A Beautiful Anarchy

A Beautiful Anarchy

By:

Jeffrey A. Tucker

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Summary

A Beautiful Anarchy: How to Create Your Own Civilization in the Digital Age is Jeffrey Tucker’s rhapsodic hymn to the digital age, and a call to use the tools it has granted us to enhance human freedom, and to reduce and end intellectual dependency on the state. It shows that every truly valuable aspect of our lives extends not from politics and the regime but from our own voluntary choices.
Choice has created the marvels of the digital age that bestows its benevolence on us every day. Its greatest contribution has been to link the people of the world in communication.
The critical fact about communication is its creative power. It is a form of exchange. The goods exchanged are not property but ideas, and this exchange results in new ideas, new intellectual wealth, the precondition for changing the world.
Unscripted, uncontrolled, uncensored communication illustrates the productive power of anarchy. The more this communicative anarchy has advanced, the more it has served to build civilization.
This is a triumph for human liberty, Tucker argues, and with liberty comes flourishing and the cultivation of civilized life. Philosophers of all ages have dreamed of a world without power, despots, and bullies — a world built by people and for people. The market in the digital age is delivering that to us.
And it’s not only about us. It’s about everyone. Wherever the state is not standing in the way, prosperity comes flooding in. We are in the midst of the longest and most-dramatic period of poverty reduction the world has ever known. In the last ten years, some 70 million people have been lifted from destitution. Fewer than half the people who were so 25 years ago still qualify today.
The reason is technology, communication, entrepreneurship, and that wonderful trajectory away from gatekeepers toward personal empowerment the world over. This is the gift of the digital age, the most spectacular and revolutionary period of change the world has ever known.
The aims of A Beautiful Anarchy are (1) to draw attention to the reality that surrounds us but we hardly ever bother to notice, much less celebrate; (2) to urge a willingness to embrace this new world as a means of improving our lives regardless of what the anachronistic institutions of power wish us to do; (3) to elucidate the causes and effects that have created this new world; and (4) to urge more of the good institutions that have created this beautiful anarchy.
This books covers the uses of social media, the blessed end of the nation-state, the way the government is destroying the physical world, the role of commerce in saving humanity, the depredations of nation-state monetary policy, the evil of war and the lie of national security, and private societies as agents of liberation. And it offers a hopeful prognosis for a creative and productive world without central control. The book is topical, pithy, and anecdotal, yet points to the big ideas and the larger picture to help frame the great economic and political debates of our time.

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Philosophy of Freedom

Within this topic you’ll find a wide variety of books, many of which we hold in the highest regard. These books are also associated with other topics, such as anarchist traditions and practical liberty. All your great libertarian manifestos, books that discuss individual liberty, the non-aggression principle, laissez faire, objectivism, etc. are found within.

Anarchist traditions would be a great shortcut to find books specifically calling out anarchist principles. The name "anarchist traditions" is purposefully broad, because in addition to anarcho-capitalism and voluntaryism, there are books on anarcho-syndicalism, anarcho-communism or other forms of collectivist anarchism, as well as egoism and other schools of thought.

Practical liberty has a hodge-podge of awesome content, from the great anti-war and abolitionist books to theoretical treatises on private defense and private law; from whistleblowing and WikiLeaks to other forms of activism and civil disobedience; from secession to jury nullification and describing revolution and resistance. We’ve even thrown in some interesting "how to" books on affecting change to further one’s activist ends.

The topic of philosophy is closely associated, as many of the books tagged to the philosophy of freedom contain deep philosophical arguments from ethics and epistemology to political theory and religion. A wide variety of ideologies are represented and critiqued within the pages of the books linked here, covering the full political spectrum: whether it is Fascism versus Communism; Neoconservatism versus Progressivism or Liberalism; Nationalism and Nazism versus International Socialism and everything in between.

A note from the curator: You may see throughout the site banners promoting Liberty Classroom. As a very satisfied Master Member, I cannot recommend enough the courses within Liberty Classroom, all of which are imbued with the philosophy of freedom, including How Freedom Settled the West and History of Conservatism and Libertarianism. In full disclosure, Books of Liberty will get a small advertising fee for purchases made through our link.


Critique of the State

Shedding more light where once was dark, this topic includes a wide array of critiques surrounding the function of the State, but mostly around policy critiques and warfare. As it relates to the State’s functioning, everything from central planning, coercion and government expansion through to propaganda, taxation and the act of voting are discussed.

