Riffing from Levin’s ‘Liberty and Tyranny’ (pt 1)

Posted: May 22, 2009 in Politics
Tags: , ,

This article is part one of a five-part series.

I’ll admit the reason for my purchase of Mark Levin’s new book, Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto, was mostly due to the hype. But hype would have had little effect had I not been examining the topics of liberty and tyranny already. I had only recently read The 5000 Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen, which is similar in theme and content but written in a friendlier (and significantly less slanted) style. I greatly enjoyed Skousen’s book, so I may have been prejudiced against Levin, a bit. And some of the events he refers to happened just weeks before the book went to print; it seemed unlikely they had been thoroughly examined in any scholarly way. About sixty pages into Liberty I was getting a little bored with Levin’s style (and a little distracted by the resemblance the chapter titles have to reindeer names) so I stopped reading and picked up another book for a little while.

When I resumed Liberty, my cranial palate had been cleansed and I fared much better getting through the (let’s be honest, here) hip-deep snowdrifts of political philosophy. I’m not accustomed to slogging through so much theory, but this year to date has been a doozy for that section of my bookshelf. There were several points he made that I knew I would want to make note of, so a book report of sorts seemed in order. It’s because of this decision that the first criticism I have is the lack of an index – but that’s a fairly minor criticism, I’ll admit, so it had no effect on my ultimate opinion of the book. (I give it a 3.5 out of 5).

There were five specific places that I bookmarked for later review. All these points have been on my mind recently, especially since the 2008 election campaign of now-President Barrack Obama. Levin’s manuscript either solidified or supported ideas that I have been shaping in my mind lately: the world’s opinion of the U.S. should not dictate our foreign policy, federal interference/incompetence in the marketplace, how liberals (Statists) redefine words to repackage their anti-American message, the myth of the overpopulation crisis, and why the illegals currently invading our country are not the moral equivalent of our immigrant ancestors.

World Opinion and American Exceptionalism
In the chapter On Prudence and Progress (on Blitzen and Donner – er, never mind) Levin discusses the gradual and intentional drift away from freedom orchestrated by the Statist. One often-used tool to achieve this goal is shame or guilt, which in turn calls for international appeasement. Levin writes:

The Statist urges Americans to view themselves through the lenses of those who resent and even hate them… The Statist wants Americans to see themselves as backward, foolishly holding to their quaint notions of individual liberty, private property, family, and faith, long diminished or jettisoned in other countries… America is said to be out of step and regressive, justifying the surrendering of its sovereignty through treaties and other arrangements that benefit the greater “humanity.”

A reasonable person who is intellectually honest with himself can think of any number of reasons that other countries might resent the U.S. that really have nothing to do with foreign policy, decadence, perceived imperialism, national arrogance or the like. Those are excuses for criticism, not reasons. There are nations who, like the Statist, use such claims to manipulate policy. But usually, as much as I dislike using the “you’re just jealous!” theory, it’s just simple envy. Who doesn’t like to badmouth the successful relative, and see them taken down a notch or two? But despite the accusations of evil found in the rhetoric of enemy nation-states, individuals by the thousands ignore the propaganda and leave their homelands to become Americans – many risking their lives and fortunes to do so. The individuals don’t hate America, they dream of it!

No other nation has an immigration problem. People gamble it all to get a chance to live here. Why is that? It’s because America is exceptional. Our “quaint notions” make us the envy of the world – quite literally.

Part 2 – Economic Intervention

  1. The Glenn Beck Review says:

    Less slanted!?! What do you know about the man behind the lists and the books? I have an expose about Skousen on my home page all weekend. Can you handle the truth?

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