The Lost Art of Drawing the Line by Philip K. Howard
How Fairness Went Too Far

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Synopsis

The Lost Art of Drawing the Line will appall and irritate — and entertain — readers every bit as much as Philip Howard’s first book. Why is it that no one can fix the schools? Why do ordinary judgements fill doctors with fear? Why are seesaws disappearing from playgrounds? Why has a wave of selfish people overtaken America?

In our effort to protect the individual against unfair decisions, we have created a society where no one’s in charge of anything. Silly lawsuits strike fear in our hearts because judges don’t think they have the authority to dismiss them. Inner-city schools are filthy and mired in a cycle of incompetence because no one has the authority to decide who’s doing the job and who’s not.

When no one’s in charge, we all lose our link to the common good. When principals lack authority over schools, of what use are the parents’ views? When no one can judge right and wrong, why not be as selfish as you can be? Philip Howard traces our well-meaning effort to protect individuals through the twentieth century, with the unintended result that we have lost much of our individual freedom.

Buttressed with scores of stories that make you want to collar the next self-centered jerk or hapless bureaucrat, The Lost Art of Drawing the Line demonstrates once again that Philip Howard is “trying to drive us all sane.”
 

About Philip K. Howard

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Philip K. Howard is the author of bestselling The Death of Common Sense: How Law is Suffocating America (Random House, 1995) and is a contributor to the op-ed pages of The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Howard, an advisor to leaders of both political parties, including Vice President Al Gore and Bob Dole, is a prominent lawyer and civic leader. A native of Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, he lives in New York City with his wife and four children.
 
Published June 12, 2001 by Random House. 272 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Law & Philosophy, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Lost Art of Drawing the Line

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Far from threatening individual freedom and democracy, Howard argues, authority is indispensable if we want to overcome the "structural flaw" of individual rights, with its unintentional transfer of "power for common decisions to self-interested individuals."

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