We all have that one friend who left his mechanic father’s Ohio home at the prodigious age of 12, matriculated at a university to study philosophy and physics at age 16, took a job at a motor company, invented a game-changing car motor powered by static electricity, and quit when the new owners decided to run the factory by collectivist principles. Who is that friend? Technically, it is John Galt, the protagonist of Ayn Rand’s classic Objectivist tome, Atlas Shrugged, whose backstory I have refreshed in my memory by way of Wikipedia.
But in a broader sense, he is the Everyman, the raw spirit of individualism and rational self-interest, a freethinker unburdened by taxes, speed limits, and the begging hand of big government. (If you have thoughts about the ideological distinction between Objectivism and Libertarianism as a whole, and take issue with how I’ve lumped them together here, please let us know in the comments.)
For most of the year, this friend poses few problems. They appear online every so often to define ephebophilia, then disappear to bury their gold bricks in the woods. But it is December, the month of giving, and that poses a problem. What do you get for the friend who “swear[s] by [their] life and [their] love of it that [they] will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for [theirs]?” In a certain sense, the bar is low; they will definitely not get you anything. But the act of giving is not about what you get in return, which again, will be nothing. So for those selfless agents of altruism, a humble gift guide for the Libertarian in your life.
(Notably, there are already several Libertarian gift guides out there, including this one from Reason, this one from Art for Liberty, and this one from Liberty Junkies. But as Executive Vice-President of the Cato Institute David Boaz wrote in The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto For Freedom, “Libertarianism is the philosophy of freedom,” so feel free to read this one instead of theirs).
There’s a reason it’s called the freeway. Those flat channels of interstate transit were meant to be burned by rubber, not caressed by low-T accountants in 50-mile-per-hour hybrids. Speed limits are inherently anti-freedom. Apparently, Nancy Pelosi’s never heard of a little thing called the Autobahn. But never mind that, with one of these guys on your 2008 cherry red Nissan Altima, you can go altimer-speeds without fretting over tickets, or as some call them, car taxation.
THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RON PAUL
Every self-respecting libertarian should have a copy handy of The Ron Paul Revolution: The Writing and Speeches of Congressman Ron Paul, the essential text for fans of the longtime Texas congressman who ran for president as the Libertarian Party nominee in 1988 and whose criticism of federal fiscal policy laid the intellectual foundation for the Tea Party (remember them?). Unfortunately, most probably don’t, as it currently ranks 9,965,783th in Amazon’s book sales and seems to be out of print. But you can change that: there is still one new copy available for just $78. There is also a used one for $5.
THIS PHOTO, FRAMED
Due to the draconian limits of copyright law, I cannot embed this photo, which was the artwork for Reason’s 2020 Libertarian Gift Guide. But I encourage you to follow that link and take a look at the image of a festive woman making an expression some might call “Everlane Golem” or “libertarian soy.” She’d look lovely on your mantle.
SIGNED THE INCREDIBLES POSTER
This family-friendly Pixar film following a nuclear unit of superheroes has been hailed as an “objectivist morality tale” about the risk that, as one character yells, “with everyone super, no one will be!” Some fans believe that the costumer designer character, Edna Mode — while allegedly modeled after the famous real-life costume designer, Edith Head — is actually an approximation of Ayn Rand, who had a similarly sharp bob and nasal accent. To quote my editor, Jocelyn, whose parents, grandparents, and childhood guitar teacher are Libertarians (the latter was named “Daggart” after the Atlas Shrugged character, Dagny Taggart): “My father has a signed Incredibles poster framed in our garage.”
BURNING MAN TICKET
JOHN STOSSEL DVDS
This free DVD called “Stossel in the Classroom — 2020 Edition” includes 13 segments from the Libertarian television presenter, plus “five bonus segments provided by [their] friends” at the Foundation for Economic Education and The Federalist Society. For the low price of $0.00, you can learn more about how the U.S. sugar program uses “Stalin-style price controls” and how celebrities using metal straws “want us all to stop sucking.”
In preparing this guide, I asked some friends for ideas. One of them said “legalizing incense.” I believe he meant “incest,” but he nevertheless raises a salient point. Let’s honor our libertarian brothers and sisters by making incense legal. It’s time.
Hot girls have always loved liberty. These days, they are wearing it; Brandy Melville and Lululemon’s wares have John Galt quotes on them.
THOMAS SOWELL GRAPHIC TEE
It isn’t the holidays without a gifted graphic t-shirt bearing a slogan that reveals the single fact one of your distant relatives knows about you. You could be that relative. Consider this generic brand “Thomas Sowell Socialism Quote Classic Tsht, Dmn T Shirt, Hoodie Black” available for just $15.95. The beige cotton features the economist’s hairline, signature nerd glasses, and last name screened on the front, with his famous quote: “Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.” Apparently, the tee has an “awesome fit.”
“RANDY WOMAN” VASE
For a more unique take on ideological merchandise, look to this $350 “Randy Woman Vase” depicting a nude Ayn Rand holding burlesque dancer Sally Rand’s large feather fans, sold in an Etsy store called TesselaArt. This is the description:
Ayn borrows Sally’s fans… Ayn Rand and Sally Rand were contemporaries, known for very different reasons, and having very different perspectives on female sexuality. The front of the vase shows Ayn waving Sally’s fans.
The back side features some telling quotes from the two women:
“…The beauty of the human body is that it hasn’t a single muscle which doesn’t serve its purpose; that there’s not a line wasted; that every detail of it fits one idea, the idea of a man.” – Ayn Rand, in The Fountainhead
“Tell me what a man finds sexually attractive and I will tell you has entire philosophy of life.” – Ayn Rand
“I haven’t been out of work since the day I took my pants off.” – Sally Rand
THE PHONE NUMBER OF A BANKER IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS
The men and women of the Cayman financial industry offer the most patriotic of services, hiding your taxable income and assets in off-shore accounts. If you reach him, give Kevin my best.