The Liberty.me team is comprised of talented, exceptional individuals spanning the globe from Vancouver to Shanghai, Prague to Singapore, California to Texas, and Ohio to Florida. We represent every demographic and range of liberty-minded philosophy and thought. At Skybar, your place for all updates on Liberty.me, we are excited to introduce a new team member every week until you’ve met us all.

Enters our Anarcho-Aficionado — Cameron Belt. Currently Cameron helps with content selection and curation for our library; he also has the uncanny ability to find a digital copy of any book you may be looking for.  Not only that, this libertarian librarian selects some of the works we provide to our members, writes many of the book descriptions/summaries, and finds related content for our books. Overall, his job is to make Liberty.me the most fun, unique place to spread the ideas and ideals of liberty in the world! Let’s meet him now!

 

Tell us about yourself, Cameron!

I’m currently in graduate school working toward my MA in Economics. I was born and raised in Las Vegas. Growing up I was luckily kept out of the public school system and attended a private Catholic school from K-12. Throughout high school I played football, golf, and volleyball.

If I had to pick a particular time where I started actively thinking about the ideas of liberty it would have to be my Junior year in High School. After going to a John Birch Society sponsored summer camp I fell in love with studying history and economics and saw myself as a Libertarian.

My ideology changed somewhat my freshman year in undergrad when I “met” Rothbard. I read his article “Are Libertarians Anarchists?” and immediately went from minarchist to fully rejecting the State. I had some reservations on practical grounds at first, but I saw that anarchy was the only logically consistent position.

 

How did you get involved in the liberty movement? And what inspired you to join the Liberty.me team?

After undergrad I attended Mises U and passed through the oral exams. It was a life-changing experience. I left full of energy and inspired to work towards spreading liberty. Back in Vegas, I began to do research for Nevada Policy Research Institute (a state based policy think tank) and began to publish policy studies.

After getting some experience, I got brave one day and emailed Jeffrey Tucker to ask if he could use some help writing book summaries for Laissez Faire Books. He took a shot in the dark and gave me a chance. I must have done something right with my first summary because he kept throwing more at me.

After working together for a few months, Jeffrey reached out and asked me to be a part of the Liberty.me family. I couldn’t resist such an exciting opportunity. I’m truly lucky to be here.

 

What top three influential thinkers, writers, inventors, producers, or creators have influenced you most and why?

This may be the most difficult question; there are so many! But, let’s go the less obvious route. First off, Frederic Bastiat. The Law is one of the most inspiring books I’ve read. It was one of the first times I read something that had many ideas that I had thought of on my own, but they were more elegantly presented. I felt vindicated, yet challenged to find ways to better present my ideas.

the-rise-and-fall-of-city-cover-370x493Next up, Frank Chodorov. The Rise and Fall of Society was one of the books Jeffrey asked me to summarize and it truly shocked my system. He presents a compelling, practical case against coercive States everywhere. He helped me to understand that the true power of the State resides in the Bureaucracy, a branch of government immune to influence from the public.

Last, but not least, a curveball, Seneca. Seneca was a Greek Stoic philosopher. I stumbled across his book On the Shortness of Life during a time of uncertainty. He taught me the root of sadness, most of the time, stems from people being unable to understand that nothing lasts forever. Sadness stems from a (most likely unconscious) expectation that a current state of affairs will never end. When they change, we become frustrated, sad. If we go into situations knowing that nothing will last forever we are more easily able to adapt to, and deal with, change. This has proven invaluable to me.

 

What was it like growing up in Catholic school?

I went to school with the same kids, more or less, from Kindergarten-12th grade. Growing up with small class sizes and teachers who really care are imperative for success for students throughout childhood. I went my entire life never seeing a fight happen at school, students knew better than to settle disputes violently. I always felt as though school was a second home for me; I didn’t dread being there because I wasn’t ever stifled creatively or intellectually and people genuinely cared for me.

I grew up in a close knit community in a fairly large city, and I’m extremely grateful for the intellectual and moral foundations that the schools I went to gave me. Plus the fact that I had to wear a uniform every day made me feel more at home in “dressier” attire than most, which is always helpful. I’m sure my experience is different than some, but I can say it was the best thing for me.

 

Do you have any advice for students who may be considering a major in economics?

For students of all disciplines: WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN. Think of your brain as a processor, not a hard drive. Use Evernote to organize everything (quotes, sources, article ideas).

Undergrads—Make friends with your professors. Even if you mostly disagree there is going to be something you find in common and even if you don’t you will find yourself trying to think of new ways to present ideas to them which is an invaluable exercise. Also, if you plan on ever attending conferences/seminars put on by FEE, IHS, the Independent Institute, Mises, maybe Liberty.me in the future, etc. you’re going to need letters of recommendation from at least one professor. Also read, don’t stop reading, and write.

Grads—See above, except read more, write more, and write similar articles with different audiences in mind (general public, peers, scholars, policy experts, etc.). Also, work to construct yourself a visual aid or checklist for how to think about a problem economically. What incentive structures are in place that will alter the action of the individuals involved? What are the marginal costs/benefits and who is paying/receiving them? How is the profit and loss mechanism involved? What are the institutions/rules that individuals have to follow in this scenario? What is constraining the set of potential action/means/ends? Is there something getting in the way of the price system/spread of knowledge of economic conditions?

 

In addition to the books you’ve already mentioned, do you have any others you’d like to recommend for our readers?

Gosh, this is tough. Aside from all the classics in our library and others (like Mises, Rothbard, Hayek, Hazlitt, Mencken, et al.)  there are a few that stand out that you won’t see typically hear about. For a history book look for The Expressiveness of the Body and the Divergence of Greek and Chinese Medicine by Shigehsia Kuriyama. It’s extremely fascinating, and I thought it to be a lot of fun and not something most people would typically pick up.

I can’t recommend Peter Leeson’s The Invisible Hook highly enough. This is a fun, illuminating book on how lawless hellhounds successfully organized themselves explained through economics that anyone can pick up and start reading.

 

Cameron Belt

Joe, Briggs, and Myself — doppelgangers for Jonah Hill, Wes Anderson, and Macaulay Culkin.

 

Of all the summaries you’ve written, which is your favorite? And what’s the next book you plan on summarizing?

My favorite so far is the Rise and Fall Summary. It took me the longest, and it taught me to be ok with leaving some things out—it is a summary after all. I’m not sure what the next book I’m going to do is. I’ve got a few that need to be polished up, but I’d love to hear what the members would like to have a summary of. If someone has a suggestion message me in site or email me at Cameron@liberty.me.

 

Would you ever like to write a book of your own? If so, what would it be about and why?

I’d love to write a book of my own! Right now I’m working on compiling articles that detail stories of how government intervention has affected businesses from providing the same type of quality services/products that they used to. I dubbed this “pulling a Tucker” after some of the many different articles Jeffrey Tucker has written (such as his laundry, shower heads, and lawn mower articles).

I have thought a lot about what I’d like my first book to be written on, but I’m learning to force myself to stop thinking about it so much and just write. Some of my personal research stems a lot from looking for ways to (to steal a phrase from Dr. Boettke’s Liberty.me class) rob the State of responsibility. I want to not only explore new advances in the economic reasoning that justifies wanting to reduce State responsibility, but also discover new opportunities/institutions for entrepreneurs to profit from. I’m writing a string of articles that will, hopefully, make this a bit clearer.

 

Thanks, Cameron for all you do for the liberty world and Liberty.me!

To follow Cameron’s work, you can reach him via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or on his Liberty.me publishing site.