Essays on Freedom and Power

Essays on Freedom and Power

By:

John Dalberg-Acton (Lord Acton)

Edited By:

Gertrude Himmelfarb

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Summary

Essays on Freedom and Power collects Lord Acton's most important writings on a theme that would define his reputation for more than a century: the corruptions of power. The reader learns from Acton's love of liberty as the creative force in culture and society. This is the great collection of this giant of the late 19th century, published first in 1948 and republished by the Mises Institute.

Lord Acton might have been the last in a long line of a particular type of liberal before the time of Ludwig von Mises himself. He still has much to teach us, and no liberal education can be truly complete without a thorough knowledge of his understanding of the history and meaning of liberty.

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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.


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.


Personal Freedom

Since the mission of Books of Liberty is to help you find content to free your mind, you can’t go wrong with clicking on personal freedom and seeing where it takes you. Topics that are likely to be correlated with personal freedom include education and critical thinking, entrepreneurship or other means of achieving financial freedom, physical and mental wellbeing, and for the parents out there we have books on peaceful parenting and some reading ideas for your own young readers.


Physical and Mental Wellbeing

The main aspects of your physical wellbeing that help prevent disease and ill-health are diet and fitness. Each body is unique and we have insufficient information to assess the efficacy of the ideas represented in the diet and fitness books linked within our pages. Healthcare is another important component and the books within this topic may include not just a "how to" on healthcare but also theoretical expositions, commentary and opinion and other economic analyses or policy critiques.

One’s mental wellbeing is influenced by a large number of factors, over which we are even less qualified to talk about than we are on diet and fitness. However we have compiled books on a variety of topics that will help educate you on matters of self-esteem, stress management, the effects of trauma or punishment and reward on mental health and happiness, as well as help you gain more self-awareness through mindfulness and a focus on authenticity.

Related topics within the psychology area will bring you more insight into a variety of factors affecting our minds and our emotional intelligence. These include our inclination to obedience, authority and conformity and, with some, this includes outright psychopathy and narcissism, as represented by most who seek political office. These are very important topics to grasp for all who seek to understand the root cause of our lack of freedom in the world today.

Real world experiments on behaviorism, including controversial experiments (such as the Milgram experiment or the Stanford prison experiment) shine light on topics like the Lucifer Effect where otherwise good people end up doing evil.


Personal Development

Between education, entrepreneurship, communication skills and other such important topics, personal development forms a key component of one’s path to personal freedom. No human is perfect and while we ought to balance the recognition of this fact with self-esteem and acceptance of our nature, there is room for improvement in us all (and if nothing else, there is room for us to at least maintain our level of awesomeness).

I've included books covering important components of personal development and tools to increase your efficiency. These include productivity and time management methodologies (such as the highly recommended Getting Things Done or GTD), leadership skills, creativity, resilience, organizational skills and many more, all of which require the formation of great habits, self-discipline and willpower. Other intriguing topics like stoicism and minimalism are covered too.

Topics related with personal development include physical and mental wellbeing as well as psychology.