A Second Opinion, Chapter Six: Thomas King

Featured, Original Works

This is chapter 6 of a serialized novella appearing on Ars Gratia Libertatis every two weeks.  Read from the beginning here.

Chapter Six: Thomas King

Never doubt what small men will do for great power. –Paolo Bacigalupi

Thomas King had been ten the moment he first decided he wanted to be a bureaucrat. It had not been a conscious decision; he still said he wanted to be an astronaut, but deep down, where it counts, he didn’t. The young boy with the mousy brown hair, his midsection always a little too doughy, wanted to be a bureaucrat when he grew up.

It had happened the day Thomas was awarded the title of Recess Monitor for going a whole month without being tardy once. That recess was one of the least fun half hours the children at Oliver Wendell Holmes Elementary School would ever have to endure. But for Thomas King, it was a blast.

The 5 Best Free Libertarian Novels

Commentary, Featured

Let’s face it, novels celebrating the free market and individual rights are pretty hard to come by. Most everything in the fiction section of your local bookstore is some paean to collectivism, or diatribe against the evils of capitalism and the “soul killing” nature of consumerism.

But you don’t believe that stuff.

You know capitalism, mixed with a political system that protects individual rights, has been the single greatest force for good on the planet, lifting billions out of crushing poverty. You don’t want to read all that bilge about how you’re a bad, bad person for supporting it.

So what is a wayward libertarian to do? Especially when so much of your money is stolen by the government each year that you have very little left over to buy books?

Why, turn to the free stuff on the Internet of course!

Luckily I’ve taken the time to compile a list of the 5 best libertarian novels (in no particular order) that also happen to be free. Gratis. Sin dinero. The low, low cost of nothing. Just for you.

I’ve even included links to where you can download them.

I know, right?

Interview with Liberty Maniacs Founder Dan McCall

Commentary, Featured

There are tons of pro-liberty creatives out there, already spreading the message of freedom through art.  Today AGL brings you Dan McCall, founder and artist behind Liberty Maniacs, the foremost online store for liberty-focused clothing and merchandise.

Dan agreed to answer our questions over email, and the transcript follows below.

1. Why did you start LibertyManiacs and how did you realize there was a market need?

I got into this line of work in a way that’s probably really familiar to anyone who’s started a business. I was basically looking for products with my sense of humor that also represented my philosophy on things years ago and simply didn’t see anything that really spoke to me.

It took some time between simply making stuff for my friends and myself before I really decided to jump fully in and take the project seriously, but I figured there were others like me out there. I was right.

Robert Peters: “It’s the Culture, Stupid!”

Commentary, Featured

Over at the blog for Libertopia 2011, Robert Anthony Peters, an actor and libertarian activist, has an excellent piece up on the importance of art and movies to the freedom movement entitled, “It’s the Cuture, Stupid!”

It’s a great piece, with some rather trenchant observations, so I will wait here until you have gone over and read it.


Ok, good.

A Second Opinion, Chapter Five: Shelly Reyes

Featured, Original Works

This is chapter 5 of a serialized novella appearing on Ars Gratia Libertatis every two weeks.  Read from the beginning here.

Chapter Five: Shelly Reyes

“The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.” –Robert Heinlein

Shelly Reyes was a good person. That’s what everyone who met her said about her. She devoted countless hours outside her job (as a selfless public servant in the Office of Energy Regulation) to community service and social work. Naturally bubbly, she could carry on a conversation about absolutely nothing with just about absolutely anyone.

Yes. This.

Commentary, Featured

Here at AGL we argue ceaselessly for the importance of popular culture in spreading the idea of liberty and individual rights.  J. Neil Schulman, author of libertarian novel Alongside Night, makes the case far more compellingly in the following video.

This is a speech Mr. Schulman gave at Libertopia in 2010 and, though long, is worth every minute.


The Achilles heel of the libertarian movement, is that all of you understand the ideas of freedom, but the general public does not.  The ideas that Jay Snelson was talking about, the win/win theory as opposed to the win/lose theory; they’re learning the win/lose theory from Gordon Gecko in [the movie] Wall Street.

A Review of “The Ungoverned” by Vernor Vinge

Featured, Reviews

Imagine you are Lieutenant Will Brierson of the Michigan State Police, a private security organization that provides protection to a wide swath of subscribers all throughout the anarchistic Ungoverned lands in what used to be the northern United States. Imagine you are faced with an unprecedented invasion into land owned by your subscribers from an army of “The Republic of New Mexico.”

On the one hand, the invading force has massed more men, tanks and aircraft than are available in all the ungoverned security companies combined. On the other hand, these are your subscribers being attacked and you’ve never defaulted on a contract before.

What do you do?

Powerline Contest: Win $100,000

Commentary, Featured

Do you want to advance the cause of liberty through art?

Do you also want to win $100,000?

Now, thanks to the good folks over at the Power Line blog, and the Freedom Club, you can do both!

John Hinderaker recently announced the Power Line contest: a $100,000 prize to the individual or group of individuals that can best dramatize the federal debt crisis.  According to the contest’s website anyone can enter (including corporations and advertising entities) and entries can be anything, from screenplays and videos, to Powerpoint presentations and essays.

The deadline is July 15, so get cracking!  We know here at AGL we will be working hard on an interpretive dance to illustrate the folly of our politicians and their inability to deal with the looming debt crisis.

More information about the contest can be had at the official contest page: http://www.powerlineprize.com/

Review of Atlas Shrugged Part 1

Featured, Reviews

Despite its failings, Part 1 of the Atlas Shrugged movie is important for two reasons.

One, it shows it can be done and, two, it spreads Ayn Rand’s ideas to a larger swath of the population than would otherwise have been exposed to them. 

Before being brought to the screen, everyone thought adapting Rand’s epic novel about the fundamental clash between the free market and government and between individuals and the collective, would be nigh on impossible. For a while that actually seemed to be the case. The movie languished in development purgatory for 54 years with dozens of attempts to bring it to life. All of them failed.

Stossel and Hannity: the Importance of Stories in Spreading Liberty


Great blurb from Sean Hannity’s show with John Stossel talking about the Atlas Shrugged movie.

Hannity talks about how cultural works like music and movies can have a strong effect on people’s perceptions of government because they appeal to the emotions.

An excerpt:

Music is very powerful because it touches your emotions. Movies can touch you deeply.”

The relevant part comes at around the 3 minute mark.