By Elisha Dorfsmith
2010 was a great year for adding new liberty books and essential libertarian classics to my library. My list of recommended books could be much longer but I wanted to focus on the five most important books I read this year. Anyone even remotely interested in what the freedom movement is about should try to track down these titles. I know the Flagstaff library has most of them and the others could probably be requested from another branch.
Those who are already liberty activists will also benefit from this list. These books are filled with ideas, arguments, statistics and history that we all must understand if we are to effectively teach the philosophy of liberty to our friends and neighbors. Here’s my list:
The Five Most Important Books I Read This Year
I proudly voted for Michael Badnarik when he ran for President in 2004 on the Libertarian ticket. He is one of those rare individuals who possess a solid understanding of the Constitution and Bill Of Rights. Good To Be King is based on Badnarik’s United States Constitution class which he has been teaching for several years. For those who wonder what I mean when I say I believe in constitutionally limited government, read this book. It’s all there. You may also want to check out his website. I would love to have him teach a class in Flagstaff sometime!
Tom Woods is an incredibly prolific writer who also happens to be an economist, historian and constitutional scholar. Nullification is one of his most important works to date. Many have heard the term “Nullification” but few understand it and even fewer understand how to apply the concept. This book has been needed for a very long time and thanks to Mr. Woods we now have an excellent resource to point our friends to. Anyone who wants a better understanding of the 10th Amendment and States’ Rights will be pleased.
Judge Napolitano is a former New Jersey Superior Court Judge who is now the host of (IMO) the best political show to ever appear on television…Freedom Watch! Haven’t seen it? Archives can be found here. The Judge is an expert on constitutional law and a strong defender of freedom, liberty, and the bill of rights. In Lies The Government Told You, he tackles 17 lies throughout American history. He exposes deceit from the left and the right and even some founding fathers get busted. The ultimate goal of this book is the truth. We need more writing like this! I would encourage you to pick up a copy of every book the Judge has written. They are all fantastic.
Peter Schiff is one of the few people who predicted the recent economic collapse. He was laughed at and mocked for a long time because he subscribed to the Austrian School of economics and defended the free market system. He suddenly gained respect when the housing bubble burst and the stock market crashed just as he said they would. He recently ran for U.S. Senate in Connecticut but lost the Republican primary to Linda McMahon, a WWE Manager. The fact that Republicans chose a Wrestling Manager over a brilliant economist speaks volumes about the state of politics these days but I’ll save that rant for another time.
Inspired by How An Economy Grows and Why It Doesn’t, a book written by Schiff’s father, Peter Schiff expands on the basic philosophy of the free market system and applies those principles to the economic issues of today. The beauty of this book is that it is so simple and yet so profound. Young students and professional economists will both appreciate it. I read some of it to my 7-year-old son and even at his age he was able to grasp the basic ideas. This book should be added to curriculum across the country.
In 2010 an unbelievable thing happened. The Road To Serfdom by F. A. Hayek soared to # 1 at Amazon. Suddenly it was in bookstores everywhere and even being featured on a special shelf at the Flagstaff Hastings. I read through it in a couple sittings and it left me wanting more. When I saw a copy of The Constitution Of Liberty on the shelf at Barnes & Noble I had to buy it. It’s a thick book and it may require reading some pages twice in order to digest it all. The amount of depth Hayek put into his writing is amazing. He lays out his philosophy and then moves to tackle the folly of the welfare state and socialism, mostly through economic eyes. A new “Definitive Edition” will be released in April, 2011 and I will be buying several copies for friends, family, and of course, a copy for myself (it’s a book that begs to be read more than once).
Exciting Release In 2011!
On April 19th, Ron Paul’s new book Liberty Defined: The 50 Urgent Issues That Affect Our Freedom will be released. I am very excited about this one and will be pre-ordering several copies. I plan on donating one to the Flagstaff Tea Party Library as soon as I receive them. Liberty Defined promises to be a great addition to the liberty writings of Ron Paul which also include The Revolution: A Manifesto and End The Fed. I hope you will consider pre-ordering as well.
For all you book lovers out there, if you have a Facebook page please consider joining Books That Promote Liberty. You may also be interested in the new Liberty Book Exchange which is being organized by Flagstaff Liberty Alliance.
Looking forward to a new year and some great reading!
Ron Paul signs my copy of End The Fed at ASU in December, 2009
Hanging Out With Hayek!
By Elisha Dorfsmith
In our unusual quest to watch every science fiction film ever made (we’re gluttons for punishment), my wife and I often stream obscure sci-fi films through Netflix. On Christmas Eve we enjoyed Metropia and on Christmas Afternoon we decided to see if anything new had been added to “watch it now”. The first one we found had a cheesy cover and name: Eyeborgs. Sounded like a perfect film for a holiday afternoon so I hit the play button.
Eyeborgs instantly had the B Movie feel that we expected but what we didn’t expect was all the relevant discussion and liberty symbolism sprinkled throughout the film. The only thing missing was a Gadsden.
The movie takes place in the not too distant future where the Department Of Homeland Security has more than just the “Patriot Act” to work with…they also have the “Freedom of Observation Act”. Cameras are not just everywhere, they are mobile and can follow people wherever they go. The 4th amendment is still given lip service but it only takes 5 seconds for a warrant to be issued through a computer. Most people have accepted the surveillance society as necessary for their safety but a few rebels (think Constitutionalists, Libertarians, maybe even tea partiers) are not buying the government story.
An upside down American flag (a symbol of distress) is found in the home of a man suspected by DHS of being a terrorist and his walls are covered in words of warning. “G Man”, a guitar dealer/repair man has a “Spirit Of 76″ flag on his wall and he also has the text of “The Freedom Of Observation Act” which he actually read (it’s several inches thick) and found serious threats to civil liberties throughout. Viewers are continually reminded that their liberty is going down the drain as the writers relentlessly drive their point home.
The Nanny State is also referenced. Early in the film, tobacco (which is illegal) is being sold like heroin by drug dealers. Later, a DHS agent brings in a couple coffees and tells his partner that she should enjoy it because that will be the next thing they make illegal.
The idea of demonizing security cameras by turning them into killing machines is pretty clever and takes George Orwell’s nightmare to a whole new level. The question is implied over and over throughout the film: How far are Americans willing to go before they say “enough is enough”?
While the film does have it’s flaws and often gets bogged down, we thoroughly enjoyed it. If you don’t go into it expecting anything great like 1984 or the Matrix and you pay close attention to the dialogue and message, you will be rewarded.
With federally funded ICX Skywatch Towers showing up at Wal-Mart stores and other locations across the country, the surveillance theme continues to hit closer and closer to home.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
As another year comes to a close, we would like to give a special thanks to all the wonderful people we have had the opportunity to work with over the past year. It has been an incredible 12 months filled with rallies, meetings, canvassing, and public awareness. The liberty movement in Flagstaff is getting stronger each day and we are excited about the opportunities that will arise in the coming year.
Some of the things we would especially like to focus on in 2011 include:
Flagstaff needs more alternative news sources. We need bloggers to attend City Council, Coconino County and FUSD School Board meetings and report what is really going on. We need people to go to public forums where our elected officials speak and ask tough questions and demand straightforward, honest answers. We need to engage the community and encourage individuals to get involved. This week we were informed of two new liberty blogs that will be starting up in the Flagstaff area. We have also been hearing exciting things about the Free Flagstaff Podcast possibly expanding to a wider audience. Don’t wait for the mainstream media to pick up a story. If you hear something important, spread the word. We are the new media.
Contrary to what the “experts” are saying, we believe that the economy will get worse and people should start getting prepared. Self sufficient communities with strong local economies will fare best in an economic meltdown. We must start finding and creating local food sources and encouraging people to look at ways to become more self reliant. The majority of Americans never stop to think about where the food on the store shelf comes from. The frightening truth is that most communities are just a truck driver strike away from mass panic and starvation. We would like to see more community gardens, food co-ops and seed exchanges. We would love to see more people taking an active interest in where their food comes from and what is in it.
There was a time when Americans had a sense of community that, while encouraging rugged individuality, also allowed people to get together and solve their problems. These days, if an issue arises people call the first government agency that comes to mind. We have slowly been led to believe that government nannies will fix it all and that big brother must play a part in every aspect of our lives. This kind of thinking has to stop.
Our hope is that we can encourage people get more involved in their communities and neighborhoods. We would like to see people talking and listening to each other, attending community events and gathering together to discuss solutions. Most of us are not happy with the direction things are heading. Change can start right here in Flagstaff. A good first step is to actually meet your neighbors.
We must start looking at ourselves as teachers. It is hard to discuss issues that are important to the liberty movement when most of those around us are not even aware of what is going on behind the headlines. It’s time to share the philosophy of freedom with everyone we know. We can start by buying liberty books for friends and family, promoting liberty events, and sharing the Flagstaff Liberty Alliance website and other liberty websites with our email lists and on social networking sites. Throughout the coming year we will be focusing a great deal of energy on public awareness. We need your help.
We always welcome your ideas and feedback. If you have suggestions for events, blogs, public outreach etc. please contact us.
Look for some exciting updates to our website this week. We will be adding a blog section so we can link to local liberty blogs and we will also be posting information on our free liberty book exchange. If you live in the Northern Arizona area and have a blog that covers liberty topics, please let us know. We would love to link to it.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
Several people (including FUSD staff) have contacted me and disputed my claim that a mobile health van for district schools will lead to increased behavioral medicating of our children. While I cannot pretend to know the specifics of the plan (even board members are not clear on the details) This much is clear:
Dr. Eric Henley discussed at last week’s board meeting that the mobile van could be there for the following:
–Primary care for students
–Reproductive Health Options
–24 Hour On Call Availability
If North Country Health Care will not have anything to do with behavioral drugs or diagnosing students with behavioral problems, what exactly will they be doing in regard to the “Behavioral Health” mention in their slide show? The fact that an outside company (who will profit from this deal) wants to be there for our kid’s behavioral health in the first place really scares me. I think it is important to remember that the drug lobby poured millions of dollars into getting national health care passed and promoting programs like this.
If you’re wondering why I am so passionate about the subject, it is because my son was told by his teacher in Kindergarten that he may have behavioral problems because he could not sit perfectly still. He was one of the youngest students in the class. He is in second grade now and can sit better than most adults through a 4-hour school board meeting. I hate to think what would have happened if I had responded to his teacher’s concerns by taking him to a doctor and having him checked out. My fear is that the mobile health van will take the parent out of the picture and the teacher will send the student out there to be diagnosed before a parent has a chance to object.
I am not asking anyone to take my word for anything and I certainly don’t want to come across as a hyper-sensitive parent having a knee jerk reaction. My hope is simply that everyone who cares will look past the surface and take an honest look at what is going on in public schools nation wide. Start with the following and see where it leads…
Many medicated children are misdiagnosed:
“Part of the problem is that a lot parents are getting their child diagnosed because the teacher says he’s acting up in school so you have to ask, is the kid acting up in school because of this condition or is the kid acting up because he’s just young for the grade…”
Dr. Peter R. Breggin, former director of the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology has spent a lot of time focusing on the issue of children being over-medicated in public schools. Here is an example of some of his work:
“Parents throughout the country are being pressured and coerced by schools to give psychiatric drugs to their children. Teachers, school psychologists, and administrators commonly make dire threats about their inability to teach children without medicating them…”
He has written several well researched books on the dangers and prevalence of over-medicating children with behavioral problems.
Many people dismiss Dr. Breggin as a “controversial figure” but he is just one of many who have been examining the topic.
Here is a more recent small study that I want to explore further in a future post. Very interesting findings:
“Research studies have regularly revealed that most children who attend a conventional school and are diagnosed with ADHD take stimulant drugs (dopamine reuptake inhibitors) as treatment.”
Several documentaries have been produced in recent years to bring awareness and balance to the policy of drugging kids.
Don’t stop here. I have barely scratched the surface on the subject. Dig deep and let me know what you discover. Dr. Henley specifically mentioned on site diagnosis during his presentation to the FUSD board. Will a mobile health van lead to more behavioral drugs? I will let you come to your own conclusion…
By Elisha Dorfsmith
I just returned from tonight’s Flagstaff Unified School District board meeting and wanted to pass on the following information which was very disturbing to me.
Eric Henley of North Country Health Care gave a presentation proposing a school based mobile health unit. This unit would provide school based health services through a pilot program starting at MEMS, Killip, Kinsey and Leupp. FALA could be an additional partner. Mr. Henley explained to the board that the grant North Country Health Care is pursuing is available because of the recently passed federal health bill. He told the board that they need a partner to supply patients in order to get the grant. Apparently, FUSD would provide enough patients to sustain the program.
Here is the plan in a nutshell: nurses would refer students to the health van and the van would also be available for emergencies. Parents would have the option to opt in/out but parents may not have to consent in an emergency. We were told that there are about 1,900 of these programs nationwide. The program would cost around $200,000 a year but Mr. Henley said that the district would not be on the hook for that money.
Mr Henley explained that services would be up to the board to decide but could include the following:
–Primary care for students (he mentioned common illnesses such as asthma)
–Reproductive Health Options
–24 Hour On Call Availability
Mr. Henley suggested that the district look into creating a school health advisory committee to help with details. The board and superintendent were clearly not aware of most of this information and Ms. Hickman, Ms. Ells, and Mr. Kulpinski admitted that they had reservations and concerns. Mr. Bavasi expressed his support for the program. In the end, the board decided to look into the idea more and they expect to vote on this plan at their January 11th meeting. The Deadline to apply for the grant is January 12th. With the holidays upon us, I have a hard time believing that the school board will be able to examine every issue and concern before they vote. Here are some of my concerns:
FUSD goes out of their way to NOT inform parents of their right to opt out of vaccines:
Can we trust them to inform us that we can opt out of the Mobile Health Van when it arrives at our child’s school?
