For much of history governments were mostly monarchies. The ancient Greek state of Athens to introduce democracy to the world. Unfortunately mankind choose despotic ruler kings. In the 20th century we have seen some dictators that built terrifying empire and countries and led them with an iron hand. This form of government is called totalitarinan.

Democracies are far better than totalitarian governments. Just look at the vast difference between such democracies of America, England and South Korea and the authoritarian governments of communist countries like the former Soviet Union and the police state of North Korea. North Koreans are starving to death and have no freedoms while South Korea is prosperous.

To the degree people accept democracy and free enterprise is the degree of freedom and prosperity they will have. Hitler lasted only a decade or two and the Soviet Union lasted for 72 years. Hitler and Lenin were evil men who violated the spirituals of government and their nations fell. America fought them both and won. Goodness wins in the end. Satan slows progress, but he cannot stop it from advancing. America has made progress in some ways and declined in others. Both Nazi Germany and America persecuted minorities by making separate areas for them in public places. The Nazis looked down on the Jews and America looked down on the Blacks. In the 1930s Nazis had benches in public places that said "Aryan only" and America had restrooms in public places that said "Whites only." America grew up spiritually and changed. Hitler went downhill and attempted genocide and ended up killing himself.

Although America has improved in many ways, it has, overall, declined since it has embraced the diabolical values of socialism America has great power. It is the superpower. But America has misused its power and used it for evil purposes many times. As America has gotten progressively socialist and feminist it has progressively destroyed the family and many of the precious freedoms the Founding Fathers and American patriots gave their blood for.

America has a tragic history of persecuting religion. This is the worst thing a government can do.


Democracy is superior to any other form of government such as absolute monarchy, a dictatorship of army, aristocrats or church.

Many people take democracy for granted. America has been an inspiration to the world showing that power can pass from one leader to another in an ordered system of periodic elections instead of using force. Technically, America is a republic, a representative democracy. In the Pledge of Allegiance we say "and to the republic for which it stand, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." The Founding Fathers feared total democracy because they did not want the majority to restrict the rights of the minorities. For this reason, they gave 10 bill of rights to make sure some freedoms were not regulated by the majority. We will, nevertheless, use the more common word democracy.

Opponents of those in power in America are protected when they publicly disagree. Democracy is the civilized way to organize society. Sadly, most people are not governed this way. Robert Dahl in his book Political Oppositions in Western Democracies writes, "Somewhere in the world, at this moment, a political group is probably engaged in the antique art of imprisoning, maiming, torturing and killing its opponents. Somewhere, as you read these words, a government and its opponents are no doubt trying to coerce one another by violent means. For without much question the most commonplace way for a government to deal with its opponents is to employ violence."

Democracy is a core value of God. Because Satan has ruled this world, he has worked hard to keep mankind from embracing it. Democracy is a recent innovation. Athens in ancient Greece is the birthplace of Western Civilization. It introduced the idea of democracy 2500 years ago. This was a great revolutionary turning point in human history.

Some say the most eloquent defense of the democratic idea is in the Funeral Oration of Pericles. Satan invaded and corrupted it when those in power tried and sentenced Socrates to death simply because he had unpopular opinions. Plato saw him as a martyr who was murdered by a court of a democracy. This is probably why opposed democracy in his Republic. Plato could not forgive democratic Athens for killing who he felt was the wisest of men. Plato had a tremendous impact for bad on history by advocating rule by philospher-kings.

The Roman Empire should have elevated democracy from the city-state of Athens to an empire. Cicero spoke for it, but Satan was able to crush democracy and mankind fell into the darkness of the divine right of kings. Events like the Magna Carta that limited kings were inspired by God. A major turning point in history came with John Locke and Montesquieu who inspired the Founding Fathers. God was instrumental in Lockes' Treatises of Civil Government. The First Treatise is an attack on the concept of divine right of kings. The Second Treatise is one of the most influential books ever written. It was revolutionary. It was the opposite of Thomas Hobbes who advocated absolute monarchy to give order and security to a nation. One person wrote, "Locke is the first major thinker to invest private property with an explicit moral status."

Monesquieu is called the "godfather" of the American Constitution. In his classic, The Spirit of the Laws, he gave the vision of a nation governed by representatives of the people and the separation and balancing of the powers of government. Thomas Jefferson read the ancient Greek and Roman classics and the writings of Locke and Montesquieu. Inspired by them he wrote the revolutionary document, the American Declaration of Independence, that was the first document of state, honoring individual rights and limited government. He turned Locke and Montesquieu's political philosophy into real politics. America started a new era in world history.

