137 pp. New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc. $2.50
In this volume, the author of an earlier study titled Your Rugged Constitution, declares “living in the United States is like being a member of a great orchestra,” with the U.S. Constitution being the score from which the musicians play. In 138 pages, sprinkled with over 150 illustrations, author Find-lay explains and portrays in modernistic style the individual rights and political principles embodied in our great charter.
Drawing on recent European history for effective illustrations, he has achieved a degree of realism not usually found in the studies of this document. Moreover, he has wisely included a section outlining for the reader ways by which he can play his part in the preservation of the Republic.
The desperate need for citizen-understanding of the Constitution prompts a generous appraisal of any volume seeking to dispel the prevailing ignorance and apathy about the bulwark of our liberties. Yet it is difficult to conclude that Guaranteed for Life, in common with other short studies of this kind, can bring about adequate understanding of the Constitution in what might be called “six easy lessons.”
Our generation takes about the same attitude toward the Constitution that a third generation heir takes toward a family fortune, and for similar reasons. The wealthy heir, born with a silver spoon in his mouth, knows nothing firsthand of the difficulties, hardships or problems involved in the accumulation of the wealth of which he is the beneficiary. The result is that he takes that wealth as an automatic right, or as is sometimes the case, treats it with scorn.
Findlay is obviously aware of the problem this lack of personal experience presents. He endeavors to cope with it by using illustrations based upon European events of the last two decades. His pictures make clear that one does not need to look deep into history to discover what can happen to an easily misled or complacent people.
At a time when almost everyone seems to be creature-comfort-crazy, and our politicians frequently outdo the communists in their Marxist appeals, it is hard to envision much popular demand for Guaranteed for Life. Scientific materialism and defense-spending prosperity have produced an all prevailing smugness that is almost impregnable. Bruce Findlay deserves credit for fashioning an original and simply-worded volume to be used in the battle to restore the eternal vigilance that is the price of liberty.