1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar

The Ludwig von Mises Institute

Advancing Austrian Economics, Liberty, and Peace

Advancing the scholarship of liberty in the tradition of the Austrian School

Search Mises.org

Literature Library


Bourbon for Breakfast

Bourbon for Breakfast

Bourbon for Breakfast: Living Outside the Statist Quo

The state makes a mess of everything it touches, argues Jeffrey Tucker in Bourbon for Breakfast. Perhaps the biggest mess it makes is in our minds. Its pervasive interventions in every sector affect the functioning of society in so many ways, we are likely to intellectually adapt rather than fight. Tucker proposes another path: see how the state has distorted daily life, rethink how things would work without the state, and fight against the intervention in every way that is permitted.

Whether that means hacking your showerhead, rejecting prohibitionism, searching for large-tank toilets, declining to use government courts, homeschooling, embracing alternative micro-cultures, watching pro-freedom movies, baking at home, maintaining manners and standards of dress, publishing without copyright, and just living outside what he calls the "statist quo," we should not lose touch with what freedom means, even in these times.

The essays cover commercial life, digital media, culture, food, literature, religion, music, and a host of other issues -- all from the perspective of a Misesian-Rothbardian struggling to get by in a world in which the walls of the state have been closing in. He writes about the glories of commerce, the horrors of jail, the joy of private life, and defends a kind of aristocratic radicalism in times of increasingly restricted choices.

The "problem" with Jeffrey Tucker is that he has been flying under the Austro-libertarian radar for all too long. A tireless worker, but mostly a behind-the-scenes man (apart from his magnificent turn as Nathaniel Branden in Murray Rothbard’s play, “Mozart was a Red”), he has in the past made numerous public contributions from time to time. But now with the publication of Bourbon for Breakfast: Living Outside the Statist Quo, a compilation of many and all of them magnificent shorter writings, he will no longer be able to hide his light under the proverbial bushel.

This book makes a very important contribution to both of his twin loves, libertarian political philosophy and Austrian economics. What he has to say about the economics of water, commerce, technology, police, and jails, are alone worth way more than the price of admission (the book, in keeping with his principles, is available for free on the web, but I urge you to buy as many copies as you can and give them to your friends and family members).

But perhaps his unique contribution to our freedom movement is that he combines these insights of his written in the tradition of Mises, Rothbard and Hazlitt with some very important thoughts on health, manners, food and other such cultural matters. All too many of us (I am as guilty of this as anyone) write and speak as if all there were to life is economics and politics. Not Jeff Tucker, not by a long shot. So, do read him, and carefully, on these two subjects, the core of our philosophy. But, also, study what he has to say about culture. In some ways, these insights of his are just as important. - Walter Block, Loyola University, New Orleans

From federalized showerheads to the libertarian Jetsons, Jeffrey Tucker has written a funny and important book about state meddling, and the possibility of pure freedom. Read Bourbon for Breakfast, and give a copy to everyone you know. It’s a smart, subversive, and devastatingly effective case for liberty. - Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., Chairman of the Mises Institute and editor of LewRockwell.com

Publication Information Mises Institute, 2010
Updated 8/30/2010