Immanuel Kant is also a landmark figure in western thought. In his Critique of Pure Reason, he wrote that "A Constitution" should allow "the greatest possible freedom." In freedom each person can realize their full potential. He condemned slavery. Kant went even further and wrote that mankind needed a world constitution in such essays as The Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View and Toward Perpetual Peace written around the time of the Founding Fathers of America. God was hoping mankind would listen to Kant. Sadly, Satan kept God's dream of an ideal world led by a world government away from the masses of people.

 America's Mission

In America's Mission: The United States and the Worldwide Struggle for Democracy in the Twentieth Century, Tony Smith writes that America should be aggressive for democracy like Woodrow Wilson was who said American foreign policy was "to make the world safe for democracy. "After the Cold War, Bush and Clinton rightly have spoken forcefully for America to be world leaders and help the cause of democracy.

He quotes President Bush saying in December 15, 1992: "History's lesson is clear. When a war-weary America withdrew from the international stage following World War I, the world spawned militarism, fascism, and aggression unchecked, plunging mankind into another devastating conflict. But in answering the call to lead after World War II, we built from the principles of democracy and the rule of law a new community of free nations, a community whose strength, perseverance, patience, and unity of purpose contained Soviet totalitarianism and kept the peace.

"No society, no continent should be disqualified from sharing the ideals of human liberty. The community of democratic nations is more robust than ever, and it will gain strength as it grows .... abandonment of the worldwide democratic revolution could be disastrous for American security.

"History is summoning us once again to lead."

Bush is right to say this.

Dream of democracies

Clinton said on September 27, 1993: "In a new era of peril and opportunity, our overriding purpose must be to expand and strengthen the world's community of market-based democracies. During the Cold War, we fought to contain a threat to the survival of free institutions. Now we seek to enlarge the circle of nations that live under those free institutions, for our dream is that of a day when the opinions and energies of every person in the world will be given full expression in a world of thriving democracies that cooperate with each other and live in peace."

Bush and Clinton are tuned into God's will in saying such strong words for democracy. Bush said in his inaugural address: "Great nations of the world are moving toward democracy through the door of freedom. Men and women of the world move toward free markets through the door of prosperity. The people of the world agitate for free expression and free thought through the door to the moral and intellectual satisfactions that only liberty allows. We know what works: freedom works. We know what's right: freedom is right. We know how to secure a more just and prosperous life for man on earth: through free markets, free speech, free elections, and the exercise of free will unhampered by the state."

"America is never wholly herself unless she engages in high moral principle. We as a people have such a purpose today, to make kinder the face of the nation and gentler the face of the world."

Bush's Secretary of State was James Baker. Smith writes that Baker was a pragmatist but also "a committed liberal democratic internationalist. As he put it at his Senate confirmation hearings early in 1989, 'the only sure guide' for American foreign policy was 'the compass of American ideals and values -- freedom, democracy, equal rights, respect for human dignity, fair play -- the principles to which I adhere: I believe in freedom for the individual because it's a God-given right and the source of human creativity. The Founders of our country recognized that such freedom was preserved best by limited government -- the checks and balances system that still provides the framework for our success ... economic freedom, the free market system, is an essential part of the framework. Finally and above all, I believe, like Lincoln, that the United States has a special role in this world, a special contribution to make -- as he put it, 'the last, best hope of earth.'"

Smith writes that Bush was for a "Wilsonian world order .... democracy would expand worldwide." Bush said at the United Nations in 1989: "Make no mistake. Nothing can stand in the way of freedom's march. There will come a day when freedom in seen the world over to be a universal birthright of every man and woman, of every race and walk of life .... today is freedom's moment. You see, the possibility now exists for the creation of a true community of nations built on shared interests and ideals."

Death by Government

R. J. Rummel has written some great books that everyone in leadership should read and understand. He has a website: In Death By Government he shows that it is totalitarian nations who kill more people than anything else, even war. He begins by quoting Lord Acton who said, "Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely." Edmund Burke wrote, "Power gradually extirpates for the mind every humane and gentle virtue." Shelly wrote "Power, like a desolating pestilence,/ Pollutes whate'er it touches."

He shows that Stalin, Mao and Lenin killed over a hundred million of their own countrymen. The Founding Fathers knew that government should be limited.

