This is the first in a series of reviews of relevant books written by candidates for the Libertarian Party nomination for president. By relevant, I mean the book is plausibly related to their political views. So, Vermin Supreme’s iPony: Blueprint for a New America will be reviewed. Although it is irreverent, it is relevant. However, John McAfee’s Computer Viruses, Worms, Data Diddlers, Killer Programs, and Other Threats to Your System is not reviewed, since it is not relevant.
Aside from Vermin Supreme’s learned tome, I’ll be reviewing Adam Kokesh’s Freedom! as well as the subject of the present review, Jacob Hornberger’s My Passion for Liberty. I am not aware of other relevant books written by announced LP candidates. If I missed any, please let me know in the comments.
Now, let’s get to the review…
A candidate book is a genre, like a detective novel or a vampire novel. If you’ve read one you understand the basic formula. It is part autobiography, focusing on the formation of the author’s political views. And it is part political manifesto, outlining his approach to various issues of present concern to voters. In this sense, Jacob Hornberger’s My Passion for Liberty is a conventional exemplar of the genre. He touches all the bases and establishes himself as an earnest libertarian who has spent his time in the trenches.
From his upbringing in Laredo, Texas and education at the Virginia Military Institute, Hornberger seemed destined to a career as a lawyer, like his father. But along the way he discovered an anthology published by Leonard Read and the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). This was the proverbial Road to Damascus moment that set him on a different track. He eventually left his law practice to lead the FEE for a stint, before founding the Future of Freedom Foundation, which he continues to lead.
Hornberger’s political views, as described in this book, are at the vital center of libertarianism, “liberty, free markets, and limited government.” There is no discussion here of esoteric theoretical questions, or shocking “what if” dilemmas. He sticks close to the core, and does it soberly, with a pleasant, direct style.
The one area where Hornberger verges outside of what I’d consider core libertarianism is in his discussion of the JFK assassination, an area that as occupied him (some would say preoccupied) for years. Honestly, I was skeptical of his seeming fascination with the subject, but he does acquit himself well with his explanation, where he shows how he uses this to demonstrate the danger of America’s transformation into a national security state, where the state topples governments around the world, and perhaps even here at home.
The book has short introductions by Ron Paul and Richard Eberling, and closes with a handful of shorter pieces written by Hornberger.