TOWARD A DIALECTICAL LIBERTARIANISM
THOMAS L. KNAPP, FREE-MARKET.NET (JANUARY 2001)
FREEDOM BOOK OF THE MONTH FOR JANUARY 2001
"This month," says Thomas L. Knapp, "there are no surprises." Knapp says the book was long-awaited and that he's "not disappointed. Total Freedom completes a trilogy chock full of important implications for libertarian ideas.
"Sciabarra has built his career, thus far, on evaluating how the new wine of libertarian ideology might have been poured from the old skin of dialectic method. . . . Sciabarra seems to have two specific goals in mind. The first is to reclaim dialectics . . . from the authoritarian Left. Working forward from its origins in ancient Greece, he is essentially rescuring a valuable philosophical method from the corruptions introduced to it by the Young Hegelians, especially Marx and Engels, and from their successors." Then, Sciabarra turns to an analysis of Rothbard's work.
Knapp says that the book is not an easy read. Still, "Sciabarra has always had a knack for making the impenetrable jumble of philosophy . . . well, penetrable. . . . I was pleased at the surface readability of the book." But the author covers lots of ground, and the book compels readers to put "each sentence and each paragraph . . . to good, thought-provoking use. If you're not stopping, re-reading and thinking -- hard -- every page or so, you're probably not getting as much out of the book as you could. It's a gold mine."
Knapp concludes: "We are ending a century that has seen the initial triumph and final failure of Karl Marx's attempt to apply dialectical materialism to the social order. It's fitting that we begin the new century with a new attempt, and Total Freedom is a provocative first sortie."