Power Kills

One reviewer said this about Rummel's book, Power Kills: Democracy As a Method of Nonviolence: "This volume is the most recent of a comprehensive effort by R. J. Rummel to understand and place in historical perspective the entire subject of genocide and mass murder, or what he calls democide. It is the fifth in a series of volumes in which he offers a detailed analysis of the 120,000,000 people killed as a result of government action or direct intervention. In Power Kills, Rummel offers a realistic and practical solution to war, democide, and other collective violence. Rummel observes that well-established democracies do not make war on and rarely commit lesser violence against each other. The more democratic two nations are, the less likely is war or smaller-scale violence between them. The more democratic a nation is, the less severe its overall foreign violence, the less likely it will have domestic collective violence, and the less its democide. Rummel argues that the evidence supports overwhelmingly the most important fact of our time: democracy is a method of nonviolence. Another review says: One of the most exciting books in years-- At last, dramatic proof that the only way to secure peace is to achieve liberty

Jim Powell reviews the book saying,

For decades, the most outspoken "peaceniks" were socialists and other believers in powerful government. Many blamed wars on capitalism. But now University of Hawaii political science professor Rummel dramatically demonstrates that the more powerful the government, the more war and other chronic violence there will be. Peace, he makes clear, is always jeopardized by government power.

Conversely, Rummel amasses overwhelming evidence to show that free societies tend to be peaceful. By cutting government power and extending the sphere of liberty, you get a peace dividend. 

Of course, classical liberals have always known that liberty and peace go together. Classical liberalism blossomed after centuries of brutal war. The great champions of liberty all hated war. Mindful of how casually kings had launched so many senseless wars, America's Founding Fathers gave the war-making power to Congress, not to a single person (the chief executive). Peace was a primary passion of Richard Cobden and John Bright as they launched the successful movement for free trade. By giving people on both sides of a border easy access to resources, they believed free trade would eliminate major provocations for war and strengthen the self-interest of nations to get along. The international movement for liberty was a peace movement.

But as statists hammered classical liberalism during the late 19th century, it fell out of fashion, and the vital connection between liberty and peace was lost. Twentieth century statists engineered a vast build-up of government power almost everywhere and convinced multitudes that powerful governments were essential for protecting peace.

Rummel utterly demolishes such claims. In his previous book, the blockbuster Death by Government (1994), he demonstrated that government is the most monstrous killer. He further showed that civil wars and "peacetime" government murders kill more people than foreign wars. Now in Power Kills, Rummel shows: "First, well-established [limited-power] democracies do not make war on and rarely commit lesser violence against each other . . . Second, the more two nations are democratic, the less likely war or lesser violence between them . . . Third, the more a nation is democratic, the less severe its overall foreign violence . . . Fourth, in general, the more democratic a nation, the less likely it will have domestic collective violence . . . Finally, in general the more democratic a nation, the less its democide [mass murder]."

How strong is Rummel's proof? Well, consider this: "If one defines an international war as any military engagements in which 1,000 or more were killed, then there were 33 wars, 353 pairs of nations (e.g. Germany versus USSR) engaged in such wars between 1816 and 1991. None were between two democracies, 155 pairs involved a democracy and a nondemocracy, and 198 involved two nondemocracies fighting each other. The average length of war between states was 35 months, and the average battle deaths was 15,069." Another example: "For the years 1946 to 1986, when there were the most democracies and thus the hardest test of the proposition that democracies do not make war on each other, there were over this period 45 states that had a democratic regime; 109 that did not. There were thus 6,876 state dyads (e.g. Bolivia-Chile), of which 990 were democratic-democratic dyads, none of which fought each other . . . The odds of this lack of war between democracies being by chance is virtually 100 to 1."

How valid can Rummel's statistics be? His definition of a limited-power democratic government applies to about 80 countries; a century ago, there were about only about eight such countries; and at various points during the late 18th century, there were three. "That there have been no wars between democracies since, say, 1816, is statistically significant," he says.

What about other factors which might have influenced results? "A number of studies of whether democracies made war on each other have tried to determine if there is a hidden factor accounting for this, such as economic development, industrialization, geographic distance, trade, alliances, and so on. Always, democracy comes out as the best explanation. Best is meant in a statistically significant sense."

Because Power Kills provides actual proof of the dynamic link between liberty and peace, it is of capital importance--among the most exciting books in years.

