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Liberty and Tyranny By Mark Levin

Liberty and Tyranny By Mark Levin

By Chris Roberts

06/26/2009

In Liberty and Tyranny, a series of essays that are drier than dust and more alarmist than a Noam Chomsky speech, Mark Levin, apparently talk radio's newest thing, lays out a "conservative manifesto." The enemies of which are chiefly; liberals, progressives and "statists," his slur for those who believe that the government should solve the problems of its citizens. His dismay over the power and reach of the US federal government is certainly one shared by millions of Americans and often times his insights serve as an important push back against the decade of government encroachment that is still in motion.

Sadly he all too often relies on partisan politics. Rahm Emanuel is spanked for his "never let a crisis go to waste" comment, but there is not even a whisper of Bush's power grab after 9-11 (Patriot Act, preemptive war, domestic spying, etc, etc, etc). If conservatives are going to recover from the political exile they now find themselves in, they are going to need to discard that old Bush strategy of never admitting a mistake and this book is not exactly a promising start. Be that as it may, Liberty and Tyranny is filled with good ideas that truly could serve a nation, especially the US with its lust for freedom.

However, if these ideas were to ever reach a mainstream audience, Levin would have to do away with some of his crazier hang-ups, such as his constant ranting against the nameless, faceless "statists" and his never-ending feud with Franklin Roosevelt. One look at the best sellers list does indicate that he has struck a chord and it is possible to see why. Besides calling for fewer taxes it also serves as an idealistic dream in which the author and the reader can share in a utopian fantasy, where the free market and faith solve all of Man's problems.

The book would have benefited greatly had Levin actually engaged popular arguments from the left. What about The Wrecking Crew, in which Thomas Frank persuasively argues that the anti-government stance is used by many merely as a covert means for the US government to inflate their bank account? Or The Shock Doctrine, in which Naomi Klein outlines how gigantic corporations have exploited free market economics to exploit the helpless populations of smaller countries?

Unfortunately he does not touch on any of those points. Instead he uses a measured tone to tout the Republican Party line but does a poor job of masking the fact that this is really a paranoid screed. Often times his chapters start off thoughtful and calm, only to soon devolve into complete idiocy. For example, the idea that illegal immigration is bad because it drives down the wages of the average American worker is probably an idea that resonates with a large percentage of the right. However, Levin can't help himself and soon he is spinning in circles trying to prove that Mexico is actively trying to take over a section of Southwest America and that most Mexicans who do jump the border eventually find themselves in murderous gangs.

Who exactly does that speak to? He also, in a throwaway line, blames Jimmy Carter for the spread of radical Islam and in the epilogue pleads with his readers to brainwash their kids with his ideas. That's all fine and good and he is entitled to say whatever he wants, but his total faith in the idea that all government is bad unless it is being used to chase Mexicans out of his backyard is one that is very suspicious.

 

Comments

  • Default user image

    IS THIS GUY GOING TO MAKE MONEY TALKING ABOUT THE PRESIDENT FOR FOUR YEARS, IF HE DOES THEN HE BETTER HOPE OBAMA STAYS IN OFFICE FOR 8- BECAUSE IF THE RIGHT GETS IN HE WILL HAVE TO SHUT HIS MOUTH AND GO ALONG LIKE HE DID WHEN BUSH WAS IN. OH AND IS IS SOCIALIST TO GIVE MONEY TO ISRAELIS WHO HAVE NEVER PAID ANY TAXES IN AMERICA, CAN MR. LEVIN RANT AND RAVE ABOUT THAT. OUR GOVERNMENT PAYING FOR THE JEWS PROBLEMS.

    - Posted by BOB @ 12/10/09, 09:15 pm

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    Unfortunately, Mark Levin depends on rants and screaming more than facts and logic, as anyone knows who has listened to his radio program. His pure neo-conservative stance, as with all neocons, only proves that the so-called "left and right" are both simply opposing facets of an entrenched oligarchy, in order to divide the American people, into blaming each other for the problems caused by government taking away their liberty.
    For example, neoconservatives claim to argue for small government, but their platform is etirely corporate-welfare; likewise liberals counter this not through demanding an end to corporate welfare, but simply bigger government to COUNTER it with handouts. Viewing this, it quickly becomes clear that we're being hoodwinked by a 2-party con-game; however the neocon and liberal media work together, blaming each other to keep the people from getting wise. In real life, people like Rush Limbaugh and James Carville are good pals, just like Andy Lawler and Andy Kaufman were best friends-- despite that they were trying to kill each other in the ring.
    Even Limbaugh now says that he's "just an entertainer," just like Vince McMahon now admits that pro wrestling is entertainment.
    So Marc Levin is nothing more than the "Hulk Hogan" of neoconservatism, constantly shouting down liberalism-- while not saying a WORD about corporate welfare and how government is controlled by corporatist lobbying.

    - Posted by Brian McCandlis @ 10/13/09, 06:25 pm

  • Default user image

    To awc: I happily defer to Neil on this one, I couldn't have said it better myself.

    To yoman: Thank you for your kind words. Rest assured I also believe that he is pumped full of money and bad ideas by the evil conservative think tanks and conservative media. But his ideas aren't all bad, just taken too far and way too extreme. At heart he believes he is calling for freedom from government when in reality he is calling for fascism via corporate power.

    To William P: I looked back over the book and couldn't find anywhere that he declared man's problems "unsolvable" or anything of the like. If you can point me to a page number I will happily retract the comment. I do, I believe, understand that the basic essence of conservatism is a belief in faith, free market and limited government, I just don't subscribe, wholesale, to the idea. I believe that faith leads to the power enslaving the people by using their own fear and ignorance against them and that the free market only opens the door for more powerful forces (corporations) to come in and assume the role of dictator. As for limited government I am a believer. But I simply disagree with many of the ways conservatives want to use government (war, increased police, law and order above all, etc).

    Thank you all for reading my review though.

    - Posted by Chris Roberts @ 06/30/09, 10:39 am

  • Default user image

    "Besides calling for fewer taxes it also serves as an idealistic dream in which the author and the reader can share in a utopian fantasy, where the free market and faith solve all of Man's problems."

    No, he doesn't. He believes, as a conservative, that Man's problems, in many respects, are "unsolvable;" that is to say, we are imperfect. The best mechanisms for resolving the problems and anxieties of the human condition, so far as they are resolvable, are 1) faith 2) the free market and 3)limited government. If you don't get this, the essence of conservatism has escaped you.

    - Posted by William P @ 06/29/09, 10:55 am

  • Default user image


    you are far too tame with this rightwing nutcase.

    Surely levin is sponosred by the think tanks and corporate whore media.

    refreshing to read your fair play review.

    - Posted by yoman @ 06/29/09, 03:57 am

  • Default user image

    Hahaha. Yeah, go to Wikipedia. A monolithic source of impartial factual accuracy.

    - Posted by Neil @ 06/26/09, 08:18 am

  • Default user image

    The "book review" on mark levins liberty and tyranny by chris roberts reads more like a political viewpoint disagreement than a review.
    If anyone wants a "better book review" go to the mark levin wiki page

    - Posted by awc @ 06/26/09, 07:07 am

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