Sign in  |  Register

The New Criterion

The New Criterion is probably more consistently worth reading than any other magazine in English.
- The Times Literary Supplement

Features

January 2013

Liberty: do we need a law for that?

by Andrew C. McCarthy

On the transformation of laws from guardians of liberty to agents of social change.

It is almost trite to observe that a free society cannot exist without the rule of law. But on the matter of liberty, law is, at best, highly overrated. In fact, it can be downright pernicious.

As Kevin Williamson has argued, real liberty is evolutionary. Free societies are dynamic, efficient, and innovative. Law, by contrast, can become the paralyzing debris that de Tocqueville predicted might someday cover the surface of modern democratic society. It is the “network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd.”

If the modern welfare state softens, bends, and usurps the will of man, law is the mechanism by ...

This article is available to subscribers and for individual purchase

Subscribe to TNC (Print and Online editions)

Subscribe to TNC (Online only)

Purchase article credit and clip this article

If you already have an account login first

Andrew C. McCarthy is the author of the The Grand Jihad (Encounter).


more from this author

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 31 January 2013, on page 28

Copyright © 2015 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com

http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/Liberty--do-we-need-a-law-for-that--7521

E-mail to friend


The New Criterion

By the author

The heresy of Ayaan Hirsi Ali

by Andrew C. McCarthy

Ayaan Hirsi Ali's new book argues that the time for a Muslim reformation is now.

New "old-fashioned" shaming

by Andrew C. McCarthy

Congress wants to amend the First Amendment.

American Betrayal, an exchange: Andrew C. McCarthy

by Andrew C. McCarthy

From a series of letters regarding Andrew C. McCarthy's review of American Betrayal (The New Criterion, December 2013)

You might also enjoy

Remembering Robert Conquest

by John O'Sullivan

Remembering Robert Conquest's literary life.

Liberty’s charter

by Jeremy Black

On the special significance of the Magna Carta for Americans.

The untold story of Reconstruction

by Gene Dattel

The South is largely blamed for the failure of Reconstruction, but what of the North's responsibility?

Most popular

view more >

Subscribe to our newsletter!

* indicates required

Events

September 29 2015

Friends and Young Friends Event: Book Launch Party with Peter Pettus


October 02 2015

Friends and Young Friends Event: "The Corruption of our Political Institutions," a symposium


Webcasts

The Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity
On May 5, 2014, The New Criterion and PJ Media presented the second Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity. The award is given to highlight egregious examples of dishonest reporting. Also awarded this year was the Rather, a new award for lifetime achievement in mendacious journalism.
The Duranty Prize is named after Walter Duranty, the New York Times Moscow corresponded in the 1920s and 1930s who whitewashed Joseph Stalin’s forced starvation of the Ukrainians (the Holodomor) and many other aspects of Soviet oppression. Duranty was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for his efforts. It has never been revoked.
Audio copyright Ed Driscoll, www.eddriscoll.com.


Introduction to The Kennedy Phenomenon
Roger Kimball introduces The Kennedy Phenomenon, a conference presented by The New Criterion on Tuesday, November 19.


The Kennedy Phenomenon: "Watching the Kennedy Train-Wreck"
Roger Kimball reads Peter Collier’s paper on oft-overlooked unsavory details of the Kennedys' lives. Much of the paper is drawn from Collier’s book, coauthored with David Horowitz, The Kennedys: An American Drama.