on October 4, 2009
Liberty and Tyranny by Mark Levin
Short review: 205 pages, plus 36 pages of notes
Highly recommended. Eminently readable. Smooth prose. A lot of ground covered, but with great skill. This is an easy week-end read, but raises crucial societal, political and environmental issues. A clandestine visitor from outer space, if he read this book, would find, in one place, a good summary of the major arguments facing the American today. I would like to see the opposition write "The Myth - of Liberty and Tyranny" and debunk -if they can- each chapter's logic, asserted facts and reasoning. And do so step-by-step, so we, the dumb plebs, can follow the argument closely. It is a strongly disturbing book. Somebody, somewhere, is very wrong, and very blind. And surrounded by too many rabid 'hangers on'. Seems to me that too many people, including many so-called 'experts' are so anxious to cloak themselves in the mantle of righteousness, and stand on the barricades, breast unfurled and flags a-flutter, that they have become dizzy with power and ideology, blind to reason, and utterly unwilling to listen and admit that they could -conceivably- (oh, heavens!) actually -maybe- be utterly wrong. Americans, young and old, need perhaps to spend less time watching football and television, playing mind numbing computer games, dozing off and relying on "The Government". How about we all read this book, seriously, question everything, demand answers, and treat -with great suspicion- ALL who proclaim they are our salvation. Seems to me that "Power" is the name of this game. "Power over you and you, 'cos I knows best..."
Long review: The 36 pages of notes were helpful, although I still saw assertions that were without source, and therefore difficult to verify. The book urgently needs a "search index", so you can more quickly refer back to names and quotes.
The ten chapters and the epilogue bear titles which are a good indication of content: 1.On Liberty and Tyranny 2. On Prudence and Progress 3. On Faith and the Founding 4. On the Constitution 5. On Federalism 6. On the Free Market 7. On the Welfare State 8. On Enviro-statism 9. On Immigration 10. On Self Preservation and Epilogue: A Conservative Manifesto. Having just finished it, I gaze at a book that is full of 'highlighted' paragraphs, somewhat beaten up, and that has set me thinking. I like it when I feel challenged in my beliefs. Hmmm... so what, for instance, if global warming IS in fact more the outcry of "a small clique of alarmists" (p.133) and less scientific fact? "31,000 scientists had signed a petition rejecting the theory of human caused warming" (p.136). And "Moreover, numerous experts are now claiming that, once again, the world is COOLING". (p.136) Given the truly vast potential cost to the economy (jobs, livelihoods, standard of living) that seems to be coming ("cap and trade") down the line at us (like an ethanol express train) we are going to look pretty silly if the universal mantra "of man-made global warming" is in fact based more on a "stampede" (p.137) of the manipulative self-appointed heroes of the barricade (Look at me! I'll save you! Follow ME!) than on 'cold' (pun intended) fact. Read chapter 8 (On Enviro-statism) and see what you make of it. (I'm suspicious, Mr Gore...)
Chapters 5 and 6 (On Federalism and On the Free Market) seemed to me to have borrowed much from F.A.Hayek's excellent "The Road to Serfdom", and I was glad when he frankly admitted it, and went ahead and quoted F.A Hayek. This author anyway comes across as quiet and sincere in his beliefs, rather than bombastic, self adulatory and populist.
I have long had a strong sense that FDR's much vaunted New Deal and his myriad 'alphabet soup' of government agencies were a truly massive hindrance to ending the Great Depression, rather than a help. (Mr Obama says the debate is over - The New Deal is the way to go....). It was interesting reading about the 'assault on the free market' (p.63)
Here is a paragraph I would agree with wholeheartedly. I would welcome sincere thinkers who disagree, to explain to me why I am misguided in this sentiment. Heck, at least I'm trying to be open-minded...
(P. 67) "Who then decides what is good for the public or in the public interest? The Constitution provides the parameters within which the federal government has authority to act. How does violating those parameters, which are intended to secure individual liberty (including private property rights) against the tyranny of an all-too-powerful government, serve the public interest? Moreover, where does the Statist acquire his clairvoyance in determining what is good for the public?"
To me, this book is a challenge to the smug, self-satisfied, closed minded doctrinaires amongst us.. Who abound. It must be so nice to have read a half dozen trendy books, and perfectly know all the answers. It must be so nice to wake up in the morning, feel enlightened and wise, knowing you are the blazing light of the future. Hold on here, folks. Duh.... what if you are actually misinformed, narrow minded, bigoted, plain wrong, and leading many people (and yourself) down the primrose garden path? Think about it. And maybe (heck, be a devil) read this book...