In An Age Where Facts Matter, Keep Writing Fiction

Blank white book w/path

The biggest new phrases in our lexicon are things like ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’. It’s easy to say that old adage “you’re entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts”, but it’s a perspective currently lost in the world of news and politics.

Many say – and understandably – that we need to grasp facts now more than ever before. They matter more than they have ever done. Now is not a time of escapism, of hiding from reality by delving into a fictitious world.

I respectfully disagree.

We need fiction now more than ever. We need stories more than ever. Because they’re often the best way of seeing the real truth.

I still can’t quite figure out why the book I wrote last year – Succession of Power – is selling so well. I’m sorry, that sounds like a very arrogant thing to say. I hope you understand that I’m just genuinely curious as to why a book with easily the lowest-key launch of anything I’ve ever written has done such good “business”.

A friend who read it said that she enjoyed that it features a woman president. Someone who was strong enough to stand up for herself when the forces of darkness rise over her. She said she felt that this was a reference to Hillary Clinton – the president that “should have been” (in her eyes) – taking control when all around is out of control.

I certainly don’t think the character Mary Rosalind is the same as Hillary Clinton. It’s pretty clear that Clinton wanted the presidency for most of her life, and spent all of her time trying to achieve that goal. It’s a perfectly respectable aim, but it was never the goal of Rosalind. Mary was quite happy in the position she was given, just a little frustrated that her brilliant achievements weren’t acknowledged.

But I see what my friend means. A lot of people look at the big political decisions of the past year, and are depressed. I’m personally not depressed about the politics of 2016 (or at least, not any more than any other year), and I don’t think that’s just my natural optimistic comportment. There’s a lot of things to be objectively happy about if you’re lucky enough to live in the West today. Arguably we’ve never had it better. Who cares who resides in the White House? And when it’s someone awful, then let’s take the positives out of that: it means more people are concentrating on the nuances of the Constitution than they’ve done before. That’s actually quite refreshing, if you’re more libertarian-minded. Welcome back to the fold, anti-war, anti-government overreach protestors. Where have you been for the last eight years?

And here’s the funny thing about writing fiction. Though the stories can be larger than life, they only really resonate when they speak a truth. When they tell us something about human nature.

That’s all Succession of Power has tried to do. In the middle of a crisis, a president – and a small band of allies – do all they can to stand strong for the moral principles of a republic, when everyone around is losing their heads. It’s about how not doing something is often more noble and brave than doing something.

But heck, if you’re just looking for a story where there’s a woman president who knows what the hell she’s doing, despite being surrounded by stupid, solipsistic men, then I hope you enjoy the book. And it’s available for less than a few bucks on Amazon right now.

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Why We Should Celebrate Magna Carta Day

It's 'Magna Carta Day' on June 15th, and for my money, it's much better celebration of what it means to be English, than the tired old esoteric St George's day, which has just become an excuse to endulge in vague piffle to do with “what does it mean to be English”, without giving any real answer. Except for something about a dragon. That didn't exist.

If we really want to celebrate England's contribution to the world, it should be about the best gift our nation gave the rest of the world – namely, the rule of law.

Throughout the Commonwealth – and, indeed, the Anglosphere more generally – The “Great Charter of Freedom” is venerated and highly respected. Sadly, here in the country of its origin, we seem to have forgotten about it entirely.

So, on June 15th, take a moment to remember England's great contribution to the world, that radical, revolutionary truth: we, as human beings, are born free. And any tyrant who claims otherwise, is sorely mistaken.

 

The Secret to World Peace

Summed up better by libertarian magicians Penn & Teller than almost anyone else:

Yup. That.

Margaret Thatcher: The Libertarian PM?

MaggieT_IronIn light of Margaret Thatcher’s passing, everyone has added their tuppence worth, and I doubt I could add much more.

Alex Massie sums it up pretty well for my money, as does Daniel Hannan in both overall summary and here in his take on the specifics.

The fact is that the economic freedom Thatcher promoted helped laid down the groundwork for the social freedom that came after it. Ironically, neither her nor her enemies would acknowledge that.

The rich got richer under her. But so did the poor. Yes, the gap between the rich and the poor widened, but seriously, so what? Would you rather be better off, or worse off as long as other people are worse off as well? It’s true and unfortunate that the increase in wealth for the poorest was slow, but that’s because she increased overall government spending. If Margaret Thatcher was even more Thatcherite, the government would have been smaller and poorer people would have been even better off.

Her personal opinions on many social issues were very wide of the mark for me. But – especially in the economic sphere – there has not been a prime minister in Great Britain in my lifetime whom I have agreed with as much.

Those who are bitterly and spitefully cheering her death really do so for one reason. In the political realm and in the real-world, she won and they lost. Not just during her time, but quite possibly for all time. And they’ll never be able to take that away from her.

Andy Jones TV Season 5 Episode 4

Milton Friedman is not considered a “pure” libertarian by many. Lots of people complain when I reference him, but I think he is one of the best libertarian “gateway drugs” out there – and has done more practical things to advance pro-freedom principles than anyone else. You just need to place him in the right context:

Where Adam Smith Stands

Adam SmithAdam Smith’s philosophy is not an easy concept to grasp. The principles are straightforward, but wading into his book “The Theory of Moral Sentiments” is not a task to be taken lightly.

However, there’s a new and fascinating breakdown of the pertinent details that has been grafted together by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy that’s worth checking out.

It’s a big wordy though. Thankfully Matt Zwolinski over at Bleeding Heart Libertarians has got an excellently-written summary of the whole thing, that provides a nice overview and commentary.

If only the powers that be were a little more like Adam Smith, and a little less like Melvyn King…

Andy Jones TV Season 5 Episode 2

A lot of people wonder when the more libertarian period was in human history. Just the other day someone proudly pronounced to me that it was 1790. Really? I bet if you were a black slave in the cotton fields you’d have a very different point of view.

I think the most libertarian time is now: