Ending 'BIG SIS'
(the Special Interest State)
and Renewing the
American Republic

by James V. DeLong

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RADIO INTERVIEW: Author, James V DeLong with Bill Lundun, KPNW Wake Up Call, Aug 30, 2012

Part One

Part Two


The thesis of the book is simple.

The Founders of the American Republic were intensely concerned with the dangers of "faction" (now, we say "special interest"). They knew that factions will always exist, and they designed our government so as to force factions to neutralize each other, like architects analyzing the lines of force necessary to hold up a building.

U.S. politics has gone astray by losing this fundamental insight of the Founders. Rather than maintaining a structure of government that controls the power of faction, we have allowed a variety of factions to capture parts of the government and then use its powers to spend, to tax, to legislate, and to regulate for their own purposes.

To say we have "allowed" capture is too weak. We celebrate capture. Our educated elites, in particular, regard hijacks of government power for private benefit as a basic characteristic of government, not an evil to be resisted. The result is that we have become a "Special Interest State". (Call it "Big SIS").

Worse, we have embraced a virulent form of Big SIS called "systemic corruption". In this, the political system creates economic advantages for special interests and then demands that part of the profits be fed back into the political system, where they are used to enhance the power of the political incumbents.

Some degree of special interest capture and governmental corruption is a part of the human condition, but what is acceptable when government's share of the national economy is only 5-10%, as was once true of the U.S., becomes intolerable when the government allocates well over 50%, as is the case now.

People do not regard government as legitimate when it has become a tool of special interests, and our politics grow increasingly bitter. The result of Big SIS is that the nation is steadily drifting into a crisis over political legitimacy, over the moral basis of our government. To avoid serious upheaval, we must return to the three great guiding principles of the Old Republic:

That legislation, regulation, and spending should promote the general interest of the nation, not special interests;
That systemic corruption - corruption that is then fed back into the supporting the government -- rots the republic; and
That the government can be a facilitator of many things, but should not be regarded as being in charge of and responsible for any sector of the domestic economy or society. We must rely on our civilization, which is our market economy and civil society, not on our government.


About Ending Big SIS:

"Ending 'Big SIS' . . . is that rarest of books, the kind which tells you things you've long suspected about big government but had never systematically put together. . . . Whether the present is up to the task [of keeping the Republic] is an open question. . . . And there is no better guide for understanding it than James DeLong's book."
Belmont Club (PJMedia)

"Big SIS . . . is a non-fiction horror story, one that should outrage every reader. A reader must be impervious facts and logic if he gets very far into "Big SIS" without grasping the direness of America's present condition. . . . I am less sanguine than DeLong seems to be about the possible efficacy of his proposed counter-measures. The forces that DeLong describes in chapter 4 are likely to prove too strong to be defeated in gentlemanly fashion."
Politics & Prosperity

"I think [DeLong] is really on it here. I would like to write something to the effect that it was this [problem of special interests] that the "classical model of law" destroyed by progressive jurisprudence evolved to address and to some extent correct. Perhaps not an entirely original point, but very much a timely one."
Right Coast

"Big Sis treats the reader to Jim DeLong's historical and political brilliance applied to today's client state. . . . the author erases any question that . . .[our] system of government [is] diametrically opposed to the Founders' design of checks and balances. This fine book consistently leaps beyond the typical calls for reform, which are usually superficial, by explaining the assumptions and structures that facilitate today's Behemoth government."
Property Rights Foundation of America

"Jim DeLong is a national treasure - a peerless thinker with a patriot's heart. Ending 'Big SIS' outlines the existential struggle for the country's soul. The future of the Republic hangs in the balance, and we ignore him at our peril." - Nick Schulz (Editor, The American):

"Big-SIS is a bloated and obnoxious bully. In this superb volume Jim DeLong bracingly documents her nastiness, and prescribes a strict regimen to improve her constitution." - Donald Boudreaux (Professor of Economics, George Mason University):

"A major contribution to understanding the reality of what is going on...powerful, well-written, and very important." - Carter Lord (Executive & Entrepreneur)

"A must read for everyone who wants to understand how private interests hijack government power for their own benefit and how the people can fight back." - Amazon commenter

About the author’s earlier book, Property Matters:

Included on the Modern Library 1998 Readers' List of 100 Best Non-Fiction Books.

"With a keen eye toward institutional detail, he explores the philosophical, economic, and constitutional justifications for private property. . . . His clear and incisive prose reduces the costs of understanding government activities." - Richard Epstein (Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, New York Univ. Law School)

"DeLong documents how the erosion of rights to use one's property, usually in the name of some greater good, has undermined both the civility and efficiency of modern life. He writes with a fine pen and disciplined outrage." - William A. Niskanen (Late Chairman, Cato Institute)

"DeLong documents the outrageous war against property owners being waged by arrogant bureaucrats and their special interest allies. . . . a cautionary tale of government run amok and a bold call to action." - David McIntosh (Former Member of Congress from IN)

"Mr. DeLong . . . aims to convince his word-pushing neighbors that we all share a stake in safeguarding property against arbitrary confiscation, even if we hold assets in less earthbound forms, such as pensions, condos, and copyrights." - Walter Olson (Overlawyered) in the Wall St. Journal

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