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Posted June 27, 2011
The thing that has made this country work, what made us different from other societies throughout history and has allowed us to achieve exceptionalism is the United States Constitution. The Bill of Rights specifically defines the limits on what the government can and cannot do regarding the people's freedoms. It's a bit of genius in how it's compiled to help keep us free and how most of it remains relevant today, even with our technological advances. Sure, they wrote the Bill of Rights in a time with hand cranked printing presses and flintlock rifles, but the first and second amendments are just as relevant today with the internet and semi-auto handguns as they were then.
So it's shocking to read Miniter's book and see compiled in one place just how much the government, primarily the left wing, has been able to erode our freedoms. I think it would be impossible for any freedom loving American to read this book and not be scared to death.
Not surprisingly, most of the erosions have occurred in the past 100 years and really started to escalate with FDR stacking the Supreme Court so he could implement his progressive ideas. Once a freedom is lost it's very hard to get it back and in reading this book and seeing it all together in one place for the first time, we realize just how much of our freedom has been taken away and how fast the pace is increasing. This book makes any sane person start to question, and fear, where it will end.
Miniter really did his homework on this book. The first ten amendments to the U. S. Constitution are called the Bill of Rights and Miniter looks at each of them and how they have fared to date. He has looked at the history of how the courts have ruled on each of the Bill of Rights' amendments and how politicians have used and abused those rulings to erode the fragile freedoms that Americans thought were "guaranteed" by the constitution.
Most of us know about attacks on freedom of speech and on the right to bear arms, but it's shocking to also learn about the attacks on private property that the government is perpetrating by twisting, changing and sometimes ignoring the meaning of the fifth amendment. You think the fifth also protects you against self-incrimination? Think again, the government can now force you to testify against yourself, even though the Constitution clearly states in the Bill of Rights that it cannot. Or it might shock you to learn how the government and the courts have interpreted the fourth amendment so that we are no longer free from warrantless searches, how the government can now spy on us with impunity because nobody will stop them. If you think that justice is preserved by the sixth amendment's guarantee of a trial by an impartial jury, think again. You can actually be prosecuted for voicing the opinion while serving on a jury. It's happened and it's in the book.
With each of the ten amendments Miniter shows that we are losing the freedom that the founding fathers thought they had guaranteed.
Never mind what you may have been taught in high school civics class, it was all a lie. It's clear that Orwell's "Big Brother" is becoming a reality and the one thing we thought would prevent that, the Bill of Rights, is fading to a frail and impotent document with no force of law to protect the common citizen.
This is as scary as anything Stephen King ever wrote, even more so because it is true and it is happening today.
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Posted June 26, 2011
While many Constitutional studies delve deeply into the details of our country's birth and growth, most of these works would be hard to classify as engaging. "Saving the Bill of Rights: Exposing the Left's Campaign to Destroy American Exceptionalism" breaks that mold by presenting a fascinating and clear explanation of the first 10 Amendments to the US Constitution. Author Frank Miniter goes a step further and ties this book to current events by presenting relevant examples of attacks on the Bill of Rights that continue to come from all quarters. Miniter highlights frightening examples of how our rights have narrowly escaped complete erasure by a singular US Supreme Court vote. The razor-thin nature of these legal victories will keep you up at night.
The freedoms guaranteed by our Founders and protected by generations of American citizens are currently teetering on the lip of a bottomless abyss. The fastest way for us to lose our grip and watch those rights slide away is to remain complacent with our daily lives and ignorant about the very nature of those freedoms. Whatever your political leanings, reading this book will educate you on the true nature of your rights as a US citizen and the battles being waged over their very existence.
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Posted July 28, 2011
What a smart, fast-paced - even fun - book! "Saving the Bill of Rights" is thoughtfully packed with real-world examples that explain everyday attacks on Americans' fundamental freedoms. I like the way it's divided into 10 chapters, each devoted to one of the original 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. In clear, interesting and well-argued detail, Frank Miniter explains why all Americans should be concerned by the systematic erosion of our basic rights. In doing so, we're reminded why Patrick Henry worked so hard to restrict the federal government's ability to subjugate the rights of individual states and citizens. The old firebrand's distrust of big government looks more prescient every day.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 27, 2011
Posted July 9, 2011
An amazing book--politics, history and the Bill of Rights, and all made very readable. By themselves, Frank Miniter's explanations of each of the ten amendments to the Constitution, their history and intent, make this worth the read. But when you see the ways these amendments have been chipped away at, and sometimes pretty much beat upon, to serve political purposes, you can see why Miniter's so worried about the Bill of Rights. As he writes, "To retake our lost rights, and to save the rights we still have from this ever-growing government, we have to fully understand our Bill of Rights." Key word here: "our." A great explanation of "our" rights as Americans, how we've actually lost many of them, and how we can begin to get them back. Key reading for any of us engaged in the current political discourse.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 20, 2011
LIBERTY UNDER ATTACK
Heel-dug into philosophical- political camps as we are-- left, right or defining a flying episiotomy across the road's mid section-- we tend to classify works by opposing parties either as enemy rants or confusing proselytization . Too bad. Though there's rare hope for complimentary yin-yang harmony between clashing political philosophies, something is to be gleaned by studying thinking outside one's fold. Which brings us to this book. Make no mistake, author Frank Miniter is a conservative. But the concerns he presents here must ultimately be those of all socio-political persuasions. His clarion is a special wake-up against the insouciance-- even total unawareness-- of the hacking away of foundations guaranteeing US citizens the freedom and individual rights far too many of us assume as just due and consider infinitely unassailable .
In his dedication Miniter tells us that individualism and those who've fought for it have ".given the world everything it now takes for granted." By extension, that attitude, that taking for granted without pause, subsumes unmindfulness of history's vital catalog of lessons. Case in point is the historical failure of even the most idealistic experiments in collective utopian societies, those which elevate the communal greater good over individual rights. Failure of small- scale efforts at societal equalization through benevolent group governing are not the bête noir of Miniter's fears and anger. Rather it is the irrepressible penchant of governments, initially in the name of social justice, to grow exponentially at the expense of individuality-along with their logical metastasis into authoritarianism.
"I'm a conservative, not an anarchist," Miniter says, arguing he is ".not opposed to all government restrictions when they're equally and justly administered for moral reasons and are decided by the voting public, not activist judges. For progress to occur in a society, its people need to have individual rights, the ability to take risks, and the chance to profit from their boldness."
Miniter argues that the Bill of Rights was written as "negative liberties" to restrict the government to the will of the people, not subject citizens to its overreaching whims. Scholarly in his research, Miniter examines each of the Bill's ten amendments detailing their intent by the nation's Founders. Through careful illustration -- court decisions, parsing of laws and their current unintended usage and more-the author presents a sweeping canvas of the erosions to which the document protecting and defining the liberties we enjoy as Americans is being subjected.
This is a book even zealous liberal-progressives ought to read as confirmation of professed open-mindedness. They will be unprepared for the surprises to be found.