Friday, August 8, 2014

A DREAM OF DARING Wins 5 Book Awards

My historical novel, A DREAM OF DARING,  which blends murder and intrigue with questions of freedom and human dignity, has won the following awards:

Book of the Year Finalist

Finalist in Historical Fiction
Midwest Book Awards

Finalist in Romance
Midwest Book Awards

Finalist in Regional Fiction
2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards

Finalist in Multicultural Fiction
2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards

A visionary inventor builds a prototype tractor to replace slave farming—and the town's planters vow to destroy him. This raging struggle between a freedom-loving innovator and a privileged elite that desperately clings to power is packed with lessons for our own time.

Click on the edition to see more information and to order on Amazon:
Paperback or Kindle

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

In Memory of John Blundell

The spark that began so many of the free-market organizations and think-tanks that we have today has passed away. Sadly, the world has lost economist, author, and historian, John Blundell. John was a personal friend who supported and encouraged my work. For a tribute to John's illustrious career and accomplishments, see the Atlas Network's "In Memoriam, John Blundell": .

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Why I Love America

by Gen LaGreca 
As we celebrate Independence Day, let us remember the many reasons to honor America—and to fear for its future.
I love America for being the place where an upstart group of colonists, imbued with the ideas of liberty, launched an impossible battle against the Goliath British Empire, the most powerful force in the world—and won.
I love America for establishing a revolutionary new country in which a person’s life is his and his alone to live as he chooses and for his own sake, where a person has complete sovereignty over himself and his possessions, and government’s only purpose is to protect that sacred right.
I love America for recognizing that not only is it illegal for a criminal to steal your property, rob you of your liberty, or hijack your life, but the government cannot do these things to you, either. I love America for being the first country in history to establish through its founding charter that government cannot act like a common criminal, but must be accountable to moral law, which means it must respect the rights of the individual.
I love America for igniting a firestorm of liberty that ultimately led to the abolition of slavery, the suffrage of women, and the spread of freedom around the globe.
I love America for unshackling the minds of its people so that they could think, dream, create, and achieve, triggering an explosion of scientific and industrial advancement and a standard of living unmatched—and unimaginable—in history.
I love America for being the place where wealth was created and earned, rather than looted and plundered, a place where it was understood that if persons were to be free, then their economic activities had to be out of the grip of government.
I love America for being the place where it was possible for genius to flourish, where the Henry Fords, the Thomas Edisons, the Wright Brothers, and many other innovators formed ground-breaking new industries that moved mankind forward.
I love America for spawning the American Dream, the worldwide symbol of the boundless opportunity and achievement that results from the freedom to carve one’s own destiny.
I love America for offering freedom and opportunity to so many of our ancestors who arrived as immigrants, who came here to work—not to collect handouts or to terrorize—and who knew that in America nothing was owed to them and everything had to be earned, and who rose to the challenge, creating a spectacularly better life for themselves and for us, their descendants.
I love America for its vision of a truly civilized society, one of independent, resourceful, industrious, wealth-creating, and life-loving people, who live in peace and good will toward their fellow man because no one can stake a claim to anyone else’s life, wealth, or property.
I love America for being the country where people could work hard, rise, and be proud of their success, because production, profit, wealth, and achievement were life-giving values to attain and enjoy, not to envy and loot.
The America I love is fast becoming a distant memory. Every day we wake up to frightening new assaults on our rights—on our industries, our freedom of speech, our freedom to control our own lives, our food, our healthcare, our children’s education, our homes, our businesses. Every aspect of our lives is under assault by an ever-growing, intrusive, liberty-killing government. The root of all of these attacks is the notion that a person no longer owns and controls his own life. It is in the hands of a menacingly growing government to control for its own ends.
No matter how much our country has swayed from its ideals today, I will never forget that I am an American. I will never forget that our ancestors forged a continent not with public aid and bailouts but with the shining vision of a better life and the self-reliance to attain it. Our forebears created wealth, progress, and achievement on an unprecedented scale. No government fed our pioneers, inspected their wagons for safety, certified their chickens, meddled in their businesses, looted their wealth, or subjected their lives to endless controls, permissions, and regulations.
The time has come to reclaim our legacy from the meddlers, moochers, expropriators, and budding tyrants who are hammering away at Lady Liberty, knocking her down bit by bit, and ready to topple her completely.
When we enjoy our barbecues and fireworks on Independence Day, let’s remember the real meaning of this holiday. The day America was born is the day the individual broke free of the shackles of government to forge his own life. The result was unprecedented and spectacular. The cause was liberty; the effect was the flourishing of human life. Today we see everywhere a new force at work: the destruction of liberty. The effect is the destruction of our cities, our industries, our schools, our healthcare, our energy, our wealth, our power.
We the people must pick up the pieces, make our Lady whole again, and return her to her pedestal as the country we love and honor, the country of liberty.

