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Examining the U.S. legal system's efforts to protect individuals against unfair decisions, lawyer, author, and social commentator Philip K. Howard shows how citizens of the United States have inadvertently been stripped of much of their individual freedom. Arguing the need to reintroduce the concepts of authority and hierarchy, he reveals that by exerting our right to individual freedom, we have actually paralyzed the law's ability to enforce liberty. Howard examines the damage wreaked by predatory litigation on our U.S. legal system, its powerful impact on our common institutions, and its representatives' ability to make prudent everyday decisions.
Throughout, he cites specific examples of people we rely on for value judgments who shy away from decision-making: judges unsure of their authority to dismiss cases and, in turn, allowing an unprecedented number of lawsuits to enter the courts; schools mired in a cycle of incompetence, yet unable to find teachers or administrators who can judge competency; and, doctors hesitant to make treatment decisions for fear of malpractice suits. Punctuated with anecdotes and stories, The Collapse of the Common Good identifies and challenges much of what our society deems a natural right.
This book is ideal for students of ethics and pre-law courses and will spark discussion and debate on what's legal, fair, and ethical when individual rights are concerned.
"Philip K. Howard has identified...the price we pay for our distrust of authority. By pointing to...the intricate array of rights and legal safeguards, he makes a provocative case which should provoke spirited debate."—Derek Bok, President Emeritus, Harvard University
"Impressive....thoroughly researched...pointing to logical solutions...about what works and doesn't work in the United States."—Los Angeles Daily News
"What Mr. Howard is trying to do with this thoughtful little book is drive us all sane."
--The New York Times
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
I. The Lost Art of Drawing The Line II. The Collapse of the Common Good III. The Legal Wedge in the Racial Divide IV. The Secret to Freedom Notes Acknowledgments