Taking on the Left, the Right, and Threats to Our Liberties

About the Author | What Others Have Said | Read Excerpts | Contact Us | Buy the BookBook: The Politics of Freedom


As Americans head into a crucial election year, pundits are coloring everything in red and blue. But according to David Boaz, the old labels of left and right don’t tell us much any more. What we are witnessing is a contest of "Big-Government Conservatives" vs. "Big-Government Liberals."

In The Politics of Freedom David Boaz takes on both liberals and conservatives who seek to impose their own partisan agendas on the whole country. He explains

  • why freedom is both "pro-choice" and "pro-life"
  • the growing libertarian vote in America
  • how the Republicans became the tax-and-spend party
  • how the Democrats joined the Republicans in foreign adventurism
  • the failure of the war on drugs and what can be done about it
  • how competition can give us better schools
  • the betrayal of our constitutional rights
  • why markets work and government planning doesn’t
  • and everything from gay marriage and the nanny state to taxes and terrorism.

For nearly 30 years, David Boaz has been speaking directly to the large and growing number of Americans who are fed up with politics as usual. His articles speak to the perspectives and values Americans have always held privately and more and more are coming to embrace openly. Now, for the first time, his best writings are gathered in one collection. A recent survey found that 59 percent of respondents described themselves as "fiscally conservative and socially liberal." Boaz shows that majority that their fundamental political value is freedom. Whether it’s the freedom to choose a church, a school, or a lifestyle, The Politics of Freedom gives voice to a value most Americans embrace. For the millions of Americans who don’t neatly fit into the red or blue, who are fiscally conservative and socially liberal, who reject big-government conservatism and nanny-state liberalism, this book offers a new politics of freedom.


David Boaz is a leading spokesman for the philosophy of freedom. His book Libertarianism: A Primer has been translated into nine languages. As executive vice president of the Cato Institute, the largest libertarian think tank in the world, Boaz brings a unique perspective to the battles between left and right. He’s a frequent guest on national radio and television programs, and his writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and other newspapers and magazines. He has edited 10 books, including The Libertarian Reader, which brings together writers on freedom from Lao Tse to Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, and Mario Vargas Llosa.


"David Boaz has been my guide to the history, economics, and politics of freedom for years."
-John Stossel, ABC News

"David Boaz has long been one of the nation’s most stalwart and intellectually consistent advocates of individual liberty. At a time when our freedoms are under relentless assault from those who seek to use government to control every aspect of our lives, Boaz’s collection of writings offers an invaluable tool to defend against these incursions. The central promise of the American founding was individual liberty, and Boaz’s essays are grounded in this commitment and dedicated to its preservation."
-Glenn Greenwald, Author of How Would A Patriot Act?

"David Boaz wrote the book on libertarianism. With The Politics of Freedom David takes on the modern-day welfare state, and the reader learns why it’s now the Democrats’ turn to self-destruct. A great read for everyone who is perpetually disenchanted with politics as usual."
-Vernon L. Smith, Winner of The Nobel Prize in Economics

"There is a certain kind of thinker who is proud of ‘Speaking Truth to Power,’ as if America were a police state. In our country the truth is there for all to see, speech is free, and, as for power, we’re a democracy. Power resides with the public. Therefore ‘Speaking Truth to Power’ is just telling ourselves what we already know. Give me, instead, a thinker who speaks sense to the citizenry. That would be David Boaz. His arguments are intelligent, cogent, and persuasive. He praises the genuine progress in freedom and reviles the false progressiveness. He raises real problems and sets down actual solutions. Of truth to power, speak all you like. But when it comes time to listen, listen to David Boaz."
-P. J. O’Rourke, Author of On The Wealth of Nations and Parliament of Whores

"Is it any wonder that Americans have become so dissatisfied with government today? Politicians have given us rampant violations of our constitutional rights and growing intrusions into our personal lives. Now one of the nation’s leading libertarians raises the issues that are vital to the preservation of our individual liberties as Americans."
-Nadine Strossen, President, American Civil Liberties Union

"If you are interested in why the roots of American freedom conflict so greatly with the American political scene of today, open this book and read."
-Kurt Russell

"No one during the past quarter century has offered more upbeat, more lucid, and, at the same time, more uncompromising and intellectually satisfying arguments for freedom across the board than has David Boaz. His writing combines logical rigor, knowledge, insight, and accessibility. David writes for those who really want to ‘get it.’ He writes for those who want to be able to do more than mouth slogans. This book is for those who want to understand the workings of our political system and the threats to freedom from left and right."
-Donald J. Boudreaux, Chairman, Department of Economics, George Mason University


On President Bush-
"Bush and the new Republican Party are turning their backs on Americans who want smaller government. They’re delivering big-government conservatism across the board. But we already have a big-government party."

On Hillary Clinton-
"After her first attempt at nationalizing and bureaucratizing American health care, she told the New York Times that her next project would be ‘redefining who we are as human beings in the post-modern age.’ I’d say 300 million Americans can do that for themselves."

On Rudy Giuliani-
"Giuliani’s view of power would be dangerous at any time, but especially after two terms of relentless Bush efforts to weaken the constitutional checks and balances that safeguard our liberty. In 1964, Barry Goldwater declared it ‘the cause of Republicanism to resist concentrations of power.’ George W. Bush has forgotten that; Rudy Giuliani rejects it."

On the "Difference" between Liberals and Conservatives-
"Liberals want to raise taxes because they can spend your money better than you can. They don’t believe in school choice because you’re not capable of choosing a school for your children. They think they can handle your healthcare, your retirement and your charitable contributions better than you can. Conservatives want to censor cable television because you’re too dumb to decide what your family should watch. They want to ban drugs, pornography, gambling and gay marriage because you just don’t know what’s good for you."

On the Drug War-
"The drug war makes peace and prosperity virtually impossible in inner cities. Students of American history will someday ponder the question of how today’s elected officials could readily admit to the mistaken policy of alcohol prohibition in the 1920s but recklessly pursue a policy of drug prohibition."

On School Choice-
"Every argument against choice made by the education establishment reveals the contempt that establishment has for its own product. School boards, superintendents, and teachers unions are convinced that no one would attend public schools if they had the choice."

On the Nanny State-
"Critics of the welfare state are often charged with wanting ‘to tear down government programs and put nothing in their place.’ But what kind of political philosophy is it that looks at the vibrancy of America and sees ‘nothing’ except what the government does?"

On the Power of Communities-
"We can empower communities only by giving them the power to run their own affairs. As long as they are private, voluntary communities-including schools, churches, clubs, associations, and condominium-style housing developments-the policy of the government should be hands-off."

On Immigration-
"If Hispanics were coming here under the rules that welcomed my Scottish and Irish ancestors, we’d still be a nation of legal immigrants."


Buy the Book Online,
or call 800-767-1241

For Author Speaking Engagements
Robert Garber, 202-789-5224, rgarber@cato.org

For Media Inquiries
Camille Cooke, 202-218-4634, ccooke@cato.org

Read the press release