Title: What It Means To Be A Libertarian: A Personal Interpretation
Author: Charles Murray
Release Date: December 1, 1996
Finished Reading: December 2, 2014
About: “In the last quarter of the eighteenth century, the American Founders created a society based on the belief that human happiness is intimately connected with personal freedom and responsibility. A few people, of whom I am one, think that the Founders’ insights are as true today as they were two centuries ago. We believe that human happiness requires freedom, and freedom requires limited government. Limited government means a very small one, shorn of almost all of the apparatus we have come to take for granted during the last sixty years.
Most people are baffled by such views. Don’t we realize that this is postindustrial America, not Jefferson’s agrarian society? This book tries to explain how we can believe the less government, the better. It contains no footnotes. It has no tables and but a single graph. My purpose is to explain a way of looking at the world.”
I picked up this book because I knew that I was Libertarian, but wasn’t sure what that really meant. I have taken tests in school to see where I fall in this political mess and got the same results. Libertarian. Ok. What the heck does that mean? Hence, why I picked up this seemingly dry-looking non-fiction, political book. I want to know what people are talking about. I want to be able to hold a “political” conversation. I want to be more present in what’s going on around me. So I read.
Murray has a way with wording that allows me to understand. He doesn’t use huge, impossible words. This book is accessible for all adult readers. He breaks down common ideals that Libertarians hold and interprets them according to how he sees them and how he lives by them. It was more enjoyable to read with the author inserted in the book, rather than reading a dry, textbookish prose. There are even a couple times when he breaks down wording in an ideal and tells what that really means. (I already returned my book to the library, so I can’t give you an exact example. My apologies.) Something really cool that he did was recognize the use of the pronoun “he”. Murray explained this is his choice because he’s the author and he identifies as male and uses the pronoun “he”. From a language perspective, I found this insanely interesting and awesome that he even mentioned the rhetoric. Pretty meta. Me likey meta.
This book basically solidified that I am, indeed, a Libertarian. I think I am more of a lower case libertarian, like Murray admittedly is. There are things that I absolutely agree with, but there are others where I could be lenient on. I’m not a full-force radical, by any means. I found this book to be crazy informative without shoving information down my throat. It wasn’t trying to convince me to change my views either. I’m curious as to whether or not it reads the same if I subscribed to a different political party. Let me know in the comments if you’ve read this and feel that he’s trying to lure others to join this revolution.
After Murray lays down all the atrocities and what should be happening, he goes to tell us things we can do and change for the future. I appreciate that his goals are realistic. He knows he won’t be able to see the changes in his lifetime. This stuff takes time and people are stubborn.
My rating and why: I gave this book four stars! I read it and really enjoyed it. I felt that I benefited from reading it and would recommend this book to those searching for a political book. While I won’t be able to win a debate about politics, I will definitely have a better grasp of my beliefs and how they translate. For a non-fiction book talking about politics, it was written in a tangible way that didn’t scare me off.
So! Are you political? What political books have you read and would recommend? Does politics scare you? Have you read anything else by Murray? Let me know in the comments below. Like. Comment. Follow. New book review to come next tomorrow.
Until next time my fellow bibliophiles!