This essay is excerpted from the author’s e-book, The Pioneer vs. the Welfare State: Essays on Liberty in Peril. Get your FREE COPY OF THIS BOOK on AMAZON KINDLE, now through July 5 .

Gen LaGreca is also the author of two novels that celebrate individualism and liberty, Noble Vision and A Dream of Daring, available on Amazon.

Copyright© 2014 by Genevieve LaGreca. Permission to reproduce this essay is given with attribution to the author.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Happy Birthday, Thomas Jefferson

On April 13th every American should raise a Champagne glass to toast the farmer, architect, scholar, revolutionary, and American president born that spring day in 1743: Thomas Jefferson. One of our greatest Founding Fathers, Jefferson carved much of the government and character of his precious gem, America.
He penned numerous documents extolling the revolutionary ideas of his time, including the stirring words on the parchment that created the new nation of America, “The Declaration of Independence.” Yet how many of our current citizens—and elected officials—truly understand its meaning? This is why it’s necessary to explain its great principles of individual rights and limited government.
The Declaration launched the first country in history based on the principle that every individual possesses certain “unalienable” rights. According to Jefferson's writings, “free people claim their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their Chief Magistrate.” No tyrant has the authority to violate the rights of man, nor does any majority in Congress. “...the majority, oppressing an individual,” says Jefferson, “is guilty of a crime . . . and by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundations of society.”
Our rights belong to us as individuals, with each of us possessing the same rights. There are no “rights” of groups to any special favors or privileges. It is inappropriate, for example, for pizza eaters to lobby Congress for a “right” to a free pizza every Thursday. If Congress grants their wish, out of concern for their nourishment or their votes, it acts outside of its proper function. According to Jefferson, “Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare but only those specifically enumerated [in the Constitution].”
Our rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness are rights to take action; they are not entitlements to the goods and services of others. Jefferson defined liberty as “unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.” This means we may act in our own behalf, for example, to earn money and buy a house, but we may not expect the government to tax others to provide us with a house for free.
Life requires productive work and effort to sustain it, a fact that Jefferson considered to be our glory. When his Monticello farm fell on hard times, he began producing nails, and did so proudly because “every honest employment is deemed honorable [in America]. . . . My new trade of nail-making is to me in this country what an additional title of nobility . . . [is] in Europe.” He scorned the “idleness” of the European aristocracy, calling their courts “the weakest and worst part of mankind.” What would he think of our current government's grants and handouts to countless special-interest groups, a practice that rewards people for non-effort?
Our right to property means we have the right to keep the things we acquire. Does a rich person have less of a right to property than a poor person? According to Jefferson: “To take from one because it is thought his own industry . . . has acquired too much, in order to spare others who . . . have not exercised equal industry and skill is to violate the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.” What would he think of the persistent cries of today's politicians to “tax the rich,” thereby depriving them of their property and the pursuit of their happiness?
Jefferson ardently championed the spiritual and intellectual independence of the individual. He was so proud of authoring the “Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom” in Virginia that he had this fact etched on his tombstone. The bill ended the practice of paying the clergy with public funds because “to compel a man to furnish . . . money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical.” Jefferson believed that religion was a completely private matter and fought for a “wall of separation between church and state.” He was “against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another”; and he swore “eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” What would he think of special interests and politicians of both parties, past and present—from advocates of Prohibition to faith-based initiatives—who try to dictate public policy and spend taxpayer money to promote religious objectives? And what would he think of the current administration's unprecedented power over religious organizations that provide health insurance, forcing them to offer benefits that violate their conscience?

