One of the reasons I love watching Judge Andrew Napolitano on Fox News Channel is because the guy is a political pugilist; he even looks the part. A scrappy, principled fighter for the rule of law, “the Judge” isn’t afraid to weigh-in on constitutional interpretation, especially in Obamaland.
Napolitano, a Jersey guy and a former superior court judge, is an analyst for FNC and a Princeton grad (along with Notre Dame law school).
His new book, “Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power, and Deception in American History,” is what you would expect it to be – two-fisted, witty and informative. It is a highly readable account of the progression of American government from constitution-honoring to power-loving above all else. We all suffer from this particular kind of evolution.
By the way, kudos to publisher Thomas Nelson, for producing this book. As the biggest dog on the Christian block, I know they at least are giving a nod to substantive books like this one; integrating Napolitano’s work more into the conservative evangelical community can only make it more informed.
Napolitano contends, first of all – and this is painful – that we wrongly assume that we are free in this country. In point of fact, every facet of life is regulated by the federal government and, as Ronald Reagan used to tell us, that isn’t good. In short, the government tells us what to do and when to do it; this very hateful reality is truly embodied by Barack Obama.
Think of the idealistic, fresh-faced newbies who go to Congress every few years. They’re going to clean up Washington and take us back to our founding ideals. A couple years later, they stagger back home, broken, bleeding and silent. The system grinds them up. Napolitano describes how it happened.
Early on in the book, he makes the first of many brilliant observations:
“Truth is identity between intellect and reality. A lie is a knowing and intentional violation of the truth,” Napolitano writes. “The difference between the two often depends on whether one is in the governing class or the governed class.”
Napolitano is not happy that the government lies to us, in fact he is angry, but he is also in a dither because we allow it to happen to us and even expect it.
The very chapters of Napolitano’s book are quite telling, in that they’re actually lies the government tells:
- “Every Vote Counts”
- “All Men Are Created Equal”
- “Everyone Is Innocent Until Proven Guilty”
- “Your Boys Are Not Going to Be Sent into Any Foreign Wars”
Let’s take the second one, for example. It sounds good, but the ruling political elites in our country today don’t really care about the common person. Yet, as Napolitano so astutely points out, we buy into the myth that, for example, the president really does care about people.
Among the stunning, riveting findings that Napolitano exposes is the myth that Abraham Lincoln was a long-time champion of the oppressed slaves:
“Lincoln’s first action as president was to persuade the states to ratify a constitutional amendment that would have legalized and preserved the institution of slavery,” Napolitano points out. “The proposed amendment, ‘The Corwin Amendment,’ stated the following: ‘No Amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of the State.’ Slavery, to Lincoln, was a ‘domestic institution’ under this Amendment. The Amendment, of course, was never formally adopted, as Southern legislatures were already prepared to secede from the Union to express their discontent with federal dominion over their interests.”
The mind reels. Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, was in reality just another politician who was a pragmatist when it came to the odious practice of slavery. This is just the first of many such myths outlined in “Lies the Government Told You.”
And for WND readers, who will most assuredly relate to the following, Napolitano points out another myth peddled by politicians, who employ bias and propaganda as skillfully as network news anchors and columnists for a certain New York newspaper.
Noting that there is a new drive to renew the assault weapons ban (it expired in 2004), Napolitano highlights Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., citing the Virginia Tech murders to claim that such incidents justify the ban in order to keep “high-capacity assault rifles” from being used in such settings.
The only problem is, as Napolitano points out, the guns used in those tragic events were not assault weapons, but a legal variety of firearms. Do you get it?
They really are trying to take our guns! Not only does Napolitano not support the assault weapons ban, correctly seeing it for what it is, he muses about the outcome of the Virginia Tech massacres if even one student had had firearms training. Good point, and this is one of the things that makes the author and his book so compelling: common sense wed to facts is a powerful tonic for what ails this country.
In the chillingly named Chapter 12, “Everyone’s Innocent Until Proven Guilty,” Napolitano relates the story of one Anastasio Prieto, a truck driver from Texas.
One evening in 2007, Prieto pulled into a weigh station to have his truck inspected. A state trooper asked to search the truck and Prieto, a law-abiding citizen who had nothing to hide, consented.
During the conversation, he told the trooper that he was carrying almost $24,000 in cash, his life savings, because he didn’t trust banks. The trooper decided Prieto must be up to something rotten, so he was arrested. Worse, his cash was confiscated and turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration. It was only due to the intervention of – I’m not making this up – the America Civil Liberties Union that Prieto’s money was returned.
Now, a downside to this book is realizing that we all live in a spider web of government regulation and arbitrary legislation. However, as we often do in these book reviews, it is important to remember that being informed, rather than sticking one’s head in the sand, is not a bad tradeoff for understanding our government’s Freddie Krueger-style American justice.
For my money, “Lies the Government Told You” is superbly researched and written, resulting in an engrossing book. Read it from cover to cover, and you’ll be a much more informed citizen of this grand republic.
Just remember: Never tell ‘em where you keep the guns and cash!