Monday, November 12, 2007

Book Review: The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution

I learned about this latest installment to the "PIG" series when I heard the author, Dr. Kevin Gutzman, on the Michael Medved show probably three months ago.

The book is very well done and quite accessible. I spent a lot more time with it than I might another book of similar length as I kept referencing the Constitution, the Federalist, and my Heritage Guide to the Constitution (not to mention a couple of biographies of You-Know-Who) whenever I'd read something that I wanted to confirm or verify.

There are more areas where I find agreement with Dr. Gutzman than disagreement; one inevitable and notable exception is the Lincoln legacy. It has been my understanding that while Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus, it was in limited situations (namely to protect a supply line into D.C.) and was followed up shortly thereafter by Congressional endorsement. It was an appropriate time to do so (war and/or insurrection was present).

There's of course a larger question of legitimacy at stake here which might need some exploration. I acknowledge that the Union in the first place was a voluntary one and could be undone. The separation of political bonds such as this isn't an act to be taken lightly nor without a valid basis for making such a break; there wasn't a "long train of abuses and usurpations" compelling the insurrection.

Suppose the state of Illinois decided that given the budget crisis, citizens could buy a license for a cool $100,000 to enslave as many illegal aliens as one could. Or suppose that retirees in the state of Oregon have become too much of a drain on the rest of the state, such that the state decides that every person over the age of 60 is henceforth "D-N-R." In each case, the state is depriving a class of persons of one of their inalienable rights; and the deprivation of the right to life is an oppression no more serious than depriving someone of liberty or the fruits of their person. While the issue of jurisdiction appears clear (domestic matters not constitutionally appropriate at the federal level), the obligation of the general government is not.

Having addressed my one area of disagreement, I could spend days posting on the excellent points of this book. My hope is that Dr. Gutzman will instead humor me and the readers here with answers to some questions. I hope to be able to post more along these lines in the not-too-distant future.

In the meantime, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution remains an essential for everyone's library, so if you don't yet have it, run out and get it. Yes, I mean right now.

2 comments:

sharon said...

thanks for the link....

___________________
Sharon
Entertainment at one stop

sharon said...

thanks for the link..

___________________
Sharon
Entertainment at one stop