By the People PDF/EPUB õ By the MOBI :Þ

By the People PDF/EPUB õ By the MOBI :Þ


10 thoughts on “By the People

  1. Gene Gene says:

    Charles Murray's writings are always thought provoking and enjoyable This book is certainly no different He begins by showing how far American government has strayed from the intentions of our founding fathers He also shows how nearly impossible it would be to get a return to the limited government they intended He sees runaway regulators at the behest of interest groups crippling our economy and libertiesHow to fight back? Join together to just say no Where the regulatory state has become ridiculous refuse to comply When OSHA wants you to label common beach sand as a dangerous toxin just ignore the command and spend your energies on real safety issues at the workplace But what happens when you get inspected and threatened with fines? A Madisonian defense league will step in the same way the ACLU steps in and handles cases for those whose free speech liberties are threatened And businesses who face common threats of prosecution can join together to purchase litigation insurance so that they are protected from frivolous and unreasonable government intrusion by similar legal representationThis makes a lot of sense and just might work because of how the inept managers of a sclerotic bureaucracy will be incapable of fighting against widespread non conformance It doesn't undo all the problems of our modern federal government but it does help out where the tentacles of government seem to disrupt the lives of small businesses and common peopleMurray later does a great job of showing that the fears of ethnic and cultural diversity in America are overblown that our country started with greater diversity than most of us seem to be aware of That was a valuable thing to learn for me But I didn't uite follow how this diversity bears on his main theme I think it was probably something that should go in another book and not in this oneIn the last portion he provides some optimistic pictures of how both progressives and cultural conservatives can compromise to make this a better nation with liberty Here is where his libertarian outlook comes shining through I can't swallow some of what he asks for me to allow as a cultural conservative I can't see that allowing abortion on demand in the states where it is favored really is a matter of true liberty; to me this freedom to choose ends up ending the right to life and liberty of an unborn child Even libertarians feel one's exercise of personal liberty ought not infringe on the liberties of others Abortion is hardly a live and let live sort of issue because one party doesn't get to go on living Even though I can't agree with all his conclusions I benefited from reading By the People I highly recommend it to anyone worried about the decline of personal liberty in our republic whether he is liberal or conservative because Murray does a good job of making his case in a way that should make sense to persons of either political leaning


  2. Craig Fiebig Craig Fiebig says:

    The most important book to read this summer Charles Murray defines a plan by which liberals and conservatives can both abandon the totalitarian wings of their parties progressives and social conservatives to build a sustainable government Only a kleptocracy of nationwide scale could execute a wealth transfer 2T in one year and fail so completely to provide for the needs of its least fortunate citizens Failure at this scale reuires reliance on a tax code 4M words long disfunction with 22 layers of management across the Cabinets or taking a decade to resolve legal cases Simple minded and blunt force trauma instruments like raising the minimum wage 'getting the money out of politics' or taxing the rich will only exacerbate the cumbersome incompetence of our bureaucracy It's time to strip the Federal Government down to a level of spending and personnel responsible for a small number of tasks it might be competent to accomplish Stop pretending the Federal bureaucrats can solve problems miles above their intellectual weight class Cease being a government for special interests kill the F35 end the sugar subsidy for opening offers and move directly forward to of the people by the people for the people


  3. Adam Yoshida Adam Yoshida says:

    A Fascinating Proposal From a MasterCharles Murray Losing Ground The Bell Curve has been at the forefront of American social science for than half a century In By the People he puts forth a startling notion for such an esteemed public intellectual that the American political process is so broken that only widespread civil disobedience may bring about a restoration of our fundamental rights To that end he proposes in essence an insurgent via the use of lawfare in order to fight back against a form of government that has grown oppressiveThough he isn't so gauche as to say it for himself Murray's proposal harkens back to the pre Revolutionary actions of the Founding Fathers In this it is timely and important


