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Any author who gives their work away faces the unique challenge of convincing people who have not invested their money in buying it that it is worth investing their time to read it.
Samuel Johnson once wrote: “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money,” which makes my task even harder, since either Mr. Johnson was a blockhead, or I am.
I do think that there are some circumstances under which releasing a work for free does not necessarily imply that it is worth exactly what readers pay for it. Those proposing radical new approaches to age-old problems—the addition of new thought to the human canon—will not find it particularly easy to get people to pay good money for such mad claims. If I am writing a book on Christianity, then I can sell it to Christians; if I am writing a book on libertarianism, then I can sell it to libertarians; if I am writing a book on politics, I can sell it to the deluded . . .
If I am writing a book for the future, for a truly free society that is yet to be, who do I sell it to? I cannot even tell in particular detail what this new society might look like, or be able to achieve—save that I am sure that they have not yet found a way to send gold backward through time, and deposit it on my doorstep.
Although improbable, it is not completely impossible that you might find something radical, thrilling, and new in this book—despite its cover price. The best way to spread new ideas is to make them as available and accessible as possible, which is why I give everything away, and rely—not without reason—on the generosity of my readers and listeners.
Despite our universal abhorrence, evils continue to plague the world, without respite. We fear and hate war, yet war continues. Our souls revolt against unjust imprisonment and torture, yet such injustices continue. We feel powerless in the face of endless tax increases—and with good reason. We feel agonising compassion for those who are caught up in the endless bloody nets of tribal conflicts, condemned to mute horror and blank-eyed starvation. The plight of the enslaved weighs down our hearts with the rusty chains of useless sympathy. We would do almost anything to free the world from such monstrous evils—yet we feel so helpless! We all want a free and wonderful world, and yet feel utterly paralysed before these monsters who commit such universal crimes . . .
Violence, injustice, and brutal control are truly the malignant cancers of our species. Philosophers have chided and reasoned in vain for thousands of years. Governments have been instituted to serve and protect the people—yet always escape the flimsy walls of their paper prisons and spread their choking powers across society, darkening hope and the future.
In this book, I do my part to put an end to these evils.
I know exactly how all these horrors can be ended.
I am fully aware of the outlandishness of this claim. I am fully aware that you have every right to be perfectly sceptical and cynical about the contents of this book. I would not blame you at all if you laughed in my face, spat at my feet—did anything that you pleased—as long as I could get you to turn just one more page.
Because—what if it were possible?
What if it were possible to live in a world free of the terror and genocide of war? What if it were possible to live in a world without unjust imprisonment, institutionalised rape, the endless subjugation of the helpless, and arming of the vicious and evil?
What if you held in your hands a small blueprint that could lead to just such a world? A world of peace and plenty—of compassion, voluntarism, virtue, and true liberty?
Isn’t that what we all really dream of?
Isn’t that the world that we wish with all our hearts that our children could inherit?
Isn’t that the world that we would like to take even a few steps towards?
Give this book a few minutes, I beg you.
We can get there.
The next book—“Achieving Anarchy”—will show us how.
Why do we examine the destination before mapping the journey?
Nietzsche said, “He who has a why . . . can bear with almost any how.”
Before we discuss how to get to freedom, why must know why a stateless society is so essential.
This book will show you what real freedom looks like.