The Best Thing Since Samuel Konkin’s Manifesto (Amazon Customer Review)

Written by James Ostrowski on July 29, 2010 – 1:32 pm -

By RJ Miller (Northwest) – See all my reviews

This review is from: Direct Citizen Action: How We Can Win the Second American Revolution Without Firing a Shot (Paperback)

If you look at most books proposing a “strategy” for the liberty movement, they tend to be very lacking in the specifics. Oh sure, there is talk about what policy platform ought to be followed, but getting there is left to one’s own imagination.

Direct Citizen Action is not one of those books. Not only does Ostrowski give a good common sense platform to pursue, he gives an excellent set of tactics on how to achieve it. Instead of trying to get certain politicians elected, Ostrowski argues for what he calls “Direct Citizen Action,” which some readers will find similar to the agorist tactics described by Samuel Edward Konkin III in New Libertarian Manifesto

Direct Citizen Action basically consists of influencing government power without having to use governmental avenues to do so. In that sense, what this book advocates is far more potent that traditional voting, because the tactics described produced immediate results unlike contributing a ballot to a pool of millions of others, which to be effective would require changing the minds of other people. In short, this is the primary advantage of Ostrowski’s ideas. Instead of direct political participation, which entails that you get other people to agree with you (like that will ever happen amongst the Chomskyites and Michael Moore idolizers of today), you can help create a freer society by becoming self-sufficient and minimizing your contacts with government. Very rarely should we resort to voting or campaigning, unless the candidate in question is as well-rounded as Ron Paul.

The book is divided into three main parts:

First, it looks at what our present status is and where we ought to be. Ostrowski begins this part by highlighting the most significant shortcomings of our nation today in the context of governmental threats to liberty. He then explains what we ought to achieve in it’s place. Here Ostrowski is far less radical than the agorists he otherwise seems to be similar to. If he is, then he certainly doesn’t make it public in this book, and nor should he if he wants to draw attention to a feasibly accessible platform. From there he explains why traditional political methods of affecting the government’s role in our lives are far from perfect, and that Direct Citizen Action is far more potent.

In the Second part, he explains some key points and tactics relevant to DCA. This includes everything from moving to less politically intrusive states to boycotting businesses who bankroll statist politicians. These are excellent tactics in my opinion, and they are a great add-on to any counter-economist as well as mainstream tea-partier. All in all, they are different ways of reducing the role and influence of government in your here and now. Over time they can lead to the system shrinking altogether.

Part Three is sure to raise a few eyebrows. It is intended to inform the reader on what they need to do in order to prepare themselves for what might potentially happen as more people take the actions of part two into practice. This includes forming a militia if necessary. I thought this was crazy at first, but then again what Ostrowski advocates here really isn’t all that different from what might happen in the latter stages of agorist revolution. I definitely think he’s onto something.

Along with the conclusion, the book also has some excellent bonuses which include an appendix detailing five key lessons everyone should know about economics, and a list of books and resources to further educate yourself for educating others.

I will say it clearly: If you are part of the tea-party movement, the Ron Paul Revolution, or are deep into Libertarian thinking in general (in my case, this has led me to adopt agorism), then you owe it to yourself to buy this book. Get multiple copies and give them as gifts, recommend it to others who happen to be interested in freedom-oriented writings. Most of all, don’t forget to put this book’s suggestions into practice yourself!


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