For an innovative idea about how to advance freedom in the world, check out this piece by Ken Hagerty and Newt Gingrich. It argues for using a Hong Kong model -- free cities within otherwise unfree nations -- to plant seeds of opportunity in areas where there is none. Theoretically, the cities will prosper in contrast to their surroundings, expatriates will return to these islands of opportunity inside their native lands, the aroma of prosperity will drift outside the city limits and inspire the citizens of those nations to agitate for change, etc. There's some pie-in-the-sky idealism to their idea -- but then again, everything they mention amounts to what has pretty much been happening with Hong Kong and China, so who's to say?
I have not read this book, but it has both the best title and best subtitle I have heard of in years. And I love that one of its chapters is called "Islam is a Peaceful Religion, and If You Don't Believe It, They'll Cut Off Your Head." Between those things and what I heard the author say in the few minutes I heard him on Michael Medved's radio show last week, I am comfortable doing something I have never done before: recommend the book without reading it first.
Since I just did little more than send you to two links, now I will send you to two more, both of which involve the subject of literary fiction. Here is an excellent salute to Ray Bradbury on the occasion of his 90th birthday, and here is an equally excellent take on Ayn Rand. Rand fans should be prepared for a less-than-flattering analysis which asserts that much of her writing, especially Atlas Shrugged, is essentially soulless (my phrase).
That's all for now...
Update, 8/24/10: The Ayn Rand piece was written by Jason Lee Steorts. Today he published an insightful follow-up to it, which you can read here.