Neither Liberty Nor Safety: Fear, Ideology, and the Growth of Government

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Independent Institute, 2007 - Political Science - 202 pages
The history of the United States, from the 19th century to present day, is included in this examination of the very foundations of unwarranted government intrusiveness that illuminates the two essential elements that have led to the expansion of the state’s authority—the ideology that the government should serve as a savior whenever people face threats to their well-being and the public fear that follows the perception of a large-scale threat to peace or prosperity. When these two factors operate simultaneously, people demand that the government take protective measures on their behalf. Hence, in an outburst of opportunism, the growth of government accelerates during the crisis, at the expense of liberty. Dr. Higgs’s conclusion is undeniable: placing confidence in the government to function as savior or problem solver does not lead to the peace, prosperity, and safety that people crave. On the contrary, that misplaced confidence ultimately leads to tyranny and diminished security—in Benjamin Franklin’s words, “Neither liberty nor safety.”

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Eighteen Problematic Propositions in the Analysis
The Complex Course of Ideological Change
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About the author (2007)

\Robert Higgs is a senior fellow in political economy for The Independent Institute and serves as editor of the Institute's quarterly journal, The Independent Review. He is the author of Against Leviathan; Crisis and Leviathan; Depression, War, and Cold War; and Resurgence of the Warfare State; and the editor of The Challenge of LibertyEmergence of the Modern Political Economy; and Hazardous to Our Health? He lives in Covington, Louisiana.

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