Exporting Democracy

One of our favorite authors is Joshua Muravchick who has two outstanding books that speak out against the weak and wimpy thought of most people that democracy cannot exist in many countries and that America should not be so aggressive. He teaches that America should have the guts and heart to be a world policeman. In his book Exporting Democracy: Fulfilling America's Destiny he counters many arguments people have. We are not going into those now. We hope you read his books. Robert Kagan in Commentary magazine said this in his review: "{This is a} powerful and well-argued call for an ambitious American foreign policy based on democratic internationalism. . . . No one would claim, and Muravchik certainly does not, that the United States must engage in a feverish and uncompromising democratic crusade in every country in the world at all times, regardless of the cost or risk or likelihood of success. . . . What America can practice is the prudent support of democracy, using all the many tools at its disposal, most of them well short of military force. Muravchik carefully lists these tools, describing their strengths and weaknesses, and the appropriate times and places for their use. . . . Muravchik examines important moments in the histories of several countries, including Nicaragua in 1978-79, El Salvador in the early 1980's, and the Philippines in 1986, to show how relatively subtle American actions at the appropriate moment can make the difference between the success and failure of democracy." American Leadership Muravchik's other book is The Imperative of American Leadership: A Challenge to Neo-Isolationism. He writes that his view "flies in the face of the shibboleth that America cannot be the world's policeman." He says his "message will not fall on welcoming ears in America. Here are a few reviews of the book: Muravchik presents a spirited argument for a US foreign policy that is 'engaged, proactive, interventionist, and expensive.' . . . The primary goal, apart from preserving America's survival and freedom, is to prevent the outbreak of another large-scale war. . . . Well reasoned and logical, Muravchik's argument will inevitably raise the hackles of those who see a different post-Cold War world and advocate a lesser international role for the US.

Peter W. Rodman in The Times Literary Supplement writes: Muravchik, a young neoconservative at the American Enterprise Institute, argues that America has a moral duty to promote human rights and the global democratic revolution. . . . The book is a heartfelt appeal to the American people to shake off their current self-doubt and take up their international responsibility with the self-confidence they have displayed in the past, especially in the Reagan years. . . . {Muravchik is} on to something. American involvement in the world has indeed . . . required a certain impetus from a sense of mission that at times reached far beyond what would have been required by more prudential calculations. American self-confidence has always been rooted in this moral conviction. Our friends abroad may deplore the presumption, if not arrogance, that this self-confidence often seems to reflect. On the other hand, America's periods of introspection and self-flagellation (as over Vietnam) can be just as excessive and self-absorbed--and far more destabilizing for the rest of the world. Booknews, Inc. , December 1, 1996 This book is a neoconservative argument for a U.S. foreign policy that is engaged, proactive, interventionist, and expensive. Muravchik posits that there is no authority higher than America, and pushes for America to accept the role of world leader rather than wallow in "peacetime aloofness," unwilling to give up security for the reins of power.


Midwest Book Review In The Imperative Of American Leadership: A Challenge To Neo-Isolationism, Joshua Muravchik, a leading foreign policy expert, warns that the post-cold war period resembles the conditions following World War I, when Americans perceived no apparent threat and retreated into isolationism that paved the way to a Hitlerian Armageddon. The Imperative Of American Leadership will shake Americans from the lethargy and its terrifying consequences as makes a compelling argument for an active, interventionist American post-cold war policy. The Imperative Of American Leadership offers the general reader (conservative or liberal, hawk or dove) a post-cold war foreign policy in pursuit of American security and world peace. Muravchik tells us where our current policies are taking us; where an active, interventionist foreign policy could take us; and why the latter is in our best interest. The Imperative Of American Leadership is highly recommended reading for anyone with an interest in American foreign policy development and implementation.

Washington and Jefferson

America has been wrong to read into Washington's Farewell Address and Jefferson's First Inaugural Address that America should be isolationistic. Jefferson said, "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none." The Libertarian Party is right on domestic issues of limited government but they are wrong in interpreting that Jefferson would want us to not fight in such wars as WW1, WW2, Korea War, etc. They are wrong. Jefferson and Washington would have had the character to see that we would have to fight outside our borders.

Walter Lippman in his book U. S. Foreign Policy: Shield of the Republic rightly says that America misread Washington and Jefferson. He argues they were not isolationists.

The subject of democracy is a vast and important one. Sadly, most who write on it do not understand it deeply enough. A scholar and popular writer on democracy, Robert Alan Dahl, is an example of this. In his book, On Democracy, muddies the water with his liberal thinking. In a review of his book in Booklist, they write, "Market capitalism, Dahl suggests, is a two-edged sword: although it supports many elements of democracy, market capitalism, by generating economic (and thus political) inequality, demands democratic regulation." He is wrong. Democracy, to really work, needs to embrace laissez-faire capitalism.

