In his latest work, “It Is Dangerous to Be Right When the Government Is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom,” New York Times Best-Selling Author Judge Andrew Napolitano urges Americans to boldly oppose an increasingly tyrannical government.

The American government is dismantling personal freedom, Napolitano argues. To illustrate his claim, he heavily explores the idea of natural rights – rights innate to all humans. Napolitano’s perspective on government-protected rights is far from complacent. He sees human history as a conflict between tyranny and personal freedom, and asserts that governments guarantee rights only until those guarantees pose a threat to the government’s power or agenda. They’re not truly guarantees.

The focus on inborn rights complements one of his most controversial ideas: the American government has almost always suppressed personal freedom.

If America has a history of infringing on liberty, then, to explore proper principles of liberty Napolitano must draw on the original intent of American government rather than the reality that has evolved since the founding. He largely examines recent violations of liberty in the light of the constitution and natural rights. Each chapter examines a different right like property, speech, association – even the idea of owning your body.

Napolitano is an equal-opportunity critic of freedom violation. He attacks both the Patriot Act and nanny-state laws (like New York City’s trans fat ban) for undermining privacy and freedom. He touches on hot-button issues like Obamacare, TSA searches, Westboro Baptist Church funeral protests and taxation – always arming his arguments with thorough research and political philosophy.

Republicans are not the solution. Neither are Democrats. No party has protected freedom, Napolitano argues. He admits that Republicans and Democrats have different pet interests, but in their own ways both parties infringe on freedom. “We have one Big Government Party,” he writes.

This book is not simply an inflammatory criticism of recent political policies. It is an examination of America’s founding principles, an application of those principles to current situations and a call to action.

Napolitano’s call to action is not ambiguous: Americans should not tolerate a government that violates freedom; a freedom-violating government must be fixed or removed. He focuses on natural law to remind Americans of their innate rights and to inspire vigilance against those who oppress them. Napolitano writes, “Since the government derives its powers from the consent of the governed, the final, and capstone natural right, is the right not to consent to any government.”

For a well-reasoned, in-depth analysis of rights and freedom – this is the perfect read. If you want a light, sassy criticism of current big government policies, look elsewhere. With decades of legal experience, Napolitano’s expertise is reflected in his writing. But he strives for accessibility by separating concepts into chapters. Within the chapters are subsections like “Where do we go from here?” and conclusion sections. So even though it is deep in its content, this book is arranged so that it’s still simple to navigate.


Mary Crookston

Mary Crookston is a Townhall.com editorial intern.