Anthony Cappello (Connor Court Publishing) suggested I write a book about myself.
My immediate response was, “I’ve already done that, and it’s called Heroic Misadventures.” Anthony laughingly said, “yes, a great book, but that book wasn’t about you at all. You were really telling us all about the incredible bunch of people with whom you have travelled your great life. I want you to write a book about yourself this time.”
Well, that is just what I did – for two pages anyway!
That managed to satisfy Anthony Cappello, and for the rest of the book I moved back into talking about everybody else which is far more interesting. The book is split into four parts:
Part I explains the “lonely theme”.
One of my concerns is that in Australia right now, anyone with an opinion, no matter how well researched, when they speak up, they have their heads kicked in and they are guaranteed to enter a period of loneliness.
The front cover of the book shows me with a bunch of people so how could I possibly be lonely? Well, if they’re all libertarians in that photo, they will understand what I’m talking about because I’m sure if they talk about free markets and individual responsibilities at their universities, they will also experience a sense of “loneliness”.
Part II covers my fugitive years – the seven years I was on the run from the Australian Taxation Office.
I haven’t talked too much about this before even though so many people have asked me about it. Now there are all the answers – including the need to bring in a U.S. Attorney, Clyde R. Maxwell, who did a pro bono job on bringing my seven year confrontation with the Australian Taxation Office to an abrupt end, simply by pointing out to the Australian lawyers that they would never win the case by simply arguing under the law.
The flaw in ATO’s case was that the law they were using against me was completely ambiguous. As Clyde R. Maxwell pointed out, in any country in the world that is the least bit civilized, “if a law is written ambiguously it must always be interpreted on the side of the citizen.”
Clyde Maxwell came to Australia, went on the ABC and created a furore by making these statements. The following week I wrote to the ATO saying I had just been listening to the ABC and it appeared that the Australian Taxation Office did not have a very strong case and if they were prepared to tear up my file I’d be happy to re-join the workforce, which I did. I’ve become a happy little taxpayer ever since.
Part III is rip-roaring stories of the fantastic Australian nickel boom. Then when nickel fell over, we all moved into gold and played a part in Australia’s Great Gold Renaissance.
It’s not generally known but there was no nickel industry in Australia whatsoever until 1966 and there was virtually no gold industry until 1980. How things have changed!
Part IV “turning gold into ideas” is the interesting bit, because that was exactly what we have been doing with our Mannkal Foundation. In this part I explain how “liberty could be good for you too”.
The book has been launched, in fine style, in Brisbane by former Premier of Qld, the Hon. Campbell Newman hosted by the Australian Institute for Progress, and then in Sydney, at the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance and again at the Sydney Mining Club, with Trevor “Pierpont” Sykes and John Singleton.
The book’s first Perth launch is in our office with a group of friends and the people who watched me sweat over the many deadlines set by the publisher. Over those three or four initial book launches many questions have been asked, the most frequent one being:
“To be successful, what is the most important thing I should concentrate on?”
The answer is easy:
“Your character is what you should be concentrating on because that is on what you will ultimately be judged.”
We don’t use that word “character” enough, these days. It is a useful word as it embodies all three ingredients that you must have if you have character.
The three qualities that you must have are:
- Trust because unless you can be trusted you will never be invited anywhere, either on a board or a start-up syndicate or a property syndicate or any of those things that people generally regard as opportunities.
- You must have knowledge. You will never make it unless you know what you are talking about.
- The third essential quality is courage. You can have all the trust and all the knowledge in the world but unless you have the courage to execute your plans aiming towards your goals you will never make it. You will be essentially “stuffed”.
On this question of character, next March we are sponsoring a visit to Australia of Larry Reed. Larry has been the President of the Foundation for Economic Education in the USA for many years and is a world authority on character.
He has written books on character and given countless speeches on character so watch for him as he moves around, covering all Australian capitals, next March.
Another question arises from page 17 where I said, “money is a real friend if you can put it to work usefully”.
This has piqued the curiosity of some, and what I mean is that I find people have quite different attitudes toward money.
I am always reminded of that wise quotation from Ayn Rand where she said, “Let me give you a tip on a clue to men’s characters; the man who damns money has obtained it dishonourably; the man who respects it has earned it.”
That pretty much explains why some people apologize for having accumulated some money and others are quite proud of it. Without your ability to accumulate money, you will never be able to pursue your passions in life, as I have done with our Mannkal Foundation.
There have also been a lot of questions about gold.
Gold is a form of money, and the fact that gold appears to be increasing in value is an indication of what is happening with our money and how government is destroying our money. It is not so much that the value gold is going up. Gold is simply the ultimate store of value and other things vary against gold as a standard.
Gold plays a major part in Australia’s economy; it always has and always will, particularly in times of financial destruction. However, gold is not acknowledged in our nation’s annual accounts in the way it should be.
Not many people realise that it is not counted as an export. This is because of the refining process, which means it is instead classified under the category “manufactured items”.
Gold, like other minerals, is the outcome of the most remarkably creative process that I can think of. When you go out into Australia’s outback, you see that there is absolutely nothing there. But by combining science, layer upon layer of data, human ingenuity and capital, you can create a situation that indicates where you should be seeking a particular mineral.
Then it takes the courage to decide and execute your plans. If you are successful, what have you got as a result of that? Out of that comes a mine. Out of that comes a township, comes schools, hospitals and all those other things make up the ingredients of a successful nation.
Not many leaders in any industries are able to explain how this creative project works and how it has given us so much that we just enjoy and take for granted.
Underlying the several themes of the book is the constant drum beat of how, by working toward the reduction and size of governments, we are maximizing the freedom of the individual and our creative capacity.
Only by maximizing our freedom to produce, trade and exchange, will we reach our true potential as individuals working for our own individual goals. Our individual goals are sometimes personal profit, sometimes love of a challenge, sometimes love of our country and the freedom one could enjoy in it. Sometimes it is simply the satisfaction of seeing human beings released from poverty.
So, there is something for everyone in this book.
It has nearly killed me putting it together within the tight publishing deadlines, but if you find it to be of use in expanding your horizons, then I feel that this task has been worthwhile.
Order your copy of The Lonely Libertarian here.