Updated: Mar 24
Alex Van Hamme
This article was originally published in 2019.
Presented below is Part 1 of the official Free Bird Media reading list, compiled of seven books that I believe are particularly relevant to the themes of this platform over the past few years. I believe each of these books have provided me with a significant insight regarding politics, culture, or the media and they have all been integral to my own personal evolution as I seek out new knowledge and ideas while running Free Bird Media. Please look into each of the books below if you are searching for something new and interesting to read.
The first book on the list is The Professor in the Cage: Why Men Fight And Why We Like To Watch by Jonathan Gottschall. This book was written by a former English professor who was unsatisfied with his career in academia after having been denied tenure, and so quit his job to begin training in MMA while researching the fascinating sociological question of why men like to fight and why so many men in general enjoy watching fighting.
I find Gottschall to be a likeable and relatable writer with an honest and self-deprecating tone, who nonetheless produces some very fascinating insights from his time developing this project. As someone with an English degree who began training martial arts in my early 30s, I feel I have gone through some similar experiences as Gottshall and what he writes in this book really resonates with me on a personal level. Particularly fascinating to me was the segment on honour culture and it's development, as well as the parts that introduced me to evolutionary biology concepts in terms of patriarchy and it's development.
There is a particular passage in the book that stuck in my mind because of my own background as a English major who went through the academic system:
"Quick. Don’t think about it. Imagine an English professor in your head. No, a male English professor. What do you see? Tweeds? Elbow patches? A high pale forehead with thinning hair combed over? Eyeglasses with designer frames? Oh God, do you see a cravat? His fingernails are clean and white.His palms are silky and uncalloused. If you grip him by his upper arm, your fingers plunge to the bone. He prefers wine to beer. But when he drinks beer, he favors pretentious microbrews that he sniffs and swirls, while waxing on about oaky hints and lemony essences. You are imagining a man, yes, but one whose masculinity is so refined, so sanded down and smoothed away, that it’s hard to see how it differs from femininity. It has been said that the humanities have been feminized. In English departments, where the demographics of professors and students now skew strongly female, this is literally so. But English departments have also been feminized in spirit. There’s a sense in which if you are a guy who wants to be a literature professor, it’s wise to actively suppress all of the offensive cues that you are actually a guy. Or at least that’s how it has always seemed to me. And I think that’s how it seems to most people. In the public mind, teaching English is about as manly as styling hair."
I think the above quote is undeniably true, and I remember realizing after reading this book I needed to invest a lot more time focusing on masculine virtues like physical strength after spending so much time myself in the Ivory Tower.
If this book seems interesting to you and you'd like to understand more about Gottschall's views on fighting and human nature, please pick up a copy of #TheProfessorInTheCage!
A good follow-up book to read if you've just finished The Professor in the Cage and are interested in learning more about the field of evolutionary psychology, I recommend Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters: From Dating, Shopping and Praying to Going to War and Becoming a Billionaire - Two Evolutionary Psychologists Explain Why We Do What We Do by Alan S. Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa. Evolutionary Psychology is becoming more and more controversial because it presents serious problems for progressive ideology and especially the blank slate theory which much of marxism and progressivism rely on. The book is an easy to read introduction to the field and is written in a Q and A format, presenting seminal questions in the field and then providing the answers.
This book was very insightful to me in terms of understanding why ethnic conflict is so common and universal on this planet. I recommend this especially to my libertarian minded friends, and I believe the implications of this book will present you will serious challenges to your political philosophies. If you'd like to challenge yourself and your current political ideologies, this is a great place to gain more relevant perspective on human psychology and behaviour in an easy-to-digest book.
