Friday 10 June 2011

Something For A Weekend?

I've just added a new book to my recommended reading widget to your right**.

I get sent stuff from many sources (you should see some of the crap lefties wing my way - deeply disturbing - and I'll leave you to imagine my hilarity towards the health body who thought it a good idea to add me to their smoking cessation newsletter), but my free copy of Single Acts of Tyranny by Stuart Fairney is one such item I'm happy to publicise, especially as he pops in to see us in the comments here from time to time. It was described to me as a 'beach fiction' novel which employs libertarianism as a central theme, and that's it in a nutshell.

How do you make the point that free markets and small government is an ideal that the UK should aim for? Well, by setting it in the US and by re-writing history of course. A no-brainer, really.

The author - in probably fewer words than Ayn Rand's initial notes prior to writing Atlas Shrugged - describes a world in which the US is not one, but two countries. A small government south, and an authoritarian and high public sector maintenance north. As you can imagine, when such ideologically-opposed neighbours collide trade-wise there will be fireworks, and the ones who are most at risk from free market thinking are the few in the north whose jobs depend on control and networks of approved friends or state funding corporations.

The story races along (I read it in a few hours while my knees burnt in last weekend's sunshine) and puts forward a basic libertarian manifesto in bite-sized terms, laced with skulduggery, romance, subterfuge, corruption, and even a sex scene or two (page 83 to save you searching for the best one).

It's not ever going to be a literary classic, but if - like me - you've ever had people ask you what libertarianism is all about ("Are you like the Tories, then?" is always one which right pisses me off), the best bet is to give them this book and tell them to get back to you when they've read it. Even better, give it to a lefty before they go on their hols ... at just over a fiver it's great value, but the confused look on your idealist pal's face when they get back? Priceless.

The book is self-published so ignore the unavailable tag on Amazon, where there are other reviews if you don't fancy mine much, by the way. If you order it, the author will be asked for more and you'll have a copy in days.

Just as I did with The Spirit Level Delusion, I've lent the book to Mr P Snr ... that's the last I'll see of that too, then.

** If you're viewing this from a mobile you probably won't see the widget in question as I've installed a Blogger solution for faster loading. Feedback on how good or bad that is would be appreciated.


James Higham said...

describes a world in which the US is not one, but two countries. A small government south, and an authoritarian and high public sector maintenance north

I'd have imagined the divide would be more centre - coast.

Anonymous said...

You know, my ex is from Alabama and I expected most of the people I met there to be far more conservative than me.

I actually found that yes, they're more religious (I'm more of a liberal Christian, or rather a deist who's comfortable in a Christian church, if I'm more honest).

But hardline, conservative, racist God-bothers? Certainly not, in my experience. I found a community of down-to-earth, tolerant people who could actually understand the British "taking the piss out of yourself" sense of humour, contrary to what I'd heard of their reputation. The people who'd seen the Top Gear episode about Alibama had found it as funny as I had.

I admit that I had trouble explaining what a 'classical' liberal was, but once I explained what my political beliefs were (much the same as theirs), there was no misunderstanding.

I've never been farther north than Chicago, but I'm sure that in this fictitional universe, I'd love to be a citizen of the Confederate States of America.

Anyway, I'm waffling (sorry - it's friday night, and I have Beer Power!). I've read excerpts of the book, and recommendations before, but now I've decided to buy it. Thanks for the review, DP!

Leg-iron said...

I have a copy for review too, and as soon as I finish with this zombie book I'll be right on it.

Stuart should have told us we were competing, then the reviews would have been faster ;)

Stussy88 said...

"I'd have imagined the divide would be more centre - coast"

The plot device to enable this was that the South won the civil war and formed the confederate states and the Northern states remained in a depleted union, but it may well be true that if the modern day cessationists get their way, the split could be as you describe