Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Book Review: Freedom Under Siege

I've just sped thru this brief 156 page book by Ron Paul, which was written back in 1988. Obviously, it puts forward a libertarian stance on issues, and always holds the U.S Constitution up as being the highest priority and the guiding institution for government and society.

The book is fairly narrow in scope. There are two positions that Ron Paul supports in his book as being the absolutely essential requirements of a free society: No military draft, and sound money. Other political issues are basically skimmed over.

He will only briefly criticise economic interventions, but the bulk of the book is directed at the Washington policy makers who support a tough and expansive foreign policy, as well as the historical and tragic departure from the gold standard towards an inflationary fiat paper money standard.

I wouldn't rate this book too highly, especially after having recently finished Atlas Shrugged. Atlas Shrugged defends freedom, both economic and social, from a moral perspective. And it gives an outline of the material doom brought about by socialism.

As for this book, well, it doesn't acheive much and won't change too many minds. Those who don't understand why sound money is so important, and those who think spreading freedom, democracy and security *in foreign nations* through military force is a proper function of government, won't learn much from this book, other than the fact that Ron Paul disagrees with them and that it violates the original spirit of the Founders of the Constitution.

It is too short to do much more than reiterate libertarian principles, instead of slowly but precisely defending them. Ron Paul's more recent novel, A Foreign Policy of Freedom, would perhaps convince more people to support his stance on foreign policy.

And reading the works of Rothbard, Hazlitt and von Mises is the best way to appreciate the need for a free and sound money.

The book is available online in pdf format here: