Many political pundits don’t explain relevant facts or analyze social trends; instead, they tell their audiences what they want to hear. By focusing on the immediate abuses of government, they inadvertently serve an arguably useful function by casting a spotlight on the corruption of the moment. Unfortunately, they typically proceed to gloss over the significance of just how truly depraved government really is when it is coercively imposes tyranny onto the lives of its hapless victims.
The author performs an decent job at highlighting some of the misdeeds of government. For instance, he decries red light traffic cameras, drug prohibition, and secret rendition and torture. All good issue positions to rebuke the government over, to be sure, but I thought his criticism seemed disjointed and random, with no cohesiveness to it at all. Besides also being superficial, it seemed to me as if this book were written to placate disgruntled Tea Partiers, instead of appealing intelligently to constitutionalists, libertarians, and other serious political dissidents who care about their personal liberty.
Napolitano (the former judge, not Big Sis) appears to justify the legitimacy of the enemy rebel U.S. government while simultaneously advocating for reformist tweaking of its most blatant abuses. In the chapter about gun control, Napolitano said:
“Congress and the states recognized that possessing arms was among the most fundamental of all human rights and enacted the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868 to alleviate the terror against blacks. The Fourteenth Amendment made most of the protections of the Bill of Rights – including the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms – apply against the overreaching state governments. Once the Fourteenth Amendment passed, ‘Congress shall make no law’ came to mean ‘Congress and the states shall make no law.’”
Which Constitution is Napolitano referring to here? More importantly, why does he seem to regard the state governments as “overreaching,” but the federal government as the supposed noble defender of liberty by their effort “to alleviate the terror against blacks?” Oh, the same federal government at that time whose President was a notorious racial supremacist? And why the love affair with that horrendous 14th Amendment? Is there some reason he avoids mentioning any of the state constitutions and their bills (or declarations) of rights? Personally, I think Article 1, Section 13 of Virginia’s Constitution is way better than the federal government’s Second Amendment:
“That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state, therefore, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.”
So, which one would you prefer in your constitution’s bill of rights, if you had a choice in the matter? Pretty hard for your garden variety statists to argue against what exactly the militia is, according to Virginia’s Bill of Rights, isn’t it? Notice also the very sharp distinction between the militia and the standing army; if this isn’t an implied condemnation of so-called “professional police,” I don’t know what is.
In addition to briefly mentioning the ratification period without getting into all the necessary details (never mind completely forgetting to mention either The Federalist Papers or, more importantly, The Anti-Federalist Papers), Napolitano doesn’t really offer much in terms of a solution, or even realistic suggestions. As he mentions earlier in the book:
“The one incontrovertible lesson I learned over those hard, disillusioning years: Unless you work for it, sell to it, or receive financial assistance from it, the government is not your friend. ”
Besides stipulating that even then, government agents have a nasty habit of eating their own, it took him how long to understand Leviathan for what it is? More to the point, all of Napolitano’s recommendations are applicable only to government agents, not to the common people. Every single thing he advocates boils down to is “Congress and the state legislatures should enact legislation…” to do fucking whatever, whether it be making it easier to sue government agents, or requiring cops to actually follow the law (for once!). As I have mentioned before, such reformist statements inherently attempt to take power away from you, and give it to someone else, who, more likely than not, will use such power to dominate and control you and your loved ones.
Andrew Napolitano’s Constitutional Chaos: What Happens When the Government Breaks Its Own Laws could have been a worthwhile analytic expose had he bother to mention something as basic as Ashwander v. TVA. Once you understand the Administrative Agencies, then everything else starts to make a sort of sense, sick and twisted as it is. Unfortunately, Napolitano either doesn’t know or doesn’t want his duped audience to know about the U.S. Supreme Court’s desire to avoid ruling on the constitutionality of anything. Although I used to enjoy his rants while he was allowed on Fox News, after reading his book, I consider Napolitano as being noticeably less useful than even Rothbard in terms of securing my Liberty. Do yourself a favor and read Three Felonies a Day instead if you want to read an analytically competent book about how the government violates its own laws.