Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power, and Deception in American History
By: Judge Andrew P. Napolitano
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: March 2010
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: April 14, 2010
Judge Andrew Napolitano, the well-known senior judicial analyst for the Fox News channel, is angry. He’s angry because the Constitution, a document he holds near and dear to his heart, is being trampled on by those in power. In Lies the Government Told You, Napolitano outlines with clarity and detail, exactly what the Government has done that goes against the intentions of our Founding Fathers.
Napolitano’s premise is that those in power have, throughout the history of the U.S., been more interested in maintaining their authority than preserving the freedoms of its citizens. Willing to sacrifice the liberties people are granted by the Constitution, these government officials twist the rules in their favor and then spin the facts so that the average citizen is unaware of how his/her freedoms are being taken away.
Lies the Government Told You begins with “Lie #1 – All Men Are Created Equal.” Rather than simply show how today’s society treats people of different races, Napolitano embarks on a quick, and fascinating, history lesson. He’s not afraid to point out the serious faults of our Founding Fathers, who had a different visioin of what the famous line - All Men Are Created Equal - implied. From George Washington (did you know, “…Washington hired a dentist to extract nine teeth from the mouths of his slaves, and implant them into his own mouth.” (pg. 5)) to Lincoln’s opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which would have admitted the slave state of Kansas into the Union because Lincoln stated, “There is a natural disgust in the minds of nearly all white people to the idea of indiscriminate amalgamation of the white and black races…” (pg. 10), no famous historical figure is safe from the Judge's pen. Note that all of the quotes of the historical figures are backed up with footnotes to the original documents; Napolitano does not deal in hearsay.
There are 17 chapters in this book, each detailing a different lie. Included are topics such as: everyone is innocent until proven guilty, every vote counts, it’s only a temporary government program, congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, we don’t torture, and America has a free market. As in the first chapter, the author first outlines historical facts related to the lie, and then dives head-first into some very controversial subjects, detailing again and again how the government has lied and continues to lie. He includes actual court cases, how the outcomes were tainted, and even how past presidents exploited various Acts of Congress.
Napolitano makes it clear he has no favorites, he holds both Republicans and Democrats equally responsible for trampling on the Constitution. In the chapter on torture, he attacks the Bush administration for using, “fear mongering to justify its torture policy and restrictions on the due process rights of persons it arrested.” (pg. 262) The present administration is not spared Napolitano’s wrath with the judge pointing out several constitutional errors (a tobacco act banning outdoor advertising within 1,000 feet of schools and playgrounds, President Obama’s statement on assault weapons that is “…so full of either mistaken beliefs or continuing government fraud.” (pg. 117) ).
Many books that attempt to discuss government fraud or other such problems tend to get bogged down in the technical jargon of the field. But the judge avoids those errors. He also has a very easy and digestible writing style. Most enjoyable is the fact that he doesn’t mince words and thus helps to make the book a lot of fun. I can hear his slightly elevated and agitated voice as he says, “So the government is in essence admitting that it created and implemented an unconstitutional doctrine for decades and now it just says, “Oops, my bad”?” (pg. 91)
Quill says: Prepare to be educated, enraged, and entertained when you read Lies the Government Told You.