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Not being a libertarian, but more an independent conservative, I found Napolitano's book the most enlightening listen in a very long time. Get it; progressive history they didn't teach you through our progressive educational establishment-bureaucracy.
As an old-school Roman Catholic, Napolitano brings up both Roosevelt's and Wilson's Protestantism. However their Preterism is really a bigger and bolder attempt to create America's historic religious narrative and that is, mankind should attempt to create God's eternal "Shining City on a Hill," on this continent. It doesn't seem that is working out too well at the present time.
Perhaps, contrary to our wishful thinking, maybe we really are not God, nor gods!
10 of 11 people found this review helpful
This was a fascinating and insightful look at the social/political philosophy of progressivism, and how it drove America's first progressive presidents - Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson - to fundamentally change the US Constitution. Andrew Napolitano cuts right to what he sees as the heart of the issue: Roosevelt and Wilson worked to destroy the federalism built into the US Constitution by the founders primarily through the means of: 1) progressive taxation (the income tax), 2) the expansion of the regulatory state and the scope of the federal government into state and local jurisdictions, 3) the wielding of US military power to influence political events around the globe, 4) federally directed social engineering to "improve" society, 5) the manipulation of US currency and orchestration of monetary policy through a central bank (Federal Reserve System), 6) the direct election of US Senators by popular vote.
Napolitano, a staunch, energetic, and well-spoken libertarian, makes the case that the pressing of these items from the turn-of-the century progressive's agenda by Roosevelt and Wilson sent the US on a path away from the one envisioned by the founders. Instead of limited government power, state's rights, and frugal monetary policy and budgeting, with Roosevelt and Wilson the US started a journey toward a strong and oppressive federal government, weakened state jurisdictions which have increasingly become little more than sub-jurisdictional units of the federal burocracy, an imperial executive, bloated budgets, and reckless fiscal policy. Napolitano makes no bones that his book is not a history of the two progressive administrations or a biography of the men who lead them. It is, instead his brief with which he indicts them in the court of Constitutional Originalism.
Napolitano is well researched and makes his points clearly. Liberals who worship these two giants of early 20th century American politics may be surprised to read many of the things they said and did, and what their reasoning was for pursuing a progressive agenda. Conservatives will be surprised just how much they have also strayed from ideals and mindset of the founding fathers when they compare some of the so-called "conservative" planks in their platforms with progressive ideas that found their beginning in the Roosevelt and/or Wilson administrations. A must read for all those who think they are familiar with Theodore Roosevelt and his character, or those who think they understand what caused America's entrance into The Great War (WWI).
13 of 15 people found this review helpful