New Threats to Freedom

In the twentieth century, free people faced a number of mortal threats, ranging from despotism, fascism, and communism to the looming menace of global terrorism. While the struggle against some of these overt dangers continues, some insidious new threats seem to have slipped past our intellectual defenses. These new threats are quietly eroding our hard-won freedoms, often unchallenged and, in some cases, widely accepted as beneficial.

In New Threats to Freedom, editor and author Adam Bellow has assembled an all-star lineup of innovative thinkers to challenge these insidious new threats. Some leap into already raging debates on issues such as Sharia law in the West, the rise of transnationalism, and the regulatory state. Others turn their attention to less obvious threats, such as the dogma of fairness, the failed promises of the blogosphere, and the triumph of behavioral psychology.

These threats are very real and very urgent, yet this collection avoids projecting an air of doom and gloom. Rather, it provides a blueprint for intellectual resistance so that modern defenders of liberty may better understand their enemies, more effectively fight to preserve the meaning of freedom, and more surely carry its light to a new generation.

Contributors include: Anne Applebaum, Bruce Bawer, Peter Berkowitz, Max Borders, Richard A. Epstein, Jessica Gavora, Michael Goodwin, Daniel Hannan, Alexander Harrington, Mark Helprin, Christopher Hitchens, Robert D. Kaplan, James Kirchick, Greg Lukianoff, Barry C. Lynn, David Mamet, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Tara McKelvey, Mark T. Mitchell, Michael C. Moynihan, Chris Norwood, Glenn Harlan Reynolds, Naomi Schaefer Riley, Christine Rosen, Ron Rosenbaum, Stephen Schwartz, Lee Siegel, Christina Hoff Sommers, Shelby Steele, and Dennis Whittle.

The strongest contributions, which address the book’s ostensible theme in an engaging, informative, and thoughtful way, include Max Borders on “The Urge to Regulate” (which does mention the precautionary principle), Michael Goodwin on “The Loss of the Freedom to Fail,” Greg Lukianoff on the campus thought police, Naomi Schaefer Riley on state and federal interference with philanthropic freedom, and Christina Hoff Sommers on the U.N. Women’s Treaty.

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“Greg’s [Lukianoff] chapter entitled “Students Against Liberty?” warns readers about the impending threat to American freedom from those students who have been miseducated by our colleges and universities to believe that free speech is simply too dangerous and “offensive” to be allowed.

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“New Threats to Freedom, edited and introduced by HarperCollins’s executive editor Adam Bellow, is an ambitious anthology. Its premise: The twentieth century faced unique threats to freedom, such as communism and fascism, and the 21st century equally confronts unique challenges to the preservation of freedom.”

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“Adam Bellow’s compilation New Threats to Freedom brings diverse writers together to discuss the issues that pose the greatest danger to liberty today. Among others, these issues include the emergence of progressivism, the resurfacing of the Fairness Doctrine, sharia law in the West, intolerance on college campuses, and the drag of the regulatory state on free markets.”

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“I think readers will find editor Adam Bellow has assembled a group of writers who tackle not only the question of what constitutes freedom’s subtler and more insidious threats, but the question of what freedom means. Despite its diversity, this group keeps the virtue of toleration intact while challenging the reader in ways that both enlighten him and leave him wanting more.”

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About the Author

Credit: Guerin Blask for The New York Times
Adam Bellow is the founder and editor of an imprint of St. Martin’s Press, All Points Books, which aims at publishing authors from across the political spectrum. He was formerly the vice president/executive editor at Broadside, a conservative imprint of HarperCollins. He has also been an executive editor at Doubleday (Random House) and was formerly editorial director of the Free Press (Simon & Schuster).

A native New Yorker, he grew up on the Upper West Side (with its attendant intellectual deformities) and graduated from Princeton University in 1980 with a degree in comparative literature. He also did graduate work at the University of Chicago (political philosophy) and Columbia University (history) before entering publishing in 1989. His editorial interests range broadly across history, politics, religion, philosophy, and other branches of social science, but he is best known for publishing conservatives, and played a key role in the conservative intellectual revolt of the 1980s and 1990s. His essays and articles have appeared in the Atlantic, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, and World Affairs. He is also the author of In Praise of Nepotism: A History of Family Enterprise from King David to George W. Bush (2004).