  4. Charles J Charles J says:

    I am a criminal More precisely I am the kind of criminal that Charles Murray likes Now as is well known everyone is a criminal nowadays because of the enormous expansion of deliberately vague and open ended criminal laws The average American commits multiple federal felonies every day But Charles Murray specifically wants every American to commit a precise type of relatively limited crime and I realize with joy that I have been happy to oblige his reuest for several yearsMy crime doubtless among others I am unaware of is that I own and run a business itself suspicious in these days of “you didn’t build that” and for years the United States Department of Commerce has sent me uestionnaires prominently stamped “Response Reuired By Law” These uestionnaires arrive every month or so and they are voluminous and intrusive They demand I answer uestions about my customers my sales my profit my employees and so forth I throw them in the trash unopened and laugh bitterly at the toxic nature of the federal governmentCharles Murray says we should all break the law this way and we should all similarly violate a wide range of similarly disgusting undemocratic and anti freedom regulations imposed on us by our federal masters From this aided by entities that will support such lawbreakers a revitalized America may ariseMurray is a libertarian writer on numerous topics and he is an excellent and compelling author He first takes the reader on a tour through where America started how we got the administrative governance system we have today why that system is defective and why our existing political process will never fix it Much of this is familiar territory but very well drawnMurray’s particular focus is the administrative state the false premises on which its creation was based and its current illegitimacy He traces its development down through nearly the present day although he writes before the 2015 Obamacare decision King v Burwell which intimated the possibility that the Supreme Court might be willing to cut back on Chevron deference and shows compellingly that no normal process will reverse the evils that it has visited upon AmericaSummarizing our problems and how we got here naturally leads to profound pessimism especially given that Murray who is an optimist concludes that no normal mechanism will fix things This is usually the point at which people start muttering about the need for a Caesar a revolution or the aptly named Sweet Meteor Of Doom But Murray wants us to head in a different directionHe wants civil disobedience coupled with a program of defense of those committing civil disobedience to erode the foundations of the modern oppressive regulatory state Actually Murray’s plan would better be described not as civil disobedience as traditionally understood but as conservative lawfare generated by civil disobedience The Left of course has been very successful at using the courts as mechanisms to attack dismay and bankrupt their opponents When your goal is not justice but winning and you are extremely well funded and can coordinate legal attacks with sympathetic government agencies and a media wholly rooting for you that is a very successful tactic Murray wants rich conservatives to fund a similar program for the right from the springboard of individual civil disobedienceThe problem with this is of course there’s a long way from here to there Rich conservatives are rare—they are a surprisingly small group Most of the ultra rich are closely aligned with the Left and most who aren’t are politically uninvolved None seem to give significantly to existing similar conservative organizations such as the Pacific Legal Foundation But importantly the courts the government and the media would not be neutral—they would retaliate viciously against any of these tactics being used by conservatives as they have been by liberals not only trying to blunt them but ruining any person who led both financially and likely with multi decade jail sentences using the same vague and open ended laws of which Murray complains The fundamental problem with Murray’s approach is that it assumes without discussion that the Left will subject themselves to the rules In the modern era of Alinskyite domination rules are only for the little people and power is all that mattersBut Murray soldiers on with optimism He concedes that the administrative state at inception had some value and some sound reasoning behind it though its modern grotesue nature has shown the falsity of the premises and released the evil genie within but then he gives reasons why he thinks the administrative state is not at all necessary today if elements of it were necessary in the past In essence this is because technology enables public decentralized oversight—the Nirvana of the libertarian This is an original approach to the problem certainlyAnd ultimately Murray believes that no matter what 200 years from now America will be much richer because we’ve always grown in the past and “it is unimaginable that Americans will still think the best way to live is to be governed by armies of bureaucrats enforcing thousands of minutely prescriptive rules” This is a bit Pollyana ish—as the law makes sellers of securities say past performance is no indication of future results Maybe we’ll just stagnate for 200 years Certainly that’s where we’re heading nowThe most original part of the book is not the call for civil disobedience or lawfare It’s that Murray tries to demonstrate that America is ready for a libertarian individual way of life because modern America is diverse in a way that pre 1950s America was diverse He discusses “Albion’s Seed” at length on the huge cultural divergences among Britons who populated America together with many other groups and peoples in years after that That is he maintains that the perceived past homogeneity of America is a myth and as in the past we should be able to recognize and honor our differences by getting the government off our backs Everyone should be able to “live his life as he sees fit” and our return to historical diversity Murray thinks will make this attractive Here “diversity” means actual differences among people not “diversity” in the common modern and academic sense of handing over free goods to unualified minorities Murray’s diversity does not erode excellence like modern “diversity”—it enhances excellence Murray believes that the diverse elements of modern America can get together behind his program Given that Murray is both a sociologist and a libertarian this analysis is clearly close to his heartOf course that past diversity contained within it certain universally held concepts among them individual responsibility and the melting pot that have largely passed into memory Mere past and present diversity does not necessarily imply similarity in vision of the common good and large segments of the Left exalt the centrifugal aspects of cultural diversity an entirely new phenomenon on our country So here as well Murray is probably too cheerful about the prospects for the futureUltimately the success of Murray’s program relies on a groundswell from a majority of Americans tired of the costs of government and become eager to free themselves of its yoke But it’s not true that most Americans feel like government is the problem As with taxes the costs of government appear to be borne by a small percentage of people Yes they’re really borne by a majority of people but that’s hidden and lost in the shuffle Most people don’t care They’re happy they’re getting theirs Therefore somewhat ironically Murray’s program is probably better suited for imposition by an oligarchical elite not a renewed spirit of American populism


  5. Alan Tomkins-Raney Alan Tomkins-Raney says:

    Intelligent insightful forward looking and very thought provokingthis is just an excellent read for anyone interested in American civics And if you're an American but you're not interested in civics and the current state of the relationship between Americans and their federal government well you should be Highest recommendation


  6. Justin Lonas Justin Lonas says:

    Some good ideas on a needed premise mass civil disobedience to undermine the arbitrary and capricious excesses of the regulatory state but somewhat underwhelming I was expecting enlightenment than Murray had to offer this time around but this is still a decent primer for why political solutions to pressing issues usually fail


