DREAMS COME DUE: Government and Economics As If Freedom Mattered by John Galt

DREAMS COME DUE: Government and Economics As If Freedom Mattered

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For the benefit of those who haven't read Ayn Rand, John Gait was the Ubernensch protagonist of Atlas Shrugged, which chronicled the creation of a new society based on the credo: ""I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask any other man to live for mine."" The pseudonymous author here offers a little lexicon of libertarianism; clearly intended to promote the elusive political philosophy which embraces individual rights and laissez-faire capitalism while opposing government in virtually all its manifestations, the resultant miscellany is a muddled manifesto more notable for piety than wit. Libertarianism, asserts the author, is based ""on the reality of human nature (not the dreams of social planners. . .)."" In large measure, reality equates with self. interest, free markets, and the absolute sanctity of property rights. Probably the key article of libertarian faith holds that government is the archenemy of mankind, among other reasons because it redistributes wealth in ways at odds with ""the natural laws of economics."" Unfortunately for author Gait, his format raises as many questions as it answers about the cause. In alphabetical order and typically heavy-handed fashion, the text addresses topics ranging from accounting, currency debasement, inflation, taxation, and unions through welfare. The piecemeal approach (which features out-of-context quotations from Aristotle, H.L. Mencken, Herbert Spencer, Winston Churchill, and other oddly assorted sources) evades such issues as how property rights might be secured without police authority. It also fails to put into perspective platform planks like expansive defense budgets that seem inconsistent with the libertarian agenda. As a practical matter, the so-called Gait has produced a mean-spirited thesaurus whose discontinuous critiques will appeal mainly to true believers.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1986
Publisher: Simon & Schuster