Declaration of Independents

Omnibus Reviews & Commentary

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Some excerpts from commentary about our book.

Bretigne Shaffer, Barron's:

The book's most exciting parts deal with the power of peaceful, impassioned individuals to alter repressive societies: How, back when home-brewing was still illegal in America, a few people who cared about creating quality ale recognized that "…to put enlightenment into practice, sometimes you have to break the law." How underground rock n' rollers in Central Europe sparked a revolution. How Mideastern youths asserting their "right to rock" (and to post on Facebook) are even now overturning dictatorships.

By bringing these stories to life, the authors create an inspiring vision for how we might move beyond the shackles of government control in many areas of our lives. But they fall short in delivering an operating manual for our own revolution, and miss elements that are already happening. […]

Gillespie and Welch weave a rollicking tale, and convincingly argue that human society and well-being flourish when people find ways to "route around government." But they're short on strategy specifics and, in the context of 21st-century libertarian activism, those they do offer seem almost timid.

Optimism!

John Kranz, Three Sources:

It is a remarkably uplifting book.

It is funny, thoughtful and well written. […]

It remains very upbeat, in spite of chapters like "We are so out of money!" There's a kind of Reaganite optimism about it, not that they have many kind words for our 40th. but they do have a true belief that free people will overcome the challenges of over-weaning government.

Funny, upbeat, informative, thoughtful. I will offer any of my leftist friends to read anything of their choosing if they'll pour through this one. It should be easy as Speaker Boehner and President George W Bush get as many or more whacks than anybody else.

Haven't seen a wrist-roller like that since Johnny Bench!

David M. Kinchen, HuntingtonNews.net:

[T]heir writing style […] I found delightful and enlightening […]

As an independent voter who cast a Presidential ballot for an obscure Texas pediatrician named Dr. Ron Paul in 1988 (he's now my congressman), and who voted for a goofy looking Texan named H. Ross Perot in 1992, I identify with many of  the "independents" profiled by Gillespie and Welch. I think their vision will resonate with a wide swath of frustrated citizens and young voters, born after the Cold War's end, to whom old tribal allegiances, prejudices, and hang-ups about everything from hearing a foreign language on the street to gay marriage to drug use simply do not make sense.

Applications beyond politics

Rich Lederer, Baseball Analysts:

Irrespective of your political interests or leanings, I believe you will enjoy The Declaration of Independents. The book is as much about decentralization and democratization taking market share from "the forces of control and centralization" as anything else, and it has applications beyond politics.

Veronique de Rugy, National Review's The Corner:

I am biased, no doubt, but in 2011, this book is a must-read. I would argue that it is especially worth reading if you are skeptical of libertarianism or even a straightforward anti-libertarian. For instance, if you think libertarians are irresponsible, dope-smoking, unserious, head-in-the-clouds pacifists, this book is for you. (It will prove you wrong, I hope.) Of course, if you think that libertarians are great, you should still read the book, because you will come out of it energized and full of hope.

Encouraging human flourishing

Daniel Larison, American Conservative:

It is probably one of the most enduring flaws in this optimistic vision that its adherents believe that people desire "nearly infinite individual choice, specialization, and autonomy." For the most part, human beings have created and organized their cultures along entirely different lines, because maximizing choice and autonomy is not what encourages human flourishing.

Alonzo Rachel, PJTV:

19th century boy

Larry Downes, on his personal website:

As a libertarian on a conservative radio station in the Midwest (93 WIBC – Indianapolis) I occasionally find myself at odds with my listeners. […]

In the prologue, they quote Henry Adams, great-grandson President #2, who said, "Politics has always been the systematic organization of hatreds."

Damn. That resonates in my head like a dentist's drill.

Christopher A. Guzman, California Independent Voter Network:

A libertarian-leaning sentiment is on the rise in the country, which may be attributed in part to the culture of digital personalization that's become so embedded in our way of life. With inventions such as the iphone, where one can choose which apps suit their needs, it seems as if people are starting to gradually connect their sense of individual choice in the digital sense to how they feel about government overstepping its bounds in their daily lives.

It's a holiday in Bipolarchia!

Samuel Wilson, The Think 3 Institute:

Did you get the impression from some of the quotes above that Welch and Gillespie are having more fun than many Americans these days? You probably can't blame them for feeling that way; they get to run a magazine that's consistently interesting if also almost as consistently biased, and they no doubt feel cool about sticking it to the Bipolarchy. But if theirs is the rhetoric with which they hope to sell libertarianism to the wider public, they're going to have some problems. How "funtabulous" is the modern world for most of us, after all? It's a word very few Americans would use to describe their country in 2011, and the authors themselves make clear that this funtabulousness is under siege from "the destructive force of politics," even if funtabulousness is somehow also its own best defense. But what makes their world funtabulous, anyway? In its best dress, it's "a world where mutual gains from trade have lifted half a billion people out of poverty in just the last five years."

Essentially a one-man show

dL, Libérale et libertaire:

Indeed, the plight of Gary Johnson, the ideal Gillespie-Welch "lifestyle politician," illustrates the public goods problem of this voting block. Johnson does not spring from any institutional party infrastructure nor is he a product of any formal or informal institutional network. He is essentially a one-man show, someone who was elected governor as the result of a fluke. In a majority Democratic state, Johnson was able to overcome a weak GOP establishment to win the primary and then defeat a Dem Establishment Pol in a general election. But this doesn't translate on the national scene. Johnson insists that his "resume" gives him a seat at the table. But it actually doesn't. It reaffirms him to be a fluke, someone without any formal or informal institutional support. His "Our American Initiative" project didn't build any genesis of a lifestyle voter political reform movement. Johnson, after being excluded from the recent NH GOP debate, is now making the rounds volunteering his new found disillusionment with "the system."

In short, Gillespie-Welch's new book is not a serious social science book. Rather, it's mere journalistic wishful thinking.

Eponymous, Tea Party Handbook:

However, more and more Americans are beginning to wake up and realize that there may be hope—if they beginning to get involved and pay attention for a change! This book describes a vision that can be held by young and old alike. It is a compelling manifesto containing libertarian ideals. it identifies today's villains and shows how you can do something about it. The books vision resonates with the Tea Party's ideals.

Pull-down a sample copy for Kindle at Amazon.com and see for yourself. You'll find their ideas fascinating and inspiring.

Eponymous, the Modern Moderate:

Anyways, I believe we need to be more open. Stretch the boundaries a bit. Be accepting of diversity. I am still developing. There are always new things to learn. Many things are not so black and white. Maybe there are shades of gray. Just a thought. I just began reading a new book called, "The Declaration of Independents" by Nick Gillespie & Matt Welch. It discusses libertarians and independents. We hear information about the left and the right all of the time, but are we learning about the middle? I am.

In your heart, you know he's got better glasses than you

Epoynymous, Rational Interest:

Why should you read this book?

In the same way Barry Goldwater's Conscience of a Conservative helped define the Republican party for many years, the Declaration gives us a tome of wisdom for the post-partisan and post-political America. Deregulation and capitalism have given us cheap airfare, affordable HD TV's, cell phones, Whole Foods, and the list goes on and on. The variety we enjoy at the grocery store, and the cheapness of Amazon.com is attributable to the market, not government. The simple point is that the best things in your life, and the things you have the most control over, are the ones least associated with government. So for all those who are tired of the two-party system and the same government solutions to government created problems, invest in the book and declare your independence by becoming independent.