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Also by Andrew P. Napolitano

Constitutional Chaos: What Happens When

Government Breaks Its Own Laws

The Constitution in Exile: How the Federal

Government Has Seized Power by Rewriting the

Supreme Law of the Land

A Nation of Sheep

Dred Scott’s Revenge: A Legal History of Race and

Freedom in America




Myth, Power, and Deception in American History


Andrew P. Napolitano

© 2010 Andrew P. Napolitano

All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning, or other—except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson. Thomas Nelson is a trademark of Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Thomas Nelson, Inc., titles may be purchased in bulk for educational, business, fund-raising, or sales promotional use. For information, please e-mail SpecialMarkets@ThomasNelson.com.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Napolitano, Andrew P.

     Lies the government told you : myth, power, and deception in American

history / by Andrew P. Napolitano.

          p. cm.

     Includes bibliographical references.

     ISBN 978-1-59555-266-2

     1. Constitutional history—United States. 2. United States—Politics and

government. I. Title.

KF4550.Z9N369 2010



Printed in the United States of America

10 11 12 13 14 WC 5 4 3 2 1

This book is dedicated

to the memory of

Senator Barry Morris Goldwater,

who, alone among major party

candidates for President,

promised to shrink the federal government,

and who is the father

the modern American Liberty Movement.

“‘For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone, who is of the truth, hears my voice.’ Pilate said to him, ‘What is truth?’”

— John 18:37

“[M]en are so simple, and so subject to present necessities, that he who seeks to deceive will always find someone who will allow himself to be deceived.”

— Niccolo Machiavelli,

The Prince

“Everything the State says is a lie, and everything it has it has stolen.”

— Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche,

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

“Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.”

— Henry A. Wallace,

Vice President of the United States

(1941 to 1945)


Foreword by Congressman Ron Paul


Lie #1: “All Men Are Created Equal”

Lie #2: “All Men . . . Are Endowed by Their Creator

with Certain Inalienable Rights”

Lie #3: “Judges Are Like Umpires”

Lie #4: “Every Vote Counts”

Lie #5: “Congress Shall Make No Law . . . Abridging

the Freedom of Speech”

Lie #6: “The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms

Shall Not Be Infringed”

Lie #7: “Your Body Is Your Temple”

Lie #8: “The Federal Reserve Shall Be Controlled

by Congress”

Lie #9: “It’s Only a Temporary Government Program”

Lie #10: “I’m from the Government, and I’m Here to Help”

Lie #11: “We Are Winning the War on Drugs”

Lie #12: “Everyone Is Innocent Until Proven Guilty”

Lie #13: “The Constitution Applies in Good Times and

in Bad Times”

Lie #14: “Your Boys Are Not Going to Be Sent

into Any Foreign Wars”

Lie #15: “We Don’t Torture”

Lie #16: “The Right of the People to Be Secure

in Their Persons, Houses, Papers, and Effects,

Shall Not Be Violated”

Lie #17: “America Has a Free Market”




About the Author



by Congressman Ron Paul

Andrew P. Napolitano is a true rarity among judges and media personalities: He is a passionate defender of liberty who understands that the United States Constitution puts strict limits on federal power. Judge Napolitano’s tremendous knowledge of American law, history, and politics, as well as his passion for freedom, shines through in Lies the Government Told You, as he details how throughout American history, politicians and government officials have betrayed the ideals of personal liberty and limited government.

Anyone who knows Judge Napolitano understands that he does not pull his punches or excuse any constitutional violations in order to support any group or political interest. Thus, Lies the Government Told You explains how politicians of both parties have routinely disregarded the constitutional limits on federal power and violated our natural rights.

One of the most important lessons Judge Napolitano teaches is how many shared premises there are by advocates of big government from both the right and the left. For example, Judge Napolitano exposes how both the conservatives’ war on marijuana and the liberals’ war on tobacco are manifestations of paternalism—the idea that government has the legitimate authority to stop adults from doing bad things, like smoking substances that politicians and bureaucrats do not approve of. Of course, smoking, whether of marijuana or tobacco, does have negative health consequences—but respecting the right of individuals to be wrong, as long as they do not interfere with the rights of others, is one of the pillars of a free society.

Lies the Government Told You also avoids the all-too-common error of drawing a distinction between “personal” liberty and “economic” liberty, and focusing on attacks on one type of freedom while ignoring or even supporting attacks on the other category of liberty. When the freedom movement began in the nineteenth century, supporters of liberty, who were then known as “liberals,” made no distinctions between government actions that interfered with economic liberties, such as laws infringing upon private contracts, and government actions that restricted personal liberty, such as limits on the freedom of speech. Supporters of liberty were also likely to understand the grave threat posed to liberty and constitutional government by a militaristic foreign policy. Thus, they were also supporters of peace.

However, beginning in the Progressive Era, promoters of big government co-opted the rhetoric of the promoters of freedom, even stealing the label “liberal.” Whereas liberal once referred to a supporter of freedom, beginning in the Progressive Era, the term liberal began to refer to supporters of the welfare state. The division between supporters of

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