Reason interviews Andrew Napolitano

Fox News contributor Andrew Napolitano recently gave an interview to Reason magazine to promote his new book, A Nation of Sheep. I have to say that this is one of the best interviews I’ve read in a very long time.


The Patriot Act’s two most principle constitutional errors are an assault on the Fourth Amendment, and on the First. It permits federal agents to write their own search warrants [under the name “national security letters”] with no judge having examined evidence and agreed that it’s likely that the person or thing the government wants to search will reveal evidence of a crime.

Remember that the British government permitted its soldiers to execute self-written search warrants. They called them “writs of assistance,” and they were one of the last straws that caused American colonist to rebel. It’s bitterly ironic that 230 years later a popularly elected government would authorize its own agents to do the same thing that when a monarchy did it, we fought a war of rebellion in reaction—which we won!

On Ron Paul:

Congressman Paul has rejuvenated almost single-handedly the Goldwater wing of the GOP. Now Reagan tried, before [James] Baker and his boys advised him on how to behave. Now, I loved the man, but if you look at his record and rhetoric, they are two different things. But Ron Paul had made it legitimate again for small government, maximum individual liberty, Goldwater Republicans to come forth and complain about big government, and I am the recipient of lots of those complaints.

On natural rights:

This is more than an academic debate. If our rights come from government, then the Patriot Act is lawful and constitutional because the government that gives freedom can take it away just by having the president sign a bill into a law. But if rights come from our humanity, as I argue almost every day on Fox, than government cannot take freedom away absent due process and a fair trial, where you are charged and convicted of violating someone else’s freedom.

The president had said he believes in natural rights. Unfortunately when he signs these bills that take away our rights, he reveals he either doesn’t know what he’s doing or he doesn’t really believe in natural rights. The Patriot Act is not only unconstitutional, it’s unnatural, since it purports to take away that which naturally belongs to us.

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  • steve

    Do any of you reading this for the first time understand what is happening to our constitution and our liberty? If you don’t you need to wake up fast.

    The only candidate i have seen fighting for your liberty is RON PAUL.


    He has my vote and he should have your too if you value our constitution and our liberty.

  • AXJ

    Andrew Napolitano makes all the sense in the world. Our Organization of 100,000 is definitely voting for Dr. Ron Paul, they even have a website in Spanish for him.
    Thanks for reading,

  • Ian

    The soundbite where Napolitano refers to Paul as “The Thomas Jefferson of our time” is truley inspiring.

  • Rich


    Come on now, Ron Paul supporters are supposed to uber web geeks. We know what a caps lock key is and we know the difference between google and using the search on youtube. So stop attempting to debunk the myth. People might think his supporters consists of everyday people sick of all the political bullshit, not just a loner somewhere in a basement with a broadband connection. ;)

    Ron Paul will be our next President.

  • Joshua Holmes

    If our rights come from government, then the Patriot Act is lawful and constitutional because the government that gives freedom can take it away just by having the president sign a bill into a law.

    This is incorrect. Even if our rights come from government, it is possible for the government to act unlawfully in restricting rights. Here, the PATRIOT Act doesn’t follow the very rules that the government is based on. Ergo, it is not lawful, regardless of the source of rights.

  • Eric

    Joshua, while you have made a good legalistic argument, you have simultaneously missed the the larger philosophical argument that Napolitano is tackling.