Tuesday, November 17, 2009

November 2009 Book Club Selection: Attention Deficit Democracy, James Bovard

In Attention Deficit Democracy, James Bovard outlines the way that an unprecedented growth in the size of American government -- under Democrats and Republicans -- has been accompanied by the reign of structural dishonesty over American politics.

Bovard notes that this dishonesty harms politics by promoting cynicism that encourages citizens to disengage from politics. This disengagement and lack of attention to politics allows governments to grow beyond the ability of the citizenry to control it.

Bovard envokes Thomas Hobbes' description of big government as "Leviathan" to describe what Barry Cooper would describe as the embedded state.

Just as Cooper remains a semi-peripheral figure in Canadian political thought, so does Bovard, who associates not with the Republican or Democratic parties, but rather with the Libertarian Party.

Strains of libertarian thought run deeply through Attention Deficit Democracy. This shouldn't be surprising. Libertarian politics require a level of citizen autonomy that demands honesty from government and politicians.

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