The Death of Common Sense

Author: Philip K. Howard
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9780679644101
Release Date: 2011-05-03
Genre: Law

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “We need a new idea of how to govern. The current system is broken. Law is supposed to be a framework for humans to make choices, not the replacement for free choice.” So notes Philip K. Howard in the new Afterword to his explosive manifesto The Death of Common Sense. Here Howard offers nothing less than a fresh, lucid, practical operating system for modern democracy. America is drowning—in law, lawsuits, and nearly endless red tape. Before acting or making a decision, we often abandon our best instincts. We pause, we worry, we equivocate, and then we divert our energy into trying to protect ourselves. Filled with one too many examples of bureaucratic overreach, The Death of Common Sense demonstrates how we—and our country—can at last get back on track.

The Death of Common Sense

Author: Philip K. Howard
Publisher: Random House Incorporated
ISBN: 9780812982749
Release Date: 2011
Genre: Law

In this attack on legal regulations and bureaucratic red tape, a corporate lawyer shows how rules interfere with common sense and have taken away citizens' power to make decisions.

The Rule of Nobody Saving America from Dead Laws and Broken Government

Author: Philip K. Howard
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393242119
Release Date: 2014-04-14
Genre: Law

The secret to good government is a question no one in Washington is asking: “What’s the right thing to do?” What’s wrong in Washington is deeper than you think. Yes, there’s gridlock, polarization, and self-dealing. But hidden underneath is something bigger and more destructive. It’s a broken governing system. From that comes wasteful government, rising debt, failing schools, expensive health care, and economic hardship. Rules have replaced leadership in America. Bureaucracy, regulation, and outmoded law tie our hands and confine policy choices. Nobody asks, “What’s the right thing to do here?” Instead, they wonder, “What does the rule book say?” There’s a fatal flaw in America’s governing system—trying to decree correctness through rigid laws will never work. Public paralysis is the inevitable result of the steady accretion of detailed rules. America is now run by dead people—by political leaders from the past who enacted mandatory programs that churn ahead regardless of waste, irrelevance, or new priorities. America needs to radically simplify its operating system and give people—officials and citizens alike—the freedom to be practical. Rules can’t accomplish our goals. Only humans can get things done. In The Rule of Nobody Philip K. Howard argues for a return to the framers’ vision of public law—setting goals and boundaries, not dictating daily choices. This incendiary book explains how America went wrong and offers a guide for how to liberate human ingenuity to meet the challenges of this century.

The Lost Art of Drawing the Line

Author: Philip K. Howard
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9780375506994
Release Date: 2001-06-12
Genre: Law

The Lost Art of Drawing the Line will appall and irritate — and entertain — readers every bit as much as Philip Howard’s first book. Why is it that no one can fix the schools? Why do ordinary judgements fill doctors with fear? Why are seesaws disappearing from playgrounds? Why has a wave of selfish people overtaken America? In our effort to protect the individual against unfair decisions, we have created a society where no one’s in charge of anything. Silly lawsuits strike fear in our hearts because judges don’t think they have the authority to dismiss them. Inner-city schools are filthy and mired in a cycle of incompetence because no one has the authority to decide who’s doing the job and who’s not. When no one’s in charge, we all lose our link to the common good. When principals lack authority over schools, of what use are the parents’ views? When no one can judge right and wrong, why not be as selfish as you can be? Philip Howard traces our well-meaning effort to protect individuals through the twentieth century, with the unintended result that we have lost much of our individual freedom. Buttressed with scores of stories that make you want to collar the next self-centered jerk or hapless bureaucrat, The Lost Art of Drawing the Line demonstrates once again that Philip Howard is “trying to drive us all sane.”

Principles For A Free Society

Author: Richard A. Epstein
Publisher:
ISBN: 0786748753
Release Date: 2009-06-17
Genre: Political Science

The country's leading libertarian scholar sets forth the essential principles for a legal system that best balances individual liberty versus the common good.

