I am writing to encourage you to check out my new book Liberty from All Masters, which St. Martin’s Press is publishing first thing tomorrow.
In Liberty, I offer a truly hopeful vision of the future. Yes, I do issue a stark new warning, as I did in my previous books Cornered and End of the Line. But at the heart of Liberty, you will find a practical guide to building a new democracy in America and a more sustainable and prosperous world.
All revolutions are political in nature. But true revolutions involve more than the overthrow of a particular structure of power. They are also intellectual and spiritual. They affect how we see the world and our own role in it.
Our revolution today requires precisely such new ways of thinking and seeing. To break the power of the autocrats, we must relearn the true history of how Americans regulated power in the first two centuries of our nation. To build our new democracy, we must relearn that Americans used anti-monopoly law for much more than breaking power. They also used it to structure the entire economy and society to help ensure that every individual can take full part in government and can flourish fully as a person. I call this the American System of Liberty.
Fifty years ago this month, Milton Friedman published a famous essay that launched the “neoliberal” assault on the American System of Liberty. Along with Robert Bork, Friedman held that greed was “good” and that concentrated power was “efficient.” In the 1980s and 1990s, operatives in both parties used these ideas to clear the way for the monopolists to take control of our lives, our communities, and our politics.
The time has come to liberate our minds from the lies and delusions of the neoliberals and to liberate our nation from the dictatorial power of the monopolists they unleashed. In Liberty, I will help show you how. I will reconnect you to the original idea of America – that all must be equally free and all must enjoy truly equal opportunity – and to the battles in which we strove to extend these liberties to all.
I know that the world today looks bleak. But in the 10 years since I published Cornered, I have seen something remarkable. Back then, the American people staggered about in confusion, stunned by the Great Recession and yet blind to the true cause. Today we see a rising movement of people who clearly understand the threat posed by concentrated power and who are linking arms to fight. In Congress, in all 50 state governments, in Europe, in the academies, and on the streets, the battle has begun. Tomorrow, Wired will publish an article in which I detail how these tools from the past are key to a better future. Yesterday, the Financial Times and the Washington Monthly published two articles and a review that focus on how Liberty can point the way to a more democratic and ethical future. Yes, we still face terrific challenges, as I detailed in my recent cover article in Harper’s Magazine. But the future is ours to envision and make. I hope you will join us in building it.
Liberty from All Masters: The New American Autocracy vs. the Will of the People — “Very few thinkers in recent years have done more to shift debate in Washington than Barry Lynn. In Liberty From All Masters, he proves himself as a lyrical theorist and a bold interpreter of history. This book is an elegant summoning of a forgotten tradition that can help the nation usher in a new freedom,” says Franklin Foer, author of World Without Mind and national correspondent for The Atlantic.