This book demonstrates that freedom is good and the fight is worth it. It is of course true that a limited government dedicated to protecting rights with objective, fair laws will help to avoid some of the tragic stories sampled above. But at a deeper level, the Free Society is a flourishing society. It rewards trade over political scheming, self-reliance over appeals to authority, and innovativeness over rent-seeking. It promotes what Sandefur calls “the private values of responsible citizenship”: mutual respect, civic involvement, personal industry—and many others.It demands that individuals approach one another not as enemies to fell, but as partners in trade and fellows in achievement. If nothing else, Freedom matters because that is a society worth living in.
There is no doubt that we must regain this conception of ourselves, our fellow citizens, and our government if we are to curb the growth of Permission and make our way towards Freedom. But inspiration is not sufficient. We also need to take concrete steps towards our goal. And on that front, two additional recommendations come to mind.