What Works

Author: Cal Thomas
Publisher: Zondervan
ISBN: 9780310339489
Release Date: 2014-04-01
Genre: Political Science

Solutions ... not theories. Political progress ... not political posturing. Instead of the constant jockeying for political advantage, in What Works, author and columnist Cal Thomas focuses on what promotes the general welfare, regardless of which party or ideology gets the credit. Thomas probes and provides answers to questions like, Why must we constantly fight the same battles over and over? Why don’t we consult the past and use common sense in order to see that what others discovered long ago still works today? And why does present-day Washington too often look like the film Groundhog Day, with our elected officials waking up each day only to repeat identical talking points from previous days, months, and years? Without letting politics, or ignorance, get in the way, Thomas urges readers to pay attention so that politicians can no longer pick their pockets—literally or intellectually. What Works is about solutions, not theories. It’s about pressuring political leadership to forget about the next election and start focusing on the needs of the people who work hard to provide for themselves, send their tax dollars to Washington, and want to see the country achieve something of value ... like it has always done.

Thank You for Being Late

Author: Thomas L. Friedman
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 9780374715144
Release Date: 2016-11-22
Genre: Political Science

A New York Times Bestseller A field guide to the twenty-first century, written by one of its most celebrated observers We all sense it—something big is going on. You feel it in your workplace. You feel it when you talk to your kids. You can’t miss it when you read the newspapers or watch the news. Our lives are being transformed in so many realms all at once—and it is dizzying. In Thank You for Being Late, a work unlike anything he has attempted before, Thomas L. Friedman exposes the tectonic movements that are reshaping the world today and explains how to get the most out of them and cushion their worst impacts. You will never look at the world the same way again after you read this book: how you understand the news, the work you do, the education your kids need, the investments your employer has to make, and the moral and geopolitical choices our country has to navigate will all be refashioned by Friedman’s original analysis. Friedman begins by taking us into his own way of looking at the world—how he writes a column. After a quick tutorial, he proceeds to write what could only be called a giant column about the twenty-first century. His thesis: to understand the twenty-first century, you need to understand that the planet’s three largest forces—Moore’s law (technology), the Market (globalization), and Mother Nature (climate change and biodiversity loss)—are accelerating all at once. These accelerations are transforming five key realms: the workplace, politics, geopolitics, ethics, and community. Why is this happening? As Friedman shows, the exponential increase in computing power defined by Moore’s law has a lot to do with it. The year 2007 was a major inflection point: the release of the iPhone, together with advances in silicon chips, software, storage, sensors, and networking, created a new technology platform. Friedman calls this platform “the supernova”—for it is an extraordinary release of energy that is reshaping everything from how we hail a taxi to the fate of nations to our most intimate relationships. It is creating vast new opportunities for individuals and small groups to save the world—or to destroy it. Thank You for Being Late is a work of contemporary history that serves as a field manual for how to write and think about this era of accelerations. It’s also an argument for “being late”—for pausing to appreciate this amazing historical epoch we’re passing through and to reflect on its possibilities and dangers. To amplify this point, Friedman revisits his Minnesota hometown in his moving concluding chapters; there, he explores how communities can create a “topsoil of trust” to anchor their increasingly diverse and digital populations. With his trademark vitality, wit, and optimism, Friedman shows that we can overcome the multiple stresses of an age of accelerations—if we slow down, if we dare to be late and use the time to reimagine work, politics, and community. Thank You for Being Late is Friedman’s most ambitious book—and an essential guide to the present and the future.

Life Without Lawyers Restoring Responsibility in America

Author: Philip K. Howard
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393072389
Release Date: 2010-02-01
Genre: Social Science

How to restore the can-do spirit that made America great, from the author of the best-selling The Death of Common Sense. Americans are losing the freedom to make sense of daily choices—teachers can’t maintain order in the classroom, managers are trained to avoid candor, schools ban tag, and companies plaster inane warnings on everything: “Remove Baby Before Folding Stroller.” Philip K. Howard’s urgent argument is full of examples, often darkly humorous. He describes the historical and cultural forces that led to this mess and lays out the basic shift in approach needed to fix it. Today we are flooded with legal threats that prevent us from taking responsibility. We must rebuild boundaries of law that protect an open field of freedom. The voices here will ring true to every reader. The analysis is powerful, and the solution unavoidable. What’s at stake, Howard explains in this seminal book, is the vitality of American culture.

