I just finished concurrently reading two books at once. Three Years of Hate is a collection of blog posts from the now defunct blog In Mala Fide. A Beautiful Anarchy is a collection of stories about life, politics, and economics from the director of Laissez Faire Books.
My decision to review them together comes from their similarities. Both books review several other books. (I now plan to read some of those reviewed, including: one from Hans-Herman Hoppe, Louis-Ferdinand Celine, and Frost's Freedom Twenty-Five.)
More interestingly, both of these books are about life and the authors' dissatisfaction with the way the world now "works."
Three Years of Hate covers our society from the a young man who is unimpressed with various parts of our society. The author has learned that our society doesn't work the way we were told it did, or the way id did for previous generations. The life arc of an American man is no longer to go to school, go to college, get a job, get married and have kids. All aspects of that are corrupted and worse than they were in the past. Schools are more interested in teacher pay than teaching kids. Colleges are interested in maximizing enrollment and not interested preparing students for life after school. The rate of unemployment and underemployment is such that even finding a job is more difficult than it once was. And to round it out, modern girls don't seem to resemble the better women of ages past.
Much of this book seems like a reaction to our crumbling society, and during the early part of the book I wondered if Three Years of Hate might not be one of the books that best describes why many young men are turning away from the direction the rest of society wants to direct us. (Free Northerner has a similar statement about the book Men on Strike.)
This books spends some time criticizing people of nearly all political persuasions, including libertarians, amongst who the author of A Beautiful Anarchy might be considered.
Three Years of Hate criticizes the political ideology of libertarians but I am unconvinced that he is right about that, in part becasue of how well books like A Beautiful Anarchy show off how well the parts of our economy work when they are not interfered with by the government.
The technological progress of our world is astounding. The fact that you can now instantaneously talk to anyone in the world is so amazing, and yet so common that we overlook it.
The two preceding books of A Beautiful Anarchy, Bourbon for Breakfast and Its a Jetsen's World, are even more filled with examples of the greatness possible when people are left to their own devices.
But like Three Years of Hate, they point out the growing danger in our world. This danger corrupts, threatens us, kills us, and forces us to pay for it, while demanding that we agree that its doing all of this for our own good.
Governments are the problem, and they have always been the problem.
Three Years of Hate may be called all sorts of unpleasant names. Its author may be criticized for all sorts of things, but in some ways A Beautiful Anarchy is even more radical.
Three Years of hate will direct you towards why it is best that you enjoy the decline as best as you can, but A Beautiful Anarchy directs you towards questioning why we need any government at all, and indeed points out that the problems in this world are worse than you'd think. Where else will you hear a national currency questioned, the Federal Reserve questioned? Who else criticizes democracy itself?
But rather than the downer that is reading about the bad deal our society is A Beautiful Anarchy points to the good stuff, and then points and laughs at the bad parts.
The most memorable line from either book comes from A Beautiful Anarchy. The author is in Nicaragua and is amazed at how well the black market exchange rate works when it is run by eight year old boys who are exchanging the currencies. Many people think that not having a national currency would be too complicated, and the math would be too difficult. The author wonders if having multiple currencies would increase our math skills up to the level of the Nicaraguan peasant children.
Both of these books cover the problems in this world. They cover several of the same subjects, like Occupy Wall Street. One author participates in a protest and then considers donating to one of the people the protest was against. And the other author spends a chapter pointing out that that the OWS is close to being an important protest that could improve things, but instead they are unable to come up with a consist set of goals, and then those goals that are stated always seem to be goals that would give us more of what has caused most of our problems to begin with.
Both books are interesting.
Read Three Years of Hate to understand why young men are unimpressed with the world our parents have left us. Then learn about some ways to enjoy the time you have.
Read A Beautiful Anarchy to understand that the problem is severe and terrible, and learn where to look for the great works that more fully explain where the problems come from. A Beautiful Anarchy, and its two predecessors, also show us how to improve our lives despite our problems. (The first chapter of Bourbon for Breakfast is about how to "hack" your government regulated shower head for improved performance.)
Two books, both with valuable information.