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Red or Blue by Bob Jackson
Enough is Enough by Brendan Kelly

One of my main objectives with the Coffee Coaster is to encourage discussion and review of salutary (healthful) new ideas coming from the literary world [not much point in reviewing bad books]. As my preference:

  1. These good ideas must always either complement or further the nonaggression principle that I have spent my political life in evangelizing.
  2. As a side benefit, it also helps that the presentation be artful, structured, and imaginative.

In the still relatively small pond of libertarian alternative publishing (LAP)—in which I'm a proud swimmer, myself—many explicitly political books seem to be written by older white men who characterize themselves as 'Christian conservatives.' And their professional background is seldom in literature or journalism... meaning generally their writing and editing skills are, at best, fair to middlin'. Not that there's anything awful about that!

Both of the books I'm reviewing today fall into the fair-to-middlin' editing category. Also, as a 'Jeffersonian liberal'—a passionate advocate of natural reason—I immediately downgrade works that carry a point of view embracing supernatural belief (whether it be lumped on Jesus, the Grand Collective, or the Great Pumpkin). So that's two strikes vs. both books, right away.

The good news is each book does state something unique, at least enough to contribute to the intellectual ammunition of those of us already aboard the Freedom Train. [Sadly, neither book is likely to sway any souls who sit on the fence of liberty; IMHO the messages are simply, in the case of Red or Blue, unrealistic, or, in the case of Enough is Enough, not sufficiently original to be of general interest.] But let's mine whatever ore is present:

Red or Blue: This Book is 4U
by Bob Jackson

Red or BlueMr. Jackson starts by defining red states and blue states, the red essentially libertarian—he softpedals (actually doesn't mention at all) that real red state people are often compulsively militaristic, homophobic, antichoice on drugs and abortion, and receptive to corporate rape and pillage of the environment irrespective of private property rights—, the blue essentially socialist-collectivist. For the blue states Jackson lists only the bad, nonlibertarian qualities... just the opposite of what he does for the red states. So his view is red = Ron Paul; blue = Barack Obama. [In reality red = George Bush; blue = Barack Obama. A pox on both red and blue, the issue is libertarian or not.]

Thus Mr. Jackson fails to recognize or convey that left and right, blue and red, Democrat and Republican are merely false-flag artifacts of the Global Cartel machinery... two sides of the same coin of domination designed to keep normal nonaggressive humans feeling they must pick one version of statism or the other: fascism or socialism. The true alternative: liberty, personal and economic, is taken off the table. The author then makes a novel—I would characterize it as naive, many would say Bob just inhaled a big ol' bong o' wacky tobacky—proposal, via Constitutional amendment, to create two countries, from states normally considered red or blue.

From an strict copyediting perspective, Red or Blue is only one or two notches below what the conventional publishing industry would generate [I read from Bob's bio that he worked as a journalist before becoming a successful entrepreneur/engineer/inventor]. However the book layout—using double-spaced, non-justified paragraph style and arial font—is low on the readability and esthetics scales. He does present a good case of how the Gang of 15 (executive and congressional leadership positions) stay in power through elections, and the system needs structural reform. Even term limits. But the main thesis, despite several earnest arguments, that we segregate ourselves by false-flag color-coding while retaining nation-state compulsory government, doubles not halves the problems. Still I respect his odd view.

Enough is Enough: The truth will set us free
by Brendan Kelly

Brendan KellyBrendan Kelly is a Free State (New Hampshire) libertarian and Libertarian (candidate and one-time chairman of the Libertarian Party of NH) who has lived his honest, hardworking existence—I just want to state here that I have nothing but admiration, even awe, for the personal virtues and values achieved by both men —entirely in the Granite State. With, it appears, some travel time in the employ of Uncle Sam. He seems to have always had a concern for public affairs and honest behavior from his public servants, especially on the local level. Over the years Brendan has made an avocation of writing letters to the editor. They are legion. Indeed, some sections of the book seem to be composed of thoughts he has routinely fired off to one newspaper or another.

Of the two books, Kelly's is the more conventional libertarian one. And it offers up more stones of insight into the many problems that ail us. Which we in Libertarian World all know by heart: the Fed, unions, the 'income' tax, government schooling, the evils of prohibition, corporate welfare, welfare welfare, mainly focused on the economic side of liberty. The author's prose is inviting, deeply felt, and occasionally lively, e.g.:

Next is our other large problem that must be addressed, the Federal Reserve. He who controls the currency controls the country... It's my opinion that these banking giants who have controlled the operation of most countries through control of their currency are operating as the last ditch attempt to regain control of our country where their former British Empire failed in our revolution... — page 44

Right arm, brother! I agree 100% with essentially the same observations. That's a representative prose sample where the editing issues are solely consistency of number and person. The formatting and typesetting for Enough are obviously professional, though by my estimate, the book averages at least one copyedit error per page. Sometimes these are real boners. Not good. What's worse, however, is general lack of integration, e.g. incomprehensibly inserting a 10-page article from American Affairs by a former Fed chairman! Still Kelly speaks his mind, and stands up for the right in animated ways.

The books satisfy objective #1 above, yet need work on the editing/formatting level. Also, more structure, realism, and newness are required to meet objective #2. Worthy efforts, better next time.

2012 January 20
©Brian Wright | The Coffee Coaster™
Red or Blue | Bob Jackson | Enough is Enough | Brendan Kelly

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