DOASKDOTELL BOOK REVIEW of books by Edmund Contoski


Author (or Editor):  Contoski, Edmund ; foreward by John Chamberlain

Title: Makers and Takers: How Wealth and Progress Are Made and How They Are Taken Away or Prevented

Fiction? Anthology?   Fiction work is The Trojan Project

Publisher: American Liberty Publishers   

Date: 1997

ISBN:  0-9655007-4-8

Series Name:

Physical description: softcover, 464 pages

Relevance to DOASKDOTELL:  libertarianism


Contoski’s first work had been The Manifesto of Individualism (1968). .

These books were all the rage within the Libertarian Party of Minnesota when I moved to Minneapolis in September 1997 for a corporate transfer, with a book of my own.

Contoski provides a very clear discussion of how the right to vote has evolved, and how our notions of representative democracy have developed from a time when, quite contrary to popular belief, founding fathers did not envision a "majority rule."He also presents a kinds of “producers and second-handers” view of economic productivity, similar to what Ayn Rand had expressed through Howard Roark in The Fountainhead. He also presents a balanced view of risk and public welfare that reminds one of ABCs John Stossel.

The Trojan Project, as a work of fiction, again sets up an Ayn Rand type of scenario. Contoski writes of his own book: “What can one man do when he finds himself up against the most dangerous men in America?” Strange things do happen, setting up the mystery, with appropriate Twin Cities locales. But Contoski suggests a terrorist device that to me sounds quite impossible, but the computer highspeed modem firmware virus is a close cousin. When this book was written, the “worm” was rather little known. Contosk’s scenario will give Norton and McAfee more business indeed.

On page 194 Contoski proposes a constitutional amendment that is similar to mine (as in “Do Ask, Do Tell”), but more condensed. It is based on the notion of "pursuit of happiness" and use of property for that purpose.

The premise of this novel anticipate Stephen King’s 2006 novel Cell (Scribner) about a cell phone “virus.”

Richard Osness reviews both books in detail in the summer 1997 Minnesota Libertarian (see back issues in pdf format at the LPMN site). 

A cable film with a premise distantly related to Contoski’s novel is “Fatal Error” (1999) dir. Armand Mastroianni, from Lions Gate / Artisan. Here the virus is in a televised visual image and infects the person through the retina. I will rent or see the film on cable soon (2008) and give a formal review. 


Related: Movie: Fatal Error


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