Everyday Freedom: Designing the Framework for a Flourishing Society (Hardcover)

Everyday Freedom: Designing the Framework for a Flourishing Society By Philip K. Howard Cover Image
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Description


There’s a glaring vacuum in the 2024 political debate—No party or candidate offers a governing vision that deals with the root causes of alienation and failure. Something basic is missing in our culture. Americans know it. Nothing much works as it should. Simple daily choices seem impossible, or fraught with peril. In the workplace, we walk on eggshells. Big projects—say, modernizing infrastructure—get stalled in years of review. Endemic social problems such as homelessness become, well, more endemic.

Everyday Freedom pinpoints the source of powerlessness that is fraying American culture and causing public failure, and offers a bold vision of simpler governing frameworks to re-empower Americans in their daily choices. “Everyday Freedom shows us how to break out of the spiral of decreasing trust, confidence, and capability,” social psychologist Jonathan Haidt concludes, “and re-invigorate our institutions, our governments, and ourselves.”

Everyday Freedom diagnoses our collective futility as resulting from a deliberate change in governing philosophy: The assault on authority after the 1960s, aimed at enhancing freedom, instead created a plague of powerlessness. The teacher in the classroom, the principal in a school, the nurse in the hospital, the official in Washington, the parent on a field trip, the head of a local charity or church…all have their hands tied. Things don’t work, and Americans have lost the freedom to be themselves. That’s the main reason America is in a downward spiral of alienation and extremism.

Who has a vision to revive hope and action? Not political leaders, who are picking the scab of resentment. Social media gets rich selling distrust. Stop the Steal! Defund the Police!

Everyday Freedom, in the tradition of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, offers a radical vision for change: Re-empower Americans in their everyday choices. The massive legal structures erected since the 1960s were based on flawed notions that human judgment could be replaced by elaborate dictates. Area by area, these failed structures must be replaced with simpler frameworks activated by human responsibility and accountability. Nothing will work sensibly until Americans are free to draw on their skills, intuitions and values when confronting daily challenges. This is the only cure to alienation. This is also the only way to deliver good government.

Philip Howard’s understanding of the essential role of human agency has been embraced by some of America’s leading economists, jurists, social psychologists and philosophers.

About the Author


PHILIP K. HOWARD is a lawyer, author, and civic leader. He is chair of Common Good, a nonpartisan organization aimed at simplifying government. He grew up in Kentucky and lives in New York City.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781957588209
ISBN-10: 1957588209
Publisher: Rodin Books
Publication Date: January 23rd, 2024
Pages: 128
Language: English