Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed constitutional law attorney and author of The Authoritarians, Jonathan Emord, to the newsmaker line to discuss his many years studying socialists, the administrative state, and three things Americans must do now to protect their freedoms.
Leahy: We are joined on the newsmakers line by an attorney of constitutional law, Jonathan W. Emord, who’s the author of a new book called The Authoritarians. Welcome, Jonathan, to The Tennessee Star Report.
Emord: Great to be with you, Mike.
Leahy: You have a long and distinguished record. You joined the Reagan administration in 1985 after you graduated from DePaul University Law School and have worked in the area of constitutional law and administrative law ever since. What brought you to the point where you thought it was time to write a book about authoritarians?
Emord: For years I have followed and actually been confronting socialists within the federal administrative state and had actually been shocked and appalled by the fact that the administrative state is so large now that really nine-tenths of all federal laws are not the product of those we elect, but rather as the product of the unelected heads of these agencies.
And the history of those agencies is extraordinary because it grew principally out of the progressive era with academics interested in circumventing the Constitution and exceeding the constitutional barriers to power by aggregating or accumulating executive, legislative, and judicial power in one administrative entity.
When the writing happened and began to occur without any effective opposition, that then triggered me to be interested in finding out exactly why and exactly what is happening to our country.
I had known that the administrative state posed an ever-present threat, but I wanted to see the extent to which we had basically a socialist takeover in this country. And that’s the origin of the book. And the book documents the rise of socialism in America from its origins in the Antebellum South in the 1830s and all the way to the present.
Leahy: Everything you say I agree with and I think the great lawyer and law school scholar Philip Hamburger from Columbia has written about this many times. We’ve had him on the show. He would, I’m sure, agree with your argument as well. My question, though, to you is, so what do we do about it?
Emord: This is a situation where each of us has to act. We represent a majority. That is, those who love this country, who believe in the Constitution, who are willing to even die for this country and its Constitution. A majority of us are in favor of the rule of law, against rioting, against Marxism, against Marxism in the schools, against Marxism in our government.
And have for so long tolerated the expansion of the government and the – rather hidden from us – growth of the socialist state. People now think, well, gee, what has happened and what can I do? You need to do the following things, starting with the individual: You need to defend yourself.
You have to realize that there may come a time when you actually have to defend your own property and your own rights, your life, and your family’s lives. You need to learn how to use a weapon. You need to be able to defend your family. The next thing you need to do is you need to become vocal.
It’s not enough to just simply sit there. I don’t care how you do it. If you wear freedom clothing, if you communicate your opinions through op-eds, if you go to school board meetings and challenge the school board on its adoption of Critical Race Theory, if you condemn politicians who are favoring Marxism or allowing socialism to progress, and if you vote them out of office.
All of these things are what we have to do. 2022 is a critical time. If we fail to route out of the Congress of the United States in the Senate, in the House, the Democratic party, principally because they’ve adopted socialism since the last election, we are going to see a socialist wave that is incredible.
It’s going to be horrible for the American people, who are going to lose effectively the value of their property. There’s going to be a lot more unemployment. There’s going to be a lot more misery. And the opportunity is going to be fleeting. It’s hard for people to realize that presently, but it comes swiftly.
If you look at any of the socialist states that have suffered the onset of socialism, it comes rapidly. So these are the things that we can do. So, one, protect yourself. Two, become politically active. Three, express your political views for the first time.
It is uncomfortable for Americans to do this, but we need to do it. We need to show each other and our opponents that we are Americans, and that we stand up for this country and believe in its principles.
Leahy: Those are all good things. But I’m going to tell you, I don’t think they’re enough.
Emord: Well, that’s the impression you get, but believe me, they are enough. The majority of Americans are still very patriotic and do believe in this country. And another point that I didn’t mention that I should have is that we need to educate our youth.
While there is a resurgence of socialism in the youth, that is in large measure due to ignorance. They’re unaware of the actual American history and have been taught the contrary. We’ve allowed academia to become entirely dominated by individuals who favor socialism and Marxism.
Indeed, that’s where both the administrative state came from, as I document in the history of the rise of socialism, and where this whole movement for BLM and Antifa is coming from. It’s coming out of the University.
So we need to take back education. We need to reassert a classical education, and these are long-term projects that have to be implemented now if we’re ever going to save this country.
Leahy: Actually, when I said that’s not enough, I didn’t mean that there aren’t enough people who share those views. I agree with you. There are enough people that share those views. What I meant is that it seems to me – and this isn’t a criticism of your book, this is a general statement of where we stand as a country – those action steps that you’ve outlined, what I’m saying is those action steps aren’t enough in my view. I think we need to take more proactive effort, particularly in the last thing you’re talking about, in education.
Let me throw this out to you. I think our K-12 public school system is an utter debacle. It’s not working. We need to completely take the federal government funding out of K-12 public education, and parents need to take public schools back now in the next two years. What’s your view on that?
Emord: I couldn’t agree more. The schools are a disaster. They’re a hotbed for socialism. Even in public schools where the Marxist message is not overt, it’s frequently slipped in through derogatory characterization of American history. Characterization of our country as a colonial power that has abused the world.
And really, quite the opposite is the case. We’ve defended liberty around the world. A great history of America is overwhelming to the rest of the world. They can’t quite right comprehend how this bastion of liberty is so quickly shifting to socialism.
And they also can’t comprehend why we do this to our own children, why we teach our children to hate their own country and tear it apart. So I couldn’t agree with you more. With your own kids, you’ve got to become extremely mindful of what they’re being taught.
You have to counter-program them, and you have to fight the schools and identify those teachers and those administrators who are propagating and promoting this socialist message and call them out and condemn them and to take them on and demand that they be replaced.
Leahy: Last question. Jonathan Emord, author of The Authoritarians. You can buy it on Amazon. So this is common sense. This is classic American constitutionalism. You practice law. Are you ostracized from the practice of law because of your beliefs?
Emord: I’ve been attacking the government for 35 years. I have oftentimes been ostracized by agencies and cut out. I’ve been told that I will lose my practice, that others will take over my practice because I am opposing the government, and that I would be locked out of access to members of Congress and to individuals within the government agencies.
In the book, I explained, for example, the corruption within the agencies, how I was threatened by one party, by the government, by a government attorney, and that unless I forced my client to retract the position it had taken in litigation, which was damaging to the government, that there would be no chance whatsoever that the government would ever entertain a settlement.
And therefore, in the context of that administrative case, it meant my client would have to fight for years and spend millions in order to defend itself when it had done absolutely nothing wrong.
There’s a long history of this and it’s shocking and it’s abusive. The administrative state is like the Courts of Star Chamber or High Commission in England. They’re political courts, and they give you no justice. The prosecutor is also a judge.
Leahy: Jonathan Emord, author of The Authoritarians, thanks for joining us. Please come back.
Emord: Thank you. Take care.
Listen to the second hour here:
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