Jim Bovard Digs High Desert Barbecue

Recently, the most excellent journalist and scrutinizer of creatures governmental, James Bovard, had some kind things to say about High Desert Barbecue. In a review on his blog, he described the novel as “a zesty subversive romp through the woods and deserts of northern Arizona.” He goes on to write:

It is hard not to like a book that warns readers in the preface to not “use this novel as a hiking guide.” One can easily understand why the author resettled in that part of the world. Ridge lines stocked with Ponderosa Pines sound far more pleasant than either the Capital Beltway or the New York subway. The novel sparkles with a spirit of resistance to oppressive authority that is rarely encountered on the East Coast.

If you’ve read any of Bovard’s boooks, you know that he does an excellent job of dissecting the foibles and (more often) horrors committed by the state and its enablers. His latest work, Public Policy Hooligan, describes his journey to where and who he is today.

Free Again! (High Desert Barbecue, That Is)

That’s right, High Desert Barbecue is free for the Kindle, from December 3-5. Buy it for yourself, send it to a friend, gift it to an enemy. It’s free!

 

What’s High Desert Barbecue? So glad you asked. It’s my well-reviewed novel (really) in which conspiracy, arson and ineptitude threaten the desert West, and only a misanthropic hermit, a subversive schoolteacher and an unemployed business writer stand in the way.

FREE!!! Kindle Copies of High Desert Barbecue

That’s right. On October 27-28, the Kindle edition of High Desert Barbecue will be free, gratis, no charge to all-comers. Already have a copy? Impress your friends by gifting them with copies that don’t cost you a  frigging dime. Hey, who’s to know you’re a cheapskate? I won’t tell.

 

Remember, the free Kindle edition will be available Saturday, October 27 and Sunday, October 28 here.

 

Because of High Desert Barbecue‘s participation in KDP Select, which makes this promotion possible, other electronic versions will be temporarily unavailable. However, the Nook, PDF and DRM-free ebook will be back with the new year.

I appear on RT to discuss matters of military corruption and intoxication

After a disturbing video turned up of military contractors in Afghanistan blotto on booze and ketamine (and what good is a war zone if there’s no party?), I was invited on RT to discuss that matter and the tangentially related issue of corruption in the awarding of military contracts. If the discussion seems a little disjointed, it’s likely because anchor Liz Wahl was having technical difficulties. I suspect she couldn’t hear me at all, so I think she carried it off pretty well.

Thank you, for making High Desert Barbecue Book of the Month

Let me cut right to the chase. The good voters and members over at the Freedom Book Club awarded 66.2 percent of their votes to High Desert Barbecue, making it the Book of the month for July 2012. Yes, I’m mighty, mighty happy. And, since I’m shameless, I’ll point out that Freedom Book Club asks that you “[b]uy the book that wins the vote the first week of the month” with hopes of driving sales to the point that the book hits best-seller charts at Amazon and elsewhere, and so gains wider attention. You can do so here or find more options here.

Freedom Book Club does its thing every month to disseminate pro-freedom ideas with the hope that they become part of the wider culture — to acknowledge that, culturally speaking, “we’re soaking in it.” As the excellent arts-and-culture Website Ars Gratia Libertatis argues:

Believers in free markets and limited government are currently beset on all sides by a popular culture that glorifies collectivism, wealth redistribution and “social justice” and outright attacks or denigrates capitalism, individual rights and wealth.

Culture is the primordial ooze out of which political beliefs are born. This is why a culture that sees individual rights as subjective to the collective good will vote for politicians that believe in wealth redistribution. The culture that views unfettered free markets as harmful and exploitative will vote for more state control and regulation time after time. And so on.

To reverse the political tide of statism, it is necessary to shift the deeper cultural understanding of free markets, the primacy of the individual and to eloquently paint the horror of an encroaching, paternalistic government.

We think focusing on popular culture and entertainment can help to start that process. Stories are an incredibly powerful way to convey ideas and persuade other people. A sympathetic protagonist with a deeply held conviction in the free market allows one to feel, at an emotional level, that he is right.

Perhaps stories, paintings and verse are not enough to shift perception.  But they may just be crucial, and we have to try.

I don’t think that High Desert Barbecue is going to change the world. Don’t get me wrong — I have a huge ego. But I know my literary limitations. But if the book succeeds and helps to encourage other writers, artists and the like who share a taste for personal freedom, we just might chage the nature of what we’re soaking in.

Help make High Desert Barbecue a Book of the Month

High Desert BarbecueThe much-celebrated (within the confines of Cornville, Arizona) novel, High Desert Barbecue, a wacky, wacky tale of adventure in the Arizona wilderness, is a contender for July Book of the Month at the Freedom Book Club. Since I’m the author of the novel, that pleases me to no end. No end at all. The announced purpose of the Freedom Book Club is:

Freedom Book Club is devoted to getting books promoting individual liberty on the New York Times Best Seller List. This is done through the bourgeoise multitudes buying the selection of the month all during a specified range of dates (during the same week). It is the goal of Freedom Book Club to transform the world to into a free society through the education of self and sharing with others.

However achievable that goal may be, I’m on-board with it, and so should you be, of course. Past winners of the coveted Book of the Month can be found here. They’re all fine books, of course, but none measures up to the standards of the novel that Matthew Alexander reviewed at Prometheus Unbound as:

I think the best word to describe the book is ‘fun’. The peculiar characters and the humor they create fit perfectly with the lean style and fast story. It is equal parts prose that Kurt Vonnegut would approve of, eccentricity like you might find in a Coen brothers dark comedy, and libertarian morals embracing the permissive side.

