Freedom at Risk: Secrecy, Censorship, and Repression in the 1980s

Synopsis

The Reagan Administration's belief that "individual liberties are secondary to the requirements of national security" has led to a massive assault on civil liberties that is unparalleled in American history in its scope and intensity. This indictment of the Reagan Administration examines how exaggerated fears of Soviet capabilities, hostility to the concept of an open society, as well as a search for "total security" and a revolution in constitutional law have not only justified but have institutionalized an attack on the Bill of Rights in ways that will be difficult if not impossible to eradicate. While citing historical precedent for counter-subversive crusades, the contributors to Freedom at Risk discuss an alarming number of incidents and ways in which the Reagan Administration has made radical departures with the past in its zealous enforcement of secrecy, censorship, and repression, especially with regards to Central American policies. Author note: Richard O. Curry is Professor of American History at the University of Connecticut.