Bureaucracy and the Policy Process

Author: Dennis D. Riley
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 0742538117
Release Date: 2006
Genre: Political Science

The central role that bureaucracy plays in the policy process is played by individuals, namely, by subject matter experts and managers we call political executives. The context in which these executives play their roles is defined by three key forces—the organizational environment of bureaucracy itself; our governing philosophy stressing responsiveness, respect for individual rights, and accountability; and the demands of the people and the institutions those people have created to govern themselves. This book provides an in-depth look at each of these forces, with chapters specifically devoted to how bureaucrats interpret their role in the policy process, how the organizational environment influences their ability to play that role, and most of all, to the interactions between bureaucrats and the institutions of what we call the Constitutional government—the President, the Congress, and the Courts.

A Passion for Leadership

Author: Robert M Gates
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 9780307959508
Release Date: 2016-01-19
Genre: Business & Economics

From the former secretary of defense and author of the acclaimed #1 best-selling memoir Duty, a characteristically direct, informed, and urgent assessment of why big institutions are failing us and how smart, committed leadership can effect real improvement regardless of scale. Across the realms of civic and private enterprise alike, bureaucracies vitally impact our security, freedoms, and everyday life. With so much at stake, competence, efficiency, and fiscal prudence are essential, yet Americans know these institutions fall short. Many despair that they are too big and too hard to reform. Robert Gates disagrees. Having led change successfully at three monumental organizations—the CIA, Texas A&M University, and the Department of Defense—he offers us the ultimate insider’s look at how major bureaus, organizations, and companies can be transformed, which is by turns heartening and inspiring and always instructive. With practical, nuanced advice on tailoring reform to the operative culture (we see how Gates worked within the system to increase diversity at Texas A&M); effecting change within committees; engaging the power of compromise (“In the real world of bureaucratic institutions, you almost never get all you want when you want it”); and listening and responding to your team, Gates brings the full weight of his wisdom, candor, and devotion to civic duty to inspire others to lead desperately needed change. From the Hardcover edition.

Imbeciles

Author: Adam Cohen
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781101980835
Release Date: 2016-03-01
Genre: History

Longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction One of America’s great miscarriages of justice, the Supreme Court’s infamous 1927 Buck v. Bell ruling made government sterilization of “undesirable” citizens the law of the land In 1927, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling so disturbing, ignorant, and cruel that it stands as one of the great injustices in American history. In Imbeciles, bestselling author Adam Cohen exposes the court’s decision to allow the sterilization of a young woman it wrongly thought to be “feebleminded” and to champion the mass eugenic sterilization of undesirable citizens for the greater good of the country. The 8–1 ruling was signed by some of the most revered figures in American law—including Chief Justice William Howard Taft, a former U.S. president; and Louis Brandeis, a progressive icon. Oliver Wendell Holmes, considered by many the greatest Supreme Court justice in history, wrote the majority opinion, including the court’s famous declaration “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” Imbeciles is the shocking story of Buck v. Bell, a legal case that challenges our faith in American justice. A gripping courtroom drama, it pits a helpless young woman against powerful scientists, lawyers, and judges who believed that eugenic measures were necessary to save the nation from being “swamped with incompetence.” At the center was Carrie Buck, who was born into a poor family in Charlottesville, Virginia, and taken in by a foster family, until she became pregnant out of wedlock. She was then declared “feebleminded” and shipped off to the Colony for Epileptics and Feeble-Minded. Buck v. Bell unfolded against the backdrop of a nation in the thrall of eugenics, which many Americans thought would uplift the human race. Congress embraced this fervor, enacting the first laws designed to prevent immigration by Italians, Jews, and other groups charged with being genetically inferior. Cohen shows how Buck arrived at the colony at just the wrong time, when influential scientists and politicians were looking for a “test case” to determine whether Virginia’s new eugenic sterilization law could withstand a legal challenge. A cabal of powerful men lined up against her, and no one stood up for her—not even her lawyer, who, it is now clear, was in collusion with the men who wanted her sterilized. In the end, Buck’s case was heard by the Supreme Court, the institution established by the founders to ensure that justice would prevail. The court could have seen through the false claim that Buck was a threat to the gene pool, or it could have found that forced sterilization was a violation of her rights. Instead, Holmes, a scion of several prominent Boston Brahmin families, who was raised to believe in the superiority of his own bloodlines, wrote a vicious, haunting decision upholding Buck’s sterilization and imploring the nation to sterilize many more. Holmes got his wish, and before the madness ended some sixty to seventy thousand Americans were sterilized. Cohen overturns cherished myths and demolishes lauded figures in relentless pursuit of the truth. With the intellectual force of a legal brief and the passion of a front-page exposé, Imbeciles is an ardent indictment of our champions of justice and our optimistic faith in progress, as well as a triumph of American legal and social history. From the Hardcover edition.