  7. Douglas Wilson Douglas Wilson says:

    Learned a lot from this and will be blogging about it at Mablog A lot of shrewd insight here which makes Murray's myopia about social conservatives right near the end pretty bewildering Oh well


  8. Christopher Lawson Christopher Lawson says:

    BY THE PEOPLE was a big surprise to me Dr Murray presents two major ideas in this book first We are at the end of the American project as the founders intended it Secondly Opportunities are opening for preserving the best ualities of the American project in a new incarnation The author clarifies that American project refers to our country's experiment with minimal government interference Dr Murray makes it clear that the book is based on the assumption that limited government is best Dr Murray explains that he struggled to find a term to describe people who agree with limited government At first he thought of using the term Jeffersonian but then he settled on the term Madisonian instead His reasoning is that it Madison than any other individual midwifed the Constitution and the Bill of Rights It was his Constitution that preserved limited government for the first century and a half of America's existenceThe first part of BY THE PEOPLE describes how America got into the big government situation Big changes began around the time of the Great Depression because Americans suffering from the Great Depression weren't interested in constitutional limits on what the federal government could do A critical event that drastically changed the limitation on the federal government was a 1937 Supreme Court decision ruling on the legality of Social Security The case was Helvering vs Davis This decision opened the path to intrusive federal regulationSome of the founding fathers worried about the phrase in the Constitution general welfare in article 1 section 8 the Constitution says that Congress has the power to provide for general welfare of the United States The founders disputed how exactly the term general welfare would be interpreted in future years Some worried that it could be interpreted to mean anything James Madison and the other Federalists who defended the Constitution believed that the enumerated powers listed in the constitution would limit the government's power to just those powers listed Dr Murray emphasizes that the debate amongst the founders centered on whether that phrase would give too much power to the federal government or whether that fear was groundless Importantly he clarifies None of the leading Federalists in any of the ratified conventions defended the notion that general welfare should be interpreted as conferring authority for Congress to do anything that advance the general welfare Not even Alexander Hamilton Dr Murray asserts that the situation has gone so far that it's not a matter of just putting different judges on the Supreme Court or winning a few presidential elections He explains Restoration of limited government is not going to happen by winning presidential elections and getting the right people appointed to the Supreme Court A majority on the Supreme Court would help significantly at the margins But the revolution in constitutional jurisprudence has gone too far with too many conseuences Realistically speaking there is no way in the world that Social Security Medicare and many other federal institutions are going to be dissolved That just is not going to happenThe big surprise in this book is what the author proposes in Part 2 Dr Murray proposes a program of systematic civil disobedience underwritten by privately funded legal resistance to the regulatory state He envisions a fund called the Madison Fund that would insure individuals against adverse action against them when they fight against regulations It would be a privately funded foundation to map terrain and probe defenses while helping ordinary Americans who are trying to cope with the regulatory state The Madison Fund would have three goals First defend people who are actually innocent of violating regulations; secondly defend people who are actually guilty but make it so expensive to take action against them that the regulatory agency might give up; thirdly generate tons of publicity on the negative effect of the regulations and harassment on liberties Dr Murray gives an example of using the fund The ADA American Dental Association could insure its members against burdensome regulations from the federal governmentThe author admits that this is a radical tack What I am advocating through the defense funds is unuestionably subversive He admits that the federal government will certainly come after the Madison fund So one of the first tasks of the fund will undoubtedly be to defend itselfThe latter part of the book suggests there are technical reasons that make limited government practical today In particular the internet and information technology have made information a lot cheaper and widespread This would seem to mitigate against burdensome regulations since the purported misdeed would be widely known and publicized This would tend to make the regulations redundantDr Murray explains that in the entire history of the world there has been no experiment like America The United States of America from 1789 to the 1930's is the sole example of truly limited government anywhere at any time No other country in the entire history of the world started with a theme of limiting the power of government and maximizing individual freedomThe author laments that if America continues down the path of social democracy as in Europe it would mean the loss of a uniue way of life grounded in individual freedom Under the umbrella of individual liberty America went from a small group on the East coast to the richest and most powerful nation on earth√ All in all BY THE PEOPLE is a thoughtful creative dissertation that aims on restoring the freedom and limited government on which our country was founded No uestion Dr Murray proposes some controversial ideas all of which will be severely criticized It remains to be seen whether a fund such as the Madison Fund will actually come to fruition In any case Dr Murray has presented an ingenious way forward At the rear of the book the author provides an extensive Notes section that provides further information on the various points made There is also an extensive bibliography Advance copy for review courtesy of NetGalley


  9. David David says:

    I read this book due to the recommendation of a conservativelibertarian friend I think this book has a lot to offer to both liberals and conservatives in pointing out the obvious and insidious largesse of government the crony capitalism corporate collusion idiotic regulation overstep of governmental authority to regulate every aspect of our lives without congressional or in most cases judicial oversight the abdication of the moral and legal authority of the Supreme Court of the United States at various times in history in order to bow to public pressure rather than fall into irrelevance the insidious power of lobbying gerrymandering the ludicrous cost of obtaining ‘justice’ politicians leaning towards the lunatic fringe on both sides and so very much I docked the book one star because I have little faith that his solution legal defense funds to battle arbitrary and capricious regulations of government are unlikely to manifest as the larger powers that be have a vested interested in maintaining the status uo and protecting their barriers to market entry that they have purchased from legislators I don’t see folks like the Koch brothers intervening for similar reasons And given the recent and bizarre changes to the Republican Party even ignoring the point of the author that government has often ballooned while Republicans were in power give me even less faith in their ability to curtail excess It seems to be an intractable and hopeless problem


