I have never met Connor Boyack. We are friends on Facebook, and I enjoy his blog Connor’s Conundrums, which deals with politics from a Mormon perspective. Let there be no doubt: Connor is a real libertarian, not a mamby-pamby fly-by-night libertarian like somebody like me. He hates the state with a passion, and could correctly be described as a Rothbardian anarcho-capitalist. He is anti-war, anti-state and pro-market, but most importantly pro-liberty.
But the truth is that we are living in the age of libertarianism, mostly because all of the predictions made by people like Rothbard are becoming true literally before our eyes. There is no way of understanding our current economic malaise (in my opinion) without understanding the key role of monetary policy in creating stagflation and without understanding that business cycles are inevitable. Markets must be allowed to clear. Government intervention, as we have seen with TARP and the many bailouts, only makes things worse, and at the end of the day it is the poor and the middle-class workers who suffer the most while the well-connected profit from our misery. Meanwhile, we are seeing the folly and horror of endless wars and the loss of our civil liberties.
Connor’s positions make many intellectual Mormons very uncomfortable. He is clearly a smart guy, but he is so darned dogmatic. And he seems to think he know the answer to everything. And he is so consistent, always arguing for more liberty and less government. Doesn’t he know the world is much more complicated than he claims? And doesn’t he know that all good Mormons must always be in favor of more government to show they actually care about the poor.
Well, as Connor shows in his book “Latter-Day Liberty, A Gospel Approach to Government and Politics,” all good Mormons should be in favor of liberty, not confiscating other peoples’ money so you can be beneficent with it. But make no mistake: Connor’s book will also make many traditional conservatives very uncomfortable. He is anti-war and lays out an unassailable case that the Book of Mormon creates a well-developed just war theory. He is pro-immigrant, pointing out that “it is an inescapable fact that the current immigration laws are founded upon racism and protectionism.” And he is against the war on drugs.
To sum up: Connor Boyack will upset a lot of people with this book.
Still, “Latter-Day Liberty” is, in my opinion, one of those books that Mormons simply must read. It is a groundbreaking book at a crucial time. In this day and age, a book must have an original, compelling message and also have a good self-promoting author to be successful. “Latter-Day Liberty” has both.
This book has a forward by Mark Skousen, perhaps the most famous living libertarian Mormon. He started Freedom Fest, the single biggest libertarian event of the year, which takes place every July in Las Vegas. Ron Paul also has read Connor’s book, and gives it a great review. Tom Woods, perhaps the smartest living economist and historian, also gives it a hearty thumbs-up.
So this is a book that you should take very seriously. Many intellectual Mormons will be talking about it. I predict great angst on the part of left-leaning Mormons, a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth, that Connor dares to challenge progressive orthodoxy. But I also predict many conservative Mormons will sputter and spew about his “isolationist” foreign policy and his support of “amnesty” for illegal immigrants.
But Connor makes his points brilliantly, mixing basic logic with literally hundreds of quotations from modern-day prophets and the scriptures. I predict very few of the people who try to refute Connor’s book will be able to do so without resorting to ad hominems: his arguments are simply too good and too consistent to be overcome very easily.
“Latter-Day Liberty” will be published in December. I was fortunate enough to get a pre-publication copy. You can order your own advance copy, for delivery in December, here.
In the coming weeks I will be addressing some of the specific arguments made in “Latter-Day Liberty.” These points are, I believe, crucial to understanding how to mesh Mormon beliefs on liberty, free agency and politics in the latter days. And here’s a suggestion: order a copy of the book for Christmas for your relative/friend who is interested in politics. Nothing like a good political discussion over Christmas dinner to make life exciting.