As Ronald Reagan said, the nine scariest words in the English language are, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” An important new book, just out from the National Center for Public Policy Research, shows how on the mark the Gipper was. Shattered Dreams: One Hundred Stories of Government Abuse gives a hundred reasons why government left unchecked can harm even innocent, law-abiding citizens.
With a foreword by Ted Nugent and an introduction by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, Shattered Dreams serves a cautionary note against those who would expand government’s powers and increase its scope over our lives and livelihoods. A team of researchers and experts at the NCPPR provide a rap sheet of government’s regulatory missteps, from the merely comic (like the Minnesota girl harassed for running an unlicensed lemonade stand) to the truly horrific (children ripped from the loving arms of parents whose only crime was wanting a quality education for their kids).
Shattered Dreams paints a picture of government at all levels that too often is arbitrary, irrational, petty, vindictive, capricious, shortsighted, avaricious, and nasty. And the book shows these government abuses taking a significant toll in human terms—not just incurring heavy costs, but often destroying lives, wrecking communities, and occasionally even imperiling national security. The NCPPR team provides example after blood-curdling example of government breaking the law it sets, terrorizing innocent, law-abiding citizens.
Shattered Dreams offers short, easily accessible tales, written in a lively style that shines a spotlight on a host of corrupt and dangerous government practices, and a slew of preposterous, ineffective, and costly regulations. Each entry is backed up with extensive research and footnotes. The book breaks down into a wide variety of sections. One shows the folly of taking endangered species protection to extremes. Another provides a mind-numbing catalog of eminent domain abuses. Still others detail the assault on private property rights or on Americans’ abilities to engage in routine commercial activities.
Next time you hear someone in the news call for government “to act,” keep in mind that its actions often bring with them dire consequences for ordinary (and innocent) Americans. Shattered Dreams shows just how dangerous government can be, even in a “free” society.
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