  10. David Gross David Gross says:

    Last year I sat up and took notice when Charles Murray set out a plan for mass civil disobedience to weaken the US government This was not the sort of thing I was used to hearing from conservatives and I was intrigued enough to seek out this bookMurray is of the libertarian variety of conservatism — not for him are the wars on drugs and gay marriage or the currently popular uest for a Mussolini to make America great again He’s the sort of conservative who gushes over the founding fathers’ methodical experiment in a strictly confined federal government and thinks if we could just sueeze that government back into its cage the rest would pretty much take care of itselfMurray calls this flavor of Constitutionally devoted conservatism “Madisonian” and contrasts it with a “Wilsonian” progressivism that sees the Constitution as an outworn relic getting in the way of modern designs for national improvementIn the story Murray tells about the US our Madisonian republic did really well for itself — if you allow for the hiccough of the Civil War and the flaw of slavery it had to address — until the 1930s when the small government Constitutional consensus began to give way and both political parties became dominated by big government progressive technocrats The Supreme Court which had held this new order briefly at bay was eventually overcome and by the 1960s the republic was unrecognizable and mostly unrecoverable There was a brief GoldwaterReagan backlash but it barely slowed the growing appetite ambition and reach of the federal governmentSo now we have a country in which the federal government is enormous and all pervasive The legal system is indistinguishable from lawlessness — legitimizing thefts and shakedowns and masking the use of arbitrary power by the politically powerful against their enemies or those they find inconvenient Regulatory agencies have grown like weeds becoming a second federal government parallel to the first but only nominally beholden to it Congress is systematically corrupt with the raw pursuit of money and purchasing of influence and legislation normalizedPoliticians from both political parties are complicit in this they share a big government consensus when it comes right down to it and they profit from the frank corruption that has resulted And even if one party or the other or both really wanted to do something about it there’s little they could do as the “institutional sclerosis” has momentum than they can fight and the power of office holders to deviate from the consensus in meaningful ways is really very smallThis cancer is no longer treatable in strictly Constitutional ways voting for new politicians won’t help and the Supreme Court has thrown in the towel give or take an angry dissent from Thomas or Scalia of mostly rhetorical effectThe alternative Murray suggests is a systematic civil disobedience campaign supported by a well financed legal team and some form of insurance that protects the front line risk takersThe goals are to defend individuals against government overreach to make objectionable federal laws and regulations unenforceable and then by doing so to prompt the Supreme Court to finally get on the ball and reel the federal government back inMurray envisions backing this campaign with something he calls the “Madison Fund” — a big pile of money that can be deployed to offer free legal defense to anyone engaged in the campaign whom the government tries to target Where this pile of money comes from is part of the hope than plan part of his book but folks like the Institute for Justice are already putting some of this into practice on a smaller scaleMurray also envisions a form of insurance that professionals could buy to protect them against fines and other hassles from government regulators The insurance companies would set standards of behavior for their clients to ensure that they were not doing anything actually dangerous fraudulent or in other ways unethical and assuming they followed those guidelines would insure them against any fines the government imposes on them for violating its bazillion silly rules that do nobody any good If the cost of the insurance were less than the cost of the burdensome regulations the purchaser would no longer need to worry about such an insurance could become widespreadThe book has some promising ideas and I hope these ideas catch on Some parts of the book are pretty well thought through; others have some thin paper plastered over big holes But it’s a good start and with some help some deep pocketed help could make paleocons less of an intellectual curiosity and of a force for good


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By the People [KINDLE] ❄ By the People By Charles Murray – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk The American way of life built on individual liberty and limited government is on life support American freedom is being gutted Whether we are trying to run a business practice a vocation raise our fa The American way of life built on individual liberty and limited government is on life support American freedom By the MOBI :Þ is being gutted Whether we are trying to run a business practice a vocation raise our families cooperate with our neighbors or follow our religious beliefs we run afoul of the government—not because we are doing anything wrong but because the government has decided it knows better When we object that government can and does tell us “Try to fight this and we’ll ruin you”In this provocative book acclaimed social scientist and bestselling author Charles Murray shows us why we can no longer hope to roll back the power of the federal government through the normal political process The Constitution is broken in ways that cannot be fixed even by a sympathetic Supreme Court Our legal system is increasingly lawless unmoored from traditional ideas of “the rule of law” The legislative process has become systemically corrupt no matter which party is in controlBut there’s good news beyond the Beltway Technology is siphoning power from sclerotic government agencies and putting it in the hands of individuals and communities The rediversification of American culture is making local freedom attractive to liberals as well as conservatives People across the political spectrum are increasingly alienated from a regulatory state that nakedly serves its own interests rather than those of ordinary AmericansThe even better news is that federal government has a fatal weakness It can get away with its thousands of laws and regulations only if the overwhelming majority of Americans voluntarily comply with them Murray describes how civil disobedience backstopped by legal defense funds can make large portions of the page Federal Code of Regulations unenforceable through a targeted program that identifies regulations that arbitrarily and capriciously tell us what to do Americans have it within their power to make the federal government an insurable hazard like hurricanes and floods leaving us once again free to live our lives as we see fitBy the People’s hopeful message is that rebuilding our traditional freedoms does not reuire electing a right thinking Congress or president nor does it reuire five right thinking justices on the Supreme Court It can be done by we the people using America’s uniue civil society to put government back in its proper box  From the Hardcover edition.

