: “The state is the great fiction by which everybody tries to live at the expense of everyone else.” The law, he argues, should protect private property and punish plunder. His lesson on “what is seen and what is not seen” is priceless.

“Economics in One Lesson” by Henry Hazlitt
Even Nobel Prize economist F.A. Hayek was impressed, saying, “I know of no other modern book from which the intelligent layman can learn so much about the basic truths of economics.” Hazlitt’s explanation of the “broken window” economic fallacy will empower you. Politicians can’t pander to readers of this book because the fallacies become obvious.

“1984” by George Orwell
This haunting negative utopia traps us inside a world where our thoughts are controlled by a
totalitarian government. Doublespeak prevails — for example, the Ministry of Truth spreads propaganda; the Ministry of Peace is always at war; and the Ministry of Plenty is deficient. Orwell shows how human yearning for truth, freedom and love can be altered though government control of language.

“The Road to Serfdom” by F.A. Hayek
Hayek championed free markets in the mid-20th century while the rest touted collectivism. He describes the “spontaneous order” that arises from economic and social freedom when people are free to pursue their own interests. He contrasts that with the shortages and misery caused by the “fatal conceit” of central planners, as in the old Soviet Union.

“Free to Choose” by Milton and Rose Friedman
Milton Friedman — another Nobel laureate — is perhaps the most respected economist of the 20th century. Ronald Reagan considered this book a must-read in order to understand how excessive laws, regulations, and government spending are as counterproductive as they are oppressive.

“The Incredible Bread Machine” by R.W. Grant
This brilliant book explores government’s destructive consequences to capitalism’s dynamic efficiency. It’s best known, though, for the poem about an inventor who fed the world by creating a machine that produced bread for less than a penny a loaf. But – as in Occupy Wall Street – he was vilified rather than celebrated: “What right had he to get so rich on other people’s hunger?”

“Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand
This is a celebration of reason, creativity and self-ownership. It was chosen the second most-influential book on Americans’ lives (after the Bible) in a 1991 joint Library of Congress/Book of the Month Club survey. Think of society’s producers as Atlas holding up the world of social entitlements — what if they refused to be plundered any longer, and shrugged off the burden?

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The writer hosts The Burnie Thompson Show on Fox 28 WPGX Monday-Saturday at 6:30 a.m. Central Time. Email him at Burnie@BurnieThompson.com.