Freedom in Chains

by James Bovard

Government and bureaucracies are bigger and more controlling than ever. A citizen's own ability to control his or her own life has never been less than it is today. How did we get to this point? Jim Bovard, bestselling author of Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty, looks at the development of the State into a behemoth that threatens to destroy the individual at the cost of preserving the idea of "statism" - the belief that government is inherently superior to the citizenry, that progress consists of extending the realm of governmental compulsion, and that vesting more arbitrary power in government officials will eventually make citizens happy.

Reading through the history of the state and its war on the citizen, Bovard looks at thinkers as diverse as John Locke, Etienne de la Boetie, James Madison, and Bernard Bosanquet among others. He explores the original version of the idea of the state, the development of the welfare state, the progress of the state's judicial system from the original province of the courts into the lives of men and women and the ultimate fraud that is perpetrated as the state's benevolence. Freedom in Chains is must reading for anyone trying to understand how far we've come from our eighteenth century roots as a community of impassioned patriots to our sorry positions as wards of the state at the end of the twentieth century.

James Bovard is a journalist who has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Newsweek.

He is the author of Shakedown, (Viking, 1995) and Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty,.

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