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The Death of Common Sense

The Death of Common Sense Cover

The Death of Common Sense

How Law Is Suffocating America

By Philip K. Howard

Random House Trade, Paperback, 9780812982749, 244pp.

Publication Date: May 3, 2011


We need a new idea of how to govern. The current system is broken. Law is supposed to be a framework for humans to make choices, not the replacement for free choice. So notes Philip K. Howard in the new Afterword to his explosive manifesto "The Death of Common Sense." Here Howard offers nothing less than a fresh, lucid, practical operating system for modern democracy. America is drowning in law, lawsuits, and nearly endless red tape. Before acting or making a decision, we often abandon our best instincts. We pause, we worry, we equivocate, and then we divert our energy into trying to protect ourselves. Filled with one too many examples of bureaucratic overreach, "The Death of Common Sense" demonstrates how we and our country can at last get back on track.

Praise For The Death of Common Sense

“Incendiary . . . stimulating and controversial.”—San Francisco Examiner

“[Philip K.] Howard’s argument is fresh, reflecting an impressive combination of wisdom, wry humor, and quiet passion. . . . When we think about ‘reinventing government,’ it’s a good place to start.”—The New York Times Book Review

“A valuable book . . . a call for personal responsibility and initiative in government.”—People
“The delights of this policy prose poem lie in its perfect details, its civilized tone, its sure sense of where the ill-made legal shoe pinches.”—The Wall Street Journal
“A brilliant diagnosis . . . forceful, trenchant, and eloquent.”—Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.
“Excellent.”—The Washington Post