Democracy is sacred. But it won't work unless people understand that politics is not supposed to be a career as Thomas Sowell argues. Power must be decentralized to the states and to the community. God wants everyone to understand that free enterprise is sacred. Private property is sacred. Tom Bethell has an excellent book about how sacredness of private property in Noblest Triumph: Property and Prosperity Through the Ages. At Amazon several people reviewed the book saying: " from Prescott AZ , March 18, 1999

All elected officials should read and understand this book. As an elected official I found the opportunity, for that is what it is, to read Tom Bethell's The Noblest Triumph worth much more than the time and effort involved. Not only does Bethell point out correctly the tremendous role played by private property in world history but, by inference and example, the grave threats to that right extant in American society today. For this reason alone elected officials of every stripe need to understand the implications of many of the actions they are daily called upon to undertake. No right, one until recently understood and sadly too often taken for granted, is under greater attack today than private ownership of property. Such concepts as public space, viewsheds, common lands and land use planning intrude daily into the public debate occasioned by new development projects in whatever town they may be proposed. Through application in code of these ideals, property no longer belongs to its owners, but rather to the planners and in many instances, the public at large. Demands for open space, trails, and the like cause owners to part with ever larger portions of their property for "the common good". Fortunately the courts in such cases as Dolan v. City of Tigard have restricted the ability of local governments to demand such extractions. Just as fortunately Bethell has authored a work which expounds the basic value and great benefit derived from protecting property rights. His clear analysis of why this right should be among our most cherished demands its protection by all levels of government.

 Don Boudreaux ( from Irvington-on-Hudson, NY , February 12, 1999 A remarkable achievement James Bovard comments rightly that no institution in modern society has received as much "intellectual charity" as has the state. With The Noblest Triumph, Tom Bethell helps in a big way to reverse the unfortunate effects of this misbegotten charity. Bethell's book bursts with sound history, first-rate economics, and a subtle and profound philosophical understanding of human society. His is one of the clearest explanations of why the rule of law -- the unbiased application of legal constraints to even the mightiest citizens -- is necessary for freedom and prosperity. Bethell also masterfully lands solid blows against the (sadly widespread) notion that majoritarian democracy is a sound means of making law. Bethell's lesson, in brief, is that a system of decentralized private property rights is far superior to any form of centralized government at ensuring peaceful and productive social relations. While explaining in a variety of ways the role of property rights, The Noblest Triumph is far more than a book about property rights. Read this book and enjoy a first-rate intellectual feast. Bethell's wife wrote a review also at Amazon saying, " from Washington, D.C., USA , August 23, 1998 Fascinating reasons why some nations prosper & some don't. How to bolster economies has become a hot topic. Will the euro really help Europe? How can Japan get back on its feet? What must Russia do to establish a real economy? What, in short, is needed for prosperity?

 Last year David Landes wrote "The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Others So Poor," but as more than one reviewer noted, he never answered the question. Now comes Tom Bethell with "The Noblest Triumph: Property and Prosperity through the Ages." Bethell not only asks the right questions, he gives convincing answers from the Greeks and Romans to imperial Britain to China in 1998.

 Why could the Romans afford to build an empire but not maintain it? Why did the Pilgrims and Ireland starve? What was wrong with the land reforms in Iran, Vietnam, and El Salvador that led to political upheaval? Why are Arab nations persistently underdeveloped? Conversely, what did Britain do right ahead of everyone else? What did America learn from Britain, and then forget to teach others? What is China doing right today and does it need democracy to prosper (did Hong Kong?)? What don't the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund understand?

The answers are given not in an abstract economic treatise but in the engaging stories of individuals and nations living and experimenting and, with surprising infrequency, finding the right formula for prosperity: security of private property, freedom of exchange, enforcement of contract, and equality before the law.

 The book title comes from a remark by Jeremy Bentham, that the law that secures property rights is "the noblest triumph of humanity over itself." The society that can guarantee property rights to individuals, rather than yielding to the temptation to share equally by holding property in common, has in fact taken a crucial step in promoting the greatest benefits to all.

 As Bethell demonstrates from history and reasons from common experiences we can all recognize, people respond to an innate sense of justice and act rationally in their own self-interest. If they have legal institutions that encourage property development by securing for them the benefits of their labor and investment, then they will behave in ways that lead to economic prosperity. As William Bradford, governor of Plymouth Colony, pointed out more than 300 years ago, people object to working hard and getting no more benefit that those who do little. As long as all property in Plymouth was held in common, the Pilgrims were divided into selfish "free-riders" and disgruntled hard workers. All were starving. It took the Pilgrims only three or four years to realize they had to have individual property rights with each family responsible for its own welfare. Then the colony prospered.

