Author Archives: rothbarddotcom

Review of Seasteading by Joe Quirk

seasteadingJoe Quirk‘s book Seasteading is a valuable addition to your ancap library. It explores the potential of the ocean to solve some of the world’s greatest problems. While written for a mainstream audience, it has a solid anarcho-capitalist undertone, referencing Patri Friedman, Milton Friedman, and Bryan Caplan.

This book is also recommended for ancaps because of its purely capitalist approach to solving problems. In short: privatize the ocean and develop business models that make use of its enormous untapped resources.

It is often corny, wasting no opportunity to use terms like blue-topia, aqua-preneur, etc. However, the humor often hits the mark. For example, when Quirk talks about “politicians embracing their kinship with pondscum.”

The book is highly business oriented, discussing real people doing real work right now. It tells of some of the latest Continue reading

And Then There Were None by Eric Frank Russell

and_then_there_were_noneEric Frank Russell‘s novella “And Then There Were None” is a story ancaps are sure to find entertaining.

In the distant future when space travel is the norm, Earth sends a diplomatic spaceship to a planet that has been out of contact for 300 years. But they do not get the warm welcome they are expecting.

It can be read here, or found in the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. Click here for Goodreads. Read on for the rest of the review.

Spoilers below.

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Review of What is Anarchism? by Donald Rooum

what_is_anarchismDonald Rooum’s What is Anarchism? is a mishmash of excerpts from a small range of anarchists combined with seemingly unrelated cartoons. The prose are equally incongruous, often relating irrelevant stories or showcasing parts of longer books and essays that are useless out of context.

Some of the chapters are worthwhile reads, and even the bad ones have the occasional gem that gets to the heart of anarchism. But the book as a whole is a confusing mess. There is no theoretical foundation, or common thread that binds the various parts together. Instead, it piles on every idea that has ever associated itself with anarchism, such that anyone who finishes reading the book is sure to wonder, “what is anarchism?”

Anarcho-capitalists may still find the book useful or entertaining, as they already know what anarchism is and are unlikely to be led astray. It could also be interesting to those ancaps who Continue reading

The Weapon Shop by A. E. van Vogt

the_weapon_shopA member of both the Science Fiction Hall of Fame Vol. 1 and the Prometheus Award Hall of Fame, The Weapon Shop is short story that anarcho-capitalists will love.

Though it was published in 1942, the sci-fi aspects of the story have aged very well. More importantly, the libertarian themes continue to be strong and relevant, even though libertarianism itself has evolved over the same period from classical liberalism, to minarchism, to anarcho-capitalism.

You can read the short story here (epub, mobi), though the audible version is recommended if you like audio books.

Spoilers below.

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Review of The Armchair Economist

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Steven Landsburg, The Armchair Economist

Steven Landsburg‘s The Armchair Economist is a book that anarcho-capitalists will appreciate for two reasons.

First, as an outreach tool it provides a solid introduction to economic ideas from a free market perspective. The concepts covered are simple enough for anyone to understand, but remarkable enough to spark interest in economics and the dangers of government. With fun examples and amusing anecdotes, it will help find those who are curious, open-minded, and almost ready for more earth-shattering works by anarcho-capitalists.

Second, the book comes from a mainstream free-market perspective that will not only force ancaps to hone their thinking, but also teach them a few tricks that are not found in the works of Austrian School economists. Most ancaps will pick up new arguments for freedom that will resonate with regular people, and learn interesting points about economic history that they may not have been exposed to. Continue reading

Review of Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?

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Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do by Michael J. Sandel

Michael J. Sandel‘s book Justice, is a worthwhile read for anarcho-capitalists who have already read the greats in their own tradition: Murray Rothbard, David Friedman, etc., and are ready to hone their thinking by exploring some different viewpoints. Sandel’s book is especially good for this purpose because he tries to find a theory of justice by contrasting three different perspectives: libertarianism, utilitarianism, and virtue ethics. Not only does libertarianism feature prominently in the book, it is portrayed in a reasonable way.

Sandel also makes good use of both hypotheticals and real-life examples to explore the idea of justice. Familiar ones like the Trolley Problem get a standard treatment, but less common examples like invitro fertilization and surrogacy are also explored. The real world problems are taken from present day as well as centuries ago when, for example, people who were drafted into the military could hire someone to take their place. These analyses are deep enough to be interesting, but do not drag on so long that they become a waste of time.

Although Sandel’s approach is good, he ends up with a rather confused notion of justice. This is partially due to the fact that he conflates ethics with morality. He is not simply trying to define justice as a core ethical concept, but also bolt on moral ideas about how a person should live their life. This leads him to choose virtue ethics from the three options he explores. Thus the ideas of honor and living a good life get mixed up with his view of justice, when a more focused approach would have served better.

So what is justice? Continue reading