The Words of the Founders, by Paul Rosenberg (Softcover, 2010)|
(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you want a hardcopy)
Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
It seems fitting that I am writing this particular review on, of all days, the Fourth of July. I've had the privilege of knowing Paul Rosenberg for many years. In that time, I've read his works on various topics related to liberty and sound government. This is yet another such work by Rosenberg, and it's one every American citizen should read at least once.
This book is especially a "must read" for any American who votes. Not that this book will tell you how to vote, but it will help you be a properly-informed voter who can frame issues against information rather than the disinformation that spews forth from television, newspapers, and disinformed commentators.
With this book, you can understand the intention of the framers of the Constitution and you can understand many other thoughts behind forming the government that the Founding Fathers formed. From the actions of our last few Presidents, it's apparent those men either have awareness of the thoughts of our Founding Fathers or deliberately set out to contradict them.
That particular problem seems to get worse with time. President Obama, who claims to have been a Constitutional Law Professor, has on several occasions "quoted" from the Constitution statements or sentiments that are not in it. And he expresses views that directly contradict the text of the Constitution and directly contradict the intention of its framers. This is a pattern we saw with GW Bush, too.
Rosenberg does not, anywhere in this book, suggest that the Democrats are superior to the Republicans or vice-versa. Unlike many of today's allegedly "nonfiction" works, this book doesn't shill for these folks. Rosenberg isn't pushing the liberal agenda or the conservative agenda. Both are irrelevant to this work and Rosenberg treats them accordingly.
Reading this book is a way to become well-informed on just exactly what our Founding Fathers were thinking when they formed the government that they did, because you can get their thoughts in their own words.
If you're an American, this is your country. You cannot afford to be ignorant of the Constitution and the thoughts behind it. I mean that literally; look at our national debt and what it's doing to our economy. As I write this, 1 out of 5 American men aged 24 to 50--the prime earning years--does not have a job. For those who don't understand how finance works, here's a one-word tip on why prosperity and our massive federal debt are mutually exclusive: overhead. But, I digress from the topic of this book.
One thing you'll notice as you read the thoughts of these great men is our nation has veered horribly off course. Lest anyone think that this statement is Republican propaganda during a time when Democrats control the federal government, let me be clear that we have been off course for a very long time and I have yet to see any real difference between the two wings of The Party (the rhetoric differs, but the reality is the same). Rosenberg doesn't say it in this book, but you can read from other sources (and I do mean primary sources, not opinion pieces) to see we do have a single-party system. Even Joe Stalin commented on this, as it was going on in his time as well (read a few biographies on Teddy Roosevelt to understand more on this issue).
I love a good book of quotes, especially if those quotes are both meaningful and organized in a logical manner. That's exactly what Rosenberg has done here. A problem with such works is they are sometimes organized to fit a particular agenda, with quotes taken out of context. Rosenberg also has an agenda, but his quotes are not taken out of context. In fact, where the context isn't clear he explains it.
What's Rosenberg's agenda? Before I answer that, I have to say that at no time did I feel manipulated as a reader. Rosenberg wasn't telling me what to think. He was only asking that I think. And that was really his agenda. He presents the information, and he lets the reader decide what it means. The exceptions to this pattern are the context notes mentioned earlier, and the fact that some passages do need explanation to make much sense of them. But it's explanation, not indoctrination. Very rare among works that today claim to be nonfiction.
This book runs 276 pages. The quotation categories are arranged alphabetically, for ease of reference. They include such things as The Assumption, The Bill of Rights, Character, Commerce, The Corruption of the Republic, Equality, Forms of Government, Governance, Liberty, The Militia, The People, Public Credit, Reason, The Senate, and Words.
I enjoyed reading this book, and I learned some things from doing so. If you consider yourself an informed citizen (or would like to), add this book to your collection. After you read it, keep it as a reference. The next time someone starts off a political statement with "I think the Constitution...." you can pull out this book and show that person what the framers thought. That way, you don't argue--you inform.
Maybe if people get away from what they "think" the Constitution means by understanding the framers of it, this politically divided (and politically misguided) nation can heal. And maybe not. But change starts with individuals. You're an individual. Become informed, so you are part of the solution.