The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America

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Overview


“These incurably upbeat journalists with Reason magazine believe that not even government, try as it will, can prevent onrushing social improvement…. The Declaration of Independents is suitable reading for this summer of debt-ceiling debate, which has been a proxy for a bigger debate, which is about nothing less than this: What should be the nature of the American regime?” —George Will, Washington Post

The Declaration of Independents is a refreshing political book in that it ...

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The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America

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Overview


“These incurably upbeat journalists with Reason magazine believe that not even government, try as it will, can prevent onrushing social improvement…. The Declaration of Independents is suitable reading for this summer of debt-ceiling debate, which has been a proxy for a bigger debate, which is about nothing less than this: What should be the nature of the American regime?” —George Will, Washington Post

The Declaration of Independents is a refreshing political book in that it kind of, well, hates politics, and it’s worth reading on this issue alone…. An important read with solid insight into today’s political mess.” —RealClearPolitics

“This is the up-to-date statement of libertarianism. Not warmed-over right-wing politics, but real, true-blooded libertarianism in the sense of loving liberty and wanting to find a new path toward human flourishing.” —Tyler Cowan, Marginal Revolution

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Kirkus, May 5, 2011

"An enthusiastic, entertaining libertarian critique of American politics, brimming with derision for the status quo and optimism for the future and confident of the right direction.”

Marginal Revolution, May 20, 2011

“This is the up-to-date statement of libertarianism.  Not warmed-over right-wing politics, but real, true-blooded libertarianism in the sense of loving liberty and wanting to find a new path toward human flourishing."

WashingtonExaminer, June 26, 2011

“An important book and lively read.”

Forbes.com, July 4, 2011

“A fun and ultimately positive look at how anti-authoritarianism, entrepreneurship and independence have led to one revolution after another in the way we think about the world, the products we buy, and the jobs we end up getting (or creating for ourselves)…. It’s a good book, a well-written, easily accessible manifesto on how libertarian ideas and anti-authoritarianism can help change the world, and how they will one way or another, whether we like it or not. Just as importantly, the book is uplifting, optimistic and full of energy.”

RealClearPolitics, July 5, 2011

"The Declaration of Independents is a refreshing political book in that it kind of, well, hates politics, and it's worth reading on this issue alone…. An important read with solid insight into today's political mess…. Gillespie and Welch are full of optimism for the future.”

WashingtonPost, July 29, 2011
The Declaration of Independents is suitable reading for this summer of debt-ceiling debate, which has been a proxy for a bigger debate, which is about nothing less than this: What should be the nature of the American regime? America is moving in the libertarians’ direction not because they have won an argument but because government and the sectors it dominates have made themselves ludicrous. This has, however, opened minds to the libertarians’ argument.”
 
Atlantic.com, August 2, 2011
“Refreshing, especially among political tomes, for several reasons: it offers an original but plausible take on recent history, doesn't blame a partisan enemy for all that ails America, and advances an argument too complicated to fully convey in a review.”

Barron’s, July 2, 2011
“The authors create an inspiring vision for how we might move beyond the shackles of government control in many areas of our lives… a rollicking tale.”

Kirkus Reviews

A call to bring to government the same expansion of personal choice and freedom that has swept other areas of American life, through the application of libertarian principles.

The past four decades have seen an astonishing increase in personal choice and opportunity in commerce and culture. The dominance of a few institutions offering limited options, from Kodak and AT&T to the communist bloc, has been swept away by market forces, withdrawal of government protections and the democratizing torrent of information from the Internet. Government alone has remained largely unaffected, which explains why it is so expensive and unresponsive. So contend former and current Reason editors Gillespie and Welch (McCain: The Myth of a Maverick,2007). In this rambunctious and rambling indictment of contemporary American politics, the authors gleefully tear into the Republican and Democratic parties, arguing that the spectacle of our horse-race politics is meaningless because regardless of what they say about themselves, both parties' actions expose them as spendthrifts in love with unwieldy centralized control. Gillespie and Welch believe this regime is tottering because voters—the "independents" celebrated in the title—increasingly reject party identification and because both parties have together spent the country into bankruptcy. The authors see salvation in a move to more libertarian principles, an independence from politics "in which a majority, however slim, acquires the right to control the lives and property of the minority." However, the authors leave unstated exactly what this means and how this is to be accomplished, beyond exuding a sunny confidence in innovation and markets unconstrained by government controls. When they turn to specific institutions like public education and retirement entitlements, their prescriptions are discouragingly shopworn. Their conjecture that a "nongoverning minority of independents and disaffected party members who come together in swarms to push or block legislation ... [is] the future of American public policy and elections" offers little hope or direction for responsible constitutional government.

An enthusiastic, entertaining libertarian critique of American politics, brimming with derision for the status quo and optimism for the future and confident of the right direction, but disappointingly silent about which roads to take.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781610391009
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs
  • Publication date: 6/26/2012
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 778,229
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Nick Gillespie

Nick Gillespie is the editor-in-chief of the websites Reason.tv and Reason.com and Matt Welch heads up the print edition of Reason, which since 1968 has been “a kick-ass, no-holds-barred political magazine” (New York Post) whose “refusal to carry water for the Republicans or Democrats is deeply refreshing in this age of partisan bickering” (Folio).
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Table of Contents

Foreword to the Paperback Edition xi

Prologue: Pursuing Happiness, Not Politics xix

Part I The End of the World as You Know It

1 Beyond Duopoly 3

2 The Pit and the Pendulum 21

3 The Libertarian Moment 43

Part II The Democratization of Just About Everything, or Case Studies in Making Life Richer, Weirder, and Better

4 Keep on Rockin' in the Free World 67

5 You Are Now Free to Move About the Country 89

6 The Disorganization Man (and Woman) 105

7 Rise of the Mutants 127

8 We the Media 143

Part III Operational it Baby!

9 We Are So Out of Money 165

10 Your Mind, Your Health, and Your Retirement Are Terrible Things to Waste 189

11 The Permanent Nongoverning Minority 207

Epilogue: The Future's So Bright 225

Acknowledgments 233

Notes and Sources 235

Index 249

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great Book

    This book is rational and contemporary. It is not rigid in polarized partisan book. "The Declaration of Independents" gives a balanced middle ground view of politics. It is also wrote in a way that keeps your attention. If you are into the snoozer, long, boring, poli sci books; this will not be your cup of tea. But if you want to learn more about Independents, Libertarians, and modern politics from a modern view; this is for you!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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