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How the Lawyers, Politicians, and Bureacrats Have Turned the Law Into an Instrument of Tyranny--and What We as Citizens Have to Do About It

by Catherine Crier

Pub Date: Oct. 8th, 2002
ISBN: 0-7679-0504-0
Publisher: Broadway

A folksy screed by Court TV host Crier assailing today’s favorite targets: greedy, unprincipled lawyers; greedy, corrupt politicians; and greedy, self-serving bureaucrats.

Herself both a lawyer and journalist, Crier doesn’t like much about the two professions that have enriched her. The law, she says, has infected like a virulent virus every aspect of American life; the news media are more interested in revenues and ratings than in news. Crier trots out and bludgeons the usual suspects. We have too many rules and regulations, too many entitlements, too many lawsuits, too much political correctness. The public schools are awful. Government agencies have too much power. Criminals are too often portrayed as victims (the OJ acquittal was a bad thing). Hate crime legislation and mandatory minimum sentences and capital punishment are bad. Too much easy money corrupts politicians (the Enron situation is outrageous). Clinton shouldn’t have pardoned Marc Rich. Ross Perot was weird but prescient. Politicians don’t really want campaign finance reform. Class-action suits should be severely restricted. Lobbyists do everyone but themselves a disservice. We ought to lighten up on illegal drugs. It’s time we shouted “We’re not gonna take it any more!” and reclaimed our country. Crier’s language is as unexceptional as her theses. Clichés sprout like dandelions in the lawn of her just-plain-folks prose, and even in her most serious moments she cannot seem to locate a fresh phrase anywhere. (At the end, after she has presented her hopelessly impossible solutions to the messes she has described, she declares, “Only a change of heart can accomplish this.”) Crier describes herself as a compulsive clipper of periodicals, and indeed her book has a sort of scrapbook quality. It’s full of accounts of odd lawsuits and egregious offenses by her villains. But her decision not to cite sources is troubling, for she occasionally gets things wrong—e.g., she tells us that Shakespeare’s “belongings” were recently found; they weren’t.

No raves for these rants.