From Publishers Weekly
Murray (coauthor of The Bell Curve) is a skilled polemicist, and his manifesto for a radically downsized government should both gather adherents and challenge opponents. He argues from two basic points: freedom (associated with responsibility) is our birthright; and in most cases, government intervention has been ineffectual. While Murray allows for some level of state and local government, he recommends scrapping most federal agencies that deal with domestic policies. Arguing that civil rights laws have actually retarded progress against racism, he cites evidence that discrimination against Jews and the Irish declined without legislation; but this ignores the special stigma of race. Murray advocates a $3000 education voucher for each child and suggests optimistically that medical patients paying full fees will subsidize the costs of the indigent; but this says nothing about those in between?the majority of the population. Welfare and Social Security payments should end, to be replaced by individual saving and community support from voluntary associations. Murray's proposals posit a more responsible populace?a worthy goal?yet they also assume a neighborly concern that may be lacking in our increasingly fragmented society. Moreover, his schema fails to address international comparisons (Canadian health care) and does not acknowledge how government has shaped an unequal status quo (e.g., mortgage interest deductions but little money for public housing).
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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From Library Journal
Murray, the controversial coauthor of The Bell Curve (Free Pr., 1994), is back with an essay on the political views of the modern libertarian. At a time when the Libertarian Party seems to be gaining in popularity, Murray's book could have served as a treatise for the cause. However, the text is fraught with contradictions and unsubstantiated claims. For example, while Murray concedes that seat belts have reduced the number of automobile injuries, he argues against government regulations and state laws requiring them because the number of injuries to passengers and pedestrians are up, without citing a single study or paper correlating these two issues. Murray also includes no footnotes in his book and has only two brief two-page bibliographic essays. Ironically, in The Bell Curve, Murray and coauthor Richard J. Herrnstein argued that race and class affects the results of IQ tests and defines an individual's role in life, without taking into consideration the environment in which the person was raised. Yet here, in calling for the dismantling of federal regulations, Murray argues that it is the very environment of big government that is the problem. Go figure. Marginally recommended, at best, for general collections. [See also David Boaz's Libertarianism: A Primer, reviewed above.?Ed.]?Patricia Hatch, Insurance Institute for Property Loss Reduction, Boston, Mass.--Patricia Hatch, Insurance Institute for Property Loss Reduction, Boston, Mass.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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