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Comments on The Silencing by Kirsten Powers and By the People by Charles Murray

Posted by John Reed on

Copyright 2015 John T. Reed

I recently read The Silencing by Kirsten Powers. Excellent. She is a liberal writing about how liberals, and only liberals, refuse to let others even speak either by shouting them down or assassinating their character. It is just a collection of pertinent news stories of recent years—all familiar to high-information voters. But it was still a useful exercise to collect them and organize them by category. Her words interspersed with the anecdotes are excellent articulations of the problem, but not revelations.

I also read By the People by Charles Murray, one of my fellow FreedomFest speakers. It is excellent, a very important book. If you want to be informed about the grown-up details about how this country is being driven into the ground by The Left, you must read this. It focuses on the way that lawyers and judges have ignored the Constitution and installed numerous unconstitutional decisions into law.

Murray is NOT a lawyer, which is probably a good thing for this project, but he generally knows what he is talking about and the book has all the necessary legal citations. He chronicles all the court decisions that have undone the good work of the Founding Fathers—mainly during and since the New Deal.

Murray calls what the correct version is Madisonism after James Madison, the Father of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, 4th president, husband of Dolly, and, according to my brother, our distant cousin by way of a common ancestor named Nathan Underwood, Junior.

Rules for judging laws and court decisions

Murray creates a number of rules by which the creation and enforcement of laws should be guided. Here is one:

“ When the legal process is more expensive than you can afford, it is indistinguishable from lawlessness.”


According to Murray, my words not his, a dictatorship is rapidly taking shape in America. But it is hard to discern because there is no one dictator. It is a collective dictatorship made up of an army of unelected and unfirable bureaucrats, almost all of whom are liberal Democrats. They seize power every weekday with new hires who go on to promulgate new regulations, executive orders, internal policy memos that occasionally emerge into the public light like IRS emails, judges who believe it is their job to supercede the Constitution on behalf of “social justice” which trumps the dopey Founding Fathers’ limits on government.


I recently spent five days in Berlin. Many of the sights to see are about the Third Reich. I learned that Hitler’s sort of justification for everything he did was Volksgemeinschaft. Here is what Wikipedia says about it:

Volksgemeinschaft is a German-language expression meaning "people's community." This expression originally became popular during World War I as Germans rallied in support of the war, and it appealed to the idea of breaking down elitism and uniting people across class divides to achieve a national purpose. At first it was used in both democratic and populist politics in Germany, but later it was adopted by the Nazis and became associated solely with them.”

“Social justice” is the Volksgemeinschaft of America in 2015, a pretext for seizing total power on a boiling-frog schedule.We now routinely see the ruling class force upon us stuff that is opposed by margins of 60% to 80% of the public, like Obamacare, gay marriage, transgenders in the military, the Iran deal. How is this possible in a democracy? Because less and less is now decided via democratic process and more and more by judges enforcing laws they invented, bureaucrats, administrative law judges—people who were not elected and who cannot be fired.

‘Deviant subculture’

Murray quotes Phillip Howard, a centrist:

“A group than no longer shares basic values with the society is defined by psychologists as a ‘deviant subculture.’ Washington has become a deviant subculture.”

Murray calls for a new civil-rights movement with civil disobedience. And he gives explicit ground rules for which laws should be the targets of civil disobedience and which should not. These rules are the sort of mind set that distinguishes our American Revolution from the insanity of other revolutions like the French one. They are a crucial part of his book. Like Daniel Hannan, he extols the virtues of English common law and the American extensions of it as being far superior to statute law (passed by legislators). I agree.

The Madison Fund

He calls for the establishment of the Madison Fund which would be like charities like the Institute for Justice that helps people in court cases that prevent self-employment like taxi medallions and such. Murray’s Madison Fund would cover a broader array of lawless laws and would enable the little guys to fight with legal and financial help from the charity fund.

I highly recommend the book not as fun but as required-reading homework for those who complain about the slow draining away of freedom. Here is the clearly articulated chapter and verse of what you feel vaguely uneasy about.

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