Sunday, March 13, 2011

Review: Rollback by Tom Woods

After a series of busts, Bob Dylan returned to the music studio in the late 90's to record an album called Time Out of Mind. It was odd, spooky and irrefutably true. In 2001 he followed up with Love & Theft and then in 2006 we were blessed with Modern Times. These three albums solidified Dylan's “comeback” and remain an unintentional but essential trilogy for every music lover.

Why am I talking about Bob Dylan? Because Woods' Rollback is our version of Modern Times.

When I first listened to Time Out of Mind I hated it. Well, hate is a strong word. It was an odd album and I couldn't get into it right away. Likewise with Woods' Meltdown. The Financial Crisis had re-sparked my interest in economics. Until then I had politically aligned myself with the Left, so naturally my understanding of economics was Marxist in origin. The crisis changed everything. I no longer cared what ideology or political spectrum the answers belong to – I just wanted the truth. Meltdown seemed to have this, but like Time Out of Mind it was difficult to get into. I was too unaccustomed with these “free market” ideas. Woods' book impressed me, but his conclusions were too “spooky”.

Love & Theft was more upbeat. It skidded along track to track, pumping out music that seemed familiar but can only be attributed to Dylan's creative genius. Likewise, Nullification by Thomas E. Woods Jr. displayed his genius. Just as Love & Theft takes the listener for a ride that refuses to end even though the album has long since been over, Nullification grabs the reader and pulls him or her out of the matrix. Like Love & Theft, Nullification never really ends, as the effects of this masterpiece are being felt across the United States in State legislatures, governor offices and the minds of a pissed off populace.

Like Dylan, Woods succeeds beyond belief with Rollback. Dylan's Modern Times came to us on the eve of the Financial Crisis. Depression-era songs at a time when people thought the wealth would never dry up. More so than his earlier convictions, Modern Times is the album that defines Bob Dylan.

Likewise, we can say the same about Thomas Woods and Rollback.

In 188 pages Woods has summed up everything you need to know about why everything is fucked. Ripping apart the Democrats, Republicans, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, the Federal Reserve, the Military Industrial Complex and the Welfare State is just to skid across the surface of this book.

With over 400 footnotes, it does seem at times that Woods is overstating his case. This book certainly isn't going to convert your left-leaning friend, but it may get them to seriously consider the facts, as this book has plenty of those. Other than disillusioned classic liberals, the target audience seems to be the Tea Party movement. Or anyone that considers themselves laissez-faire or “conservative.” In that regard, Rollback will definitely leave a lasting impression on anyone that still believes government has a legitimate role to play in society.

For Canadians, this book is a must-read. Although the American health-care and military situation is different from ours, the chapter on “good governance” applies to Canada maybe even more so than the United States.

Whether you already agree with the stuff, or you're half-way there, or your a Marxist Feminist vegan, there's something in this book for everybody. And regardless of the conclusions you may come to, one thing is for certain:

The United States of America will face some kind of default, and it will be within our lifetime.

If you want to know why this is and what could be done about it – read this book.

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