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Book Review: Rollback by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

April 28, 2013

This is the best book I have read thus far this year. If you are a freedom loving person who wants to do the right thing by your fellow man here in the United States you need to read this book. Thomas Woods, Jr. tackles every single misconception about the failures of the market economy and the need for government. For example, in his section on the War on Drugs he cites how thirteen years of alcohol prohibition saw property crime climb by 13.2 percent, homicide by 16.1 percent, and robbery 83.3 percent.

This is hardly a coincidence, I firmly believe that we need to legalize marijuana and stop trying to criminalize guns and any other product that the public is interested in purchasing.  Right now government policy in regards to guns is like a bad version of the movie Minority Report where Congress is trying to establish pre-crime laws so that law-abiding citizens cannot own a gun because you never know, they may go on a killing spree. That is not a free market system, that is not the system that this country was built on.

Thomas Woods explains that since demand is so great for these products, it is fruitless and absurd for the U.S. government to try to offer incentives or threats to stop making or importing these items. For example, now the U.S. government wants to restrict the importation of firearms and ammunition, yet they are buying up a lot of firearms and ammunitions themselves and with whose money? Ours! Also, the U.S. government is out of line to go into other countries such as Colombia and offer poor peasants to stop making their lucrative products. We would be appalled if a foreign nation overstepped their boundaries and told a particular industry such as steel that we cannot produce more steel.

According to Thomas Woods, Jr., the U.S. government has poured enormous sums into helping the Colombian government fight drug production in their country. The author goes on to say, “The situation simply gets worse. Left-wing guerrillas and right-wing paramilitary groups, both funded by drug money, terrorize the country. Law enforcement admits it solves at most 5 percent of all crimes, and most murders are not even investigated. Between 1997 and 1999, thirty-four Colombian mayors had been murdered and over one hundred more assassinated; by November 1999 half the country’s mayors threatened resignation because the situation had become completely impossible. Meanwhile, the production of coca plants continued to set all-time records, with producers able to create new supplies faster than military helicopters could destroy them”. What a waste of time, resources and lives. By the way, in Colombia you can only own .22 caliber guns and they have to be registered with the government and all your ammunition is purchased from the government. Had these Colombian mayors enjoyed the Second Amendment rights that we have enjoyed here in the United States thus far, perhaps they could have had a fighting chance.

So the point that Thomas Woods, Jr. makes in this great book is that it all has to do with government intervention, we need to get government out of our lives. We need a change of attitude, we need to understand that criminalizing a product that people want creates more crime and lowers standards of living that leaving people to their own devices. I know its hard to understand but some people are understanding it. Since 1976, Holland has pursued a marijuana decriminalization policy the author writes where law enforcement does not harass people in possession of small quantities of the drug.

Mr. Woods also cites how Portugal recently introduced an even more sweeping policy abolishing criminal penalties for possession of previous illegal drugs. But not us here in the United States, we are full steam ahead with the imprisonment strategy so much that the number of drug prisoners has increased twelvefold since 1980.

The point that Mr. Woods makes about all these senseless and wasteful government policies is that there are a lot of bureaucrats who are making a living and some a killing on keeping these failed policies going and will and do fight tooth and nail to continue them despite their ineffectiveness. The War on Drugs is counterproductive and vain. Mr. Woods cites that the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 43.7 percent of North American adults, which is over 98 million people admitted to marijuana usage at some point in their lives, with 10 percent having used it in the past year.

The point of this book? We need a significant reduction in government revenue and power and I am in total agreement with Mr. Woods. We need to stop thinking we would be a mass of senseless boobs without the government.

Ignoring this book and what it has to offer as a way to educate us on how we got into this mess we are currently in and how to get out of it will guarantee us the impending crisis that is lurking around the bend.

Mr. Woods affirms that there is no simple political solution at the end of his book, but the following is a list of possible approaches to circumvent the crisis we face:

*Currency competition – North Americans need alternatives to the dollar. If people prefer to transact in precious metals rather than the depreciating dollar, they should be allowed to do so without having to cope with the artificial disabilities the government imposes on them. Legal tender laws, a monopolistic intrusion into the free market, should be abolished. Taxes on gold and silver should be repealed. Contracts calling for payment in something other than the dollar should once again be made enforceable in the courts. Private mints should be allowed to issue coins as money.

Money emerged spontaneously on the free market. It was not instituted by government. Only later did governments interfere with it, and not out of a commitment to the public good. Governments wanted t monopolize money creation so they could hand newly created money to favored constituencies.

*State nullification – Thomas E. Woods, Jr. has a website to teach you all about it at:  The point of nullification is to limit the power of the federal government. The states created the federal government as their agent in the first place. The agent cannot presume to dictate to the principals what their Constitution means and how power is to be apportioned between them.

*Repeal Amendment – If a majority of the states in the Union disapprove of a federal law, it is repealed.

*Self-education – No matter how much we learn, we should always consider ourselves students. We need to all become autodidacts. Imagine living in a world says Thomas Woods, Jr. filled with people who see through the arguments for “stimulus,” bailouts, and the other forms of government direction of the economy, and respond with intelligent and compelling arguments of their own.

*Crack through the media monopoly — for free – The author here is basically suggesting what I am doing here and even better, read his book and learn about what economist Robert P. Murphy has done and I would go as far as to emulate Dr. Murphy. I just need to figure out who I want to get a piece of.

*Jury nullification – this is the ultimate tool by which we the people may issue a verdict on the laws that govern us or better put control us. On jury nullification the author offers us to visit the Fully Informed Jury Association at

*Free State Project – This is where Libertarians, about 5,000 of them got together and voted on choosing a state for all of them to move to in order to create a stronghold state for libertarian minded folks. I am personally interested in getting together with folks and creating another free state project. Currently the one in place is New Hampshire, I am interested in either making Pennsylvania or Florida the next free state. Who is with me?

*Agorism – This is the Libertarian premise that people have the right to interact with one another peacefully without the intervention of aggressive force by the state. It means taxation is morally illicit, since it involves seizing the property of a peaceful individual, with violent repercussions should he resist. Civilized people do not initiate physical force against each other.

If stealing is wrong for individuals, then groups of individuals operating under the banner of the state are likewise forbidden from stealing, even if they choose to call it taxation.

The state, in short, far from making civilization possible, is instead a parasite on the productive activity of civilized people.

I like the agorist philosophy, I think I am one, if you dont know about it, click on the link to learn more.

*Debt Repudiation – The federal government is bankrupt, it needs to be honest and default publicly, but fat chance of that happening. It will most probably default by devaluing the currency which it appears to already be doing.

I hope you enjoyed these bullet points, all found in the wonderful book by Thomas E. Woods, Jr., read it! Read his other books and I myself may do another book review on one of his books. Before I dedicated myself to doing book reviews I did read Meltdown by Tom Woods which is another great book.

I highly recommend this book, but after you read it, you need to take action.


From → Book Reviews

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