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
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
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
Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty,.
Freedom in Chains online from