Destroying Democracy

August 19, 1988  ·  Michael Fumento  ·  National Review Inc.  ·  Government

The major problem with Destroying Democracy, from the libertarian Cato Institute, is that we’ve read so much of it before in better books like Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality?, The Coercive Utopians, and Losing Ground.

Although the authors, both professors at George Mason University, have published numerous works on government, this study’s heavy reliance on secondary sources gives it the air of one of those ghost-written books ostensibly authored by well-known congressmen or New Right leaders. Moreover, much of the book has little to do with partisan politics (for example, criticisms of regulations promulgated by the Food and Drug Admistration or the Environmental Protection Agency) or gives too little detail on how tax money is supporting the conduct in question.

Rarely are we given nuts-and-bolts information on the reasons — whether actual or ostensible — for government grants to political-advocacy groups, how these appropriations are hidden by worthier ones in the same bill, and who the congressmen and bureaucrats behind these grants are.

In fact, the authors’ proposed solution to the crisis of tax-funded political advocacy — a guaranteed income and elimination of indirect payments to the needy — is given scarcely more words than there are in this review.

If you’ve been living under a rock these past few years, Destroying Democracy might be useful catch-up reading on the misdoings of the Left. Otherwise, wait for the movie.