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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.
Sadly, where there is light, there must be shadow and the topics you’d find in this category pertain to the darker parts of human existence. We’ve included some books that espouse such ideals, such as various communist treatises or books that advocate various forms of socialism or those that hail democracy as some crowning achievement of mankind. I, for one, feel that it is important to know the arguments of the opposing side to strengthen your understanding of your own position. But if you do buy these books and enrich the authors or their publishers, please buy through our links so that at least a liberty-loving outfit would gain a buck or two out of this deal…
Aside from a few books that support such views, the majority of the titles tagged with the above topics are there to shine light on, and provide a critique of these views. Other anti-individualist topics include: the seemingly benign bureaucracy that makes the State inefficient; the deceptive egalitarianism and the nanny state, a path paved with good intentions that we all know where it leads (hint: may include redistribution of wealth and slavery); the outright evil in ideologies such as Fascism and Marxism that lead to despotism, dictatorship, tyranny and totalitarianism; and crony capitalism (corporatism) and its predecessor mercantilism, which masquerades as capitalism in most people’s minds and leads to anti-capitalist views.
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.
We find topics about the law, laws and legislation, justice, law enforcement and judicial systems fascinating, especially when combined with anarchy, as this seems to be one of the last bastions on the road to understanding an anarchist system and how legal order and property rights would be maintained.
Administrative law, regulations, and licensure as we know them today are artefacts of the State that are critiqued in our featured books, but so are dozens of other legislative issues, such as: labor laws (child labor, labor unions, minimum wage), issues relating to the US Constitution or the Articles of Confederation (e.g. the commerce clause, nullification, fugitive slave laws, gun control / second amendment), civil rights issues, Obamacare, Prohibition, and even earlier established legal concepts, such as the Magna Carta and Habeas Corpus.
A note from the curator: One of the reasons I am a very satisfied Master Member of Liberty Classroom is that I have access to courses like US Constitutional History and others featuring topics related to the law. In full disclosure, Books of Liberty will get a small advertising fee for purchases made through our link.
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.
It should come as no surprise that the education topic is chock-full of great material. Given the range of items it covers, you will see why it is the third most popular topic on this site. The two largest topics you’ll find within education are your "how to" books and those that bust myths and misconceptions. These two categories assist you greatly in your long path of autodidacticism (self-directed learning). Both the "how to" and the myths and misconceptions books cover a wide range of interests, helping you educate yourself (and others) in pretty much every other topic on this site. Case studies are also well represented and learning from them is a good way to help bring clarity to a subject.
However, in addition to books that educate, a large number of books discuss the education system itself, such as higher education and college alternatives, or the public school system and public school alternatives (whether it be homeschooling, Montessori, a Sudbury School approach, or other forms of unschooling).
For those homeschooling or otherwise teaching young ones, resources exist on reading (including debates between whole-word / look-say and phonics), and for the older student and certainly for the self-directed learners out there, you will find resources on the trivium method that provides a systematic approach (of grammar, logic and rhetoric) to learning any subject effectively, and you will find plenty of study guides on a variety of subjects.
A note from the curator: The Ron Paul Curriculum homeschool program is promoted throughout the site and in full disclosure Books of Liberty will get an advertising fee for those purchases made through our links. While I do not have direct experience in homeschooling, I have researched Ron Paul’s program extensively and found it to be an outstanding alternative to the public school system and very recommended for those who go down the homeschooling route.
The "for parents" topic is a very important component of Book of Liberty. After all, for those who have kids, if you would like to affect change in the world one of the most important roles you have in this context is being a responsible steward of your children. Raising a strong, moral, peaceful individual can have tremendous positive impact.
The non-aggression principle is best displayed through its application in interpersonal relations, of which peaceful parenting is one such strategy. Like many other topics covered by books on this site, this too can be controversial and in no way are we prescribing behavior or applying judgment. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, but we do encourage the same rigor and logical consistency to be applied to your relationships with others in your life as we apply to the relationship between the individual and the State.
Topics such as homeschooling, Montessori, or other forms of unschooling can be found when browsing the "for parents" topic, as well as books for young readers. If you have a young reader at home, consider browsing this section for inspiration on books for them to read.
A note from the curator: If you are a parent of a 5-11 year old (or know someone who is) The Tuttle Twins series of books would make a great addition to their library. Similar to the advertising fees we get from books purchased through Amazon, the creators of The Tuttle Twins support Books of Liberty with a small advertising fee for purchases made through our links, and I would not promote these books if I didn’t highly recommend them myself.
Same goes for the Ron Paul Curriculum homeschool program, who support Books of Liberty through advertising fees for those who purchase through our links. I haven’t gone through a homeschool program and my daughter isn’t old enough for school yet, so I can’t speak from personal experience but I have heard nothing but tremendous positive feedback from homeschooling parents for Ron Paul’s program and I am happy to be recommending it.
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.
While all books technically fall under this topic, we’ve reserved this mostly as a way to easily filter through the many hundred titles to find works of fiction (whether it be science fiction or dystopian novels), humor, poetry or quotes. The great manifestos are clearly labeled, as are Festschrifts, which are collections of writings published in honor of a scholar. Finally, we've included a range of biographies and autobiographies that shed light on some key individuals.
A note from the curator: With a variety of literature homeschool courses the Ron Paul Curriculum homeschool program does not disappoint. Western Literature, American Literature and Classic Autobiographies are covered in the high school years. My experience of literature in public school was horrendous and I wish I had the curriculum and approach provided by Ron Paul’s program instead. Books of Liberty gets advertising fees for those who purchase through our links.