A thorough and accessible consideration of government regulation.



A debut book advances an argument for limited government on economic, political, and—most important—moral grounds.

According to Lipse, the great promise of the 20th century was sadly unfulfilled despite great leaps forward technologically and a surfeit of enthusiasm. He blames the widely held belief in “economic interventionism,” or the view that government regulation and policymaking are the keys to growth. Most, though, attribute the failures of that approach to bureaucratic incompetence or the fiascos engendered by political partisanship. The author contrarily contends that the real issue is “predatory jurisdiction,” understood as a government’s unjust proscription of basic individual rights within the bounds of its lawful authority. Lipse anatomizes several problems from this perspective: the erosion of individual property rights, the unlimited accumulation of public debt, overregulation, and government-induced inflation. In one chapter, Lipse targets entry regulation, which not only creates a shadow economy or “informal sector” of business for those refused access to their chosen professions, but also denies citizens their basic rights to function as free economic actors. Repeatedly, the author prioritizes the moral argument that any iteration of predatory jurisdiction is a trampling of rights: “Ultimately, the essence of this book is to remind people of that great republican ideal: that the state is an entity instituted by the citizenry to serve the people.” Lipse also discusses the issue legally, contending that the Constitution does not provide a powerful enough catalog of basic economic rights, in the absence of which any reform will be limited. The author’s argument is both comprehensive and painstaking; he uncoils it carefully and lucidly. In addition, he avoids the trap of tendentious hyperbole so typical in reformist books—Lipse makes it clear he’s not against government regulation, just its unrestrained exercise. More could be said in these pages, in the spirit of the French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville, about the ways in which the people themselves are complicit in the failings of democracy and have acquiesced, if not contributed, to the technocratic oversight performed to their disadvantage. But this remains a thoughtful reminder of the moral stakes in government policy.

A thorough and accessible consideration of government regulation.

Pub Date: June 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5246-7674-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: AuthorHouseUK

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.


Straight talk to blacks and whites about the realities of racism.

In her feisty debut book, Oluo, essayist, blogger, and editor at large at the Establishment magazine, writes from the perspective of a black, queer, middle-class, college-educated woman living in a “white supremacist country.” The daughter of a white single mother, brought up in largely white Seattle, she sees race as “one of the most defining forces” in her life. Throughout the book, Oluo responds to questions that she has often been asked, and others that she wishes were asked, about racism “in our workplace, our government, our homes, and ourselves.” “Is it really about race?” she is asked by whites who insist that class is a greater source of oppression. “Is police brutality really about race?” “What is cultural appropriation?” and “What is the model minority myth?” Her sharp, no-nonsense answers include talking points for both blacks and whites. She explains, for example, “when somebody asks you to ‘check your privilege’ they are asking you to pause and consider how the advantages you’ve had in life are contributing to your opinions and actions, and how the lack of disadvantages in certain areas is keeping you from fully understanding the struggles others are facing.” She unpacks the complicated term “intersectionality”: the idea that social justice must consider “a myriad of identities—our gender, class, race, sexuality, and so much more—that inform our experiences in life.” She asks whites to realize that when people of color talk about systemic racism, “they are opening up all of that pain and fear and anger to you” and are asking that they be heard. After devoting most of the book to talking, Oluo finishes with a chapter on action and its urgency. Action includes pressing for reform in schools, unions, and local governments; boycotting businesses that exploit people of color; contributing money to social justice organizations; and, most of all, voting for candidates who make “diversity, inclusion and racial justice a priority.”

A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58005-677-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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