Monday, June 01, 2009

Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto

Mark Levin begins his bestseller, Liberty and Tyranny, with the premise that conservatism equates to liberty and liberalism to tyranny – although he almost immediately substitutes the word Statist for liberal. That is certainly starting a book off with a bang, but the rest of Liberty and Tyranny, in which Levin rationally makes his case, proves him to be up to the challenge sure to come from readers who disagree with his choice of words.

(Full Disclosure: I believe myself to be a fiscal conservative and a moderate on social issues, even drifting over to the liberal side on some issues such as support for gay marriage. My chief concerns of the moment, other than the imminent bankruptcy facing this country, all relate to keeping the country safe from terrorism or to our current immigration policy, a policy sure to result in the balkanization of American society not too many years down the road. I say all this to allow that, going in, I knew I would likely agree with Levin’s case for the merits of Conservatism.)

Levin differentiates between the Conservative and Statist points-of-view in several key areas: Faith, the Constitution, Federalism, the Free Market, the Welfare State, Environmentalism, Immigration and Self-Preservation. He reminds the reader that this country’s founders considered the greatest threat to personal liberty to be “an all-powerful central government, where the few dictate to the many” – the obvious preference of the modern Liberal/Statist and a goal to which the current administration is supremely dedicated. Seldom in United States history have so few believed that they have the right (and, unfortunately, the power) to interfere so intimately in the lives of so many.

Sadly enough, both major political parties in this country seem to have abandoned the Conservative principles that made the country great, the very principles upon which the founders based our constitution. Make no mistake – George W. Bush did not govern as a Conservative, despite his claims to the contrary. These days, Conservatives, at election time, generally find themselves choosing between what is, in their judgment, the lesser of evils, a choice not always as obvious as one would hope in an age where the major parties are so much alike - and so thoroughly dominated by their corrupt leadership.

Levin ends Liberty and Tyranny with what he calls “A Conservative Manifesto” in which he enumerates ten things “the Conservative will have to do if the nation is to improve,” including: eliminating the progressive income tax, limiting Supreme Court judicial review power, applying anti-trust laws to the National Education Association, stopping “chain immigration,” fighting against a nationalized health system, and demanding that all public servants strictly uphold the Constitution.

The book also introduced me to an Abraham Lincoln quote with which I was unfamiliar, a quote to which, as a fiscal conservative, I am particularly drawn, “Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.” Or, to put it in modern terms, assuring that his own shall be safe from the Statist who wants to confiscate it and redistribute it to “the houseless.” God help us.

Rated at: 4.0


  1. Thanks Sam for the great review. I have been waiting for you to finish this book and let us know how you liked it. I have it in my to read stack. I am like you. Mostly conservative with some social leaning. I look forward to reading it.

  2. I think you'll get a lot out of the book, Melanie.

    I have to admit that I was a little discouraged to read in it that it will take at least 80 years to bring this country around to a conservative approach to governing. We won't be here to see the fruits of our labor but we can help the process along, anyway. :-)

  3. Oh Sam, that doesn't make me feel too good to know that:( We are in Washington DC right now and it has been front and center with me since we are here.

  4. Be careful carrying that thing around D.C., Melanie. My review has caused me a little internet grief already...wouldn't want to hear that someone yelled at you for owning a copy of that book.

  5. What have they been saying? I have not been online much since we were on vacation. I didn't carry the book with me but I was waiting on your review. This is a book that I will have to really read when I don't have much else going on. It will be a 'thinking' book and not a pleasure book for me but I am excited to read it.

  6. The personal emails have been "interesting" and I've deleted a couple of "anonymous" responses here - not a big deal. As soon as I recognize them for what they are, they are deleted...usually only a sentence or two into them.