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- Published on Amazon.com
The New Libertarianism: Anarcho-Capitalism by J. Michael Oliver
A brilliant new book has been written by J. Michael Oliver called The New Libertarianism: Anarcho-Capitalism. It's short, clearly written and describes in some detail the intellectual framework of a philosophy that is now popping out into public via events transpiring on the political stage. The work is clever, accurate and incredibly honest. How do I know? I am Mike's peer. I was a young man during the time Murray Rothbard and Ayn Rand's wonderful freedom loving philosophy became a united group of ideas that became our banner. I met Mike and his beautiful wife Janet at the airport in Honolulu when he first came to Hawaii to study at the University of Hawaii. What he writes is the precise truth and he does it in a way a high school kid could understand.
Mike's book takes the major intellectual events of the 1960's, that of Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard, describes their philosophies and shows how they were melded into a single, power new group of ideas that welded notions of free-enterprise written about with humor and great power by Murray Rothbard, with Ayn Rand's philosophical defense of individual liberty. Mike takes care to give us a careful account of Rand's philosophy deliberately showing us step by step her core ideas. As he does this he shows how at the very same time Rothbard's books, Man, Economy and State, Power and Market and his regular essays were starting to be seen by many as a unifying whole. I was at the University of Hawaii during the start of this period and witnessed it all. Mike not only has it clearly down but he gets the facts correct.
I have said that Mike's accounts are accurate and clearly written in his book. Here are several examples. On page 47 Mike writes,
"But there is a certain naivete` involved when one thinks of government in the voluntarist and contractual terms which are imbedded in Locke's statement. What government, past or present, has approached its potential citizens as a businessman approaches a prospective customer? When have men ever been asked by the State to voluntarily submit to its control?"
Mike shows that when you meld the ideas of Rand and Rothbard you have an entirely new ballgame. The need for the State is shown to be ridiculous and Mike has alternatives in place ready for the reader. He gives you David Friedman, Morris and Linda Tannehill, John Hospers, William C. Woldridge, Franz Opppenheimer, Lefever and Spencer names that ring like a symphony of great calls for freedom and liberty for the individual. For another example of Mike's crystal clarity read this passage about the nature of the State from page 90:
"The `chaos' of individual human volition and human actions based upon that volition must be filtered and controlled by those who are wiser and better-suited, in a fully Platonist-ruler sense, to suppress "unsuitable" ideas and to permit those ideas and actions that they deem best. That is the nature of the State. It is God on earth. If it did not claim monopoly status via force over a given territory this would not be true. But by its own nature it does claim such."
Mike in the course of this book uses the term "statist." To libertarians this is a term of derision, an insult. It means "of the state" or someone who needs a large, powerful gang behind them to accomplish anything on earth or someone who has to argue for his ideas with the implicit threat of force if you don't agree. Oddly, while many of the what Mike calls, "The New Libertarians'" ideas are beginning to come forth onto the public stage, the term "statist" is not even in many dictionaries...yet. Six months ago it was not. Only very recently do we read:
stat·ism [stey-tiz-uhm] noun
1. the principle or policy of concentrating extensive economic, political, and related controls in the state at the cost of individual liberty.
2. support of or belief in the sovereignty of a state, usually a republic.
Mike's book was formed in the intellectual ferment of the late 1960's and does not deal with current trends, wars or who is president. Instead it deals with the all important ideas that underlie the current Libertarian movement which is spurring anti State sentiment across the nation. After those turbulent days of the late '60's and the Vietnam War, Mike became involved in finance, I became a radio talk show host. After sharing ideas of Rothbard, Rand et. al. developed I tested them as time went by with my audiences and my guests, which included Hospers, Branden, Murray Rothbard and David Friedman. Mike has done the world a stunning favor by summing up an important, nascent period of liberty. I asked each of these guests, the great writers and teachers of liberty what they thought of the State and it's alleged necessity. Mike has echoed their answers even without hearing them. Mike has given us a gem of a history, the start of the current Libertarian Movement. His book The New Libertarians: Anarcho-Capitalism is available at Amazon.com.