By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission

By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission

by Charles Murray


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The American way of life, built on individual liberty and limited government, is on life support.

American freedom is being gutted. Whether we are trying to run a business, practice a vocation, raise our families, cooperate with our neighbors, or follow our religious beliefs, we run afoul of the government—not because we are doing anything wrong but because the government has decided it knows better. When we object, that government can and does tell us, “Try to fight this, and we’ll ruin you.”

In this provocative book, acclaimed social scientist and bestselling author Charles Murray shows us why we can no longer hope to roll back the power of the federal government through the normal political process. The Constitution is broken in ways that cannot be fixed even by a sympathetic Supreme Court. Our legal system is increasingly lawless, unmoored from traditional ideas of “the rule of law.” The legislative process has become systemically corrupt no matter which party is in control.

But there’s good news beyond the Beltway. Technology is siphoning power from sclerotic government agencies and putting it in the hands of individuals and communities. The rediversification of American culture is making local freedom attractive to liberals as well as conservatives. People across the political spectrum are increasingly alienated from a regulatory state that nakedly serves its own interests rather than those of ordinary Americans.

The even better news is that federal government has a fatal weakness: It can get away with its thousands of laws and regulations only if the overwhelming majority of Americans voluntarily comply with them. Murray describes how civil disobedience backstopped by legal defense funds can make large portions of the 180,000-page Federal Code of Regulations unenforceable, through a targeted program that identifies regulations that arbitrarily and capriciously tell us what to do. Americans have it within their power to make the federal government an insurable hazard like hurricanes and floods, leaving us once again free to live our lives as we see fit.

By the People’s hopeful message is that rebuilding our traditional freedoms does not require electing a right-thinking Congress or president, nor does it require five right-thinking justices on the Supreme Court. It can be done by we the people, using America’s unique civil society to put government back in its proper box. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385346535
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/02/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 349,656
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Charles Murray is the W. H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He came to national attention first in 1984 with Losing Ground and most recently in 2012 with Coming Apart. He lives with his wife in Burkittsville, Maryland.

Table of Contents

A Note on Presentation xi

Introduction xiii

Prologue: The Paradox 1

Part I Coming to Terms with Where We Stand 9

Chapter 1 A Broken Constitution 11

Chapter 2 A Lawless Legal System 31

Chapter 3 An Extralegal State Within the State 63

Chapter 4 A Systemically Corrupt Political System 79

Chapter 5 Institutional Sclerosis and Advanced Democracy 103

Part II Opening a New Front 117

Chapter 6 On the Choice of Civil Disobedience 119

Chapter 7 The Ground Rules for Civil Disobedience 129

Chapter 8 Help for Ordinary Americans 141

Chapter 9 Treating Government as an Insurable Hazard 149

Chapter 10 From Systematic Civil Disobedience to a "No Harm, No Foul" Regulatory Regime 157

Chapter 11 A Necessary Crisis 173

Part III A Propitious Moment 189

Chapter 12 The Return of Diversified America 191

Chapter 13 The Best of Times 219

Chapter 14 Once the Curtain Has Been Pulled Aside 247

Acknowledgments 265

Notes 267

Bibliography 297

Index 305

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