According to the Code of Ethics of the National Writers Union, I am prohibited from abstaining from quoting a positive book review.
The April issue of the Future of Freedom Foundation’s Freedom Daily has a long, thorough, and generous review on Attention Deficit Democracy. The reviewer, Anthony Gregory, has been doing some of the hardest hitting pieces on incorrigible conservatives, wayward libertarians, and Leviathan since he graduated from the University of California a few years ago. His background in history adds a breadth to his writing that is rare for political commentators. (He wrote his B.A. thesis on the media coverage of Waco).
I especially appreciate how Anthony Gregory captured many of the core principles of the book. Here are some outtakes:
There are few writers who pay more attention to the political follies of our time and who provide their readers with more meticulously documented reasons to be outraged than James Bovard, whose new book, Attention Deficit Democracy, presents his diagnosis of what is so terribly wrong with modern American democracy.To demonstrate the apparent inverse relationship between public understanding of the government and the severity of the issues at hand, Bovard takes on a number of sacred cows in the war on terror. ….
Bovard’s treatment of covert operations and overt foreign aid programs in his chapter “Messianic Democracy” is one of the premier treats of the book, as the author documents case after case of folly, foolishness, and fraud in the U.S. government’s attempts to meddle in foreign elections…
A partisan of neither major party, only of liberty, Bovard sums up the lies surrounding Clinton’s Kosovo war of the late 1990s...
In perhaps his most powerful chapter, Bovard takes on the torture state, setting to rest once and for all the absurd defenses and denials of U.S. torture in the war on terror….A review of this length cannot possibly do justice to this chapter, but suffice it to say that Bovard has done his research and nailed the case against the administration, whose officials, all the way to the top, clearly authorized interrogation procedures that can be defined only as torture… The American people have come to tolerate, even embrace, the barbaric policy of torture, and Bovard has been paying attention and is outraged. It is a sign of a truly dysfunctional political system and troubling political culture.
Attention Deficit Democracy is an indictment of the modern American democratic state. It is an indictment of the American people, who have lost interest in the sweeping and dangerous powers their rulers have grabbed and abused in recent history, especially since 9/11 but also going back many years before that. Following in the tradition of his other books, Bovard carefully documents hundreds of instances of government wrongdoing and deceit in domestic and foreign policy. But more than in his other recent works, he draws on history and on sociological insights to form his diagnosis of the general affliction in modern America. The book shows that the problem is nonpartisan and deeply seated in American culture and will not be likely to reverse simply when another man moves into the Oval Office. Things must considerably change for our democratic government to stop ravaging the freedoms it is supposed to guard. The American people must reclaim their libertarian heritage, and understand liberty and the limits and dangers of government power, even when brandished by a popularly elected power elite. They must start paying attention, and thus start being more outraged. Reading Attention Deficit Democracy is a perfect place to start.