Sep 22, 2012

Why This Book?

When I wrote Latter-day Liberty last year, it was meant to be a standalone volume, not part of any series. I still stand by every word written in that book, and consider its contents of the utmost importance not only for Latter-day Saints, but for every person, regardless of their religion. Individual liberty is inexorably linked to agency, and these fundamental principles should guide not only our personal lives, but also our interactions with others both directly and indirectly through government. What I perceive to be widespread ignorance on that subject will hopefully be increasingly corrected over time through the ideas presented in my book, as well as like-minded efforts by others working to advance the cause of liberty.

In the first few weeks after the book was published, I was asked by many friends and supporters if I was thinking of writing another. Given the time and energy required to write a book, I often replied that while I had a few ideas in mind, I probably would not attempt a second book for a few years. I have a young family, a busy career, and a significant time commitment to political activities and interests. The last thing I needed was to tackle another writing project so soon.

In what has become a long-standing cycle of course corrections in my life, I soon thereafter realized that my initial intentions would not last long. Just one month after the publication of Latter-day Liberty, the idea and structure of this book illuminated my mind with exceeding clarity while driving home one evening; I couldn’t pull out my iPhone fast enough to make an audio recording of everything I was thinking. Once the brain dump was complete, I realized that I had the blueprint for what was the obvious and necessary companion to my first book. It made sense, and I felt foolish for not having previously realized that in Latter-day Liberty I had presented only one half of the equation for liberty.

This book does not reflect a change of position from the principles and policies enumerated in Latter-day Liberty. That book deals with a subject that merits its own focus and discussion in order to fully understand just what liberty is, and how it applies to government and politics. In a sense, it can and should stand alone to allow for a narrow study of the specific issues it presents. Amplifying that understanding, though, requires expanding the discussion to related concepts which influence the degree to which our liberty can be attained and enjoyed. This book serves, then, as a companion volume to address the other side of the equation, for with increased liberty comes the obligation to assume more responsibility.

Latter-day Responsibility will provide additional and needed context to help the reader understand what we must ourselves do while also working to restrain the government and defend individual liberty. Just as it’s pointless to enter a fight without armor and training, so too must we understand the ideas I’ll be incorporating in this book before battling the state.

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