Mullen invokes Locke and Jefferson from the earliest pages, even as the book's title, A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America is a tribute to Paine's Common Sense, the pamphlet that stirred the fires of the American Revolution.
In terms of today's news and topical events, Mullen goes to work at once distinguishing freedom from its pretenders like democracy and explaining the primacy of property rights in the free society. He employs the non-aggression principle implicit in natural rights theory, the intuitively appealing prohibition of the initiation of force against others, as it is meant to be applied. No half-hearted non-aggression principle for Mullen, limited to a prohibition of physical assaults. For Mullen, non-aggression is a handy tool to cut through any confusion about government activities, since they are all dependent on the application of force. Here Mullen zeros in on the cause of the mortgage meltdown and our unending recession:
It is important to remember that the root cause of all of this is the government's violation of the Non-Aggression Principle. By forcing taxpayers to guarantee loans that they otherwise would not guarantee, they allowed financiers to take risks that they otherwise would not take. Without Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to guarantee the loans, none of the defaulting mortgages would exist, and none of the worthless mortgage-backed securities would have been sold. Yet we choose to ignore these obvious facts and blame the free market instead. One is sometimes tempted to think that we will find any excuse to give away our liberty.