Property Rights Foundation of America®
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Book Reviews

A Call for Renewal
Book Preview by Carol W. LaGrasse, June 9, 2012

Ending "Big Sis" (The Special Interest State) and Renewing the American Republic, by James DeLong (Published 2012, 242 pages, $11.95 paperback)

Jim DeLong, who wrote Property Matters: How Property Rights Are Under Assault and Why YouShould Care (1997), has just published Ending "Big Sis": ( The Special Interest State) and Renewing the American Republic, which vividly describes the way rent-seeking factions have captured the many regulatory agencies created to manage the multifarious government responsibilities undertaken since the 1930s, leading to systemic corruption and wasteful distortions and dysfunctions.

Many treatises have been written about the plague of overgrown government, but few authors who write broadly about the wrong directions of American government emphasize private property rights adquately. The lifetime of commentary by Jim DeLong, who will deliver the keynote address at the Property Rights Foundation of America's Sixteenth Annual National Conference on October 20, 2012, emphasizes property rights as absolutely essential in the context of reforming government.

The publication of Big Sis treats the reader to Jim DeLong's historical and political brilliance applied to today's client state. Point by point, the author erases any question that we are subject to a system of government diametrically opposed to the Founders' design of checks and balances. This fine book consistently leaps beyond the typical calls for reform, which are usually superficial, by explaining the assumptions and structures that facilitate today's Behemoth government.

One of DeLong's many important accomplishments is his discrediting of the Supreme Court's "rational basis" test for the legitimacy of legislation, where the court abdicates its role to the judgment of legislators. A telling recent case was when the Supreme Court relegated private property rights to this non-functioning test in the eminent domain decision known as Susette Kelo vs. the City of New London, where a thriving neighborhood was about to be destroyed so that the city could develop the area for private business. Since the city deemed this a "public purpose" because it was said to facilitate additional tax revenue, the high court deferred. The neighborhood was leveled. Not long after that, however, Pfizer, the private corporation that was the key to the redevelopment, moved out of New London. The site is now vacant, a city dump.

But these government excesses do not have to be intractable, and DeLong digs into the critical changes that could bring the citizenry to effectively assert a longer term and broader view. DeLong's well-honed perspective will benefit readers seeking understanding and direction, whether they have a long involvement in a wide range of issues or are new-comers to civic involvement.


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Ending "Big SIS" (The Special Interest State) and Renewing the American Republic.


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