Taking a Stand
Taking a Stand

Taking a Stand

Reflections on Life, Liberty, and the Economy


368 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Paperback

Paperback, $21.95 (US $21.95) (CA $25.95)

Publication Date: May 2015

ISBN 9781598132045

Price: $21.95


In his academic work, Robert Higgs has dissected the government's shrewd secret excesses that lead to the Welfare State, the Warfare State, and the Administrative State. For several decades he has unstintingly chronicled the federal, state, and local governments' malfeasance in these many areas of life that all levels of government have intruded upon without Constitutional mandate. In this book, however, are essays that show a whimsical, introspective, and personal side of this world renowned scholar. From the myth that the government has derived its powers from the consent of the governed to the role of independent experts in formulating monetary and fiscal policy; from the government's duplicity in announcing the unemployment rate in a given month to how the state entraps us, if you want to see a true polymath at work, these lofty, serious, sad, and illuminating essays will educate you beyond what you had thought possible about life, liberty, and the economy.


"Robert Higgs begins Taking a Stand by thanking his students. But his list is much too short, for we are all his students. Often funny, and usually subversive of the conventional wisdom, this book spans a short period (2009-14) in Bob's marvelously productive life. Chapters range from serious engagements with economic affairs to heartfelt eulogies—Bob's 'goodbye' to Manuel Ayau cannot be read without tearing up—to parodies of the rock song 'American Pie' and the poem 'The Raven.' It is hard to convey the depth and value of this timely yet timeless book. But if Francis Bacon could be crossed with P.J. O'Rourke, that would come close." —Michael C. Munger, professor of political science, economics and public policy; director, Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Program, Duke University

"More than anyone in our time, Robert Higgs wrestles with 'James Madison's Dilemma,' that is, if we have created a government powerful enough to protect our rights and liberties, what is to prevent it from taking away those very rights and liberties? One may not agree with all of his recent musings in Taking a Stand, but they are invariably thought-provoking and admirable." —Richard E. Sylla, Henry Kaufman Professor of the History of Financial Institutions and Markets, New York University

"Full of fascinating insights, Taking a Stand illuminates Robert Higgs's life-long search for the true causes of economic and social problems, by utilizing all possible means: theory, history, literature, and his own experience. Higgs's emphasis on the crucial value of liberty has substantial implications for the future role of government in Asian countries and worldwide." —Yuzo Murayama, professor and Vice President, Doshisha University, Japan

"Robert Higgs has been pounding Leviathan since before most of today's libertarians were born. He has awakened new generations of students to the perils of unleashed politicians and lawless bureaucrats. In Taking a Stand, his passion and principles continue to fire folks up to stand up for their rights and liberties." —James Bovard, author, Freedom in Chains, Lost Rights, and Terrorism and Tyranny

"Robert Higgs writes with passion and wit. No one cuts to the chase with more precision. Higgs's engaging style makes Taking a Stand a pleasure to read." —Lee J. Alston, Ostrom Chair, professor of economics, Indiana University

"In Taking a Stand, Robert Higgs dissects the myth of democratic government, juxtaposing it with the realities of the nation state and its systematic accretion of power, perquisites of office, and control over assets. He strips away comforting illusions of the beneficence of government, pointing out that customary justifications for its existence often conceal a lust for control. He explores the nature and legitimacy of government, its tactics and motivations, and the uncertainty and risks it injects into economic choices of the governed, with specific reference to the prospects for economic recovery in the current political environment. The book is highly readable and accessible to non-economists." —Charlotte Twight, professor of economics, Boise State University

Author Biography

Robert Higgs is senior fellow in political economy for the Independent Institute and the editor of the Institute's quarterly journal, the Independent Review. He is also the author of several books, including Against Leviathan, Competition and Coercion, Delusions of Power, Neither Liberty Nor Safety, Resurgence of the Warfare State, and The Transformation of the American Economy 1865–1914, and the recipient of numerous awards, such as the Gary Schlarbaum Award for Lifetime Defense of Liberty and the Lysander Spooner Award for Advancing the Literature of Liberty. He lives in Lafayette, Louisiana. Judge Andrew P. Napolitano currently serves as the senior judicial analyst Fox News Channel (FNC) and provides legal analysis on both FNC and Fox Business Network (FBN). He is the author of five books: Constitutional Chaos: What Happens When the Government Breaks Its Own Laws; The Constitution in Exile, a New York Times bestseller; Dred Scott's Revenge; Lies the Government Told You, also a New York Times bestseller; and A Nation of Sheep. His writings have been published in several newspapers, including the Baltimore Sun, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and the Wall Street Journal. He lives in New York City.

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