  • Kindle Edition
  • 338 pages
  • By the People
  • Charles Murray
  • English
  • 01 May 2016

About the Author: Charles Murray

Charles Alan Murray is an American libertarian conservative political scientist author and columnist His book Losing Ground American By the MOBI :Þ Social Policy – which discussed the American welfare system was widely read and discussed and influenced subseuent government policy He became well known for his controversial book The Bell Curve written with Richard Herrnstein in whi.


10 thoughts on “By the People

  1. Gene Gene says:

    Charles Murray's writings are always thought provoking and enjoyable This book is certainly no different He begins by showing how far American government has strayed from the intentions of our founding fathers He also shows how nearly impossible it would be to get a return to the limited government they intended He sees runaway regulators at the behest of interest groups crippling our economy and libertiesHow to fight back? Join together to just say no Where the regulatory state has become ridiculous refuse to comply When OSHA wants you to label common beach sand as a dangerous toxin just ignore the command and spend your energies on real safety issues at the workplace But what happens when you get inspected and threatened with fines? A Madisonian defense league will step in the same way the ACLU steps in and handles cases for those whose free speech liberties are threatened And businesses who face common threats of prosecution can join together to purchase litigation insurance so that they are protected from frivolous and unreasonable government intrusion by similar legal representationThis makes a lot of sense and just might work because of how the inept managers of a sclerotic bureaucracy will be incapable of fighting against widespread non conformance It doesn't undo all the problems of our modern federal government but it does help out where the tentacles of government seem to disrupt the lives of small businesses and common peopleMurray later does a great job of showing that the fears of ethnic and cultural diversity in America are overblown that our country started with greater diversity than most of us seem to be aware of That was a valuable thing to learn for me But I didn't uite follow how this diversity bears on his main theme I think it was probably something that should go in another book and not in this oneIn the last portion he provides some optimistic pictures of how both progressives and cultural conservatives can compromise to make this a better nation with liberty Here is where his libertarian outlook comes shining through I can't swallow some of what he asks for me to allow as a cultural conservative I can't see that allowing abortion on demand in the states where it is favored really is a matter of true liberty; to me this freedom to choose ends up ending the right to life and liberty of an unborn child Even libertarians feel one's exercise of personal liberty ought not infringe on the liberties of others Abortion is hardly a live and let live sort of issue because one party doesn't get to go on living Even though I can't agree with all his conclusions I benefited from reading By the People I highly recommend it to anyone worried about the decline of personal liberty in our republic whether he is liberal or conservative because Murray does a good job of making his case in a way that should make sense to persons of either political leaning

  2. Craig Fiebig Craig Fiebig says:

    The most important book to read this summer Charles Murray defines a plan by which liberals and conservatives can both abandon the totalitarian wings of their parties progressives and social conservatives to build a sustainable government Only a kleptocracy of nationwide scale could execute a wealth transfer 2T in one year and fail so completely to provide for the needs of its least fortunate citizens Failure at this scale reuires reliance on a tax code 4M words long disfunction with 22 layers of management across the Cabinets or taking a decade to resolve legal cases Simple minded and blunt force trauma instruments like raising the minimum wage 'getting the money out of politics' or taxing the rich will only exacerbate the cumbersome incompetence of our bureaucracy It's time to strip the Federal Government down to a level of spending and personnel responsible for a small number of tasks it might be competent to accomplish Stop pretending the Federal bureaucrats can solve problems miles above their intellectual weight class Cease being a government for special interests kill the F35 end the sugar subsidy for opening offers and move directly forward to of the people by the people for the people

  3. Adam Yoshida Adam Yoshida says:

    A Fascinating Proposal From a MasterCharles Murray Losing Ground The Bell Curve has been at the forefront of American social science for than half a century In By the People he puts forth a startling notion for such an esteemed public intellectual that the American political process is so broken that only widespread civil disobedience may bring about a restoration of our fundamental rights To that end he proposes in essence an insurgent via the use of lawfare in order to fight back against a form of government that has grown oppressiveThough he isn't so gauche as to say it for himself Murray's proposal harkens back to the pre Revolutionary actions of the Founding Fathers In this it is timely and important