For Common Things

Author: Jedediah Purdy
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 9780307757272
Release Date: 2010-11-24
Genre: Philosophy

Jedediah Purdy calls For Common Things his "letter of love for the world's possibilities." Indeed, these pages--which garnered a flurry of attention among readers and in the media--constitute a passionate and persuasive testament to the value of political, social, and community reengagement. Drawing on a wide range of literary and cultural influences--from the writings of Montaigne and Thoreau to the recent popularity of empty entertainment and breathless chroniclers of the technological age--Purdy raises potent questions about our stewardship of civic values. Most important, Purdy offers us an engaging, honest, and bracing reminder of what is crucial to the healing and betterment of society, and impels us to consider all that we hold in common.

In Praise of Litigation

Author: Alexandra Lahav
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199380817
Release Date: 2017-01-02
Genre: Law

While the right to have one's day in court is a cherished feature of the American democratic system, alarms that the United States is hopelessly litigious and awash in frivolous claims have become so commonplace that they are now a fixture in the popular imagination. According to this view, litigation wastes precious resources, stifles innovation and productivity, and corrodes our social fabric and the national character. Calls for reform have sought, often successfully, to limit people's access to the court system, most often by imposing technical barriers to bringing suit. Alexandra Lahav's In Praise of Litigation provides a much needed corrective to this flawed perspective, reminding us of the irreplaceable role of litigation in a well-functioning democracy and debunking many of the myths that cloud our understanding of this role. For example, the vast majority of lawsuits in the United States are based on contract claims, the median value of lawsuits is on a downward trend, and, on a per capita basis, many fewer lawsuits are filed today than were filed in the 19th century. Exploring cases involving freedom of speech, foodborne illness, defective cars, business competition, and more, the book shows that despite its inevitable limitations, litigation empowers citizens to challenge the most powerful public and private interests and hold them accountable for their actions. Lawsuits change behavior, provide information to consumers and citizens, promote deliberation, and express society's views on equality and its most treasured values. In Praise of Litigation shows how our court system protects our liberties and enables civil society to flourish, and serves as a powerful reminder of why we need to protect people's ability to use it. The tort reform movement has had some real successes in limiting what can reach the courts, but there have been victims too. As Alexandra Lahav shows, it has become increasingly difficult for ordinary people to enforce their rights. In the grand scale of lawsuits, actually crazy or bogus lawsuits constitute a tiny minority; in fact, most anecdotes turn out to be misrepresentations of what actually happened. In In Praise of Litigation, Lahav argues that critics are blinded to the many benefits of lawsuits. The majority of lawsuits promote equality before the law, transparency, and accountability. Our ability to go to court is a sign of our strength as a society and enables us to both participate in and reinforce the rule of law. In addition, joining lawsuits gives citizens direct access to governmental officials-judges-who can hear their arguments about issues central to our democracy, including the proper extent of police power and the ability of all people to vote. It is at least arguable that lawsuits have helped spur major social changes in arenas like race relations and marriage rights, as well as made products safer and forced wrongdoers to answer for their conduct. In this defense, Lahav does not ignore the obvious drawbacks to litigiousness. It is expensive, stressful, and time consuming. Certainly, sensible reforms could make the system better. However, many of the proposals that have been adopted and are currently on the table seek only to solve problems that do not exist or to make it harder for citizens to defend their rights and to enforce the law. This is not the answer. In Praise of Litigation offers a level-headed and law-based assessment of the state of litigation in America as well as a number of practical steps that can be taken to ensure citizens have the right to defend themselves against wrongs while not odiously infringing on the rights of others.