“ADuckNamedJoe” of Ars Gratia Libertatis agreed, writing:

J.D. Tuccille’s first novel, High Desert Barbecue, is a great read. Filled with likable characters, tons of humor, and a nice sprinkling of libertarianism throughout, its breezy style makes it an easy story to pick up and get into.

So vote! Vote early and often! Vote Chicago-style! Vote here!

RT America appearance: Your license plate is being tracked

I appeared today on RT America based on the following post at Reason’s Hit & Run Blog:

DEA Wants to Track Your License Plate, and You May Already Be Tagged!
I distinctly remember, when I was a kid, watching an episode of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, during which Marlin Perkins lounged safely in a camp chair, while Jim Fowler put a lion in a headlock, bit a hole in the cat’s ear, and then attached a tag for easy tracking. Well, it went something like that, anyway. It’s been a long time. Too bad Fowler didn’t work for the DEA, or even a biggish police department. He could have saved himself a little sweat and blood by tracking Americans instead of animals, by the simple expedient of setting cameras by the side of the road to capture license plates as they speed by. …

I’m a Reason-able Guy

Horrible pun, I know, but I couldn’t resist. Anyway, I’ve been actively writing for Reason.com, starting almost as soon as I figuratively punched my time card. I have a couple of small pieces turned in for an upcoming issue of the print magazine, and the big project for which I was hired is … coming soon! Really, it’s coming along nicely and I think it will be well-appreciated.

I wrote an online column this past week on the TSA — an especially wise move, since I’m flying next weekend. If you see me limping around, it’s because I rated special attention at the airport security checkpoint. If you’re as big a fan of the airborne (and, increasingly, bus-borne, train-borne and even road-borne) security state, you’ll want to take a peek.

The Terrible Truth About the TSA: It’s a failure at everything it does
We don’t all all agree on whether the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has any business groping toddlers and destroying expensive medical equipment in the pursuit of its appointed mission of keeping travelers safe from scary terrorists. Quotable security expert Bruce Schneier calls it all pointless and oppressive “security theater” intended to make the government look responsive, while Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) describes intrusive measures as “very important” and pushes for even stronger stuff. But necessary evil or not, it’s increasingly apparent that the TSA is spectacularly inefficient and inept at everything it tries to do. (see more)

Of course, I’ve also been blogging for Reason. I covered Tombstone’s battle with the feds over permission to rebuild its waterlines yesterday, and the growing regulatory burden that’s choking innovation out of charter schools the day before. The full list of my contributions to Reason can be found on my staff page here.

For those who are curious … It’s a great place to work.

The now-inescapable Tooch

Oh sure, you thought you could keep your doses of disloyal opposition down to a tolerable level — no OD for you! But no such luck. You see, I’m now employed by Reason.com, the online incarnation of Reason magazine. That’s right, that’s me right there. Try to avoid me, now!

The project for which I’ve been hired will, I believe be much appreciated by you all as a further enhancement to an already excellent pro-liberty publication, and a useful service to the freedom movement. It’s not exactly hush-hush, but we’re not advertising yet, either. So I’ll keep my lips sealed until the appropriate moment, when I have something very interesting to show.

All you need is a subservient population and a lot of cash

A friend of mine of East Coast extraction recently returned from a trip to Boston. He was visiting relations there who are, as is he, well-educated, successful, professionals. Apparently, dinner-table conversation turned to Obamacare (PPACA, if you insist), and his relatives all defended Massachusetts’s health-care “reform” and the controversial federal law which is largely derived therefrom.

“They’re all Democrats,” he told me. “They can’t imagine being anything else. In Massachusetts, almost everybody is a Democrat.”

Furthermore, my friend, a surgeon, pointed out the high concentration of hospitals and medical-research facilities in and around Boston, the high-tech sector, and the long-established concentration of wealth.

“This sort of thing (government-dominated, centralized, mandated health care) can work there. But out here, we don’t have all of that money, and we don’t have the concentration of medical facilities. Most important, people — most people — moved here for a reason. They want to be left alone. They don’t want the government telling them what to do. I didn’t really realize that until I moved here. You can’t impose a plan like this on the people who live out here.”

By the way, wealth plays a major role, so long as it lasts, that is. The Massachusetts legislation was sold as a way to reduce health care costs, but the Beacon Hill Institute points out that “[t]he law did not bring about a promised reduction in health care expenditures. Rather, it permitted the state legislature and governor to expand health insurance coverage to almost all residents, while imposing more than $8 billion in new health care costs to the federal government and on state residents and businesses.” The Cato Institute agrees, finding (PDF) “There are reasons to be concerned about the rapidly growing expense of this program, which even advocates such as Gruber (2009) admit were put aside in the quest for universal coverage.” Driving health care costs through the ceiling isn’t an option in a country that is, simply, broke.

My friend, not surprisingly, is no longer a Democrat. He considers himself an independent, and is desperately looking for an excuse to vote Republican this year — an excuse the GOP seems dead-set on denying socially tolerant, free-market-oriented independents with its ongoing efforts to define itself as the party of homicidal religious fanatics.

Yes, government-mandated, centrally controlled health care can “work,” for a time, in a region of subservient forelock-tuggers, and where deep pockets can be picked to fund the whim of the moment. But, even there, funds eventually run out. And, elsewhere, neither people nor finances are likely to cooperate.