  4. Charles J Charles J says:

    I am a criminal More precisely I am the kind of criminal that Charles Murray likes Now as is well known everyone is a criminal nowadays because of the enormous expansion of deliberately vague and open ended criminal laws The average American commits multiple federal felonies every day But Charles Murray specifically wants every American to commit a precise type of relatively limited crime and I realize with joy that I have been happy to oblige his reuest for several yearsMy crime doubtless among others I am unaware of is that I own and run a business itself suspicious in these days of “you didn’t build that” and for years the United States Department of Commerce has sent me uestionnaires prominently stamped “Response Reuired By Law” These uestionnaires arrive every month or so and they are voluminous and intrusive They demand I answer uestions about my customers my sales my profit my employees and so forth I throw them in the trash unopened and laugh bitterly at the toxic nature of the federal governmentCharles Murray says we should all break the law this way and we should all similarly violate a wide range of similarly disgusting undemocratic and anti freedom regulations imposed on us by our federal masters From this aided by entities that will support such lawbreakers a revitalized America may ariseMurray is a libertarian writer on numerous topics and he is an excellent and compelling author He first takes the reader on a tour through where America started how we got the administrative governance system we have today why that system is defective and why our existing political process will never fix it Much of this is familiar territory but very well drawnMurray’s particular focus is the administrative state the false premises on which its creation was based and its current illegitimacy He traces its development down through nearly the present day although he writes before the 2015 Obamacare decision King v Burwell which intimated the possibility that the Supreme Court might be willing to cut back on Chevron deference and shows compellingly that no normal process will reverse the evils that it has visited upon AmericaSummarizing our problems and how we got here naturally leads to profound pessimism especially given that Murray who is an optimist concludes that no normal mechanism will fix things This is usually the point at which people start muttering about the need for a Caesar a revolution or the aptly named Sweet Meteor Of Doom But Murray wants us to head in a different directionHe wants civil disobedience coupled with a program of defense of those committing civil disobedience to erode the foundations of the modern oppressive regulatory state Actually Murray’s plan would better be described not as civil disobedience as traditionally understood but as conservative lawfare generated by civil disobedience The Left of course has been very successful at using the courts as mechanisms to attack dismay and bankrupt their opponents When your goal is not justice but winning and you are extremely well funded and can coordinate legal attacks with sympathetic government agencies and a media wholly rooting for you that is a very successful tactic Murray wants rich conservatives to fund a similar program for the right from the springboard of individual civil disobedienceThe problem with this is of course there’s a long way from here to there Rich conservatives are rare—they are a surprisingly small group Most of the ultra rich are closely aligned with the Left and most who aren’t are politically uninvolved None seem to give significantly to existing similar conservative organizations such as the Pacific Legal Foundation But importantly the courts the government and the media would not be neutral—they would retaliate viciously against any of these tactics being used by conservatives as they have been by liberals not only trying to blunt them but ruining any person who led both financially and likely with multi decade jail sentences using the same vague and open ended laws of which Murray complains The fundamental problem with Murray’s approach is that it assumes without discussion that the Left will subject themselves to the rules In the modern era of Alinskyite domination rules are only for the little people and power is all that mattersBut Murray soldiers on with optimism He concedes that the administrative state at inception had some value and some sound reasoning behind it though its modern grotesue nature has shown the falsity of the premises and released the evil genie within but then he gives reasons why he thinks the administrative state is not at all necessary today if elements of it were necessary in the past In essence this is because technology enables public decentralized oversight—the Nirvana of the libertarian This is an original approach to the problem certainlyAnd ultimately Murray believes that no matter what 200 years from now America will be much richer because we’ve always grown in the past and “it is unimaginable that Americans will still think the best way to live is to be governed by armies of bureaucrats enforcing thousands of minutely prescriptive rules” This is a bit Pollyana ish—as the law makes sellers of securities say past performance is no indication of future results Maybe we’ll just stagnate for 200 years Certainly that’s where we’re heading nowThe most original part of the book is not the call for civil disobedience or lawfare It’s that Murray tries to demonstrate that America is ready for a libertarian individual way of life because modern America is diverse in a way that pre 1950s America was diverse He discusses “Albion’s Seed” at length on the huge cultural divergences among Britons who populated America together with many other groups and peoples in years after that That is he maintains that the perceived past homogeneity of America is a myth and as in the past we should be able to recognize and honor our differences by getting the government off our backs Everyone should be able to “live his life as he sees fit” and our return to historical diversity Murray thinks will make this attractive Here “diversity” means actual differences among people not “diversity” in the common modern and academic sense of handing over free goods to unualified minorities Murray’s diversity does not erode excellence like modern “diversity”—it enhances excellence Murray believes that the diverse elements of modern America can get together behind his program Given that Murray is both a sociologist and a libertarian this analysis is clearly close to his heartOf course that past diversity contained within it certain universally held concepts among them individual responsibility and the melting pot that have largely passed into memory Mere past and present diversity does not necessarily imply similarity in vision of the common good and large segments of the Left exalt the centrifugal aspects of cultural diversity an entirely new phenomenon on our country So here as well Murray is probably too cheerful about the prospects for the futureUltimately the success of Murray’s program relies on a groundswell from a majority of Americans tired of the costs of government and become eager to free themselves of its yoke But it’s not true that most Americans feel like government is the problem As with taxes the costs of government appear to be borne by a small percentage of people Yes they’re really borne by a majority of people but that’s hidden and lost in the shuffle Most people don’t care They’re happy they’re getting theirs Therefore somewhat ironically Murray’s program is probably better suited for imposition by an oligarchical elite not a renewed spirit of American populism

