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Summary

From identification cards to how we protect our property, public debate rages over what our basic human rights are and how they are to be protected.

In this trenchant and provocative audiobook, Peter Hitchens sets out to show that popular views of these hotly contested issues - from crime and punishment to so-called 'soft drugs' - are based on mistaken beliefs, massaged figures, and cheap slogans. His powerful and counterintuitive conclusions make challenging listening for those on both the Left and the Right and are essential listening for all concerned with creating a lawful and peaceful society.

The Abolition of Liberty argues that because of the misdemeanours of the few, the liberty of the many is seriously jeopardised.

©2016 Peter Hitchens (P)2016 Audible, Ltd

Critic reviews

"It's fair to say that Peter Hitchens remains one of the most misrepresented figures in the British media.... Hitchens is in reality one of the most thought-provoking and intelligent commentators on life in contemporary Britain." (Neil Clark, Spectator)

What listeners say about The Abolition of Liberty

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Outdated

I shall start with the good parts.

Obviously well researched and performed very well.

Opening few chapters were a lot better than the latter chapters.

Now the negatives.

Firstly I got the impression this book was wrote during the Blair years. As such, a lot of this book is now outdated.

Secondly the information in this book is cherry picked stats and information that backs up the views of the author. Confirmation bias. The message is that we should become more like America, however America have more problems than we do. Points at historic stats and says we should go back to those times, where punishment was much more harsh. However, if the author was to compare to 21st century Scandinavian countries he would realise that a lot of his points fall flat. In general a very simplistic view of complex societal problems. I am not saying his opinion is wrong, but he should try and disprove his opinion.

There are too many books, blogs and news articles like this that are enjoyed by people who also share a particular view, and are unwilling to read something that contradicts their view or shows a balanced argument. I would put this in the same category as why I wont speak to white people about race, although it better researched and less bias than that.

It is frightening that as a population we seem to be moving further and further into this direction of echo chambers and confirmation bias. The main culprits follow the hard left and hard right political ideologies.

I would advise to those reading this review that they look for a book more balanced than this one. Or to read this if they read a lot of leftwing literature so can develop a more balanced view themselves but would be more advised to read Douglas Murray. If you have more traditional or conservative views, then you will already agree with this book, therefore you should read a book that will challenge your views and broaden your understanding, such as a Malcolm Gladwell book.

28 people found this helpful

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As relevant today as when it was published

One may assume that The Abolition of Liberty to be an extended version of a copy of the Daily Mail, however, Peter Hitchens makes a cogent and well thought out case that British Law has traditionally served the people, but this has been slowly transformed into a system that serves the Liberal Elite State.
The contrast Hitchens draws is between the Common Law, serving the people, as opposed to the Code Napoleon, serving the state. The Code Napoleon has been incorporated into the UK Law through the European Convention on Human Rights (a moot point post-Brexit) and the Liberal Elite who believe in a secular religion wherein redemption is achieved through rehabilitation and responsibility is a product of a bygone era.
The books title and cover pertains to the proposed introduction of ID Cards under New Labour in the mid 2000s, however, this is entirely relevant today, especially in the wake of Vaccine Passports.
The book makes a compelling case for a stronger deterrent based system full of more active police who serve the people, relics of a bygone age. Regardless of one’s views on justice, even a reader such as myself who believes in a rehabilitative justice system, Hitchens will do what he does best, challenge your views and make you think.

22 people found this helpful

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Sadly brilliant

Fantastic writing, brilliant information on the subject delivered in a proper manner. Definitely worth getting

18 people found this helpful

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A prescient book, still very relevant in 2021

Published in 2004, at a time when the UK’s New Labour government was being particularly creepy about England’s long-held traditions of civil liberty in the name of tackling crime and terrorism, Hitchens eruditely charts the way that successive governments since the 1960’s have sought to undermine the rôles in society of community-based policing; prisons as deterrents to crime; the important English legal principle of habeas corpus; and the trial jury as a bulwark against the overreach of the ruling élite. In so doing, he shows how the traditional liberties of the English people were then facing a greater threat than at any time in several centuries.

Although the ‘hot button’ political issues of society have changed since 2004 — we rarely hear now about the epidemic of burglaries, muggings and mobile ’phone thefts that was a major political issue at the time, although inner-city knife crime remains a leading concern — many of the disturbing civil trends he identifies are still just as relevant today. What, for example, are the police actually there to do? Should they be the servant of the law of the land, or a machine for enforcing the will and whim of the state? Should the state have the right to detain a person indefinitely on the mere suspicion of terrorism? And what has been (or might be) the effect of the 1967 removal of the requirement for unanimous jury verdicts on political trials?

In all these and other issues, Hitchens shows how many well-meaning reforms of the past sixty years have eroded the institutions and legal protections that have well served the English people ever since Cromwell. (Note: Hitchens in this book is dealing specifically with England and, to some extent, Wales. The very distinct situations of Scotland and of Northern Ireland require, as he admits, a full treatment of their own.)

Hitchens has a very deep, measured voice which is a joy to listen to. However, coupled with his often dense argumentation, his tendency to mumble certain key words did mean that I frequently had to rewind to catch the sense of his argument.

Notwithstanding, this is an excellent and prescient work, still well worthy of our attention seventeen years after its release.

12 people found this helpful

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Excellent commentary on Britain

This book provides fantastic insight into the progressive changes in the British legal system.

11 people found this helpful

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Depressing and revealing

I grew up in the Blair years and became a conservative (small C) during university. I had not paid much attention to the policies implemented by the successive Blair governments, but this book shines a light on those counter-productive and society-changing policies enacted.

8 people found this helpful

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Fascinating Arguments

As a Professional Policing University student this book was fascinating. The Abolition of Liberty challenges the current ideology that the police have and it was refreshing to hear a different point of view on the things I'm currently being taught at University.

The Abolition of Liberty is very well researched and it is definitely a must read for anyone who has an interest in British Policing or Law.

7 people found this helpful

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Full of interesting facts and arguments

Required reading for anyone interested in how to make Britain a freer and less frightened society.

Full of interesting facts and arguments that I had never heard before Peter Hitchens.

Both New Labour and the Conservative party get a well-deserved pasting.

13 people found this helpful

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A powerful much needed book.

This is a articulate book that brings clarity to many heavy and miss understood topics affecting the lives of modern citizens. A must for any individual who wants to have an understanding of the past and current policy.
Very well researched with a vein of dry humour through out.

13 people found this helpful

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Thought provoking. Meticulously written.

Highly recommend this meticulously written, well narrated book. It will definitely make you rethink your presupossitions.

13 people found this helpful