That’s a pretty
radical idea, so this is a radical book.
This is not
a book about "public policy," about how we might limit
the rate of government’s growth, or about how to "reform"
this or that program. It’s not really even about "getting back
to the Constitution."
book is about exposing the criminal acts of our rulers in Washington,
and about abolishing and repealing powers and programs wholesale.
is Napolitano here?
domain. Even some libertarians decry "eminent-domain abuse"
and complain about government taking property for purposes that
aren’t a "public use" as the Constitution supposedly requires
– as though taking people’s property by force for some purposes
might be okay.
will have none of that. He writes that the concept of private property
inherently entails "the right to exclude [others] . . . even
the right to exclude the government." So instead of wanting
to curb the "abuses" or condoning eminent domain in some
cases, Napolitano says abolish eminent domain.
stances, Judge Napolitano, here as never before, shows himself to
be solidly in the same uncompromising libertarian camp as his fellow
LewRockwell.com columnists. Also, throughout the book, he cites
names that will be familiar to LRC readers, such as Murray Rothbard,
Lew Rockwell, Ron Paul (who wrote the foreword
Thomas DiLorenzo, and William Anderson. And the book takes the "libertarian
populist" tone often found on LRC, including just the right
balance of scholarly analysis, easy readability, and moral outrage.
So if you like this website, you’ll almost certainly like this book.
It shows a
lot of courage for Napolitano to take this approach, given that
he works at Fox News Channel alongside some people who attack anyone
who opposes the warfare and police state as not merely wrong but
un-American and evil.
in Judge Napolitano’s book attacks a different government lie. These
are not the ordinary, petty lies the partisan hacks on cable news
channels accuse politicians from the other party of telling. These
are big, fundamental lies that underlie the State’s ostensible legitimacy,
Shall Make No Law . . . Abridging Freedom of Speech" (Lie
Constitution Applies in Good Times and In Bad Times," (Lie
Is Innocent Until Proven Guilty" (Lie #12)
that these are guarantees supposedly provided by the Constitution.
But as Napolitano shows, the Constitution has failed to stop government
from violating our rights.
the First Amendment didn’t stop the government from violating free-speech
rights during World War I, didn’t stop the government from imposing
a "Fairness Doctrine" limiting speech over the airwaves,
and doesn’t stop the government from routinely suppressing "commercial
protections also conveniently disappear when the government considers
an emergency important enough.
And the government
will ignore the presumption of innocence if it wants to hold you
without bail before a trial. It will even ignore evidence of your actual
innocence if it has decided you should be executed,
as Napolitano says "lawless, heartless future President"
George W. Bush did when, as Texas governor, he insisted on executing Leones Torres
despite another man’s confession to his alleged crime.
show how various other government promises to respect rights (starting
with the Declaration of Independence’s claim that "all men
are created equal") are mere lip service. Others respectively
attack the lies of activist judges, gun controllers, nanny statists,
drug warriors, and others who think they should run our lives for
our own good. Others show how presidents, Republican and Democrat
alike, lie when they say they don’t want to go to war and when they
offer "facts" in making the case for war.
One of the
most important chapters addresses this government lie: "America
has a free market." The State is inherently opposed to the
market, of course, but U.S. politicians love to hail "free
enterprise" and the "free market" for their own self-interested
purposes. Doing so makes them sound decent and reasonable because
even today many people have at least some vague sense that the market
is the source of our prosperity. More importantly, politicians love
to promote the idea that we have a free market because that means
when things go wrong in the economy, they can blame the market,
rather than accept blame themselves, and claim that they need more
power to overcome the market’s alleged failures.
refutes this lie by pointing out (citing George
) that we have more than 73,000 pages of detailed economic
regulations, which are hardly compatible with anything like a genuine
And he provides some reasons why government is the
source of, not the solution to, our current economic problems. He
devotes an additional chapter to attacking the dishonesty and destructiveness
of the Federal Reserve and government-enabled fractional-reserve
Government Told You is a great book to give to your friends
who are sympathetic to some libertarian ideas – perhaps they are
Tea Partiers, Glenn Beck listeners, or similar – but still have
an excessive amount of faith (i.e., any faith) in the State and
politicians to turn things around.
For that matter,
it is also worth giving the book to your more sensible liberal friends
who may still be under the delusion that the Obama Administration
and other Democrats are somehow more honest and less bloodthirsty
than their Republican counterparts.
And even if
you’re already converted to Judge Napolitano’s libertarian view,
the book still has much to offer because it’s loaded with interesting,
useful information about both history and current events, at least
some of which is sure to be new to you.
he reveals ugly facts about the excessively revered Founding Fathers
– like George Washington, who not only owned slaves, but also reportedly
had their teeth pulled to make a set of dentures for himself. And
he gives up-to-date details about how the government is using the
Patriot Act and other totalitarian innovations to take away our
privacy and freedom.