Return to the INE Main Page


Book Review, By Hal Fox

From: NEN, Vol. 6, No. 9, May 1999, pp. 15-16.
New Energy News (NEN) copyright 1999 by Fusion Information Center, Inc.
COPYING NOT ALLOWED without written permission.

Book Review:

FREEDOM IN CHAINS, The Rise of the State and the Demise of the Citizen

By Hal Fox

James Bovard, FREEDOM IN CHAINS, The Rise of the State and the Demise of the Citizen, c1999, St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010, 326 pages, indexed, 1256 references.

Why should an energy newsletter review a book about the constraints that the government imposes on its citizens? The answer is simple: So you will be aware of what type of restraints will be placed on new-energy devices unless voters object. This well-researched and impeccably-documented book, is a must read for any person who looks to new-energy systems to provide him or her with additional freedom. I'll guarantee that you will not be so complacent about your government for the rest of your life, and rightly so.

The book reviews the basic rights which the founders of this country insisted should be retained by the citizens. The book also chronicles how these citizen rights have gradually been eroded until now even the hated name of a ruthless czar is coupled with government institutions, such as a drug czar. This book gives us many examples of how we have allowed the government agencies (at all levels) to erode citizen rights and, in many cases, to enslave and imprison citizens who failed to abide by unfair government bureaucratic mandates. Here are some examples:

"The average family with two earners paid nearly as much in taxes in 1998 as their total nominal earnings in 1980."

Welfare: "In the six most generous states, benefits exceed the entry-level salary for a computer programmer. The higher the benefits, the less work recipients perform."

Price Control: "Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts ... it is plain that this Act creates personal government by a petty tyrant instead of government by law."

Superfund: The government has spent almost $1 billion for Superfund and forced private parties to spend up to another $80 billion. Yet the program has cleaned up barely a third of the most dangerous landfills."

Citizen Trust: "...a 1995 poll found that 76 percent of Americans say that they "rarely or never trust government to do what is right."

Rewarded by Fines: "...OSHA inspectors were being rewarded on the basis of how many fines they issued."

Stealing by IRS: "...IRS wrongfully collected up to $7 billion in penalties...not owed by taxpayers. Thus, Americans probably lose more each year from unjustified IRS payment demands than is stolen by all the burglars and armed robbers combined."

Price of Getting: "What have politicians given to the citizenry that they did not originally take from them? ... In reality, ... politicians give back far less in value than they took."

Sovereignty: "The challenge of our times is to limit the power of government so that citizens can reclaim sovereignty over their own lives."

Many of the laws enacted by government are labeled with such nice words as Environmental Protection, Fair Trade, and Comprehensive Employment and Training Act ($40 billion spent, $0 results). Worse, the legislators think they are helping the people. However, by the time the bureaucrats write and publish the regulations, the citizens who are supposed to be helped find that they can be arrested, imprisoned, and fined, with no rights to sue those who impose these serious coercions upon them.

So what has that to do with new energy? When coal use decreases, when electric utilities cannot compete with new-energy devices, when oil refineries have to reduce production, when natural gas use is greatly reduced, what do you think those industries are going to ask from their Congresspersons? They will ask for fair trade, price controls, new-energy restrictions, and legislation prohibiting new-energy systems. And what will the Congresspersons do? Unless a strong voice from the people is registered, the will find ways to help maintain fairness for groups that donate large re-election funds.

What Should You Do? You must make your vote count. You must make your voice heard. You must fill your Congressman's email file with strong, courteously-worded demands for the government to not restrict the use of new-energy technology. You had better start now or find that the new-energy devices now being commercialized will be bound with government regulations disguised as safety, fairness, consumer protection, etc.

Recently, the Department of Agriculture tried to expand the definition of organic. Tens of thousands of concerned citizens objected. The DOA withdrew! That is the answer to your freedom to use the new-energy devices that are now being commercialized! To be forewarned is to be forearmed! Read this book, be informed, maintain your energy rights. Then regain your many other rights that are currently denied by bureaucratic regulations.

In the final chapter of this remarkable book, the author suggests some things that citizens should do. Here are some further suggestions that should be accomplished:

1. Require every government agency that is based on the Constitutional concept of "promote the general welfare" to reduce its number of regulations by half and the amount of fines by half. Repeat this mandate every Congress or forgo any appropriations.

2. Remove the shield of sovreignty for all "general welfare" based agencies and allow the concerned citizen to sue the government worker and have immediate access to an independent Arbitrator.

3. Require that only one government agency shall be allowed to write regulations for any particular topic such as Energy.

4. Pass legislation that all total government taxation cannot exceed 25% of a person's income.

5. Insist that someone in every Congressperson's office must read a new law before it is presented for vote.

Note: The editor invites you to suggest ways in which government excesses in the name of "general welfare" can be curtailed. First, read this book and be an informed citizen.

Return to the INE Main Page
June 2, 1999.