Although I’m scheduled to be back in Minnesota fairly early today I really didn’t think I’d want to start writing posts immediately upon my return, thus you get one final entry in Liberty Literature. For the final entry in this series (until I decide to start continuing the series later) I have selected Pictures of a Socialistic Future by Eugen Richter. Fortunately for you it’s a short read and can be found for free here.
This book is interesting because it accurately predicted the condition people living in socialist countries would face. Although I’m unsure of the original data this title was published I do know it was translated to English in 1893, before socialism started taking hold in countries like Russia. Pictures of a Socialistic Future is a fictional story about a man who lives in a country who’s government had just been overthrown by socialists. It reads like a diary with our main character expressing the changes he sees. Although he originally strongly supports socialism his attitude towards it changes as conditions become worse and worse.
As I said this book is interesting because it was published before any major socialist governments were founded but accurately predicted what would happen in such countries. Everything is in here including the need to prevent citizens from leaving the country, to reduced output in production, to the absurd things needed to be done in order to make everybody in society “equal.” If you read this book and a book on the history of the Soviet Union you will almost get confused about which book is the fictional title and which is the non-fiction title.
It’s sad that the horrors of socialism were predicted so early and nobody was willing to listen. Had people taken this book to heart hundreds of millions of needless deaths may have been avoided.
If yesterday’s entry for Liberty Literature didn’t make a good cast for liberty maybe you need a first hand telling of atrocities committed under authoritative governments. Execution by Hunger: The Hidden Holocaust (once again I couldn’t find a legal free copy) is written by a survivor of the Ukrainian famine initiated by the Soviet rule.
The famine was caused by the agricultural collectivization program that was started in the Soviet Union. Collectivization works by having all farmers surrender all of their farming land, livestock, and crops to one central collective farm. Although Soviet propaganda claimed that participation in collective farms was voluntary this book explains that is far from the truth. Although you didn’t have to join collective farms large taxes (so large that it was known farmers couldn’t pay it) were levied if you refused. If you resisted long enough you’d simply be declared an “enemy of the people” and shipped off to a labor camp somewhere in Siberia.
This collectivization process was even more sinister in Ukraine. The Communist Part in Russia wanted to wipe out feels of national identifies which was strong in Ukraine. Although programs had been implemented to reduce Ukrainian nationalism they weren’t successful. Thus the Communist Party decided it would be best to just starve the people in Ukraine and wipe them out.
That’s exactly what was attempted and it was largely successful. This book actually becomes incredibly difficult to read at the end as it describe the sheer number of dead bodies that were littered about Dolot’s village towards the ending years of the famine. Dolot also explains many of the tricks the Communist Party used to break the will of the independent farmers of Ukraine and make them bow to the will of the state. Although the book is a bit graphic (what book about a holocaust wouldn’t be?) it explains very well the tyranny experienced by those living in the Soviet Union.
The second book on my recommended liberty list is Death by Government by R. J. Rummel. Sadly, unlike The Ethics of Liberty, this title isn’t available for free but can be purchased on Amazon (this isn’t an affiliate link by the way). R. J. Rummel is a retired professor from the University of Hawaii who has been studying what he defines as democide. Democide, as defined by Rummel, is “the murder of any person or people by a government, including genocide, politicide, and mass murder.”
This book, above all others I’ve read, makes the best case for liberty. The hypothesis Rummel has come to over his years of research is that the more authoritarian and tyrannical a government is the more people they murder. Death by Government demonstrates this fact by presenting the number of democide victims under many governments of this century. This book includes information on Cambodia, Soviet Russia, and even the United States.
If you’re a statist by the conclusion of this book you either have no ability to comprehend written material or are truly a sadistic bastard.
Today marks the first day of my vacation at Defcon. I’m not dump enough to access a network of any kind while at Defcon so I’ve pre-written some posts for your enjoyment. You’re not going to get my usual smart ass remarks about the news of the day but you will get something of value. Every day of my vacation will doing a segment which I’m calling Liberty Literature. Liberty Literature is where I recommend books that I’ve read dealing with the broad topic of liberty.
Personal liberty is a very important topic to me and many gunnies. It’s not because we’re selfish, wanting a liberty based society is the least selfish thing anybody could want. Instead of asking the government to use its monopoly on the use of violence to make others comply with our demands we advocate everybody be allowed to make their own choices in life. It would be great if more people came to this realization which is why I’m posting books that have greatly shaped my political views.
I’m going to start with the book that has influenced my political and ethical views more than any other, The Ethics of Liberty by Murray Rothbard. A free (legally) copy of it can be found here.
The Ethics of Liberty explains the very concept of liberty itself. Starting from the use of reason and natural law to explain every person’s right to self-ownership Rothbard expands and explains how the right to self and property are absolute. Further he explains how a completely voluntary society could work including how a free market would make it possible. This book is an eye opener and I highly recommend everybody read it.
Many topics are covered in this title including criminality and punishment, the rights of children, lifeboat situations, and the theory of contracts.