When we get to know our child’s nurse we become comfortable letting that nurse take care of our child. Are you comfortable giving a complete stranger in a mobile health van access to your child?
Will there be some kind of accountability in place to insure that no adult is left alone with a child?
Will a trusted adult take your child to the van and can we be sure that the mobile van will stay on the premises?
Ms. Hickman stressed that FUSD is not in the health business and that the mobile health van would be separate from the district. Where does the accountability come in? Who is responsible if something goes wrong?
This whole concept frightens me.
If you share my concerns or have concerns of your own, please contact the board and Ms. Hickman and let them know how you feel. You can find the board member’s contact information here:
Ms. Hickman can be reached here:
This was tonight’s full agenda:
In addition to discussing the mobile health van, the board voted as follows:
– No on structured recess.
– Yes on a prop 301 plan.
– Yes on renewing their NAU lease.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
Today’s AZ Daily Sun has an interesting article on Dr. Paul Gosar, our new congressman in CD1:
While the article covers a wide variety of topics, I wanted to focus on a couple pet issues (peeves) of mine. I have complained in the past about Dr. Gosar’s hypocritical streak (for example, he says he supports states’ rights and limited federal government but he also supports a federal constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage) and it comes out in force in this article.
In response to questions from students about medical marijuana, Dr. Gosar says:
“Let’s say that you’ve had some medical marijuana and you’ve smoked it, and you’re a little bit high, and you’ve got in an automobile accident. How should I hold you accountable? Same as drunk driving?”
My question for Dr. Gosar: What if you are under the influence of prescription drugs and you get in an automobile accident? How should I hold you accountable? Same as drunk driving? It happens all the time and your dental profession is partly to blame for the over-prescribing of legal drugs which are often abused:
Dr. Gosar also says that medical marijuana will create more crime and work for the police. How? Even something as “revolutionary” as the complete decriminalization of marijuana would free the police up to focus on serious crime. If history is any teacher, we only need to look back to the prohibition of alcohol to see that banning something creates more crime and more work for the police.
Near the end of the article, Dr. Gosar throws out this incredibly hypocritical statement:
“I don’t ever want the government telling me that I can’t do something. That’s wrong,”
Really? After all the marijuana talk, he pretends to champion individual freedom? Did he say that with a straight face?
Switching gears, I will give a little credit where credit is due. At least Dr. Gosar did talk about cutting spending and taxes with some specifics including a cut in military spending. Hopefully he keeps his word there. I hope you will join me holding Dr. Gosar’s feet to the fire and demand that he stand up for true freedom and liberty. He is our representative and as his constituents we must hold him accountable and make sure he represents us.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
The brilliant minds of our Flagstaff City Council are once again working hard to protect you from yourself. This time they are spending $1,500 of your tax dollars to install signs informing residents that they need a permit before they can drink beer or wine at two city parks. The permits are free so this is not a sneaky attempt to raise funds. Plain and simple, this is the council putting Flagstaff residents on another leash:
I have often brought beer to family barbecues and picnics at local parks. I have spent a lot of time at local parks with my son and have never seen anyone causing problems because of alcohol (I know cases do exist but they are rare). Asking me to get a permit so I can have a nice Saturday with my family is not only a waste of my time but it is also a waste of the City Of Flagstaff’s time and taxpayer money.
Let’s be honest here, the only people who will get permits will be the law abiding citizens who are not the cause of any problems. Once again, Flagstaff punishes the many because of a few. There are already laws on the books to take care of homeless alcoholics who are “causing trouble”. Why punish ME???
By Elisha Dorfsmith
Today we got the big news that the Department Of Homeland Security plans on expanding their “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign to WalMart and beyond:
I talked to a couple people who usually defend police actions and they were visibly shaken up over this development. They shouldn’t be surprised.
A snitch system is the obvious next step in our surveillance society. It starts with an increased police presence, then cameras everywhere, then tracking and finally a network of citizen informants to catch whatever might slip through the government’s fingers. Citizen informants are the necessary progression on the slippery slope to a comprehensive police state.
When Drudge broke this story this morning, I was immediately reminded of an article I read last year on a slightly different topic entitled “Citizen Informants”:
It applies even more today than it did then and shows just how hard our government has stepped on the accelerator as they rush to scare the population into perfect submission. People used to be called “conspiracy theorists” for talking about a police state in the USA. Now it’s all over the mainstream media on a daily basis. Welcome to the snitch society…