CHALIENGE TO FREEDOM by Henry M. Wriston
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CHALIENGE TO FREEDOM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Whether one grants his premise or not, no thoughtful reader can fail to find this stimulating and challenging reading. He takes sharp issue with what he feels is the defeatism of the past decade in the relations between government and business. He feels that economic determinism has been disproved by history, while other factors have been more vital. Our unpreparedness was a symptom of moral laxness. He sees as an essential basis of democracy man governed by reason, and recognition of the infinite worth of the individual; the social service state is evidence of moral retreat, loss of faith in the individual. While his quarrel is quite evidently with New Deal operation, he goes back to previous administrations and shows how the spirit of defeatism was rooted before 1932. But he believes that each age has its characteristic fallacies and that trends are reversible. He builds up a strong case for a free capital market, loosened from the hostility of government, from bureaucracy, from unfair taxation. He challenges the dangers of a drift to concentration in business, and urges that post-war planning must develop procedures to restore fluidity of financing new enterprise. Deficit spending as a government tool he calls political hocus pocus. The American way lies between laisses faire and totalitarianism. Demobilization should bring speedy end to managed economy, with a reasoned process of reforming reform, of planning for the planners, lest government agencies created for the emergency become permanent. He analyzes what he feels are the fallacies in the war aims, -- full employment (which in government control is defeatist policy); security (which he calls a ""political hypnotic""). Privilege must end to clear the road for production, and under privilege he names tariff, silver bloc, labor unions and other excesses. The moment has come for a resurgence of faith in democracy and public opinion. The war is on between Reason and Authority. It is high time for a Second Front at home to restore the belief in the ultimate justice of the people, their moral courage and common sense. As a creed for those who cry havoc and do nothing about it, this might serve to dislodge them from their seat of assurance and give them an implement with which to work. Many will take issue with some of his points, but all should find food for thought. As President of Brown University, now working on policy formulation in Washington, he speaks from more than merely a theoretical background.

Publisher: Harper