Gene Healy



Gene Healy's newest book is The Cult of the Presidency: America's Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power. As senior editor at the Cato Institute, he is responsible for reviewing and editing Cato policy studies and other publications. His research interests include federalism, criminal justice, constitutional war powers, civil liberties, and the war on terror. From 1994 to 1996, Healy served as managing editor of Cato's Regulation magazine. He returned to Cato in October 2001 after law school and two years of private practice as an attorney in the commercial litigation group at the law firm Howrey Simon Arnold & White. Healy is a contributing editor to Liberty magazine, as well as the editor of Go Directly to Jail: The Criminalization of ...more

Average rating: 4.03 · 191 ratings · 35 reviews · 9 distinct worksSimilar authors
The Cult of the Presidency:...

4.17 avg rating — 130 ratings — published 2008 — 7 editions
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False Idol: Barack Obama an...

3.81 avg rating — 32 ratings — published 2012
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Go Directly to Jail: The Cr...

3.61 avg rating — 28 ratings — published 2004 — 6 editions
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The Audiophile Loudspeaker:...

really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 1 rating — published 1995
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Indispensable Remedy: The B...

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The Cult of the Presidency:...

0.00 avg rating — 0 ratings — published 2009
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The Cult of the Presidency:...

0.00 avg rating — 0 ratings — published 2008
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False Idol: Barack Obama an...

0.00 avg rating — 0 ratings — published 2012
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Cato Handbook for Policymakers

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3.44 avg rating — 9 ratings — published 2008 — 6 editions
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“Americans expect the president to right the wrongs that plague us—and we blame him when he fails. Because we invest impossible expectations in the presidency, the presidency has become an impossible job. And once the honeymoon period inevitably fades, the modern president becomes a lightning rod for discontent, often catching blame for phenomena beyond the control of any one person, however powerful”
Gene Healy, The Cult of the Presidency: America's Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power

“It is of the nature of war to increase the executive at the expense of legislative authority," the Federalist tell us. And modern commanders in chief tend to reflexively invoke the war metaphor when the public demands that they take action to solve the emergency of the month, real or imagined.

"War is the health of the state," Randolph Bourne's famous aphorism has it, but Bourne could just as easily written that "war is the health of the presidency." Throughout American history, virtually every major advance in executive power has come during a war or warlike crisis. Convince the public that we are at war, and constitutional barriers to actions fall, as power flows to the commander in chief.

Little wonder, then, that confronted with impossible expectations, the modern president tends to recast social and economic problems in military terms: war on crime, war on drugs, war on poverty. Martial rhetoric often ushers in domestic militarism, as presidents push to employ standing armies at home, to fight drug trafficking, terrorism, or natural disasters. And when the president raises the battle cry, he can usually count on substantial numbers of American opinion leaders to cheer him on.”
Gene Healy, The Cult of the Presidency: America's Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power



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