Here are the stories of my heroes - great writers and their books that have inspired The Fragility of Freedom.
Vaclav Havel; Summer Meditations
When Vaclav Havel died in 2011, tens of thousands of Czech citizens paid their respect; it is rare for a politician to be so loved. Havel was a man of great integrity who spent his life living the truth in a society that was living a lie.
In Summer Meditations, written eighteen months into his first presidency, Havel reflects on how to live in truth.
This is a fine treatise by a fine man. It is full of wisdom from a life well lived. It will be read with profit by anyone aspiring to a political career.
Meg Wheatley; Leadership and the New Science
Leadership and the New Science is about discovering order in a chaotic world. Wheatley draws on new discoveries in biology, chaos theory, and quantum physics to develop her theories on how we can live and work well together. Relationships matter; life is a vast web of interconnections where cooperation and participation are required; chaos and change are the only route to transformation.
Matt Ridley: The Rational Optimist
In The Rational Optimist, Ridley argues that our prosperity is due to our willingness to trade with strangers. This enables the division of labour; it permits us to specialize, to work on things we are good at. That encourages us to innovate, to make tools and machines and processes that make our production more efficient. We trade ideas too; we learn skills from experts; we build on what has gone before; a communal intelligence develops. Prosperity increases exponentially.
Robert Nozick: Anarchy, State, and Utopia
Robert Nozick is regarded as one of the two the most influential political philosophers of the twentieth century.
As a student, he had been an ardent socialist. However, his in-depth study of Immanuel Kant and John Locke, and his reading of contemporaries like Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard, changed his views. His most famous work, Anarchy, State, and Utopia, reflects a libertarian position. In addition to the usual economic arguments in favour of libertarianism, Nozick adds the moral one; the respect for individual rights that flow from man’s inherent human dignity, his self-ownership.
John Paul II: Centesimus Annus
In April 2014, the Polish Pope, John Paul II, was canonised by his church; he was a good and holy man. He was also a learned man who made significant contributions to philosophy. In Centesimus Annus he reaffirmed Catholic Social Teaching with regard to the right to private property; the dignity of work - that man expresses and fulfills himself by working; the principle of subsidiarity - the natural human right to form private associations; and the principle of solidarity - the quality of being empathetic to the less fortunate.
...to read the full text of Centesimus Annus, click here.
Ludwig von Mises: Human Action
Ludwig von Mises was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century. His contributions to economics, political theory and the social sciences were profound.
Here was a genius whose persistence in challenging the intellectual and political consensus of his day has left us with one of the greatest books on economics ever.
What Has Government Done to Our Money?
Murray Rothbard was an American public intellectual; a polymath who made original contributions in the fields of economics, history, political philosophy and legal theory. He was a leading figure in libertarian philosophy and Austrian economics in the last quarter of the twentieth century, and was one of the founders of the Cato Institute.
What Has Government Done to Our Money? is an informative introduction to money which can be read with profit by both economists and lay readers. It is still accurate and relevant fifty years after its first publication.