Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

Dear readers of Letter of Liberty:

Happy Independence Day! The day when we seceded from Great Britain in 1776 and declared our independence from the mightiest empire at that time. This is the day not to boast how "free" we are; rather, this is the holiday to reflect on our past, and to look to the height from which we have fallen, from a constitutionally-limited republic to a fascist central government. We must strive to restore these principles; and not only that, but we must strive to perfect on the errors of the Old Republic and go further where even the Old Republic never went, even as we seek to restore that which was good about the Old Republic: its commitment to decentralization and the libertarian principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Here is some reading for Independence Day:

"The Declaration of Independence" by Thomas Jefferson: In order to refresh yourself on the meaning of the holiday, I recommend you go back and read this brilliant document by a great man; this was the document that laid out the principles of the American Revolution: life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and natural rights.

"The Meaning of Revolution" by Murray Rothbard: In this classic 1969 article from The Libertarian Forum, Murray Rothbard explained the meaning of revolution, using examples from the English Civil War, the American and French Revolutions and how they brought giant steps in the direction of liberty. He encourages us to be the revolutionaries that the earlier classical liberals were.

"Jefferson Weeping" by Judge Andrew Napolitano: Fox News judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano laments how far we have come from our roots, from liberty to a police state.

"What Americans Used to Know About the Declaration of Independence" by Thomas DiLorenzo: Libertarian scholar and senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, Thomas DiLorenzo explores the secessionist character of the Declaration of Independence, which modern-day Americans have forgotten.

"Orwell's Big Brother: Merely Fiction?" by Murray Rothbard: In his 1949 review of George Orwell's dystopian and depressing classic Nineteen Eighty-Four, Murray Rothbard explained that Big Brother may not be merely fiction.

"Who Were the Patriots and Traitors on the Fourth of July, 1776" by Jacob G. Hornberger: Jacob Hornberger, founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation (FFF) in Fairfax, Virginia, reminds us that the revolutionaries of 1776 were not so much Americans as they were Englishmen revolting against their government.

"Just War" by Murray N. Rothbard: In 1994, Murray Rothbard's speech "Two Just Wars: 1776 & 1861" (now titled as "Just War") made the case for the American Revolution being a just war under libertarian standards.

"Happy Military Appreciation Day" by Laurence M. Vance: Christian libertarian author and adjunct scholar at the Ludwig von Mises Institute Laurence M. Vance explores how the wonderful holiday known as Independence Day, which was originally meant to celebrate our revolution against and secession from Great Britain, is being used as an excuse for military idolatry.

"The Libertarian Heritage: The American Revolution and Classical Liberalism" by Murray N. Rothbard: In the excellent first chapter to his classic book For A New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, Murray Rothbard explained how the American Revolution was part of our libertarian heritage.

"The Real Jefferson" by Luigo Marco Bassani: Luigo Marco Bassani, an Italian-American libertarian scholar and author of Liberty, State and Union: The Political Theory of Thomas Jefferson, blows away at the myths of Jefferson as social democrat and shows us that he was indeed a Lockean classical liberal. A complimentary article by the same author is "Life, Liberty, And . . . : Jefferson on Property Rights," which was published in the Winter 2004 issue of Journal of Libertarian Studies.

"Equality: American Idol" by Patrick J. Buchanan: Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan explains how the idol of equality is destroying the principles of liberty on which the nation was founded.

"The Real Meaning of the Fourth of July" by Jacob G. Hornberger: In 2008, Jacob G. Hornberger explained the true significance of the Fourth of July and the American Revolution.

"Myths of the Fourth of July" by Kevin R. C. Gutzman: Kevin R. C. Gutzman, constitutionalist scholar and author of many books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution, explains the myths surrounding Independence Day and explains that it is indeed a Jeffersonian, anti-statist holiday.

"Thomas Jefferson: Rebel" by Frank Chodorov: The late libertarian scholar and columnist Frank Chodorov, under whom the great Murray Rothbard was influenced, wrote this classic article on Thomas Jefferson and his rebellion against statism and tyranny on behalf of liberty and freedom.

"What Do We Celebrate on the Fourth of July?" by Tibor R. Machan: Libertarian philosopher Tibor Machan asks this poignant question. He analyzes the principles of the American revolution and how it has been betrayed in recent years.

"Celebrating Our Capitalist Revolution" by Thomas DiLorenzo: Thomas DiLorenzo goes deep into the capitalist libertarianism of the American Revolution.

"Recapturing the Spirit of Independence" by Ron Paul: A classic article from Ron Paul, one of the most principled politicians of all time and a great libertarian, which explains the stark contrast between a republic and an empire, exploring the spirit of independence inherent in a republic.

"A Republic, Not A Democracy" by Ron Paul: Ron Paul explains why America was founded as a republic rather than a democracy.

For a good book on American history from a libertarian perspective, I would recommend Murray Rothbard's four-volume Conceived in Liberty, which is now a one-volume edition from the Ludwig von Mises Institute. The book was originally published by that same institute in a four-volume edition. It is available at and other stores, as well as for free download at in PDF and E-PUB formats. I would also recommend historian Thomas E. Woods's brilliant work that is The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History. It will challenge your views on the founding, secession, nullification, the Founding Fathers, the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, capitalism and much more. While it is marketed to a conservative audience, it is radically libertarian, as reviews from Laissez-Faire Books (LFB) editor Jeffrey Tucker and libertarian writer Anthony Gregory (in his review for the March 2005 issue of Liberty) note. I will be writing a review for this book in the future, as I did indeed enjoy it.