F.A. Hayek's The Road to Serfdom is one of the greatest modern works of political and social theory. British MP Daniel Hannan's The New Road to Serfdom won't achieve the same proportions of greatness as its namesake, but for this and the two or three immediately succeeding generations, it is far more urgent. Hayek predicted the Western democracies would gradually give up their freedoms in exchange for government control and "security"; Hannan shows how the European nations are already there, and warns Americans not to follow.
Individual states in the United States of America, he observes, have more actual power of policy than whole countries attached to the Eurpean Union, but they still have less sovereignty than they once had. What makes America different from other nations is that almost all its inhabitants (or their ancestors) chose to become citizens. This legacy of personal choice is what led the Founders to predicate our democratic republic on ideals of freedom, collective decision-making, and independence.
Some of his assertions are suprising coming from an outsider--Americans believe them, but we don't really think anyone else does, especially when we get such a bad rep in the international media. Like his chapter "American Democracy Works," a claim even many Americans have begun to question, which is exactly why Hannan wrote this book. If we don't turn from our path of European imitation it won't be long before that path broadens to a road that leads only to truncated liberties and State-slavery.
In the illuminating final chapter, he admits a Brit writing in praise of the country that wilfully broke from his motherland is a bit odd, but goes on to say that the liberties he wants America to preserve and cherish are exactly the ones the people of England had enjoyed previously. British political thinking has a long and venerable past, and in many ways the Isles have been the experimenting laboratory of Western nations, the place where those theories are made manifest as policy and tested on the population. America was such an experiment, he says; how could we let the experiment die, suffocated in the stifling incubator of socialist collectivism and vanished freedoms?