 Dr. Johnson said that to write a book, a man must turn over half a library. Bethell has done it, drawing on monumental research to multiply the examples across centuries, continents, and cultures. He is dealing with fundamental human nature. Circumstances may differ from Aristotle's Athens to Zemin's Beijing, but the human quality remains constant. We recognize ourselves in both the disgruntled hardworkers and the selfish free-riders. We have to admit that we all want to be the secure property owner.

Bethell argues convincingly that with the appropriate legal institutions, property owners will work to improve what they have and maximize its value by making it more productive and protecting it from harm. They need to be protected by the law from the predations of others, especially governments. They need a judicial system that will enforce contracts and treat all as equally subject to the same rule of law. With the incentive of reward, the freedom of exchange, the predictability of contracts, and the security of ownership, property of all kinds will flourish.

 For these principles apply not only to the fundamental form of property, the land and its produce. They extend to livestock, housing, factories, air and water, forests and wildlife, and even that quintessential hallmark of the Information Age, intellectual property. Bethell addresses all these many aspects of property in modern life. The lessons are as immediate as the economic crisis in Asia and as practical as chicken soup for a cold.

 Dr. Johnson also said that no one but a blockhead ever wrote except for money. Maybe Bethell did, but as his wife, I hope not. Buy the book.


Donna Fitzpatrick Bethell Richard A. Epstein's Principles for a Free Society: Reconciling Individual Liberty With the Common Good. Amazon has the following reviews: The term common good makes libertarians cringe, because they view it as a catch-all excuse for governments to increase the power of the state. America's foremost libertarian legal mind, Richard Epstein, addresses these worries, acknowledging a tension between personal freedom and social goals, while suggesting that they can be mutually reinforcing: "Laissez-faire is best understood not as an effort to glorify the individual at the expense of society, but as the embodiment of principles that, when consistently applied, will work to the advantage of all (or almost all) members of society simultaneously."


Epstein is a powerful reasoner, and even skeptical readers will find themselves slowly drawn down a libertarian path. Principles for a Free Society contains a storehouse of detailed information about human nature and the motives of state authority. Epstein deserves a place on the bookshelf beside Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman. --John J. Miller


The New York Times Book Review, Paul A. Weissman A common reaction to the writings of the conservative legal scholar Richard A. Epstein is that they are simultaneously outrageous and completely convincing.


From Booklist , September 1, 1998 A generation of social activists has seen in economic liberty merely a license for greed and aggression. Legal scholar Epstein sees much more: he finds a proven safeguard against state tyranny and an engine of social prosperity. But to defend laissez-faire against its critics, he must demonstrate that individual liberty in the use of private property can foster the common good, while still permitting government action--in regulating monopolies, for instance--when private initiative will not suffice. It is indeed the nuanced concessions that make the overall defense of free enterprise compelling, just as they give strength to the critiques of misapplied state coercion. In sketching out the proper limits for state power, Epstein opens exceptional insights into why society depends on cultural norms and family loyalties that neither courts nor legislatures can replace. The rigorous reasoning buttressed by exhaustive scholarship ensures sustained demand for this book among serious students of legal philosophy. Bryce Christensen Copyright© 1998, American Library Association. All rights reserved


Synopsis One of the country's leading libertarian scholars sets forth the essential principles for a legal order that, in an age of limited government, balances individual liberty against the common good. Richard Epstein is the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago and author of a number of books.


In Principles for a Free Society, distinguished legal scholar Richard Epstein staunchly defends the principles of limited government, showing how it can and will work to the advantage of almost all of our society. But the balance between a powerful economic engine and individual liberty requires careful dilution of pure laissez-faire policies. A seminal theoretician, Epstein carefully analyzes the interaction of law and social norms and highlights the handful of restraints that provide a moral foundation to a resilient, adaptive capitalist system. His central mission is "to explain how a concern with the common good does not eviscerate the traditional protections otherwise provided to individual liberty and private property." Laissez-Faire Books has this review:



How a just society works


PRINCIPLES FOR A FREE SOCIETY Reconciling Individual Liberty with the Common Good by Richard A. Epstein reviewed by Jim Powell


Epstein, the James Parker Hall Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, has had a growing influence on law professors and judges across the country. Here he addresses fundamental issues, continuing the great project which began with his 1995 book Simple Rules for a Complex World.


