The typical libertarian sees the world’s glass of water as half-empty. No wonder people avoid freedom lovers. While they tend to be smart and well-informed, they’re often socially inept, ill-tempered, underemployed, and overeducated. While they can explain the functions and evils of the Federal Reserve, their version of dress for success is a trip to JoS. A. Bank once a decade.
Jeffrey Tucker stands apart from that crowd. Believing a man must dress appropriately for work, whether dressing himself or not, Tucker is always nattily attired in a business suit punctuated with one of his signature bow ties. But what makes him truly special and different is his optimistic worldview.
While others see growing government oppression, Tucker sees entrepreneurial genius making our lives better (despite the government). Each day is a wonderful opportunity to inform the world of the glories of free markets, whether in print, tweet, Skype, video, or whatever the latest medium. Yes, the thuggish authorities are doing this or that, but a man who strives to live free figures out ways to foil the tyrannical government. Why be down when technology makes our lives better each and every day?
Yes, Jeffrey Tucker is every bit as enthusiastic as his words portray. He’s dressed and ready for intellectual combat every day. A smile on his face, a spring in his step, oozing with energy and enthusiasm to make the ideas of liberty personal and accessible. He eats, sleeps, drinks, and dresses freedom.
He doesn’t toil in academia, wasting his talents, trying in vain to inspire listless undergraduates and playing department office politics. He has his sights set much higher, to make the world free and prosperous, inspiring millions along the way to join his cause. While the academic world narrows its focus by excluding those thought less than pure, Tucker constantly broadens his. A classical liberal in the truest sense.
He has worked in the freedom movement for decades, rescuing hundreds of forgotten texts that were relegated to history’s dustbin. He brought these classics back to life to inspire and educate a whole new generation of freedom lovers. All this while building the most magnificent source for the education of liberty ever created. Oh, and in his spare time, Tucker wrote more than a few articles, some of which are contained in this book. It’s likely there has not been as productive a libertarian thinker and writer since Murray Rothbard.
These articles illuminate how private parties create and the state destroys. What you will read comes from a personal level, instead of the abstractions that bog down so much libertarian writing. While most of us moan and groan of life’s disappointments, Tucker reminds us that we, indeed, live in a Jetsons world. We are quick to take for granted and, at the same time, completely dependent on technology that had not even been invented a decade (or half-decade) ago. When Internet service goes down, entire office buildings full of people are left wondering what to do, paralyzed by not having a world of information at their fingertips, their lives put on hold until they can update their Facebook pages.
Andy Warhol promised we’d all get 15 minutes of fame. With YouTube and the Web, nothing stops us but our dignity. And although it seems like it was the Stone Age, you don’t have to be close to drawing Social Security if you regularly used a phone that was stationary and didn’t take pictures.
But while technology barrels along, government stops progress wherever it can. To keep us safe. Enemies are everywhere. In our drinking water. In our food and produce. In our airports, trying to board planes. In entrepreneurs, who are always trying to take advantage of the customer. Government believes it must slow down innovation to keep us from harm’s way. If that weren’t bad enough, government outlaws innovation for our own good, turning back the clock to make us worse off.
Most of us pay no mind when our clothes don’t come clean or our new mower won’t cut the grass as well as the old one did. But Mr. Tucker always finds a government edict buried somewhere that’s the culprit. Most would call it being good at delivering that bad news, but he offers workarounds for the arbitrary barriers government erects.
Perhaps government’s greatest crime has been the creation and enforcement of intellectual property laws. For it is ideas that push the world forward. Thomas Jefferson and Ludwig von Mises were early to see that ideas can’t be owned like a piece of property or a herd of cows. But it was Stephan Kinsella who, only a decade ago, fully fleshed out the case against intellectual property (IP).
His friend Jeffrey Tucker, once slow to see it Kinsella’s way, now paints IP laws in the tyrannical hue the laws embody: an arbitrary monopoly privilege benefiting a select few at the expense of generations, turning innovators into rent seekers.
It’s hard to fathom the amount of human progress that has been wasted in court with lawsuits and legal briefs. Vast amounts of capital are in the most productive hands, but instead, the creators must waste the funds and energy in the muck of the legal system, protecting something that can’t really be owned.
You are about to enter Jeffrey Tucker’s world: a world of endless possibilities, where freedom and ideas provide for a bountiful life. The state may lurk, constantly looking to oppress. But the person who demands to live free, looks beyond the state’s obstacles, and seeks ways to make life richer and more fulfilling for the journey, that is the here and now. May this book make you see the world in a different light. A freer light. Tucker’s light.
Douglas E. French