Book Review: Liberty and Tyranny

04/28/09

by John Eberhard

Some years ago I decided I wanted to get really educated in political issues, and to put this knowledge to use in educating others. I started CommonSenseGovernment.com in 2003, and since then I have read about 60 different books on politics. Plus I routinely read commentary on web sites like Townhall.com.

I’ve got a number of favorite political books, including “The Way Things Ought to Be” by Rush Limbaugh, “Bias” by Bernard Goldberg, “Slouching Towards Gomorrah” by Robert Bork, “Why the Left Hates America” by Daniel Flynn, and “The Third Wave” by Alvin Toffler.

But I have just read what I would have to consider the mother of all political books. It is “Liberty and Tyranny, a Conservative Manifesto” by Mark R. Levin, which currently occupies the #1 slot on the New York Times bestseller list and on Amazon.com. You have got to read this book.

Why am I so enamored of this book, and insist that you read it? Because Levin analyzes current political events and events going back to the New Deal with a clarity I have never seen anywhere else. He dissects politics in terms of personal liberty, and whether various actions and changes in politics have advanced or diminished liberty. This approach really simplifies the situation. Does a policy or program or law increase personal liberty, or reduce it?

Levin starts out early in the book by saying that the word “liberal” is based on the same root as “liberty,” but that the actions and policies of modern liberals do not advance liberty but instead advance greater government power and control over the individual and actually diminish liberty. Thereafter he refers to the liberal as a “statist,” because his goals are to increase state control over the individual and reduce his liberty. The conservative’s goals are to preserve, protect and restore liberty.

Levin then covers the concepts of change and reform (and how they’re different, and how change is not necessarily good, but reform is), religion, the Constitution, the free market, the welfare state, “enviro-statism,” immigration, and national defense. He then closes the book with a conservative manifesto, and what we need to do in regards to taxation, the environment, judges, the federal government, education, faith and the Constitution.

One thing that was kind of a revelation to me was how Levin described the fact that FDR expanded the role of the federal government dramatically, significantly violating the boundaries set forth in the Constitution. I knew that the New Deal was the real start of socialism in America, with things like Social Security. But Levin describes how the massive new government programs and agencies that FDR started basically tore the constitutional boundaries asunder, with more and more control over the lives of citizens. And less freedom for the individual.

And would it surprise you that the crash of 1929 was not only precipitated by unwise government involvement in the private sector, but FDR’s meddling greatly prolonged the situation for years? Does that sound sort of familiar? Are we experiencing déjà vu?

Levin then discusses many of the current statist activities and how these are all geared towards reducing the freedom of the individual in America and increasing the power of the government. One of the primary goals of the statist is the Marxist one of redistribution of wealth (see the Communist Manifesto). So the more money the statist can confiscate from citizens, the more he can redistribute it to the poor. But of course by taking money away from the productive and giving it to the unproductive, the statist achieves a lower average of misery, because he takes money away from the machine that produces prosperity.

Levin ends the book by giving ideas of how we can get more involved and the actions we need to take to turn this dire situation around. I couldn’t recommend this book more strongly.

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