  5. Alan Tomkins-Raney Alan Tomkins-Raney says:

    Intelligent insightful forward looking and very thought provokingthis is just an excellent read for anyone interested in American civics And if you're an American but you're not interested in civics and the current state of the relationship between Americans and their federal government well you should be Highest recommendation

  6. Justin Lonas Justin Lonas says:

    Some good ideas on a needed premise mass civil disobedience to undermine the arbitrary and capricious excesses of the regulatory state but somewhat underwhelming I was expecting enlightenment than Murray had to offer this time around but this is still a decent primer for why political solutions to pressing issues usually fail

  7. Douglas Wilson Douglas Wilson says:

    Learned a lot from this and will be blogging about it at Mablog A lot of shrewd insight here which makes Murray's myopia about social conservatives right near the end pretty bewildering Oh well

  8. Christopher Lawson Christopher Lawson says:

    BY THE PEOPLE was a big surprise to me Dr Murray presents two major ideas in this book first We are at the end of the American project as the founders intended it Secondly Opportunities are opening for preserving the best ualities of the American project in a new incarnation The author clarifies that American project refers to our country's experiment with minimal government interference Dr Murray makes it clear that the book is based on the assumption that limited government is best Dr Murray explains that he struggled to find a term to describe people who agree with limited government At first he thought of using the term Jeffersonian but then he settled on the term Madisonian instead His reasoning is that it Madison than any other individual midwifed the Constitution and the Bill of Rights It was his Constitution that preserved limited government for the first century and a half of America's existenceThe first part of BY THE PEOPLE describes how America got into the big government situation Big changes began around the time of the Great Depression because Americans suffering from the Great Depression weren't interested in constitutional limits on what the federal government could do A critical event that drastically changed the limitation on the federal government was a 1937 Supreme Court decision ruling on the legality of Social Security The case was Helvering vs Davis This decision opened the path to intrusive federal regulationSome of the founding fathers worried about the phrase in the Constitution general welfare in article 1 section 8 the Constitution says that Congress has the power to provide for general welfare of the United States The founders disputed how exactly the term general welfare would be interpreted in future years Some worried that it could be interpreted to mean anything James Madison and the other Federalists who defended the Constitution believed that the enumerated powers listed in the constitution would limit the government's power to just those powers listed Dr Murray emphasizes that the debate amongst the founders centered on whether that phrase would give too much power to the federal government or whether that fear was groundless Importantly he clarifies None of the leading Federalists in any of the ratified conventions defended the notion that general welfare should be interpreted as conferring authority for Congress to do anything that advance the general welfare Not even Alexander Hamilton Dr Murray asserts that the situation has gone so far that it's not a matter of just putting different judges on the Supreme Court or winning a few presidential elections He explains Restoration of limited government is not going to happen by winning presidential elections and getting the right people appointed to the Supreme Court A majority on the Supreme Court would help significantly at the margins But the revolution in constitutional jurisprudence has gone too far with too many conseuences Realistically speaking there is no way in the world that Social Security Medicare and many other federal institutions are going to be dissolved That just is not going to happenThe big surprise in this book is what the author proposes in Part 2 Dr Murray proposes a program of systematic civil disobedience underwritten by privately funded legal resistance to the regulatory state He envisions a fund called the Madison Fund that would insure individuals against adverse action against them when they fight against regulations It would be a privately funded foundation to map terrain and probe defenses while helping ordinary Americans who are trying to cope with the regulatory state The Madison Fund would have three goals First defend people who are actually innocent of violating regulations; secondly defend people who are actually guilty but make it so expensive to take action against them that the regulatory agency might give up; thirdly generate tons of publicity on the negative effect of the regulations and harassment on liberties Dr Murray gives an example of using the fund The ADA American Dental Association could insure its members against burdensome regulations from the federal governmentThe author admits that this is a radical tack What I am advocating through the defense funds is unuestionably subversive He admits that the federal government will certainly come after the Madison fund So one of the first tasks of the fund will undoubtedly be to defend itselfThe latter part of the book suggests there are technical reasons that make limited government practical today In particular the internet and information technology have made information a lot cheaper and widespread This would seem to mitigate against burdensome regulations since the purported misdeed would be widely known and publicized This would tend to make the regulations redundantDr Murray explains that in the entire history of the world there has been no experiment like America The United States of America from 1789 to the 1930's is the sole example of truly limited government anywhere at any time No other country in the entire history of the world started with a theme of limiting the power of government and maximizing individual freedomThe author laments that if America continues down the path of social democracy as in Europe it would mean the loss of a uniue way of life grounded in individual freedom Under the umbrella of individual liberty America went from a small group on the East coast to the richest and most powerful nation on earth√ All in all BY THE PEOPLE is a thoughtful creative dissertation that aims on restoring the freedom and limited government on which our country was founded No uestion Dr Murray proposes some controversial ideas all of which will be severely criticized It remains to be seen whether a fund such as the Madison Fund will actually come to fruition In any case Dr Murray has presented an ingenious way forward At the rear of the book the author provides an extensive Notes section that provides further information on the various points made There is also an extensive bibliography Advance copy for review courtesy of NetGalley

