Offer Gifts of Liberty This Season

The following article by Linn and Ari Armstrong originally was published November 25 in the print edition of Grand Junction Free Press.

Why fight the crowds when you can buy liberty-promoting gifts from your computer? We have several suggestions for you.

The final Harry Potter movie will make a popular gift. So will all of J. K. Rowling’s novels, which chronicle Voldemort’s rise to tyrannical power and Harry’s struggle to defeat him. Ari’s book Values of Harry Potter makes an excellent companion to any Potter-related gift for teens and adults.

Ari’s book reveals the heroes’ fight for values in the Potter novels and their fierce independence. A chapter on free will describes how the heroes forge their own character, while the villains bring themselves to corruption. The book’s discussions of religion take on the controversies of sacrificial love and immortality. The new 2011 edition contains essays on the novels’ rich psychology as well as their politics, journalism, and more.

Ari has also started writing regularly for The Objective Standard, a journal influenced by the ideas of Ayn Rand. (Ari gets paid for that work.) For example, you can find Ari’s October 19 article, “The Justice of Income Inequality Under Capitalism,” on the publication’s blog.

The journal’s editor, Craig Biddle, reviews Rand’s objective theory of rights for the Fall 2011 edition. Rights don’t come from God, Biddle argues, but neither do they come from society. Instead, he writes, “they are conceptual identifications of the factual requirements of human life in a social context.” That article is available for free, as is a piece by John David Lewis on the Islamist threat to American security; both merit your attention.

You should subscribe to the journal to access all of its articles, and you should consider buying subscriptions for your active-minded friends. You can buy subscriptions to the print version or for audio, online, or ebook versions. A subscription to the journal makes an especially great gift because its benefits extend throughout the entire year.

Any of the films shown at the Free Minds Film Fest in Colorado Springs last month would make wonderful gifts. We recommend three in particular.

The dystopian short film 2081, based on Kurt Vonnegut’s story “Harrison Bergeron,” imagines a society in which everybody is finally equal. People are no longer merely equal under the law, but they are made physically equal by political force. The strong must wear weights, the intelligent must wear shrieking headphones, and so on. But the hero of the story, not content with suffering chains and imprisonment for his strengths and virtues, stages an “occupation” event of his own, and one with a very different message from today’s Occupation protests. This film would make a great addition for everyone on your list.

We also recommend two films about Soviet Russia. The first, Soviet Story,reveals the brutal slaughter and oppression of the Soviet regime. The film demonstrates that the Communists paved the way for genocidal mass slaughter, while the Nazis (National Socialists) followed the same path. The film features a segment in which the socialist George Bernard Shaw speaks candidly of killing off those deemed undesirable (by the socialists).

Moreover, the film reviews, before and during WWII the Communists actively collaborated with the Nazis to slaughter Jews and oppress most of Europe. It’s a brutal film, but one everyone should watch, lest mankind be doomed to repeat the horrors of totalitarian slaughter.

A much happier film showing the collapse of the Soviet regime is The Singing Revolution, the story of the valiant and nonviolent Estonian uprising. The Estonians used singing, long a central part of their cultural traditions, to express their rebellion. It is a magnificent film, and one perfect for holiday viewing. But be warned: you won’t be able to watch it with dry eyes.

If you’re looking for something more practical, you can buy a gift certificate for those 18 and older for a Grand Valley Training Club Basic Pistol and Personal Protection in the Home Course. These are NRA certified classes taught by outstanding local NRA volunteer instructors, and the classes meet the qualifications for concealed carry. Whether somebody is new to handguns or needs a refresher course, this class offers first-rate training, and for $100 it offers a great value. (For more information call Linn.)

For the readers in your life, anything from the Liberty In the Books list ( would make a great gift. (Liberty On the Rocks pays Ari a bit to run this program.) Our last three titles are How an Economy Grows and Why It CrashesWhy Businessmen Need Philosophy, and The Right to Earn a Living.

The great thing about giving the gift of liberty is that it benefits not only the recipient but all of us, including future generations of Americans.