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Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty

48 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0312123338
ISBN-10: 0312123337
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A critic of governmental hypocrisy in his exposes The Fair Trade Fraud and The Farm Fiasco , Bovard over-extends himself in this libertarian broadside against government interventions such as school condom-giveaway programs and the minimum wage. He makes worthy points, however, arguing, for example, that only those who can afford to sue can protect their property rights and that the need for drunk-driving checkpoints results from police incompetence in controlling previously convicted drunken drivers. But Bovard proffers sweeping statements like "Civil rights law has gone from letting black people sit at luncheon counters to entitling people with infectious diseases to prepare and serve them lunch." Another shocker: "The federal tax system has turned individuals into sharecroppers of their own lives ." A bit less bluster and more discretion would have produced a more effective polemic.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher

Praise for James Bovard's Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty:

"Remarkable...Mr. Bovard's unrivaled research has resulted in a virtual encyclopedia of modern government abuse." --The Wall Street Journal

"There may be no more cogent critic of today's welfare state than journalist James Bovard...Lost Rights is his finest work yet." --National Review

"A gold mine...a virtually bottomless pit of government incompetence, dishonesty or outright repression at all levels." --The Washington Times

"I would go out of my way to recommend the remarkable book--400 densely packed pages about the mounting war on poverty and contract, the tyranny of taxation, and the growth of federal power in the guise of expanding our rights. In this field, Bovard is surely the leading researcher in the country...Brilliant!" --American Spectator

"Chilling...James Bovard has collected in one volume the evidence of what Americans' willingness to trade freedom for security has cost them...Bovard's catalogue of petty tyrannies is worth your attention. Read it to be reminded why eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." --Los Angeles Daily News


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (September 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312123337
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312123338
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #854,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Bovard is the author of Public Policy Hooligan (Kindle version 2012), Attention Deficit Democracy (St. Martin's/Palgrave, 2006), and eight other books. He is a member of the USA Today Board of Contributors and has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Playboy, Washington Post, and many other publications. His books have been translated into Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, and Korean. He is a contributing editor for the American Conservative and a regular contributor to the Future of Freedom monthly, published by the Future of Freedom Foundation.

The Wall Street Journal called Bovard 'the roving inspector general of the modern state,' and Washington Post columnist George Will called him a 'one-man truth squad.' His 1994 book Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty received the Free Press Association's Mencken Award as Book of the Year. His book Terrorism and Tyranny won the Lysander Spooner Award for the Best Book on Liberty in 2003. He received the Thomas Szasz Award for Civil Liberties work, awarded by the Center for Independent Thought, and the Freedom Fund Award from the Firearms Civil Rights Defense Fund of the National Rifle Association.

His writings have been been publicly denounced by the chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the Postmaster General, and the chiefs of the Transportation Security Administration, U.S. International Trade Commission, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as by many congressmen and other malcontents.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Greg B. Shoom on August 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
The United States of America is the greatest country in human history because it is the only nation ever founded on the noblest political principle possible: the principle of inalienable individual rights. But today this principle is undergoing an all-out assault by the enemies of liberty, and the United States is being destroyed in the process. This book presents, in terrifying detail, just how far the destruction of American liberties has gone. Bovard presents a wide range of examples of the arbitrary, viscious use of government power against defenseless citizens, and of the cost in death and ruined lives that this power produces. It is shocking to discover how far the destruction of freedom has already gone in America. Any person interested in protecting liberty ought to read this book.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Bryan Carey VINE VOICE on October 31, 1999
Format: Paperback
Do you think the institution of government is generally good? Do you think that politicians have your best interests in mind? Are you a believer in the idea that important decisions should be made by a government authority?
If you truly believe in the sanctity of government, Lost Rights could very well change your mind for good. You will discover that government abuses run far and wide, from police harassment, to IRS intimidation, to government censorship of television and radio.
These abuses are far worse than many people realize. The American public has become too apathetic, too vulnerable to political rambling, and too accepting of abusive, coercive government rules and regulations.
James Bovard provides an excellent account of these government abuses. This book is well documented and convincing. It will change the minds of many liberals.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
A guaranteed eye-opener for anyone. This book catalouges atrocities that reveal how far we've come from the ideas this country was founded on. The book uses inflammatory language to sway emotions, but even when wary of this, you can't help but be swayed. Read and become aware of our rights and how they are being violated.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
For the most part this book is a laundry list of crimes. Bovard slams home hit after accurate hit against government agencies and laws that blatantly violate the Bill of Rights at the expense of our social, civil and financial welfare. He covers everything from global politics to gun control. If you have a "special interest" it's probably listed in this book.
Some might not like the thesis-like approach of "Lost Rights". It's a dry read, weighed down with foot notes. Don't read it for entertainment because "Lost Rights" won't provide any. Some chapters are so technical and shoot for such detail that I had to skip over them to avoid falling asleep. But the book as a whole is a very eye-opening look behind the scenes of our modern government. School teachers would do well to include "Lost Rights" in their civics corriculum. I also recommend it to Republicans who think their vaunted GOP has been fighting the good fight against DNC socialism for the past fifty years.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book should and will produce a certain level of anger in the reader, because Bovard succeeds in showing to us many examples of how the government has gradually taken away more and more of our rights. I strongly recommend this book to anybody who doesn't believe that our government has gone as far as it already has in destroying our liberties. Anybody who believes that "it doesn't matter if it doesn't happen to me" should read this book as well, if just to open their minds to the abuses going on every day in this nation. I applaud Bovard for his effort, and hope it does not go ignored.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Alexander E. Paulsen on August 23, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One thing about Bovard, he makes an assertion, talks about the issue then drowns you in examples. I see where anbother reviewer has criticized Bovards use of anecdotal evidence saying that it is the weakest evidence. This is nonsense. When you are citing examples of goverment incompetence and abuse ther is no other kind of evidence other than by example. These are the cases that prove the point. I don't think we can do double-blind governemnt tyranny studies. I would be interested to know what kind of eveidence that reviewer would consider to be acceptable. Perhaps if the Army Corps of Engineers declared a puddle in his backyard to be a wetland and bulldoze his house - oh but that would be just another anecdote. Help me out here.

In addition, I think the other reviewer missed the point of whole book. Yes, Bovard cites files lawsuits but he also cites plenty of examples where judges have ruled in favor of the plaintiff, then cited examples of what can only be judicial incompetence or legal ignorance. The courts today are far from being the protector of our rights even if the occasional judge does do the right thing, and Bovard cites enough examples of that to prove that he indeed gives credit where credit is due.

But to the book, with Bovard's judicious use of examples and what we find is tat he builds a powerful case against the federal and in some cases local, governments. The examples he uses are all true and he by no means cites every example, but he sure cite enough to show a distinct pattern. An indisputable pattern.

What more powerful evidence can there be but to cite the facts of government abuse of citizens and the abrogation of the rights. There it is in black and white undeniable and irrefutable.
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