A young fellow just wrote in asking what books I would recommend -- specifically, "some good books on current issues that I should know about, like the war on drugs, the reality of corporate america, the environment, etc.. Something a 17 year old can comprehend."
Here's what I suggested:
-- Ain't Nobody's Business if You Do by Peter McWilliams. A great book by a great man -- a martyr of the drug war. That book is about all victimless crimes, and it's awesome. It's long, but super-easy to read, and fun even. (Update: That book and all of Peter's other books are available on his site for free.
-- Why Government Doesn't Work by Harry Browne. The former Libertarian presidential candidate explains very simply and clearly how government is almost always the worst way to solve social problems.
-- Healing Our World: The Other Piece of the Puzzle by Dr. Mary Ruwart. I endorsed and recommended this book on my blog a while ago. As I said there: "Words don't exist to describe how strongly I recommend this book."
-- The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Ben Franklin. This is a good book for any young person to read. It's not about politics very much, and it's not as boring as it might sound. Ben Franklin was a great person, and he explains how he became one, and gives some advice. This one is available online for free in a number of places, and it's probably at almost every used bookstore in America.
-- And of course, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. This one is long, pretty heavy, and fairly legendary. You can probably find reviews (both positive and negative) and summaries of it on the web. (Update: I see there are 1000 reviews of it posted at Amazon.com, where it gets 4 out of 5 stars.) I wrote about its influence on me here.
You can scope out those books at Amazon.com through the links above, and if you buy any of them through their link, it will help support my campaign. :-)
That's a good starter set for a young person aspiring to make positive change in the world, I think. It's by no means a comprehensive collection, but it's a good first round.
By the way, the young man who wrote to me is also a 311 fan (as I am), and he urged me to do more to connect with 311 and their fanbase. That's definitely a part of the plan -- 311 fans are, by nature of the band they like, energetic, open-minded, and interested in positive change. They are also generally young. There's not a much better set of qualities that I can imagine in a potential constituency. Apparently 311's bass player, who I've corrensponded with a bit, has a tagline on their online bulletin board urging readers to get involved in politics, and he refers to putting a 311 fan in the oval office. I don't know if he's thinking of me with that, but I like the way he's thinking regardless.
Here's a cross-post from The Little Brown Reader:
I just wanted to post a more prominent link to the ever-growing California Recall Archives here at The Little Brown Reader. I'm soaking recall articles up like a sponge lately -- there were 14 recall-related entries in the past 3 days. I'm mostly watching closely to see if there's enough of a defection from Arnold to motivate the No On Recall movement, or to shift a critical mass over to support super-conservative-but-well-respected Tom McClintock.
Enjoy the archives! They may only matter for a few more days. ;-)
(I haven't decided whether I'll start new archives for the recall that's likely to start shortly after this election.)
I may post something else here about the recall before it happens, but if I don't, there are three entries at the Reader that shed a good amount of light on my feelings: there's this one about Tom McClintock, and how everyone can pretty much tell he'd be the best (of the frontrunners) for the job, and this one where I link to an article entitled The Progressive Case for Governor Tom McClintock, plus this one and this one where I remark upon the candidate that the Libertarian Party of California chose to endorse.
(And in case there's room for misinterpretation, I won't be voting for or endorsing Tom McClintock -- as a lot of Libertarians are doing -- because he's a Republican, and I can't/won't support the Republican (or Democratic) Party.)