Recently Read

Dave Killion — March 17, 2011

I have been a fan of Rudyard Kipling’s work since I was a child. Having seen animated versions of “The Jungle Book” and “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”, I came across “The Elephant’s Child” in one of my elementary school textbooks, and that led me to check out “Just So Stories” from the school library. I forgot about Kipling until my early twenties, and then rediscovered him when I picked up a copy of “Kim” that was laying around a school dorm in which I was staying. Lucky me.

Since that time, I have read and reread much of his work. Because Kipling wrote in the vernacular and because his work is very much set in the current events of his time, the first readings can be very challenging. Happily, not only are his writings freely available all over the internet, so are explanatory notes. Read the story with the notes once, and then again later without. I find it well worth the effort.

Although Kipling wrote with apparent sympathy for some elements of imperialism, I have never found him to be the cheerleader for empire that his critics claim. It is true that many of his characters are colonial politicians and soldiers depicted acting in beneficent and principled ways, but Kipling warns constantly against the costs of empire, war, and democracy, which resonates strongly within the libertarian soul.

In that spirit, let me recommend to you “Little Foxes“, a short story which not only entertains, but also gives a little peek into the way informal property rights are established and protected. You can find the notes here.

Image source

Leave a Comment

Disclaimer: The articles and opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Libertarian Book Club.