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Toward Liberty: The Idea That Is Changing the World Hardcover – April 25, 2002


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Editorial Reviews

Review

Those looking for a comprehensive anthology of libertarian thought on today's pressing issues should seek out Toward Liberty.. -- National Review on June 3, 2002

From the Inside Flap

Jimmy Carter. Tip O'Neill. Energy czars. Gas lines. ABC-NBC-CBS. Mao Tse-tung. The Soviet Union. Apartheid. It was a different era.

What wasn't so obvious at the time was that it was the end of an era.

In 1977 the Soviet Union seemed a permanent fixture. The Democrats controlled Washington, and the big three networks had 91 percent of television viewers. Philosopher-statesman Daniel Patrick Moynihan lamented that "liberal democracy on the North American model has simply no relevance to the future. It is where the world was, not where it is going."

Twenty-five years later, the world has changed so much that we may have forgotten what a different era 1977 was. Within a few years Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were moving public policy in the direction of lower taxes, less regulation, and privatization.

Today, the conventional wisdom is that Anglo-American democratic capitalism is the only viable model left in the world. After the tyrannies and central planning of the 20th century, true liberalism is making a comeback.

Everywhere that governments will allow it, people are choosing open markets, open societies, and responsibility for their own lives. Information, commerce, and investment increasingly flow in response to the choices of free people, not the dictates of politicians.

But the triumph of liberalism is by no means inevitable. There never was a golden age of liberty, and there never will be. Although we seem to have left behind some of the worst forms of government, we must remember that within the past century we have endured communism, fascism, and national socialism.

In this book are some of the people and ideas associated with the Cato Institute in its first 25 years. ­­Karl Popper on the failure of communism, Peter Bauer on economic development, Helen Suzman on the end of apartheid, F. A. Hayek on money and information, Milton Friedman on markets in China, Mario Vargas Llosa on "neoliberalism," Carolyn Weaver and José Piñera on Social Security, Antonin Scalia and Richard Epstein on the role of judges, Alan Greenspan on globalization, Nadine Strossen on Clinton's constitutional conduct, P. J. O'Rourke on rights and responsibilities, and Walter Williams on affirmative action.

Twenty-five years after Moynihan's dirge, the anti-liberal scholars Stephen Holmes and Cass Sunstein complain that libertarian ideas are "astonishingly widespread in American culture." These essays show why they will continue to be.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 450 pages
  • Publisher: Cato Institute (April 25, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1930865279
  • ISBN-13: 978-1930865273
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,685,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Boaz, the executive vice president of the Cato Institute, has played a key role in the growth of the libertarian movement. He is the author of "The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom" and editor of "The Libertarian Reader."

The earlier edition of "The Libertarian Mind," titled "Libertarianism: A Primer," was described by the Los Angeles Times as "a well-researched manifesto of libertarian ideas" and by Richard Epstein as "unit[ing] history, philosophy, economics and law--spiced with just the right anecdotes--to bring alive a vital tradition of American political thought." His other books include "The Politics of Freedom," the "Cato Handbook For Policymakers," "Liberating Schools," and "The Crisis in Drug Prohibition." His articles have been published in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, National Review, Slate, and the Encyclopedia Britannica.

He is a frequent guest on national television and radio shows and a popular speaker on college campuses and at corporate and community events.

Customer Reviews

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Very nice volume.
Ali-Reza Anghaie
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone remotely interested in libertarian (or for that matter free market or conservative) political thought.
Juris Imprudence
Therefore, despite my position, I believe that my review provides a useful summary of this book.
Tucker Andersen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Tucker Andersen VINE VOICE on December 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book is a collection of some of the best speeches, public policy reports, and articles published by The Cato Institute in its twenty five years of existence. It has been edited by David Boaz, executive vp of Cato and author and editor of several other books regarding libertarianism. Cato is a public policy institute headquartered in DC that promotes limited government, free markets, peaceful coexistence and a return to the rule of law as envisioned by our founders, especially Madison and Jefferson. While this political philsophy is generally known as libertarianism, it is more correctly labeled the dominance of civil rather than political society. As a disclaimer, this reviewer has been a member of the Board of Directors of Cato for fifteen years and regards David Boaz as a friend; however, those who know me will vouch that I have been an vocal critic of Cato on those occasions where I have disagreed with its policy positions. Therefore, despite my position, I believe that my review provides a useful summary of this book.
The editor provides an introduction which attempts to summarize the changes in the political landscape over the past quarter century and concludes that classical liberalism is on the ascendancy after a century of many failed experiments in statism.The book is then divided into nine topics with several selections for each topic - these are Ideas and Consequences (3 articles), Economic Growth (3 articles), The Welfare State (5), The Regulatory State (4), A World In Transition (11), Foreign Affairs (4), Trade And international Finance (4), Law And Liberty (8), and Democracy And Culture (8).
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Juris Imprudence on June 9, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Boaz has assembled a very fine collection of essays regarding liberty and the failings of modern societies to create a world in which we can live as free men. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone remotely interested in libertarian (or for that matter free market or conservative) political thought.
Just to tone down my entheusiasm a bit, though, I would add that many of the essays may seem a little elementary to someone who has been reading libertarian publications for a long time. But on the whole, this is a solid, highly readable work full of ammunition for your libertarian debating arsenal.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ali-Reza Anghaie on December 5, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Usually this would warrant a four-star because I found perhaps 1/5th of the essays pretty lame/repetitive however the very fact that the other papers were so good and relevent/enlightening years after they were written warranted the make-up point IMO.

It's interesting to see the papers on foreign relations pre-9/11, the papers on privatization of various major Guv'ment spending programs, etc. all written WELL before most of the media started talking about it.

While I don't agree with some of the papers all-together (drug papers for example) I find myself in agreement and understanding positions better than I did before. And further research online filled in the minor gaps from the last papers (circa late 00) to now.

Very nice volume. Very nice. -Ali
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jeffrey caton on January 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
love it, great for anyone, especially those of a libertarian mind-frame. But especially for those not of that mind set it is a compelling book that will alter your thinking and world outlook
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Kopec on February 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
David Boaz has created a cross section of world renowned free thinkers writing on a wide enough range of issues that there is something for almost everyone remotely interested in politics, government, and economics. Even if you are not a libertarian, you will find a wealth of eye opening information and arguments about all the subjects covered in the volume. However, this is clearly not a book for the unpolitical, it may be for the apathetic, but not the unpolitical.
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