- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (June 12, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 140397666X
- ISBN-13: 978-1403976666
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
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#1,331,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #512 in Books > Health, Fitness & Dieting > Mental Health > Attention Deficit & Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders
- #1596 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Specific Topics > Civics & Citizenship
- #2164 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Ideologies & Doctrines > Democracy
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Attention Deficit Democracy Paperback – June 12, 2007
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“A lively attack on politicians, voters and government. Bovard's indictment of an ineffective but ever-expanding federal government would make any libertarian proud.” ―The New York Post
“A comprehensive attack on the administration from a less-often-heard place on the political spectrum. . . . Readers looking for a rousing refresher on the merits of skepticism will find it here in spades.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Bovard explains how supposedly free citizens have bought into the lies and frauds offered by the political class.... Bovard offers wise counsel and sage advice.” ―The Orange County Register
“We ignore Jim Bovard's work at the risk of being repeatedly...'betrayed' by the siren songs of presidential candidates of both parties.” ―Former congressman Bob Barr, American Conservative
“Attention Deficit Democracy not only diagnoses our national malady, it provides a remedy as well. If you care about the loss of our liberty, have people read this book. Once Bovard gets their blood boiling, they start paying attention!” ―Charles Goyette, Air America
About the Author
James Bovard is the author of the classic Lost Rights and, most recently, The Bush Betrayal. He has written for The Wall Street Journal, American Spectator, New York Times, New Republic, Washington Post, and Newsweek, in addition to maintaining an active blog (jamesbovard.com). He is also the author of Terrorism and Tyranny, Freedom in Chains, Feeling Your Pain, and The Fair Trade Fraud (all Palgrave Macmillan).
Top customer reviews
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Bovard's career is evident proof of the saying of Charles Beard that the quickest way to get yourself a reputation as a troublemaker and extremist is to go around saying the same things the Founders said in 1776. Bovard's problem is that he takes history seriously. He takes concepts and the meaning of words seriously. Most of all, he takes liberty seriously. He further places himself outside the pale when he uncompromisingly criticizes both Republicans and Democrats. When he took on President Clinton in book after book, it may have been easy enough to categorize Bovard as a "conservative." But now that he's giving President Bush the same treatment, what are we to do about him? Because clearly, there is no morally acceptable ground outside that staked out by the two "opposing" parties.
But enough sarcasm. In "Attention Deficit Democracy," Bovard is saying things that need to be said -- things which should be self-evident to any open-minded observer. Americans who still embrace the truisms of talk radio, the major newspapers and TV stations, and their sixth grade civics classrooms, will shudder at the author's disproving the trendy equation of "freedom" and "democracy" (in fact, they don't have any direct or necessary relationship at all), his stomping of the urban legend that "democracies never fight each other," and perhaps most of all, his sacrilegious suggestion that the people most to blame for the current state of affairs are the American people themselves. This isn't just a simple, Al Frankenish, "How could you let yourself be fooled by Bush?", but a much more fundamental questioning of people's understanding of how far away from true liberty we've really moved. Are we still a free country, just because we're given the chance to vote for new rulers every two, four, or six years?
James Bovard's recitation of the administration's "disassembling" (to use a Bushism) on torture made for deeply frustrating reading. His citing chapter and verse of all the elites who place "trust of government" as the highest of a citizen's obligations, was infuriating. And his attempt to show how "freedom" and "democracy" are in fact the answers to two, very different, questions was something that really needed to be said (or said again: I point the reader to "Liberty or Democracy: The Challenge of Our Time" [1952, reprinted 1993] by Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn for an excellent primer on this topic). On the whole, this is an excellent book filled with excellent analysis. It's much easier to get outraged by him, or to ignore him, than it is to refute the fundamental truths he's laying out.
Bovard's last section, where he answers the inevitable "So what can we do about it?" question, struck me as a little thin relative to the strength of the rest of the book. But I suspect he included that chapter just to avoid the otherwise-inevitable criticisms of those who believe every political book needs to end with a twelve-point platform for fixing everything in the next five years. Personally, I think Bovard's analysis of the problem is right on, but I tend to doubt that things will ever be "fixable." We've fallen too far to ever reclaim that height, and that makes Independence Day a depressing holiday indeed.
"We will know that Americans have regained the right toward Washington when a negligent congressman dreads a public meeting with his constituents the same way the average citizen anticipates an IRS audit."
I find this interesting for at the time of the writing of this review a well-known Arizona U.S. Senator was subjected to a excoriating audience in Gilbert, AZ at a town hall meeting and he expressed his annoyance at the audience. Many were unhappy with the politics that are emanating from the nation's Capitol and it seems that politicians are finally coming under fire for their negligent work in defending the Constitution and the rights of the people.
Mr. Bovard thesis to this book is that the American people have been subjected by politicians to bevy of lies for so long that their tolerance to the fibs has deadened their sense of civic duty. Subjects that were covered include the ignorance of the voting public, the scaremongering that surrounds presidential elections, the idea of a reverse slave auction where the electorate does not elect statesmen, but rather their slave masters and the idea of messianic democracy where our government intended to spread the gospel of democracy through deceit and foreign domination.
Mr. Bovard elaborates on these subjects with clarity, but he tends to repeat himself a bit, but then again that is to be expected when the lies come fast and furious. It was a quick and enjoyable read of just over 250 pages along with an index and end notes. The author encourages us to return to the ideas of the Founding Fathers and tells us not to rely on Washington for all of their needs. There is equal disrespect for both parties with George W. Bush and Bil Clinton getting grilled so this tome is completely non-partisan. Highly recommended.