Books are the staff of intellectual life and the thousands published every year always deliver a few gems usually from indie or small presses. For the longest time, the big city publishing houses acted as gatekeepers to ensure the public didn’t get the deep critiques of the sate that the last twenty years have delivered in spades whether through original works or the Ludwig von Mises Institute gargantuan efforts to populate known space with the forgotten or neglected great works or the efforts of the Liberty Fund project.
These are three of hundreds I have read in the past few years and I will be sure to host some more reviews in the future.
The Permit by William Scott is a father’s fictionalized catharsis after the murder of his son, Erik Scott, in Las Vegas by local cops on 10 July 2010. One can read the account and see that the Corners Inquest justification for the murder of Erik was simply another fabrication by police across the country making them literally above the law with a license to kill. I have discussed many of the horrific aspects of the police state in America elsewhere and will not belabor this review. I have to say that my anti-police state bias certainly set up high expectations when I jumped into this novel. I am halfway through the first draft of my first novel and find myself both a reader and a student of the craft as I read now.
The fictionalized circumstances of Erik’s death at the hand of the local gang in blue in the book is difficult to appreciate absent a background in the actual murder by the thugs in black and blue so I recommend you take the time to apprise yourself of the actual events before reading The Permit. Scott tells a compelling story with some fantastical coincidences that demand much suspension of disbelief and a last chapter or epilogue that I found simply inaccessible. Altogether, a satisfying experience with some well-fleshed characters and plenty of one dimensional characters who serve as mere set pieces in story arcs. The deepest and most tragic figure in the story is the fictionalized father whom Scott indulges with what appears to be plenty of autobiographical ventriloquism.
I won’t spoil the story by describing any of the plot turns and surprises but the main premise of a Federal government agency taking matters into its own hands by taking on the corrupt Las Vegas Metro legal tangle with both cops and politicians on the take simply beggars belief. The imprimatur of a White House authorization to maim and kill members of the law enforcement community to “fight corruption” is a rich premise but would not stand up to scrutiny. The barbaric nature of the police community in the US is a direct result of the increasing Federalization of cops and crime, rapid militarization and the evil War on Drugs that makes America home to twenty five percent of the incarcerated population with five percent of the world’s total population.
But a novel is necessarily granted flights of fancy because fiction riffs off reality and tightens and compartmentalizes the narrative of intertwined lives. I am in the middle of my first work of fiction and novels are complex creatures that demand a tremendous amount of work and attention to detail. They are living beings that start to write themselves in different ways than your initial outline decided. The character arcs are alive and take on a compass point of their own.
For those who enjoy techno-thrillers with a dollop of anti-authority musings, The Permit is for you. For those who realize that government is never the answer, you will be disappointed that while the Federal government appears to do the right thing in the book, the cavalcade of calamities that is Metro Las Vegas and American policing across the land is a direct result of the central government creating the very monster they attempt to contain in in this novel. I salute Mr. Scott and his loss and hope this book inspires people to not only consider the murder of his son but the larger implications of tolerating the monstrous state of American policing.
A personal friend of mine penned Modules for Manhood: What Every Man Should Know (Volume 1 of 3) by Kenneth W. Royce so I wanted to extend full disclosure for this brief review. Kenneth, also known as Boston T. Party, is a prolific author and his revised Boston’s Gun Bible has been on my nightstand for nearly thirteen years as a fixture and influenced thousands of dollars directed per his recommendations for my armory and training. I own everything he ever wrote (I even have a rare hardcover edition of Molon Labe). Over the years, whenever Ken and I find ourselves at conference, we tend to hang out together as the resident graybeards in a increasingly younger crowd at libertarian events.
Those who hang out at Art of Manliness, enjoy the “blood and virtue” ideas of G.A. Henty and other Victorian authors and are generally dismissive of the state of American, if not global manhood today, will thoroughly enjoy this book. As the father of three sons, I see the exquisite and critical need for books like this. Ken, through the use of his own text and drawing from a vast array of appropriate quotes. The scope of the book is ambitious and it is the first of three volumes.
