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The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America Paperback – June 26, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; 1st edition (June 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1610391004
  • ISBN-13: 978-1610391009
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #748,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


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."

Washington Examiner, June 26, 2011

“An important book and lively read.”, 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.”

Washington Post, 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.”, 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.”

About the Author

Nick Gillespie is the editor-in-chief of the websites and 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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Customer Reviews

I especially liked the case studies and historical examples of libertarianism in action.
J. Fairbanks
I hope this book gets better, but the only people who are going to find out are those of us who are already on your side.
D. Robison
The good- -Enjoyable read for a political book, the interspersion of pop culture history makes it extremely interesting.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

93 of 98 people found the following review helpful By J. Fairbanks on June 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'd say this is probably the most dangerous political book of the year--for the Republican and Democrat establishment. The Declaration of Independents is a call to Americans to get past our historic political tribalism, stop defending the two major parties simply because we might belong to one, and to pursue our own happiness without interference from government.

I decided to get this book because I'm a big fan of and Reason Magazine, and Nick and Matt. This book appealed to me because, like many Americans, I got tired of the expansion of government under Bush and Obama, despite their promises to cut it. If you're a fan of Obama and the Democrats, please get this book. Same to fan of Bush and the Republicans. Nick and Matt's treatment of each party is entirely fair; you will never come away thinking, "Wow, that was a cheap shot." There were a couple things in the book I disagreed with, but their arguments were always well-reasoned and sincere.

I especially liked the case studies and historical examples of libertarianism in action. The review of rock n' roll and the fall of the Communists in Czechoslovakia was fantastic. So was the example of Southwest Airlines and how it overcame government regulation and government protectionism in favor of already-existing airline corporations.

I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in politics, whether you're Republican, Democrat, or Zulu. I wouldn't recommend this book to someone who just wants to read how great their party is and how awful the other party is--your head will probably explode. I hope after reading this book, more people are willing to declare independence from their political allegiances in order to get at the truth and expand our personal freedoms.
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115 of 137 people found the following review helpful By D. Robison on July 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My alternate title for this review was "Hey, cool! They let us write a book!" Full disclosure: I'm writing this review after having read only 20% of this book on my Kindle. Like most of the previous reviewers, I am a libertarian, a Reason magazine subscriber, and a fan of Matt and Nick. I want to like this book. I want this book to have an impact on the political debate. I want Libertarians to actually make a difference in the world. I want to give this book to my friends who don't get it. But, well into Chapter 3 of the book I want these guys to quit being such smart asses and start making their point. This is an extremely annoying book to read. The first three chapters have no particular literary organization. Just a bunch of long, run-on sentences crammed chock full of as many hip, irreverent, cultural references and cool slang as the guys can come up with to convince us that they're hip, irreverent, and cool. Of course, the only ones who are going to read any farther in this book are people who already know that they're hip, irreverent, and cool. Nick - we get it. You wear a leather jacket and you're cool and smart. Now make a coherent point. Write like an adult.

This is what libertarians do, and it's maddening for those of us who believe that libertarians are the keepers of the truth, the light, and the way. They have the answer to practically every issue facing the planet - and then when given a platform, they leave everyone with the impression that the only reason anyone is a libertarian is they want to smoke pot. Ron Paul goes on national television for a presidential debate armed with the most logical, forceful, and persuasive take on the Fed and our economic situation of all the candidates - and makes headlines because he wants to legalize heroin.
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50 of 60 people found the following review helpful By David Kinchen on June 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
No, that's not a typo in the title of "The Declaration of Independents" by Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch: The "WORD", as Stephen Colbert might put it, is "Independents," as in independence from the two legacy political parties that have ruled the United States in one form or another since it began.

In "The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America" (PublicAffairs, 288 pages, notes, index, $25.99) Gillespie and Welch issue a manifesto, if you will (shades of the "Communist Manifesto" of Marx and Engels!) on behalf of a system better suited to the future -- one structured by the essential libertarian principles of free minds and free markets.

Gillespie and Welch profile libertarian innovators, identify the villains propping up two parties that make up the political duopoly attempting to govern the country, and take aim at do-something government policies that hurt most of those they claim to protect. At the very beginning of the book, they show how consumers, faced with the rigid choices -- actually no choice at all -- offered by manufacturers like Eastman Kodak, abandon even trusted brands like Big Yellow, which at one time controlled more than 90 percent of the photography market, in favor of digital photography. Duopolies that are toast include Macy's and Gimbels and AT&T and MCI. For more about duopolies, chronicled by the late Larry F. Darby -- he died at age 69 in 2010 -- the authors say to click on: [...].
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