Gag Rule by Lewis Lapham

Book Review : Gag Rule

By Lewis Lapham

  • Publication Date: 2004-06-17
  • Genre: Politics & Current Events

Book Review

From one of America’s most important voices of protest, an urgent polemic about the strangling of meaningful dissent—the lifeblood of our democracy—at the hands of a government and media increasingly beholden to the wealthy few.

Dissent is democracy. Democracy is in trouble. Never before, Lewis Lapham argues, had voices of protest been so locked out of the mainstream conversation, so marginalized and muted by a government that recklessly disregards civil liberties, and by an ever more concentrated and profit-driven media in which the safe and the selling sweep all uncomfortable truths from view.

In the midst of the “war on terror”—which made the hunt for communists in the 1950s look, in its clarity of aim and purpose, like the Normandy landings on D-Day—we faced a crisis of democracy as serious as any in our history. The Bush administration made no secret of its contempt for a cowed and largely silenced electorate, and without bothering to conceal its purpose the government coordinates, “not the defense of the American citizenry against a foreign enemy, but the protection of the American oligarchy from the American democracy.”

Gag Rule is a rousing and necessary call to action in defense of one of our most important liberties, the right to raise our voices in dissent and have those voices heard.

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