  9. David David says:

    I read this book due to the recommendation of a conservativelibertarian friend I think this book has a lot to offer to both liberals and conservatives in pointing out the obvious and insidious largesse of government the crony capitalism corporate collusion idiotic regulation overstep of governmental authority to regulate every aspect of our lives without congressional or in most cases judicial oversight the abdication of the moral and legal authority of the Supreme Court of the United States at various times in history in order to bow to public pressure rather than fall into irrelevance the insidious power of lobbying gerrymandering the ludicrous cost of obtaining ‘justice’ politicians leaning towards the lunatic fringe on both sides and so very much I docked the book one star because I have little faith that his solution legal defense funds to battle arbitrary and capricious regulations of government are unlikely to manifest as the larger powers that be have a vested interested in maintaining the status uo and protecting their barriers to market entry that they have purchased from legislators I don’t see folks like the Koch brothers intervening for similar reasons And given the recent and bizarre changes to the Republican Party even ignoring the point of the author that government has often ballooned while Republicans were in power give me even less faith in their ability to curtail excess It seems to be an intractable and hopeless problem

  10. David Gross David Gross says:

    Last year I sat up and took notice when Charles Murray set out a plan for mass civil disobedience to weaken the US government This was not the sort of thing I was used to hearing from conservatives and I was intrigued enough to seek out this bookMurray is of the libertarian variety of conservatism — not for him are the wars on drugs and gay marriage or the currently popular uest for a Mussolini to make America great again He’s the sort of conservative who gushes over the founding fathers’ methodical experiment in a strictly confined federal government and thinks if we could just sueeze that government back into its cage the rest would pretty much take care of itselfMurray calls this flavor of Constitutionally devoted conservatism “Madisonian” and contrasts it with a “Wilsonian” progressivism that sees the Constitution as an outworn relic getting in the way of modern designs for national improvementIn the story Murray tells about the US our Madisonian republic did really well for itself — if you allow for the hiccough of the Civil War and the flaw of slavery it had to address — until the 1930s when the small government Constitutional consensus began to give way and both political parties became dominated by big government progressive technocrats The Supreme Court which had held this new order briefly at bay was eventually overcome and by the 1960s the republic was unrecognizable and mostly unrecoverable There was a brief GoldwaterReagan backlash but it barely slowed the growing appetite ambition and reach of the federal governmentSo now we have a country in which the federal government is enormous and all pervasive The legal system is indistinguishable from lawlessness — legitimizing thefts and shakedowns and masking the use of arbitrary power by the politically powerful against their enemies or those they find inconvenient Regulatory agencies have grown like weeds becoming a second federal government parallel to the first but only nominally beholden to it Congress is systematically corrupt with the raw pursuit of money and purchasing of influence and legislation normalizedPoliticians from both political parties are complicit in this they share a big government consensus when it comes right down to it and they profit from the frank corruption that has resulted And even if one party or the other or both really wanted to do something about it there’s little they could do as the “institutional sclerosis” has momentum than they can fight and the power of office holders to deviate from the consensus in meaningful ways is really very smallThis cancer is no longer treatable in strictly Constitutional ways voting for new politicians won’t help and the Supreme Court has thrown in the towel give or take an angry dissent from Thomas or Scalia of mostly rhetorical effectThe alternative Murray suggests is a systematic civil disobedience campaign supported by a well financed legal team and some form of insurance that protects the front line risk takersThe goals are to defend individuals against government overreach to make objectionable federal laws and regulations unenforceable and then by doing so to prompt the Supreme Court to finally get on the ball and reel the federal government back inMurray envisions backing this campaign with something he calls the “Madison Fund” — a big pile of money that can be deployed to offer free legal defense to anyone engaged in the campaign whom the government tries to target Where this pile of money comes from is part of the hope than plan part of his book but folks like the Institute for Justice are already putting some of this into practice on a smaller scaleMurray also envisions a form of insurance that professionals could buy to protect them against fines and other hassles from government regulators The insurance companies would set standards of behavior for their clients to ensure that they were not doing anything actually dangerous fraudulent or in other ways unethical and assuming they followed those guidelines would insure them against any fines the government imposes on them for violating its bazillion silly rules that do nobody any good If the cost of the insurance were less than the cost of the burdensome regulations the purchaser would no longer need to worry about such an insurance could become widespreadThe book has some promising ideas and I hope these ideas catch on Some parts of the book are pretty well thought through; others have some thin paper plastered over big holes But it’s a good start and with some help some deep pocketed help could make paleocons less of an intellectual curiosity and of a force for good

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