He's concerned to develop "principles that, when consistently applied, will work to the advantage of all (or almost all) members of society simultaneously . . . principles capable of ordering a just society." The subtitle "referring to the reconciliation of individual liberty with the common good, is designed to show how best to resolve the central tensions that remain once the basic commitments are made . . . my central mission is to explain how a concern with the common good does not eviscerate the traditional protections otherwise provided to individual liberty and private property."


Epstein discusses natural, common, legislative, and constitutional law in terms of their effects--you might say he's a free market utilitarian. He finds that "most of the simple rules of the classical natural lawyer are justified not as self-evident or prepolitical truths, but for their desirable social consequences. In so doing, I offer a consequentialist defense for the principles of individual autonomy, private property, and freedom of contract."


Then he talks about the interaction of law & social norms as they influence human relationships. "Voluntary associations thrive only if allowed a needed breathing room, which is denied them when the legal system backs every social convention with public coercion." While there is a case for government intervention when some people use force or fraud to harm others, Epstein explains how government intervention backfires when the aim is to remedy more types of harm. He discusses harm due to competition, discrimination and pollution. "If employers can be sued for their deliberate failure to offer jobs to workers, then workers may be sued for their unwillingness to accept job offers. Interviewing two candidates would guarantee, at best, one job and one lawsuit. The entire job market would come to a grinding halt. It is to (just about) everyone's long-term advantage to allow hiring and firing to take place only on grounds of mutual consent."


What about the "social safety net," the rationale for so much government intervention? Epstein says government is incapable of determining who has suffered because of bad luck and who has suffered because of risky behavior. Moreover, public policies are blunt instruments. He cites health-care taxes which act as incentives for people to take above average risks, with terrible consequences.


Epstein focuses on unmanageable complications that arise as government undermines private property rights. He also tackles altruism head-on. Altruism within a family or close-knit community is fine, he says, because you get satisfaction from it, and you're in a position to curb abuse. But altruism is a disaster when government tries it:


"The strong system of individual property rights is dismantled; and in its place is substituted a collective structure whose bywords are public participation and disinterested deliberation. While it would be silly and ungracious to insist that intelligent deliberation on public issues is nowhere found in modern communities, it would be naive to imagine that wise deliberation can survive the constant pounding from self-interested political behavior. Benevolence in public institutions has a short half-life no matter how noble its original intentions."


He makes clear how the political process turns good intentions into nightmares. "Once the program is in place, its day-to-day administration falls into the hands of a professional cadre besieged by powerful interest groups whose influence grows as public interest wanes. . . . A slow process of disintegration and reconfiguration sets in, transforming and expanding a program from within."


A masterful companion volume to Simple Rules for a Complex World, affirming Epstein's position as a major thinker.


SIMPLE RULES FOR A COMPLEX WORLD by Richard A. Epstein (reviewed by Jim Powell, April 1995)

 This book is a bombshell. While Congress considers tinkering with Lyndon Johnson's Great Society giveaways and devolving school lunch programs back to the states, University of Chicago Distinguished Service Professor of Law Richard Epstein takes a giant step to radicalize the debate. In his book bearing the prestigious imprint of Harvard University Press, Epstein spells out an elegant case for dismantling the welfare state. He goes after not only the Great Society, but also Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, the so-called Progressive Era and much more besides.


Epstein affirms that it is private enterprise, not government, which makes a society harmonious and successful. The more complicated a society becomes, the less government officials know about how everything interacts, and the more laws backfire badly. Epstein presents a compelling case that the fewer and simpler the laws, the better.


He proposes a legal framework based on six principles--about as stripped down a government as you will see, short of trashing it altogether. His principles:


(1) individuals own themselves;


(2) individuals may appropriate unowned property, so virtually everything ends up belonging to someone;


(3) individuals are free to make contracts with others;


(4) tort law provides remedies when individual rights are infringed, as by fraud, theft, robbery, rape or murder;


(5) private property rights may be violated in a few cases of overwhelming necessity such as to relieve starving people during a famine;


(6) in all cases when government violates private property rights, through regulation or outright seizure, government must pay the owner just compensation.


Then Epstein shows how these six principles, alone or in combination, cover the great bulk of disputes which arise--and why, therefore, thousands of outrageously complex, costly, intrusive and counterproductive laws should be scrapped.


His radicalism gains intellectual power as he tackles one category of laws after another. He explains how the present morass of environmental laws and regulations have resulted in consequences which are the opposite of what was intended. Then he shows why environmental laws often aren't even needed. He favors a market for "pollution rights" which would help limit pollution while encouraging technological improvements, unlike the EPA's discredited "command and control" regulations.


