The internet is a chaotic place, and it’s hard to know where to turn for reliable information, persuasive ideas, convincing propositions, gripping fundamentals, solid advice, and wisdom and principles that have withstood the test of time and history.
Here are a few of my go-to sources. I encourage you to dive into the words and works of these independent and challenging resources. Like you, it takes discernment to get to “the truth”…these sources are a good place to do your own investigation. I’m checking these out almost every day.
John attended a FEE study program in his younger years and was personally taught by Leonard Read, the founder of FEE, at their beautiful campus on Irvington-On-Hudson. One of John’s prized possessions is a book Mr. Reed gave to him personally, “Human Action” by Ludwig Von Mises. You will find this organization to be an outstanding go-to resource for economic freedom.
Thomas Sowell is an American economist and social theorist who is currently a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He writes from a libertarian conservative perspective, advocating supply-side economics. Sowell has written more than thirty books.
Author: Russell Kirk
In this now classic work, Russell Kirk describes the beliefs and institutions that have nurtured the American soul and commonwealth of the United States.
Author: Frederic Bastiat
The Law was originally published as a pamphlet in 1850 by Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850). Bastiat wrote most of his work in the few years before and after the French Revolution of 1848. The Law is considered a classic and his ideas are still relevant today. The essay was published in French in 1850. This piece was published in English as part of Essays on Political Economy
Author: Os Guinness
“Conflicts, hostility, and incivility now threaten to tear the country apart. Competing visions have led to a dangerous moment of cultural self-destruction. This is no longer politics as usual, but an era of political warfare where our enemies are not foreign adversaries, but our fellow citizens.”
Author: Taylor Caldwell
One of my favorite books of all time: “Captains and the Kings” by one of my favorite fiction authors of all time, Taylor Caldwell.
An informed electorate, who would elect only just men no matter their financial power or lack of it, was an impossible dream. Mankind adores its betrayers, and murders its saviors.
Author: Barry Goldwater
The Conscience of a Conservative reignited the American conservative movement and made Barry Goldwater a political star. It influenced countless conservatives in the United States, and helped lay the foundation for the Reagan Revolution in 1980. It covers topics such as education, labor unions and policies, civil rights, agricultural policy and farm subsidies, social welfare programs, and income taxation. This significant book lays out the conservative position both politically and economically that would come to dominate the Conservative Movement in American.
Author: Russell Kirk
“A profound critique of contemporary mass society, and a vivid and poetic image – not a program, an image – of how that society might better itself. [ The Conservative Mind ] is, in important respects, the twentieth century’s own version of the Reflections on the Revolution in France… [Kirk] was an artist, a vsionary, almost a prophet.” – DAVID FRUM, author of Dead Right
Author: F. A. Hayek
An unimpeachable classic work in political philosophy, intellectual and cultural history, and economics, The Road to Serfdom has inspired and infuriated politicians, scholars, and general readers for half a century. Originally published in 1944—when Eleanor Roosevelt supported the efforts of Stalin, and Albert Einstein subscribed lock, stock, and barrel to the socialist program—The Road to Serfdom was seen as heretical for its passionate warning against the dangers of state control over the means of production. For F. A. Hayek, the collectivist idea of empowering government with increasing economic control would lead not to a utopia but to the horrors of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.
Author: Leonard E. Read
“I, Pencil” is written in the first person from the point of view of a pencil. The pencil details the complexity of its own creation, listing its components and the numerous people involved, down to the sweeper in the factory and the lighthouse keeper guiding the shipment into port.
Poetry, Speeches & Quotes
The Touch of the Master’s Hand
Author: Myra ‘Brooks’ Welch
Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
thought it scarcely worth his while to waste much time on the old violin,
but held it up with a smile; “What am I bidden, good folks,” he cried,
“Who’ll start the bidding for me?” “A dollar, a dollar”; then two!” “Only
two? Two dollars, and who’ll make it three? Three dollars, once; three
dollars twice; going for three..” But no, from the room, far back, a
gray-haired man came forward and picked up the bow; Then, wiping the dust
from the old violin, and tightening the loose strings, he played a melody
pure and sweet as caroling angel sings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer, with a voice that was quiet and low,
said; “What am I bid for the old violin?” And he held it up with the bow.
A thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two? Two thousand! And who’ll make
it three? Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice, and going and
gone,” said he. The people cheered, but some of them cried, “We do not
quite understnad what changed its worth.” Swift came the reply: “The touch
of a master’s hand.”
And many a man with life out of tune, and battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, much like the old violin, A
“mess of pottage,” a glass of wine; a game – and he travels on. “He is
going” once, and “going twice, He’s going and almost gone.” But the Master
comes, and the foolish crowd never can quite understand the worth of a soul
and the change that’s wrought by the touch of the Master’s hand.
Thanksgiving Proclamation: New York, 3 October 1789
President George Washington
By the President of the United States of America. a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation—for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted—for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
Quote from Robert Mondavi
Out of all the rigidities
And mistakes of my past, I’ve learned a lesson
That I’d like to see Engraved on the desk
Of every business leader, Teacher, and parent in America:
The greatest leaders don’t rule,
The Final Flight
By Jack Wesley
Almost a hundred of us warriors and warriors-to-be collected ourselves in the North concourse, Gate 54, for the flight to Shannon, Ireland. If only that was our final destination. Maybe 18 or 36 holes of golf, followed with a big hot plate of corn beef and cabbage, a cold Guinness, and a good night’s rest at Molly ‘Dwyer’s Bed &Breakfast, and then back home to my family and friends. But no, our destination will be another concourse while we hurry up and wait for our final flight that will take us just outside the combat zone.
