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The Presidency and Mythology by Andrew P. Napolitano


..."From the beginning, any claim that the American government is good because some Americans are exceptional does not make any sense. The individual virtues of human beings cannot possibly extend to the government. By definition, the government lies, cheats, and steals. After all, it has no resources of its own, only those it appropriates from the people. No one may lawfully compete with it. We are forced to pay its bills and accept its so-called services. There is no escaping it. The ideas behind a nation may be exceptional, but they are not manifested by the government. And, of course, we must never mistake the government for the people it claims to represent.

So, why does the official history of our Presidents seem like so much mythology and legend when viewed side by side with what really happened? Is history being deliberately manipulated to whitewash the crimes of the past and manufacture the consent of the people? Or is the whitewashing of history simply a natural reaction by a people and a culture that would rather not come to terms with their not so rosy past? It’s both. It is human instinct to trivialize the dark and the wicked in us and to elevate the good and the honorable in us. But, indeed, the history transmitted to you and your children in government schools has whitewashed all the Presidents but a few. And make no mistake about it, they are government schools; because they all exist at the pleasure of the State so that the government’s version of history becomes the popular version of history. Napoleon understood this when he remarked that history is not the record of what has happened before us, it is the record of what people think has happened before us. The government understands this, too...."