Because we possess rights, governments are instituted. Wise government, explains Jefferson, “shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.” Government acts only to protect us from acts of force or fraud, apprehending perpetrators who pick our pockets or break our legs; otherwise, it does not regulate or control our lives in any way. Jefferson was “for a government rigorously frugal and simple . . . and not for a multiplication of officers and salaries merely to make partisans . . . ” What would he think of the swarms of agencies, bureaus, commissions, and departments that today swallow more than 40-percent of our national income?
Jefferson believed citizens to be capable of self-sufficiency because they possess reason. “Fix reason firmly to her seat and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion.” He expected people to use their minds to overcome obstacles and control their own lives. He gently chastised his 15 year-old daughter when she had difficulty reading an ancient text on Roman history without the aid of her teacher. “If you always lean on your master, you will never be able to proceed without him. It is part of the American character to consider nothing as desperate—to surmount every difficulty . . . ” Americans, he continued, “are obliged to invent and to execute; to find the means within ourselves, and not to lean on others.” To do otherwise, his daughter would be “thought a very helpless animal, and less esteemed.” What would he think of today's entitlement programs, which destroy a person's capacity to think and act for himself, and transform him into a helpless dependent?
Within a mere page in the calendar of history, the powerful doctrine of individual rights led to the abolition of slavery, the suffrage of women, and the spread of freedom to many countries around the globe. It all began with the founding of America.
Jefferson fought for a country in which the government had no power to encroach on the mind, the life, the liberty, and the property of the individual. He fought for a country in which the individual was unshackled for the first time in history and could live for the pursuit of his own happiness, instead of being a pawn in the hands of the state. The way to pay tribute to Jefferson—and to ourselves—is to protest the hammering of our rights by officials who can't tell a diamond from a rhinestone, to hold dear the jewel that is America, and to polish the ideals for which Jefferson and the other signers of the Declaration pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
This essay is excerpted from the author’s e-book, The Pioneer vs. the Welfare State: Essays on Liberty in Peril, available on Amazon Kindle. Gen LaGreca is also the author of two novels that celebrate individualism and liberty, Noble Vision and A Dream of Daring, available on Amazon.
Copyright © 2014 by Genevieve LaGreca. Permission to reproduce is given with proper attribution to the author.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

5-Star Reviews of My New Book from George Reisman and Edith Packer

I was honored to receive the following reviews from two people I highly admire. They appear on Dr. Reisman's blog:

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Available at Amazon in Kindle format. 99¢.

A New Declaration of Independence
This is a wonderful book. It evoked despair when the author described the conditions of our welfare state. At the same time, and especially as the result of the next-to-last essay “Why I Love America,” it evoked great admiration for our Constitution and Bill of Rights, and resulted in my having hope for the America I also love. Hopefully, the author’s projected “New Declaration of Independence” will someday become a reality. This book should be required reading in all the high schools and colleges of this country.


Strangling the Pioneering Spirit

The essays in this book are gems of excellent, powerful writing in a great cause. Again and again, when the book describes the original, pioneering spirit of America, it brings the reader to a mountaintop of admiration for freedom, for the unimpeded action freedom makes possible, and for the genius of our Founding Fathers in establishing a country dedicated to freedom. And again and again, when it describes the very different spirit that prevails today—the spirit of the welfare state—it plunges the reader into the depths of despair. Here, the reader is made to confront such things as the entitlement mentality run amok and the results of the 700,000 pages of stifling arbitrary rules and regulations that have been promulgated and accumulated in The Federal Register since 1936.

One cannot read this book without a sense of tragic loss over what has gone so terribly wrong in our country. The author concludes with a call for a “NEW Declaration of Independence.” One can only hope that someday it will happen. But for now and the foreseeable future, it would have the greatest difficulty in finding signers, let alone a sufficient number of soldiers willing to fight for a renewal of the ideals on which our country was founded. But enough people reading this book would certainly help to improve the odds.


Saturday, March 8, 2014

If Government Healthcare is So Great, How About “Foodcare”?

