I was not sure we needed yet another book to tell us how our republic has veered from the constitutional track and become mired in the morass of a federally protected wetland. But if you haven’t read one yet, Sen. Mike Lee’s Our Lost Constitution is a good one. If you’ve read much on the topic, you’ll still enjoy it, and learn something new.
Subtitled “The Willful Subversion of America’s Founding Document,” it’s currently Amazon’s best-selling constitutional law book, and comes recommended by Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Ed Meese III, Larry Arnn and Sen. Mitch McConnell. (WAIT! Come back…Shucks, I lost him.)
For those still reading, I assure you that — McConnell blurb notwithstanding — Sen. Lee does a good job of mixing lively stories about our Founders and Framers with glute-clenching tales of modern government overreach, invasions of privacy and various other rights-stripping activities.
A “Tea Party” candidate who upset a three-term establishment Republican in 2010, Mike Lee once clerked for future Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito on the Third Circuit Court. He loves the Constitution and the republic it birthed, and that passion bleeds through every page.
The Utah senator punches hard at executive encroachment on the legislative branch, but he’s never obnoxious, rarely partisan, and always graciously thoughtful. You won’t enjoy his horror stories about the untrammeled regulatory state, but you’ll be glad you read them.
My only beef with the book is the relatively weak proposed remedies.
Lee stays well within the boundaries of “regular order” pushing the passage of some landmark legislation, and encouraging readers to elect more constitutional representatives and senators. He does tell a wonderful story about the small-scale activism that started the recovery of our 2nd Amendment, but other than that he avoids exploring more aggressive options like an Article V Convention of the states, or the kind of civil disobedience advanced in Charles Murray’s forthcoming By the People. (I’ll review Murray’s book here soon.)
But I’ll admit, my hope for due-process reform has dimmed considerably, so I’m sure a less jaundiced reader will still find hope in electing better politicians who write better legislation.
So, even if you’ve lost all hope for change, Our Lost Constitution makes a good introduction to the nature of our crisis. I recommend it enthusiastically for that reason alone.