Book Review: The Tuttle Twins

tuttle-twins“The Tuttle Twins Series” by Connor Boyack

2017 Reading Challenge — Book 6: A Book for Children or Teens

For those of us who love liberty, and want to preserve the principles of liberty for future generations, there are very few resources to help teach these concepts to young children. This series of five books by Connor Boyack, president of The Libertas Institute, seeks to meet that need.

I read through all five of these the other night, and am very much looking forward to reading them with my children! The books say they are intended for readers aged 5-11, though I don’t know that my 5-year-old is quite ready for them yet… though she often surprises me with her comprehension of concepts, so we’ll see!

The illustrations are nice and colorful, and very detailed. I particularly enjoyed a scene from inside the library of Ethan & Emily Tuttle’s wise older neighbor… he’s got some great titles on his shelves! And Boyack has done an admirable job getting some weighty concepts into an engaging story which kids can easily digest.

His first book, The Tuttle Twins Learn About the Law, is based on Frederic Bastiat’s excellent little book, The Law, which is itself a highly recommended read (it only takes about 90 minutes or so to read it, so definitely check it out if you haven’t already). While Bastiat touches on many subjects, his primary thesis is the idea of “legal plunder”… the concept that if something is wrong for individuals to do, it is wrong for governments to do. Boyack covers this concept very well.

The Tuttle Twins and the Miraculous Pencil is based on Leonard Read’s famous essay, which you can read here, or you can watch this great short video. In The Tuttle Twins and the Creature from Jekyll Island, Ethan and Emily (and young readers of the book) learn about the Federal Reserve and its impact on inflation and prices.

The Tuttle Twins and the Food Truck Fiasco was probably my favorite of the bunch, mostly because I love taking my kids to order food from the food trucks downtown! This book focuses on the dangers which crony capitalism and government regulations impose on small businesses. Last but not least, The Tuttle Twins and the Road to Surfdom is based on F.A. Hayek’s masterpiece, The Road to Serfdom, which has been one of the most formative books in my own understanding of politics and economics. Boyack’s version focuses on unintended consequences, and the proper role of government.

The entire set is available at a discounted package price from the author’s website here. Go grab a set for your kids! Not convinced? Here are Boyack’s own children hoping to persuade you…

Stimulating Sandy

Every time a natural disaster strikes, it serves as an opportunity to remind people about the “Broken Window Fallacy”. This faulty economic idea basically states that things like wars, natural disasters, and other destructive actions actually provide a boost to the economy. In his terrific book Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics (my review), Henry Hazlitt wrote that “the broken-window fallacy, under a hundred disguises, is the most persistent in the history of economics.”

We see this fallacy in action in the writing of New York Times columnist Paul Krugman (a winner of the Nobel Prize in economics), who wrote three days after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, “Ghastly as it may seem to say this, the terror attack — like the original day of infamy, which brought an end to the Great Depression — could even do some economic good.” Similarly, he said last year that fabricating an invasion of space aliens would provide a great way to end the economic slump.

With the arrival of Super Storm Sandy, several publications (including, again, the NYT) have been quick to point out the silver lining that this will result in “increased economic activity”. But while it’s true that there will be increased economic activity that we can see, this type of thinking fails to account for the lost economic activity that we cannot see. Here’s a great video from that demonstrates why the Broken Window Fallacy is wrong:

If this whets your appetite to learn more about economics (one of my favorite subjects!), a great place to start is the aforementioned book by Henry Hazlitt. Additionally, you might check out Frederic Bastiat’s 1850 essay, “That Which Is Seen, and That Which Is Not Seen”, which is the origin of the “broken window” illustration. I also highly recommend the Economics for Everybody DVD series by R.C. Sproul, Jr.