Book Review: Lies The Government Told You by Andrew Napolitano

Contrary to the famous quote by Mark Twain there are four, not three, types of lies. Twain’s famous trio is Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics. To his credit he never envisioned the Big Lie. In short, the Big Lie can be defined as a lie so outrageous, so inconceivable, and so preposterous that its very audacity lends credence to its validity.

Judge Andrew Napolitano’s latest book is Lies the Government Told You Myth, Power, and Deception in American History. In it, he examines 17 common misconceptions average Americans hold due to the Lies and Big Lies our government has promoted through the years. Let us examine in a limited fashion one of these lies.

Lie #2 “All Men … Are Endowed by Their Creator with Certain Inalienable Rights”

Napolitano begins with a discussion of Man’s Natural Rights, those which originate from human nature. We know them as commonly as Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. More traditionally, these have been expressed as Life, Liberty and the Right to Own Justly Acquired Property. These Rights are the result of human gifts that were bestowed by God and as such, take precedence over government powers based on consensus, whim, fear and force.

However governments, being the creatures that they are, have been reluctant to let these Rights go unabated. The only way any of these Rights can legally be taken is by due process of law. For example, Napolitano examines the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The relevant text being: “No person … shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.” The most infamous abuse of this ability granted to government in recent years is the case of Kelo vs. New London.

Traditionally, the use of eminent domain was to purchase land for public use, roads, parks etc. But in Kelo the government with the Supreme Court’s blessing expanded this to include land that was to be resold to a private developer to build “an urban village” that would attract shoppers and tourists. Thus, the government has redefined Public Use to include private development that will enhance it tax revenues over that which was being collected from the original owners.

Other egregious cases include the violations of the Contracts Clause (Article 1 Section 10) with the blessings of the Court. The most recent example being the Chrysler Bailout in which bondholders, or if you prefer “secured creditors”, who should have been considered first got left with only a small part of ownership, while the UAW got a lion’s share of the company. The bondholders, who dared disagree and insist on a larger share, as they were entitled to by law, were rewarded by being referred to as “Vultures” by the president.

Thus, the government continues to erode our Rights when it needs to recognize the people as individuals and work to protect our Rights. To quote from the book, If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, then the road to tyranny is paved by believing in the government”.

The Judge also takes on Judicial Activism, the Federal Reserve (a very enlightening chapter) and the Right to Bear Arms. I recommend it highly.

Ed Angleton
Libertarian Party of Marion County

Next Month:

Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century – Tom Woods

Release Date June 28th, 2010.

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