The Assault on Liberty: What Went Wrong with Rights


Economic Theory

A collection of essays that explores the contribution of the development economist Peter Bauer.


A minor classic from the late 1980s, this favourite from the IEA’s back catalogue offers timeless insight.

A new book examing the decline of liberty under New Labour

‘A clear-headed and important contribution to our contemporary predicament from one of the most brilliant young political minds of our time. Dominic Raab has disentangled what the idea of rights means, and what it does not mean. This book will reframe the analysis and discussion in this vital area.’
Peter Oborne,
Daily Mail

‘Britain is a country where the state persecutes shop keepers who sell in pounds and ounces, but allows murderers to use the Human Rights Act to kill again; where law-abiding citizens are spied on, but teachers are frightened to discipline violent children. With literary verve and philosophical insight, Dominic Raab tears into a justice system which has turned Britain ’s liberal values upside down. A book that could make Gordon Brown vote Tory.’
Nick Cohen,
The Observer

Since 1997, the government has launched an unprecedented assault on our most basic rights. In so doing it has eroded the very idea of liberty developed over 800 years and which millions have died defending. From 42 days detention without charge and ID cards to mammoth government databases and local surveillance, our fundamental freedoms are being pawned off cheaply on the false pretence that it will make us safer. At the same time, a whole range of novel rights are being conjured up and handed out with scant democratic accountability, fuelling a compensation culture, undermining social responsibility and turning common sense on its head.

As a general election beckons, with all three political parties proposing major constitutional reform, The Assault on Liberty is a long overdue polemic that seeks to shed light on the state of our democracy, by answering one of the most hotly disputed questions of our times – what went wrong with rights?

2009, Published by Fourth Estate, ISBN 978 0 0729339 1, 284pp, PB

Buy now for £8.99.