This is an anthology of essays about why Liberty is important and what it means to be a libertarian (liberal in Europe). The essays, which can be read individually, are written by young people, almost all of them are active in Students For Liberty, a dynamic libertarian international movement, and Tom G. Palmer, Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, and also the editor. In general, it explores the idea of libertarianism in a context of a general sense; it does not go into great depth, but covers enough to give a basic understanding of the concepts involved.
Some contributions are very good, others less so. I particularly liked Palmer’s essay on the “History and Structure of Libertarian Thought”, and “Africa’s Promise of Liberty” by Olumayowa Okediran.
Ι found some of the arguments incomplete, such as the suppression of cultivation of roots and tubers in Asia in favour of paddy rice cultivation as a way to monitor and tax the farmers (p.114). I really don’t know if it is easier to tax rice than roots, but this cannot be the only or the main reason for the spreading of rice cultivation. Archeological evidence and morphological studies of wild rice phytoliths, dating from 12,000–11,000 BP in the region of the Yangtze River valley in China, indicates that wild rice collection was an important part of the local means of subsistence, and spread more with its domestication.
A lot of quotes from important people are included in the essays. While quotes are helpful and can advance an essay, using too many of them often overpowers the text and lead to a writing that is unfocused and disunited.
In conclusion, this collection of essays can help those who are willing to go deeper, to educate themselves, to start exploring the ideas of freedom, justice and peace. Liberalism can teach one to think intensively and to think critically. And this is a powerful tool.
Τhe collection has been translated in Greek by Nikos Rompapas from Liberty Forum / ΚΕΦΙΜ (Κέντρο Φιλελεύθέρων Μελετών)