The Big Government We Love to Hate

Exploring the Roots of Political Malaise

For thousands of years, peoples of the world have assumed that government is society’s natural problem-solving agency. This blind “cultural presumption” drives the pressure for ever-larger government. No matter how badly leaders and policies perform, the public keeps coming back for more.

In this insightful new book, political scientist Dr. James L. Payne details the power of this unexamined faith, showing how it propels even the finest minds into naïve contradictions.

There is a ray of hope, however. In recent times, growing numbers of libertarians have transcended the blind faith in government and are working toward a future of ‘neighborly’ relationships.

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The Big Government We Love to Hate book cover
  • Clarity v. obfuscation. Payne's book is a gem of clarity on a subject, government, clouded by obfuscation.
  • Dr. Payne clearly explains why our government consistently falls short of expectations. It's a great read for someone who can't make sense of the out-of-control spending or deviation from our nation's Constitution.
  • I wish I had this book when I was an undergrad!
  • Payne gives a factual look at politics unfettered by conjecture. He simply points out the prejudices we hold to that affect how we draw our final conclusions.... Take the opportunity to challenge your preconceptions about politics.

About James Payne

author James Payne photo

Political scientist James L. Payne, PhD has taught at Yale, Wesleyan, Johns Hopkins, and Texas A&M University, and has authored 21 books, including works on Congress, taxation, welfare policy, the motivation of politicians, and the history of force. His articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Reader’s Digest and many other publications. more »

News & Commentary

What FDR Knew About Welfare

Wall Street Journal
In the old way of thinking, aid recipients were asked to be productive—to build skills and a work ethic, writes Payne....  read more »

Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEE)

A regular contributor to the Freeman, Payne has written dozens of articles exploring political and libertarian philosophy to enjoy online here »

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Henry David Thoreau

Naturalist, Abolitionist, Philosopher

Thoreau quote reads That government is best which governs the least.
photograph of Henry David Thoreau

Now 200 years after his birth, the once lesser-known author, American philosopher and naturalist Henry David Thoreau is a celebrated figure today for his many contributions to society. The Boston Globe writes, "Thoreau’s rebelliousness, idealism, humanism, and concern for the environment (are) qualities that could have particular resonance amid the current cultural and political upheaval." Author of Walden and A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, mentee of Ralph Waldo Emerson, champion of individualism, and nature lover and observer, Thoreau's influence reaches far and wide....  Read more »

More From This Author

Enjoy more political science and Libertarian analysis from Dr. James Payne with these special books.

cover of Six Political Illusions book

Six Political Illusions:
A Primer on Government for Idealists Fed Up with History Repeating Itself

In this compact primer on government, Dr. Payne describes six fallacies that mislead us about government's abilities. Explore how we fall victim to illusions about government that lead policymakers to keep looking to government for solutions to problems, even when these schemes fail—or make the problem worse. Payne explains what causes these illusions and shows readers how to overcome them.  more »

cover of A History of Force book

A History of Force:
Exploring the worldwide movement against habits of coercion, bloodshed, and mayhem

In the first-ever historical compilation of force, Payne traces the role force plays in evolving civilization and developing modern social and political institutions. This detailed review of modern and ancient coercion-based practices explores human sacrifice, imprisonment, taxation, and revolution, to name a few, and points to a surprising conclusion that the use of force in society is on the decline.  more »

Lytton Publishing Company

Original Ideas for Original Minds

Founded in 1975, Lytton Publishing explores ideas of freedom through political philosophy and travel adventure, with works covering foreign policy, the U.S. Congress, taxation, welfare, and voluntarism, as well as allegorical political philosophy disguised as children’s books (the Princess Navina series). Find these and other books at Lytton Publishing online »

Lytton Publishing books

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