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.