The American presidency has grown too powerful. It is enabled by frequent wars, which have also caused the expansion of the state, and the U.S. Congress is to blame for shirking instead of checking this accretion of power. This is the central premise of Ivan Eland’s War and the Rogue Presidency, which traces the expansion of executive power since George Washington. The book is driven by an unabashed libertarian ideology, and the argument will not be persuasive to anyone who approaches the subject from another perspective.
Throughout the book, Eland assumes that readers share an aversion to the expansion of the federal government vis-à-vis the executive branch, failing to recognize that Americans’ expectations of the role of the federal government and the president have changed since the eighteenth century (pp. 1–7). From mass shootings domestically to climate-related disasters around the world (hurricanes, mudslides, tsunamis, etc.), when something bad happens, despite disagreement about what to do, the public expects the president to take action. Most Americans want their government to work for them. Would citizens enjoy getting on airplanes that were not regulated by the Federal Aviation Authority? Eating tainted beef because it was not inspected by the Food and
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