He riffs off of Colonel Jeff Cooper and his admonitions for young men. From the works of the Stoic authors to Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton in the nineteenth century to modern authors like Ken and Brad Miner’s terrific The Compleat Gentlemen, Ken has a deep well to draw from. Some may be put off by his extensive use of quotes but I have always found it encouraging because it forces me to look at the root documents if I am interested of the folks he is quoting.
I was especially encouraged by his introduction of enneagrams to a larger audience and the use of the tremendous treasure trove of wisdom throughout the ages. Some folks are bothered by Ken’s unique numbering system but I think more authors should adopt his scheme. It make the book far more accessible for the casual reader who elects to read those things pertinent to his inquiry instead of simply cover to cover.
I have purchased a copy for each of my sons and may do the same for my daughters so they better understand what they are missing out on with the last three generations and their essential maleness but complete absence of manhood. The metrosexual trend is disturbing in the least and a civilizational extinction event at its worst. For those who pay attention, this may the start of a new curative. There simply is not enough space to list all the paths one can be led down to improve yourself through reading this book.
Ken makes the keen observation that the modern male is the perfect subservient cattle that the government needs to maintain and expand its power. Manhood may be the best way to stop big government from winning.
On a minor note, the number of grammar and spelling mistakes is a bit discouraging but having published myself, easily remedied in the electronic book milieu that I suspect will dominate publishing in this century. I would encourage Ken to publish this on Kindle.
Marc Stevens’ Government Indicted by Marc Stevens is also penned by a personal friend who I hold in the highest esteem, not only a fellow jazz spectator but a keen observer of the collectivist chaos that is Vichy Amerika. The book is a philosophically thick almost psychedelic trip through the power lens common to libertarian analysis.
What makes the libertarian commentariat so incisive and intellectually devastating in its examination of small and large problems alike is the notion that power hates a vacuum and no matter what the minarchist or collectivist nostrum to solve it, psychopaths rush in to fill the void.
Marc hosts a nationwide radio show where he takes on the court and legal system and takes the robed government employees to task. Marc has no law degree otherwise he would probably be a collectivist drone after that communard obedience vocational training called law school.
He asks the essential question: is the system arbitrary or based on facts? His answer is a categorical assertion that the entire system is a house of card built by psychopaths to allow one group of people to exist at the expense of others employing the intellectual fairy dust of American jurisprudence which he shows to be based on a foundation of shifting sand and fallacious premises.
Like James Bovard, he uses actual cases and painful anecdotes by the bushel to make the point that the American system is rigged against freedom and liberty. Marc’s primary task appears to be the destruction of the credibility of the state, particularly in America. One could contend he views the state as a psychopathic entity, which can’t help but cause destruction, it is built into the system’s DNA. This may account for the cyclical destruction of all nation states over time.
Marc’s solutions are too many to detail and most are relevant but I maintain a healthy skepticism that jury activism and using the legal system against itself will work its magic over time. I don’t accuse Marc of being a Sovereign but it skirt that lunatic territory closely and I remain unconvinced at its efficacy. The other solutions for delegitimizing a psychopathic society to a free and voluntary society is compelling.
I recommend his book with the few reservations except for the editing difficulties.
A few minor annoyances are typos and grammar mistakes, which can be easily remedied once this book comes out on Kindle much like I commented on Boston’s book. The electronic publishing and self-publishing industry is a revolutionary event for liberty oriented authors because the collectivist gatekeepers at the traditional publishing houses can no longer block the dissemination of ideas injurious to the prison sates dotting the globe, including America.
These three books should be in any respectable liberty library.
Support liberty and the future, support these authors.
The Permit (Checkmate Justice) by William Scott
Modules for Manhood: What Every Man Should Know by Kenneth W. Royce
Modules for Manhood also on Kindle now.
Marc Stevens Government Indicted by Marc Stevens