LIBERTY AND TYRANNY BY MARK R. LEVIN — PART 1

Mark Levin gained most of his acclaim as the host of the Mark Levin ShowHere is his biography.  As a constitutional lawyer and the head of the Landmark Legal Foundation, he clearly has the expertise required to write Liberty and Tyranny.  What is this book about?  Here is how the publisher describes it.

Conservative talk radio’s fastest-growing superstar is also a New York Times bestselling phenomenon: the author of the groundbreaking critique of the Supreme Court, Men in Black, and the deeply personal dog lover’s memoir Rescuing Sprite, Mark R. Levin now delivers the book that characterizes both his devotion to his more than 5 million listeners and his love of our country and the legacy of our Founding Fathers: Liberty and Tyranny is Mark R. Levin’s clarion call to conservative America, a new manifesto for the conservative movement for the 21st century. (continued here)

Is the book worth reading?  I think the answer is an emphatic YES.  What Levin’s book does is to concisely characterize our nation’s greatest political problem and the solution. 

  • The problem?  Statists seek to undermine foundations our political system.  What is a Statist?  The Statist is “an advocate of statism” (see here). Levin never explicitly defines the term “statism.”   He relies upon the existing definition (see here, for example).  Instead, Levin characterizes America’s Statists and explains how statism threatens our republic.
  • The solution?  Conservatives must come to grips with the significance of the current drift towards statism, oppose it, and reverse the direction.  Levin begins his book with a chapter on what Conservatives believe.  In fact, the book exist primarily to explain and justify Conservative Philosophy.  And no — I will not link to answers.com for a definition. 

What is Conservatism?  There is no simple definition.  Thus, Levin begins his book with this statement.

There is simply no scientific or mathematical formula that defines Conservatism.

Levin does not try to define Conservatism.  Instead, he advocates a movement to revive and restore our Constitution to the purpose envisioned by the Founding Fathers.

The Founders believed, and the Conservative agrees, in the dignity of the individual; that we, as human beings, have a right to live, live freely, and pursue that which motivates us not because man or some government says so, but because these are God-given natural rights.  (from page 2 of Chapter 1)

What ultimately concerns Levin is that “the Conservative must become more engaged in public matters”  (from the Epilogue, page 195). 

Parents and grandparents must take it upon themselves to teach their children and grandchildren to believe in and appreciate the principles of American society and stress the import of preserving and improving society.  They will need to teach their offspring that the Statist threatens the generation’s liberty and prosperity, and to resist ideologically alluring trends and fads. Parents and grandparents by the millions can counteract the Statist’s indoctrination of their children and grandchildren in government schools and by other Statist institutions simply by conferring their knowledge, beliefs, and ideals on them over the dinner table, in the car, or at bedtime.  If undertaken on an intimate, purposeful, and consistent basis, it will shape a generation of new conservatives.  (from the Epilogue, page 195)

Are you a parent or grandparent who wants to combat the Statist’s indoctrination of your child or grandchild?  Your instruction of your child or grandchild will be well served if you read Levin’s book.

Other Views

In “Is It Really Bias If Most Of The MSM Is This Stupid?”, Moneyrunner at The Virginian offers Liberty and Tyranny as a book recommendation.

Rick Moran of The Next Right reviews a review of Liberty and Tyranny in Angry Ideologues vs. The Statists.    Moran expresses his concern about “enemy identification.”  He takes issue with Levin’s characterization of Liberals. 

It is also mis-leading (though not entirely inaccurate) to say that liberals favor the “supremacy of the state.” It is more accurate to say that the modern left favors promoting “the collective good” at the expense of “selfish” individuality. They do not dismiss individual rights. They simply believe that in some instances – more than is healthy for liberty’s sake – those rights should be trumped by what is best for all.

Consider also how Moran ends his post.

And on a related note, I would argue with Mark Levin that liberty does not exist in a vacuum, nor can free people exist apart from the community that bred them. There are responsibilities that go along with enjoying liberty that includes the recognition that we are not islands unto ourselves, and that government, however imperfect it can be, is nevertheless not the implacable enemy of liberty some conservatives believe.

A danger at times? Yes. But if conservatism is to triumph again, we must demonstrate that conservative principles can be applied to running government better than the those of the opposition. That is the essence of politics and we would do well to remember it.

Moran appears to have a common misunderstanding; he emphasizes government as a means at the expense of its ultimate objective. Government exists first and foremost to protect our rights (see the Declaration of Independence). When we see government as the means for bettering our lives, government cannot fail to become the implacable enemy of liberty. Consider this quote. 

-“if we can but prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy.” – Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, 29 November 1802 (from here)

Unfortunately, too many of us do not understand that government exists first and foremost to protect our rights. They think government exists to take care of us. As a result, when our leaders swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution, too many obviously do not mean a word of it. When such liars runs our government — and seek to run our lives — they become implacable enemies to our liberty.

At United Conservatives of Virginia, Concrete Bob tells us what Palin has been reading in Sarah Palin Will Pick Her Battles.

In Books – “Liberty and Tyranny”, Cato of Delmarva Dealings enthusiastically recommends Levin’s book.

Since I liked the book, I intend to do a few more posts on it.  So this will be continued.

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