Magazine August 11, 2014, Issue

A Gift for Freedom

The powerful critique of paternalism in a forthcoming film

‘We really have to protect people from wrong choices,” says Jonas, the main character in The Giver, a novel by Lois Lowry. In just nine words, he summarizes the entire philosophy of progressive paternalism, the idea that animates everything from Obamacare’s health-insurance mandate to New York City’s effort to ban Big Gulps.

As he speaks the line, Jonas feels troubled by what he has said, and even more disturbed by the world that surrounds him. Jonas doesn’t know it, but he inhabits one of those young-adult dystopias that are so popular right now as book-and-movie franchises. The Giver is the latest

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Nixon Rises Again

In December 1965, a 27-year-old journalist with slick black hair and pudgy cheeks, a Columbia Journalism School grad who had spent three years churning out conservative editorials for the St. ...


Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ The real tragedy here is what’s happening to John Kerry’s Nobel Prize prospects. ‐ If the Obama administration were a baseball game, this would be the seventh-inning stretch. He had ...
Politics & Policy


THE FINAL IKON He felt that he would find it, Find it yet – The clarity he sought With all his breath. And when he had found it? Why did he grieve? And why did he find ...


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