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This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Founders' Key

I received The Founders' Key free via the Book Sneeze program in return for my review.

The book interested me because it is advertised as an explanation about how the Declaration of Independence and Constitution are connected but "progressives" today do not realize this fact. This is misguided and threatens our liberty.  This not being my understanding -- see, e.g., A New Birth of Freedom by Charles Black (and, humbly, my own writings), plus the matter is of deep interest to me, I chose this volume for my selection.

I appreciate the intent of this book and to the degree it makes you think about the subject matter, including by reading and contemplating the documents involved, all for the best.  A full third of this not too large volume are reprints of the Declaration, Constitution, various Federalist Papers and Madison's essay on "property." Such things can be found online, so spending so much space on them is a bit questionable, and selecting a few Madison papers can be misleading.  Still, worthwhile. 

The book starts on a bad foot, however, by quoting Rep. Pelosi's now (in certain parts) infamous answer to a reporter who asked the who asked the constitutional basis of the PPACA.  Linda Greenhouse -- in a recent NYT blog piece -- cited it to underline how ridiculous it was to assume the question was debatable.  Others, such as the author of this book, cites it to show that she and others have forgotten the limits of the Constitution.  Such has not been shown, nor the argument provided that she has "disconnected" that document from the Declaration.  In fact, the right to "secure" the liberties of the one is in part provided for by the powers found in the other.

The book continues such a shall we say two-headed theme.  There is an implication that many people, including "progressives," do not believe in the two documents.  Selective statements by some that some aspects of the Constitution are problematic or disagreement on its meaning do not show me proof of this fact.  The book -- as many of this sentiment do -- provides interesting and valuable discussion on the various principles involved in the two documents.  Specific aspects can be debated, but that isn't too important here.  The problem is that there is some conclusion that disagreement over details means the other side misses the importance of the overall principles.  A talking past takes place.

Nonetheless, I respect the effort and respect for the principles, some common ground possible there.  So, I think a mixed rating is appropriate.