As I look around, a few of the guys are on the floor playing cards. Scattered here and there are the white wires of iPods plugged into the dozen or so ears for the last downloads of favorite tunes. But most are just leaning back in the few chairs, or against the wall – quiet, restless, edgy, deep in thought, all of us wondering what it will be like. Just a few of the guys in our unit have been there before, and by looking at the veterans, they seem even more engaged in their own deep thoughts, just like the rest of us.
I watch a family with young children walk past our gate. The mother looks at us with a sense of worry and concern. A man in a suit with a brief case is too busy on his cell phone to notice any of us. Someone comes by with a cartload of magazines to restock the shelves in the bookstore. But for the most part, we are isolated. Each one of us so very much alone among the packs, gear, camouflage utility uniforms and combat boots.
I overheard our commanding officer offer words of encouragement to two of his guys while waiting to buy a newspaper in the gift shop. I wonder if he really is okay with all of this or if he’s just trying to keep our motivation up. I just don’t know.
As I scan my friends and buddies, those I’ve trained with, sweated with, and even yelled at, it hits me! Not all of us are coming home, and a few are coming home early – on a stretcher, missing an arm, a leg, blind or worse.
Maybe I will be one of “them”.
I glance down the concourse and the line at Starbucks is gone. I have a mission: To run from my thoughts. As I head straight toward what may be my last real good cup of coffee, two of my buddies see me and follow right behind. They also need a mission other than the big one ahead at the end of the long flight.
We all escape for a few moments. We’re on a coffee-run mission where I’m in control – a mission where I will return.
As I was ordering a large coffee and my buddies were adding bagels and donuts to theirs, an old guy behind me told the clerk, “I’m covering for these guys. The coffee and snacks are on me.” Well, he really wasn’t al that old. His suit was wrinkled, tie still tight, and he looked a little beat from what I could guess to be a lot of travel, but he had a great smile. We thanked him. It really meant a lot to us for him to pick up the tab. He mentioned that years ago he was traveling the same path as us- something about being a Marine in the “ol Corps.”
As we turned to leave, he thanked us for our service and handed each of us a little 12 page booklet; it had a strange title. He said that it would change our lives for all eternity. Well, it was small enough for me to stick in my back pocket and we were on our way back to the camouflage crowd at Gate 54 as they were calling our flight to board.
Well, you know, I forgot about that old guy and the booklet in my pocket. On the entire flight over the Atlantic I started thinking about if, and how, I would return. I signed up for this, but now the reality was starting to hit me. What was I thinking? My buddies back home were probably hanging out or sound asleep and I’m in row 38 B- a middle seat.
It took almost 34 hours to get to our final destination. We all nodded on and off but no one was able to pack in more than an hour or two of sleep.
It didn’t take long for each of us to be assigned to our final units. Mine was sent right to the front of the action. That first night at the outpost I was really scared. Some of the guys had just returned from an ambush and not all of them made it. The next day, there was an impromptu memorial service – a final farewell. It really shook me up.
For the first time in my life, I realized that I was up against the wall of fate. My life may end today, or tomorrow, or the next. I was stripped of all that used to prop me up: my old home town, my friends and family, my associates at my old job, the smile and hugs of my mother, my grandmother’s encouraging words, my accomplishments in sports, the decent grades I made at school and the music that kept me pumped up. Everything, just everything that was part of me is now 10,000 miles away. Nothing was filling the gap. I never felt so alone in my life. I never felt so hopeless, so cut off at the end of that proverbial rope. But I did my best to keep the tough guy image going, like most everybody else.
I was heading out in the morning to a high risk patrol. How could I do what I was supposed to do when inside I was nothing but a bunch of meat and bones held together by sinus of terror. And then I remembered that book from the guy at Starbucks. I don’t know why, but I still had it with me – a little book that some stranger gave to me. I remember that it had something to do with making a change for eternity and just wanting to live for a day; eternity was a great idea whose time had come
There on the front cover was the title, “Riding the Death Train”. I thought that was a strange title for a book that was to provide a “message of hope”. But I was ready for something because everything I thought I had going for me was rattling in the bottom of my stomach and falling through me like a sieve. I needed something that would plug the holes to my inner most soul, maybe even give me a chance – a chance to live and not die – so I turned to page one of that “death train” book.
There on the first page were the words: “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” I read it again, and then again. I thought what kind of love is that; where someone would actually give their life for another? Would somebody do that for me?
I continued to read and flip the pages. In less than a few minutes I found the answer. It was a Bible verse that I’d seen on a poster some guy would hold up in the end zone in a few football games; “John 3:16”. I never knew what that meant. But here it was, in this little book, this simple verse, a message of hope about life; “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believe in him shall not perish, but have eternal life”.
Could there be no greater love than that God would sacrifice His own son, to die for me that I could live?! At that moment, an inner peace I’ve never known came all over me.
Well, the next day we all made it back from that patrol. But I know there will be more to come. I’ve never been through anything so horribly tough in all my life. I must admit that unshakable fear wants to reach out to put a hard grip on you, because none of us knows what tomorrow, or the next minute, will bring. We’re all anxious to come back home, to catch that final flight.
My buddy, an older combat veteran, told me something just last night that I’ll never forget. He put a hand on my shoulder, and with an inner resolve and compassion in his eyes, as he looked into mine, he quietly said, “Courage is not the absence of fear; courage is the presence of faith”.
Taking A Stand
A Message for My Grandchildren: Turn Your Eyes Away from the Storms of Life, and Keep Them Fixed Upon Jesus.
What do we do when people are mean? When they say bad things about others that we care about? What happens when someone says mean