The State apparatus and its institutions, the CIA, FBI, NSA, and other alphabet soup organizations – they are all brought to account together with their counterparts in the military-industrial complex and the deep state. The Supreme Court, criminal justice system and the prisons are not immune to critique. And the filth of politics and lobbying are described in great lengths.

Policy critiques cover everything from abortion to welfare. It all starts with state intervention in the affairs of private individuals and foreign intervention (which includes the seemingly benevolent foreign aid) in the affairs of other groups of people. More specifically, US foreign policy and US military intervention are popular policies to critique.

Some of the other more common topics include: drugs, eminent domain, environmentalism, poverty, protectionism, muh roads, slavery, and other forms of public policy. Needless to say, these and other policies lead to ridiculous levels of government spending, itself a valid topic to critique.

And of course, the most destructive activity perpetrated by the State is warfare. The wars abroad and at home are discussed at length. Of the ‘traditional’ wars, World War I and II and the so-called American ‘Civil War’ (always in quotation marks) feature in the most number of books, some of which include discussions on genocide and war crimes. But then there are also the wars on amorphous, undefined entities, such as: the war on drugs, which leads to domestic violence, militarization and a police state; and the war on terror, which brought us torture, more terror and the ever-increasing drone warfare.

A note from the curator: The State is thoroughly critiqued within Liberty Classroom and the Ron Paul Curriculum homeschool program. In full transparency, I have no direct experience in homeschooling but I have heavily researched Ron Paul’s program and found it to be an outstanding alternative to the public school system (a system where you would never hear a critique of the State).

I am a very satisfied Master Member of Liberty Classroom and have taken the Introduction to Government course that is available through the Ron Paul Curriculum. Between this course and others available through Liberty Classroom, you can’t get a better or more thought out exposition critiquing the State and all its failures or faulty premises (and in a way that is suitable for the younger ages too). I’ll disclose that Books of Liberty will get a small advertising fee for purchases made through our links.


Cultural Issues

Legal and political issues aside, it is often the cultural and social issues that are upstream from any legislative action. Especially in a democracy, politicians know that to get reelected they need to tread a fine line and take a stand on topics that are culturally in vogue. Books providing cultural analysis or ones that talk of the social order are numerous within our site.

These books include racism, sexism, feminism and other such social justice issues relating to discrimination, freedom of association, freedom of speech, human rights, or political correctness. The topics of popular culture, American culture and Western Civilization are also represented.

Observations from many writers on these issues are provided through commentary and opinion and often investigative journalism leads down an interesting path, shedding light on these and other topics.


Other classifications

To make things easier to find, we created a few groupings that allow you to narrow down certain topics that include a large number of named individuals, geographical locations, or geopolitical entities. We created the topics: people and groups; areas and nations; economists; and politicians (who, within it, include also nation state leaders and US presidents).

And if you want a book that seems to have a wide variety of topics, you may just want to filter with the word smorgasbord and see what books come up.


Technology

As a tool devised by our ingenuity, technology is what has propelled us to becoming the dominant species on Earth despite comparative physical disadvantages. But technology continues to empower those in whose hands it should not be used. From outright war to the underappreciated abuses of mass surveillance, the State has been using technology to strip us of life, liberty and property since the dawn of its existence.

In the age of The American Panopticon, breaches of privacy and security through domestic spying are pervasive. The ability to retaliate through the use of bitcoin, and other crypto-currencies and blockchain solutions, or with tools like Tor, the Dark Net, and further ingenious hacking techniques were brought to us by cypherpunks and other such heroes. Learning the technical skills to disrupt and contribute is best done online. The technology world moves fast and traditional publishers can't keep up. But we have amassed a significant collections of books, nonetheless, on these topics within the pages of Books of Liberty, whether they be "how to", novels or non-fiction books.

A note from the curator: Combining "how to" with technology will also yield some great resources on learning coding or other technical skills. For a full Computer Science course aimed at the homeschooling 11th grader, I would recommend the Ron Paul Curriculum homeschool program. Learning to code would not be the sole reason to homeschool, since it can be done by any interested or entrepreneurial-minded person, but the program’s emphasis on such matters (including how to create and run a blog with Wordpress) shows how comprehensive this course is. I found only great feedback about the full curriculum and openly recommend it. In full disclosure, Books of Liberty gets advertising fees for those who purchase through our links.