With Obamacare, Medicare, and Medicaid, plus countless state mandates and other regulations of the private medical care and health-insurance market, we are rapidly moving toward a total government takeover of medicine in America. Advocates of a totally state-run and state-funded system—“single payer”—claim that medical treatment should not be dictated by a person’s ability to pay and everyone should receive the same level of care as a birthright.
Really? One could make the same assertion for any human need, such as food: The rich shouldn’t get any better food than the poor. Every person is entitled to get the food he needs as a birthright. Therefore, the state will provide universal Foodcare. What would happen if such a claim were made? It would be touted as a moral ideal, motivated by kindness toward the needy. Opponents would quickly be vilified as callous, merciless sadists who enjoy watching people starve to death—oh, and they’d also be branded as racists and misogynists, as well. Before the American people knew what hit them, a bill would be introduced, and it would become a law. Welcome to Foodcare, the new government program that provides you with food, and you need never do anything except open your mouth.
Initially, the state gives you a deluxe food plan, which it touts as superior to the allegedly immoral, low-quality food that the unfettered free-market “fat-cat” vendors tried to pass off on you. The lobster you bought only on your birthday becomes your regular fare, as does your favorite imported cheeses, exotic vegetables, and beef made from cattle massaged with rice wine. You need no longer watch your pennies now that your appetite and wallet have parted company.
Because the same idea occurs to 300 million others, Foodcare’s costs skyrocket to ten times its budget, and a Foodcare crisis develops. Big Brother can no longer passively foot the bill for your busy mouth. Now he will dictate when, where, and what you are allowed to eat. This requires numerous new government agencies, thousands of bureaucrats, and a 110,000-page rulebook.
One provision of Foodcare covers restaurants. You visit your favorite one to find it is not what it used to be. Gone are the tablecloths, flower displays, and cheerful hostess to greet you. In the past you gladly paid for these enhancements in the price of your meal; but now the U.S. Department of Restaurants has eliminated them as a wasteful indulgence of the people’s resources. You seat yourself and peruse the menu, which has been drastically reduced to a few simple offerings. Missing are the savory specials of the talented chef, whose last creation required five years and 30 pounds—not of ingredients but of paperwork—to gain approval from the New Recipe Administration.
You want to order steak, but serving it requires that the chef call a central office to obtain pre-authorization. Because your are allotted only 30 minutes to dine, with a long line waiting to slide into your barely warmed seat, you order hamburger instead. You notice your neighbor eating steak—and sitting at the best table. You remember a time when he was unemployed and you bought him dinners. Then, he thanked you for your charity and quickly got another job. But that was before he had “rights” to his food. Now, he has permanently quit working and spends his time milking the system so that he can eat off your tax dollars.
You barely recognize the frazzled chef sitting in a corner, buried in paperwork. The once lively, happy figure doting over your every need now slaves for a new master, one that runs him ragged, denying his fee for serving Cognac, second-guessing his decision to make soufflĂ©, requiring a special certification to buy a new oven. You know that under Foodcare he works twice as long for half the pay and merely bides time till retirement. When he goes, you doubt he’ll be replaced because enrollment in chef’s schools has dipped as the number of bureaucrats hounding them has risen.
Having dispatched your restaurant ration, you proceed to the supermarket to exercise your "rights" under another provision of Foodcare, which covers retail operations. Since you are now a public-aid case and no longer a customer, there is little need for customer service. Gone is the kaleidoscope of colors, tastes, and smells in the gastronomical paradise that was the American supermarket. No more bountiful rows of edibles that were a testament to the prosperity and individual tastes of the patrons and to the entrepreneurial genius of the providers. You rummage through splinter-ridden crates that keep food hidden so that you will not take too much and burden society with your mastication. Your once welcomed business is now dreaded by the manager, since the Foodcare Utilization Board fined her for giving you too much salmon and denied her payment for the steak she let you have without first checking with her regulator.
You settle on chicken, a creature as hapless as you. The gourmet coffees and chocolate cakes you loved were removed from the formulary. Because Foodcare could not afford to give them to everyone for free, now no one can buy them at any price. You join a line of hungry masses—your once proud, self-supporting neighbors who now live off the public dole, waiting for cheerless checkers to process their identification cards and claim forms.
Time passes, and everyone forgets how it happened, but the quality of food and service deteriorates. The taxes you pay for Foodcare far exceed the bills you once paid when you bought your own food and did not obtain it for “free.” Then, you didn't pay for bureaucrats, inspectors, and agencies to tell you what to eat, or for those milking the system like your neighbor. Besides emptying your wallet, you realize that Foodcare has drained all the pleasure you once derived from eating.
You notice that the worse the crisis gets, the more the politicians play the blame game. It seems that everyone is at fault but them and their program. The big food companies are to blame, so laws are passed to cut their prices and seize their profits, causing them to stop offering new products or to go out of business. The big retailers are to blame, so laws are passed to regulate them even further, which is costly for them, so the price of food skyrockets from what it was before Foodcare was enacted. The chefs and grocers are to blame, so laws are passed to cut their pay, insuring that none may ever have a Mercedes in his garage while anyone goes hungry, causing more of them to flee their profession.
You realize that the food industry has been destroyed. But the statist politicians are unmoved by it. They have achieved their moral ideal of giving people free food as a "birthright." You wonder: Is there something wrong with this picture? The ideal isn't wealth, prosperity, happy chefs and grocers who earn a good living in return for the financial risk they take in their businesses, and satisfied customers who enjoy a Shangri La of readily available, affordable food. The ideal isn't a spectacular abundance, with no one starving, with everyone's standard of eating—including the poor—raised dramatically, and all of this achieved without victims, i.e., without the use of government force to fleece the taxpayers and to rob consumers and suppliers of their freedom to make their own choices and deal with one another voluntarily. The ideal isn't the private system, in which the American house pet—with no "birthright to food" guaranteed by any government—eats better than the citizens of countries with actual Foodcare programs, such as North Korea.
Instead, the moral ideal is to transform self-governing, self-reliant, free Americans into state-controlled puppets, not allowed to think or act for themselves. Who gains from this? The Wizard-of-Oz pretenders to status that are the statist politicians, who show no scruples in trampling over our freedoms for the sake of their power grab. Who else gains? Those motivated by envy, who resent a person's ever acquiring anything more than anyone else—even a cup of gourmet coffee. This is what's touted as a moral ideal.
The Foodcare scenario described here is actually playing out in medicine. Once the gold standard of the world, American medicine and the health insurance industry are falling to their knees from decades of crippling regulation, with the final blow to come from “single payer,” the ultimate dream of the statists—the total replacement of private enterprise with a complete government takeover of medicine. To stop this tyranny we must repudiate the allegation that healthcare is a "birthright." Liberty is our birthright. And liberty is, in Thomas Jefferson's words, "unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others." This means we have a right to act, i.e., to get a job (if someone is willing to hire us) and earn money to pay for the things we need. We do not have any "birthright" to seize the money of others and control their activities, thereby violating their liberties, in order to provide for us.
If a thief picked our pockets and claimed it was for a good cause, we'd reply that there can be no good cause whose means is thievery. When our government picks our pockets and claims it's for a good cause, our reply should be the same. Universal healthcare is based on a bogus "birthright" to medical treatment that can be achieved only by government coercion and plunder of innocent citizens. It is neither benevolent nor moral. It is tyranny.
Genevieve (Gen) LaGreca is the author of Noble Vision, a ForeWord magazine award-winning novel about a doctor's fight for freedom in a state-run health system. She may be contacted at genlagreca[at]hotmail[dot]com.

