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Against Leviathan: Government Power and a Free Society (Independent Studies in Political Economy) Paperback – September 1, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0945999966 ISBN-10: 0945999968

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"I wish liberals and even radicals felt and wrote as strongly about the Iron Heel of government power..." -- Alexander Cockburn, columnist, The Nation; co-editor, CounterPunch

"One of the best books on economic policy in [recent] years...Higgs’s case against government oppression is tight and persuasive." -- David Henderson, Professor of Economics, Naval Postgraduate School; author, The Joy of Freedom

"Robert Higgs is a gutsy, passionate, and learned defender of liberty. America—the real country, not the rotten empire—needs him." -- Bill Kauffman, Associate Editor, American Enterprise

"This hard-hitting book exposes the multitude of ways the growth of the welfare-warfare state threatens our freedom and prosperity." -- Ron Paul, U.S. Congressman

"This is a book that should be read by anyone concerned with American freedoms in the 21st century." -- Thomas Gale Moore, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution

About the Author

ROBERT HIGGS is Senior Fellow at The Independent Institute and Editor of the Institute’s quarterly journal, The Independent Review. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University and has taught at the University of Washington, Lafayette College and Seattle University. He is the author of "The Transformation of the American Economy 1865-1914, Competition and Coercion", and "Crisis and Leviathan", which is recognized as one of the classic works on the growth and abuse of government power.

His articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and San Francisco Chronicle, and he has been a guest on NPR, NBC, ABC, C-SPAN, CBN, CNBC, and Radio Free Europe. He lectures at universities and conferences around the world.

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Product Details

  • Series: Independent Studies in Political Economy
  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Independent Institute (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0945999968
  • ISBN-13: 978-0945999966
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,138,612 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Robert Higgs (born 1 February 1944) is an American economic historian and an economist of the Austrian school. His writings in economics and economic history have most often focused on the causes, means, and effects of government growth. Dr. Higgs has written extensively about the ratchet effect, the economic causes of the Great Depression, regime uncertainty, and the myth that World War II caused economic recovery in the late 1940s.

Currently Dr. Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy for The Independent Institute and Editor of the Institute's quarterly journal The Independent Review. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University, and he has taught at the University of Washington, Lafayette College, Seattle University, and the University of Economics, Prague. He has been a visiting scholar at Oxford University and Stanford University, and a fellow for the Hoover Institution and the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Higgs is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Gary Schlarbaum Award for Lifetime Defense of Liberty, Thomas Szasz Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Cause of Civil Liberties, Lysander Spooner Award for Advancing the Literature of Liberty, Friedrich von Wieser Memorial Prize for Excellence in Economic Education, and Templeton Honor Rolls Award on Education in a Free Society.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
The author has a very unique and humorous voice, and the writing overall is very clear and concise.
Stephen Dickinson
In the main, the book is intended, I think, to cause the reader to examine his worldview and re-think the basis for his ideology.
Alan Dale Daniel
He really covers every base and sticks it to the man right between his little beady lying pea-brain eyes.
marxbites

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Alexander E. Paulsen on October 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
A very readable collection of essays and assorted writings that are an excellent companion to any of James Bovards works especially "Lost Rights".

He explodes myths in a way that exposes the corrupt foundation of big government. Nothing from the Wefare state to the FDA, the Drug War and overall regulation escapes Higgs' scrutiny.

There is something here for everyon and I plan to pass my copy to as many people as possible including my daughters college friends as an antidote to their years of being brainwashed.

If you've veer wondered whether all these big expensive and liberty-destroying federal programs are worth it or can ever work, Higgs will certainly cure you of any doubts.

The chapter of the FDA is alone worth the price of the book as many of my friends all use the FDA as the one thing that the federal government does right and we cannot live without. Higgs exposes that for the sad joke that it is. In reality the FDA had killed many more people than they've ever saved. Despite years of testing and hundreds of millions od dollars prescription drugs still kill thousands ( Voixx was approved by the FDA then recently pulled ) at the same time tens of thousands are dying while potential life saving drugs are denied patients by the FDA rules - all in the name of safety!

The best thing about this book is that Higgs exposes the underlying issues without his own poitical axe to grind, and he is willing to give credit where credit is due. Overall his attack is relentless and his arguments very convincing. Even the most rabid Demo-publican will not be able to factually dispute anything presented here. Like Bovards works, this book is meticulously researched.
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Karen U. Kwiatkowski on December 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
"I believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie. I believe that it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe that it is better to know than be ignorant."

~ H. L. Mencken (Living Philosophies, 1931)

H. L. Mencken would have delighted in Robert Higgs's crisp and razor-sharp assessment of America's political evolution, Against Leviathan: Government Power and a Free Society. The American body politic in the early 21st century seems somewhat inexplicable to many classical liberals, traditional conservatives, libertarians and others who appreciate the famous Marxist inquiry (Groucho, not Karl) of "Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?" Higgs, in forty concise chapters focusing on what has really happened in our historical, political and economic evolution as a Republic, ensures not only that we "know" and are no longer ignorant, but hints that Americans may also someday recognize that it is better to be free than to be a slave to the idea of the necessity of a centralized nation-state.

How did America migrate so far from the ideas of the founders, who believed government was a necessary evil to be constantly watched for signs of insincerity and encroachment? How did we change from a people who saw American presidents as presentable representatives abroad and models of moderation in all things governmental, into a people who worship activists from Wilson to Roosevelt to Nixon to Clinton and George W. Bush - each in their own way a national embarrassment abroad and utterly Bacchanalian in all things related to the state?
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Dickinson on September 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
I highly recommend this book to veterans and newcomers to Liberty. I myself will definitely pass this book around to my friends and relatives.

The author has a very unique and humorous voice, and the writing overall is very clear and concise. It's an odd thing to say, but this book has the most entertaining and informative introduction I've ever read in a book--and I read many!

Buy it, read it, and spank it.
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24 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Robert A. Williams on May 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
When Robert Higgs is attacking big government of the Hobbesian kind - i.e. "Leviathan", he is brilliant while also promoting the blessings of a free economy. "Against Leviathan" is a collection of 40 essays and reviews save one that were previously published in various journals, especially the Independent Institute's "Independent Review: A Journal of Political Economy" that is edited by Robert Higgs. The 40 pieces are grouped under seven topics: Welfare Statism, Our Glorious Leaders, Despotism, Soft and Hard, Economic Disgraces, The Political Economy of Crisis, Retreat of the State?, and Review of the Troops. The gist is that "few people in the United States today really give a damn about living as free men and women".

Despite Junior Bush being selected as President by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 and Junior Bush next stealing votes in Ohio through corruption and cheating in 2004 to win that state's electoral votes and subsequently the national election, Higgs believes that Americans have free and honest elections: "Citizens in a democracy can always `throw the rascals out' at the next election". Ask a Libertarian or a Green about ballot access laws.

Higgs blames the American voter for the Demo-publican monopoly in party politics: "Here in the United States we have been flinging rascals hither and yon for more than two centuries". Yet during the last election in 2004, this reviewer asked all of his sociology of law students at a very expensive private college in Ohio to name the 4 candidates for President to appear on the Ohio ballot - they could name only 2! That's a score of 50% - not a passing score. They only knew Bush and Kerry, they could not name Badnarik or Peroutka.
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Against Leviathan: Government Power and a Free Society (Independent Studies in Political Economy)
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