Freeman

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Book Review: When We Are Free Edited by Lawrence W. Reed and Dale M. Haywood

MARCH 01, 1982 by BRIAN SUMMERS

(Northwood Institute Press, Midland, Michigan 48640), 1981 • 403 pages • $15.50 paperback

Textbooks supporting the freedom philosophy are few and far between. Thus this book of readings, edited by two economics professors at the Northwood Institute, is a welcome addition to the literature of freedom.

The readings consist of sixty essays, many of which first appeared in The Freeman. Leading off are several articles on property and the nature of man. Frank Chodorov examines the source of rights. Paul Poirot establishes the connection between property rights and human rights. And Roger Williams makes the case for treating all people as unique individuals.

On this individualistic basis the role of government is examined, and different systems of economic organization are compared. Turning to history, Professor Reed describes the fall of Rome and draws some worrisome modern parallels. Bettina Greaves shows how capitalism lib erated women, while Eric Brodin tells why he liberated himself from socialist Sweden.

Ben Regge, Hans Sennholz, and Ludwig von Mises describe the moral underpinnings of the free economy. Several authors dispel myths of capitalism and examine contemporary issues: immigration, energy, medical care, and foreign policy. Finally, the essays conclude with Leonard Read’s wise counsel on the methods for promoting liberty.

This review can only hint at the range of topics covered. Such a wide selection, and careful organization, makes this an excellent choice as a primary text or for supplemental reading. We hope this book will see wide use in our nation’s high schools and colleges.

ASSOCIATED ISSUE

March 1982

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Unfortunately, educating people about phenomena that are counterintuitive, not-so-easy to remember, and suggest our individual lack of human control (for starters) can seem like an uphill battle in the war of ideas. So we sally forth into a kind of wilderness, an economic fairyland. We are myth busters in a world where people crave myths more than reality. Why do they so readily embrace untruth? Primarily because the immediate costs of doing so are so low and the psychic benefits are so high.
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