An earlier version of this article was published in the Los Angeles Daily Journal, 6/27/07, titled “New Meaning for ‘Sicko’: Universal Healthcare is a Prescription for Disaster.”

Copyright © 2014 by Genevieve LaGreca. Permisssion to reprint is granted with proper attribution to the author.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Pioneer vs. the Welfare State

The pioneers were the men and women of the 18th and 19th century who settled the American frontier in search of a better life. Independent, resourceful, and determined, they rose to the challenge of a free people in a new nation founded on liberty. They did something that was restricted in the Old World of authoritarianism: They ran their own lives and controlled their own destiny.
The Pioneer vs. the Welfare State
by Gen LaGreca
As the towns of these early settlers and their successors grew into cities, and manual trades became mechanized, America produced an explosion of new industries and products—oil refineries, electricity, steel, automobiles, airplanes, telephones, etc.—creating abundance on a scale never before imagined. The enterprising people of America became legendary—from the early settlers to the great industrialists to the ambitious individuals on every economic level who dreamed big and worked hard to better their lives. The pioneer spirit became the proud symbol of America. The personal initiative to improve one’s life, unencumbered by the state, achieved worldwide fame as the coveted American Dream.Thanks to the ambitious achievements of pioneer-spirited Americans, the hardship so prevalent in daily existence vanished, and by the 20th century prosperity became the new normal, raising the standard of living of virtually everyone and creating a thriving middle class. All of this was accomplished in a mere century or so when capitalism and freedom prevailed.

Fast-forward to today, and we see a different country. We see an ever-growing government with a myriad of welfare-state programs that claim to take care of us. We see Americans hampered from seizing the reins of their lives and driving their chariots toward the sun. Instead, they’re conditioned to look to the government to take care of them. From free food and housing to free cell phones and contraceptives, many of our citizens think they have a claim to a guaranteed existence provided to them by taxing and redistributing the earnings of others. Many people think that restricting economic freedom and entangling business in tighter and tighter knots of regulations with give them security against life’s risks. Decades of the paternalistic welfare state have changed the character of the people, causing a growing passivity, insecurity, and dependency—so antithetical to the pioneer spirit.

In the pre-industrial world of hardship, the American pioneers created plenty. In the modern world of plenty, the welfare state creates, nurtures, and perpetuates hardship.

The pioneer and the welfare state represent two opposite views of life and government. The conflict between them is the most important battle of our age. On the one side are the individualists, who cherish personal liberty and want to run their own lives their own way. On the other side are the statists, who want the government to provide for their welfare and who ignore or make light of the coercion by the state and the violation of individual rights that their system entails.

Which side will win in this struggle for the soul of America? The goal of my new book of essays, "The Pioneer vs. the Welfare State," is to influence the outcome. Available on Amazon Kindle.