The next book on the list, Canada in Decay, is one of the overall most important on the list. Written by the controversial Dr. Ricardo Duchesne (whom I have interviewed twice on our Youtube channel) is it the most relevant in terms of understanding the current political discourse around immigration and the competing narratives currently being taught in schools regarding Canadian history. Duchesne is perhaps the most intelligent and well-articulated intellectual voicing dissident right-wing viewpoints in all of Canada. The fact that his progressive colleagues at the University of New Brunswick had him driven out of Academia for his views expressed in this book should only made me want to read it more. Duchesne is a historical sociologist and I have not found any other Canadian intellectual who presents the crucial and true facts of Canada's demographic history as contrasted with the multicultural narrative that is currently dominant in our society. In addition to reading this and his other books, I also highly recommend checking out the interviews I have done with him on our YouTube where we discuss issues related to Western civilization and masculinity. Even if you find yourself disagreeing with Duchesne's views, it's still a very valuable book for understanding the dissident right view of mass immigration in Canada.
Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky is one of my favourite political books I have ever read. It is a shame in my eyes that so many people who consider themselves to be right-wing refuse to read this book as they believe it is evil cultural marxist propaganda. The reality is Alinsky was a community organizer, not a communist, and this book is simply a pragmatic essay on how best to operate within a democratic system for the "have nots" to take power from the "haves". As I covered the Yellow Vest movement in Canada this year I found it ironic that Canada's most visible populist movement essentially refused to consider the points Alinsky raises in this book. If they did, perhaps they would realize what a waste of time their efforts are with their current tactics.
Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, I encourage you to read this book, as the practical knowledge and Alinsky's no-bullshit approach to politics is heavily refreshing in our current age of political correctness. If you are a libertarian who believes in democracy, this book is a must-read. If you are a progressive, I recommend reading this to see how many of Alinsky's beliefs you actually hold and agree with.
Robert Anton Wilson is perhaps my all-time favourite intellectual, and his book Prometheus Rising is one of my favourites. It is a book that essentially helps you open your mind up to consider other people's subjective "reality tunnels" and given that Free Bird Media is largely about investigating controversial ideas and trying to understand various points of view as effectively as possible, I have to include this book on the list.
The book is a fun read that touches on a wide variety of subjects, including Timothy Leay's 8-circuit model of consciousness, Gurdjieff's self-observation exercises, general semantics, sociobiology (the original term for evolutionary psychology,) yoga, quantum mechanics and other topics.
Each chapter in the book has exercises at the end which if practiced over time help one gain more control over one's own and a deeper understanding of how to program their own nervous systems.
While reading this in my 20's I came across a quote from Robert Anton Wilson which planted the seed that eventually became Free Bird Media:
"That's what I'm trying to do in bringing up controversial subjects, is get people to look at them in a clear way. Most people don't know hw to tell an assertion from an argument. Every lawyer knows this. Most people just have no idea how foggy their own thinking is."
It's also interesting to note that Wilson was also a huge influence on one of my other major influences and free speech proponents, George Carlin. Carlin once said "I've learned more from Robert Anton Wilson than any other person." High praise indeed.
Robert Anton Wilson was also a true defender of Free Speech, serving as one of the original editors for Playboy Magazine in the 1970's. His work will most definitely appeal more to liberals than conservatives, as liberals are higher in openness to experience, which is a requirement for understanding Wilson. Still, if you are interested in the manipulation of language and learning more about your own mind/body/nervous system and how to think more clearly, I highly recommend looking into the work of Robert Anton Wilson.
Propaganda by Edward Bernays is a quick and easy read, and I believe it is essential reading for anyone who wants to discuss mass media and/or state broadcasting in Canada. Bernays changed my opinion on the CBC, and while I absolutely believe that currently speaking the CBC desperately needs restaffing and refocusing, it shouldn't be dismantled completely. I now see it as extremely ironic when nationalists claim they want to defund the CBC, as nationhood at this level essentially requires propaganda simply from a pragmatic standpoint. It is unfortunate to me that libertarians want to dismantle it because they do not view it as one of the bare necessities of successful nation building. I challenge both my nationalist and libertarian followers to read this book with an open mind, and consider why having a cohesive cultural identity may depend on having state-funded media.
Although I realize this book is technically a work of fiction, I am choosing to include 1984 here on the non-fiction list because the processes described by Orwell within the book in terms of using language to control and rewrite history is an accurate description of the process. Progressive narratives especially depend on the abuse and manipulation of language, and this book should be considered seminal reading for anyone who follows the discourse of FBM on a regular basis.