If, when you hear “Mark Levin,” you think “Get off the phone you big dope,” you probably don’t know Mark Levin.
Levin, a successful radio talk-show host, is a former Reagan administration official, Ed Meese confidant, and constitutional attorney who heads the Landmark Legal Foundation. He’s the author of an authoritative and thorough primer on judicial imperialism, Men in Black. His Rescuing Sprite is a tear-jerker of a memoir about the life and death of a rescue dog who rescued him during and after heart surgery. Today his Liberty and Tyranny is released. Liberty and Tyranny is Mark Levin: a man who loves his family and country and believes ideas have consequences — and therefore will fight passionately for what he believes and knows to be true.
If you happen to be fortunate to be friends with Mark Levin, you know few others so loyal. You know he will drop everything for one he loves. You know he will be the first to defend you if you’re under attack. This, too, is his approach to his country. He never served in uniform — as he regularly reminds his listeners — but in gratitude to those who do, he will do everything in his power to defend freedom from his perches, with his voice and keyboard and law degree.
The seriousness with which he regards his personal debt to the United States leaps off the pages of Liberty and Tyranny
. He’s worried about this country he loves. Levin writes:
So distant is America today from its founding principles that it is difficult to precisely describe the nature of American government. It is not strictly a constitutional republic, because the Constitution has been and continues to be easily altered by a judicial oligarchy that mostly enforces, if not expands, the Statist’s agenda. It is not strictly a representative republic, because so many edicts are produced by a maze of administrative departments that are unknown to the public and detached from its sentiment. It is not strictly a federal republic, because the states that gave the central government life now live at its behest. What, then, is it? It is a society steadily transitioning toward statism. If the Conservative does not come to grips with the significance of this transformation, he will be devoured by it.
He warns and admonishes Republicans as much as anyone. “The Republican Party acts as if it is without recourse,” he writes. “Republican administrations — with the exception of a brief eight-year respite under Ronald Reagan — more or less remain on the glide path set by Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal.” His printing schedule allowed him to cite here President Bush on the bailout: “I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system.” Levin points out that “he did more than that” — with the bank bailout and the auto bailout Bush laid out the red carpet for the new president’s continued embrace of government solutions in the tradition of Herbert Hoover.
With Liberty and Tyranny, Levin turns on a bright light in the darkness that conservatives find themselves in. While we’re living through a crisis of confidence, Levin leads by sharing what he’s learned about the land he loves through years of political, policy, and legal experience and study. “I do not have all the answers,” he writes, with an honest humility that conservatism and public policy and politics could use more of. Levin does not claim to be the “referee” among conservatives. And he doesn’t feel the need to remake conservatism in his own image. He has simply written a book on conservatism for people who want to know it still exists, should exist, needs to exist, and remains relevant to their lives.
In Liberty and Tyranny Levin offers advice for every American, encouraging parents and grandparents to raise young patriots, “a generation of new conservatives,” “to believe in and appreciate the principles of the American civil society and stress the import of preserving and improving the society.”
What he offers in Liberty and Tyranny is both educational and concrete. Liberty and Tyranny provides a blueprint for conservative action with ideas on taxation, immigration, and more. As a call to conservative action, Levin writes in his final chapter: “Republicans seem clueless on how to slow, contain, and reverse the Statist’s agenda. They seem to fear returning to first principles, lest they be rejected by the electorate, and so prefer to tinker ineffectively and timidly on the edges. As such, are they not abandoning what they claim to support?” This is something Mark Levin cannot be accused of.