Epstein tells how U.S. labor laws--including such sacred cows as the Fair Labor Standards Act and the National Labor Relations Act-- provoke bitter, violent disputes. He urges that such laws be repealed. He makes clear how labor disputes can be resolved by applying his principles.


Epstein covers the failure of product liability laws which have increased the cost of many products and given companies strong incentives to withdraw other useful products from the market. Epstein talks about the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (1966) which disrupted the auto industry but didn't have any apparent effect on the death rate from auto accidents.


Epstein attacks laws which attempt to pin liability for every imaginable loss on corporations. The ultimate consequence, he warns, will be fewer corporations, smaller corporations and less technological innovation which has contributed so much to improved safety. He cites good reasons to believe his principles would produce better results than current corporate laws.


Epstein expands his case against antidiscrimination laws, discussed at length in a previous book, which require equal treatment of employees involving very different costs. Such laws, he shows, provides perverse incentives for employers to reduce the number of jobs and harm the very people who are supposedly helped.


Epstein chronicles the futility of policies aimed at redistributing income from rich to poor. For example, he tells why laws intended to help the homeless have increased the number of homeless. He talks about graduated tax rates which, promoted to "soak the rich," fail to do that while limiting the amount of capital available for new jobs desperately needed by the poor.


While Epstein doesn't categorically reject income redistribution, he insists that the costs should be borne by all taxpayers. A small group shouldn't be stuck with the costs. This is the case, for example, with rent control laws which force landlords to subsidize tenants (rich and poor alike) with below-market rents. Rent control laws, Epstein says, effect a taking, and landlords are entitled to just compensation paid by all taxpayers through government revenues. Requiring all taxpayers to bear the costs of redistribution, he believes, will make them less likely to pursue it.


Epstein notes that his six principles don't promote virtue as many conservatives would like, but he says: "Law's stock in trade is the use of collective might, and the sanctions that it imposes must be reserved for the most serious social violations--which typically involve using force and not keeping serious contractual engagements. A legal system is not a complete social system, and we should not reflexively invoke legal remedies to enforce whatever conduct we think to be socially desirable."


Epstein's obvious intelligence, his honored position, the compelling logic of his case and the reasonableness with which he presents it seem sure to help this book become an enormously influential classic. Don't miss it.


Anatomy of Power

In The Anatomy of Power John Kenneth Galbraith writes that he has "been involved with the subject of power ... for some forty years." His book covers "economic, political, Powermilitary, and religious power and the power attributed to the press, television, and public opinion." In his chapter on religious power he says, "The power of personality is still present in certain contemporary religious leaders -- in the United States the Reverend Billy Graham, the Reverend Jerry Falwell, the Reverend Oral Roberts, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon." He writes that though there are a few powerful religious leaders like the ones he mentioned society does not give churches as much power as they had in the past. I agree. Power has shifted toward the secular.

Galbraith writes, "Few words are used so frequently with so little seeming need to reflect on their meaning as power, and so it has been for all the ages. In association with kingship and glory it was included in the ultimate scriptural accolade to the Supreme Being; millions still offer it every day. Bertrand Russell was led to the thought that power, along with glory, remains the highest aspiration and the greatest reward of humankind." Russell wrote Power: A New Social Analysis. He said, "Of the infinite desires of man, the chief are the desires for power and glory." Russell was not religious but we are and when you think of it isn't our number one goal to see God and True Parents have power and glory instead of Satan and his ideology? We want goodness to win. We want the good guys to have more power than the bad guys.

Galbraith continues, "Not many get through a conversation without a reference to power. Presidents or prime ministers are said to have it or to lack it in the requisite. Corporations and trade unions are said to be powerful. Newspaper publishers...Reverend Jerry Falwell"...etc. are all said to have power. He comments on the history of men having power over women: "male power and female submission have relied on the belief since ancient times that such submission is the natural order of things. Men might love, honor, and cherish; it was for long accepted that women should love, honor, and obey." He says the women's movement has gained power to confront this thinking. He says that power can be for good or bad: "There can be suffering, indignity, and unhappiness from the exercise of power. There can, as well, be suffering, indignity, and unhappiness from the absence of its exercise."


The key to success is leadership. Leadership means vision as discussed in all books on leadership such as Warren Bennis in Leaders: The Strategies For Taking Charge and Burt Nanus in Visionary Leadership. A few other famous writers on leadership are James McGregor Burns, John Gardiner, and Ken Blanchard. There are no colleges that give a major in Leadership.


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