FEATURE ARTICLE

The Probability Broach written by L. Neil Smith (Book Review by Gregg Tivnan)

The Probability Broach written by L. Neil Smith (Book Review by Gregg Tivnan)
 
Donna Hancock 
Date: 0000-00-00
Subject: Philosophy of Liberty

The Probability Broach by L. Neil Smith is the finest book on Liberty written.

Here is a classic fish out of water (without his bicycle) story about an "honest" cop plunked down in a free society trying to catch bad guys. "Honest cops" were a possibility in 1980. The book opens with a Denver detective in the near future telling you his story, much as Philip Marlowe did in the great books by Raymond Chandler. This cop, Win Bear, sticks his nose in to a Federal Security Police murder and finds trouble. The Federal Security Police were a radical idea in 1980 when L. Neil wrote the book, but are rather tame by today's militarized badged murderers in America 2014. You go along for a great ride, sharing the discoveries as Win does, and learn about the free world as Win does.

The book does not get "preachy", just great people you would like to know living their lives and explaining to a stranger in a strange land how to behave. I do not want to tell you more of the plot, because the story is too good to waste, and you can only read it for the first time, once.

My life is divided into 2 sections. Before I read the Probability Broach and after I read the Probability Broach.  After I read the Probability Broach in 1994, I saw how all human interaction could and should be decent, honest and moral. What was even better, it was told in a really entertaining way. I can think of no better book to introduce freedom to anyone.

In 1988 I read Atlas Shrugged for the first time and discovered I was not alone. I was not the only one. I was not wrong. I was not evil due to my deeply held beliefs and morals. Atlas Shrugged showed me I was not the only one to think my way and it pointed out brilliantly much that was wrong in America. I now knew most of the problem, but not how to make it right. I knew I did not want to live in the Reagan-Bush America, but I did not know any decent alternative.

Anarcho-Capitalism, libertarianism is called impractical for the real world by both the ignorant and the evil. Ayn Rand herself stated that Justice should be a State function. That's right, Saint Ayn believed that the same people who brought you Obama-RomneyCare, The NSA, Auschwitz, and the City of Detroit should run the courts and be the judges. That slavery (compelled legal participation and testimony) was necessary and moral when the state deemed it so. Ayn Rand was wrong. L. Neil never, never fell for crap like that. He shows in his book how all functions of a society can and should work. He shows how a free society should act when under the gravest peril.

"A city so nice they named it twice"?. How about a book so good I have purchased more than 60 copies? The Probability Broach by L. Neil Smith is that good. Better even. I read it for the first time 14 years after its publication. The cover was worn out and pages falling out. Someone had read this book to death. I still have and treasure that same ratty old copy, now signed by the author.  I used to haunt used bookstores, hunting for copies of a book with a Gorilla on the cover. When it was reprinted in 1996 I bought 50 copies at one pop. I give it as gifts to people and am now down to just a few copies.