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Welcome to Libertyland

I'm pleased to announce the publication of my new novel, Libertyland, a political thriller to be published in February 2024. The novel has, in a sense, been decades in the making.

As a former economist and journalist, I had specialized in nonfiction, focusing on the issues of class, race, economics, and the sociology of the American education system. In economics graduate school, I had been trained in the tradition of so-called free-market economics, led by such figures as Milton Friedman. He and others were the standard bearers of what was known as the "Chicago School," which held that minimal government intervention and low taxes would lead to more efficient markets and higher overall productivity.

For pleasure and from curiosity--as part of the cult of free markets that I had been indoctrinated into--I read the novels of Ayn Rand. I was fascinated with characters such as John Galt. I noticed how she adorned her fictional protagonists with the symbolic characteristics of masculine strength, leadership ability, and ultra-individualism--all in the unmitigated pursuit of economic freedom and wealth. Rand's world was one of good-- her heroic wealth creators -- versus the evils of socialism, government control, and all individuals who sucked upon the wealth created by the geniuses like Galt.

In my view, the fictional universe of Ayn Rand--who'd been greatly influenced by threats to economic freedom under the Soviet Union--commingled with the views of free market ideologues gaining prominence in the United States. Hence, Libertarianism, as we know it, was born. Part economic, part political, Libertarianism connected the the dots between capitalism, freedom, wealth, individualism, private property, and anti-government sentiments. Even the former president of the United States, Ronald Reagan, declared that government was evil, and that the only good government, was no government at all.

All the while, I noticed a certain kind of person who became enthralled with Libertarian ideology. Typically white, young, male and relatively privileged. College students who became enamored with Ayn Rand's novels. I noticed an overlap between the "Ayn Rand" types and those who declared themselves to be "young Republicans" on college campuses.

I wouldn't go out of my way to say that if not for what has happened in American since Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, losing to Joe Biden in 2020, and then declaring, without evidence, that the election had been "rigged " in Biden's favor. The same born-again Libertarians I saw in college and graduate school years ago have now become establishment politicians in Congress and state houses across the country. They are the very politicians who have defended Trump's erroneous claim of a rigged election. And, they are the same politicians who are ready and willing to shut down the government despite their Constitutional duty to to serve their constituents with the programs and policies they themselves enacted with the cooperation of the Senate and Executive Branch.

I started writing Libertyland in 2016, just prior to the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States. His MAGA followers attacked the U.S. Capitol, in what some believe to be an insurrection against the government and the Consitutional order. As justification, they cite the familiar claim that forces of evil threatened their freedom.

It's now 2023, and like Ayn Rand, I'm creating my own fictional world. But I'm answering Rand with another story altogether, one in which a secret society of wealthy Libertarians are conspiring to dismantle the U.S. government to pave the way for their Libertarian paradise. One of those Libertarians is Garrick Cripps, who grew up wanting to be like John Galt. Another of my characters is Carson McCready, a former Navy SEAL, whose training, experience, and oath of honor to defend his country against all enemies, foreign and domestic, puts him squarely at odds with Cripps and his dreams of paradise.


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