The Left Doth Protest Too Much

 

This is an article on Mark Levin's new book, 'Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto'. Released yesterday and #1 on Amazon.

 

 

A Classic Critique Of The Liberal Agenda

The Advocate By Herb Denenberg, The Bulletin Wednesday, March 25, 2009

History shows us sometimes people just don’t want to believe what they are seeing with their own eyes and hearing with their own ears. This is one of those times. We are seeing the greatest departure from American principles and American values in history — a radical shift from liberty, free markets, private enterprise and capitalism to increasing regulation, government controlled markets, expanding government and something akin to European socialism.

In the first two months of his administration, President Barack Obama has gone on a spending frenzy and a government takeover unprecedented in our history, a policy that sets us on the path to national bankruptcy, to the destruction of the private sector and the America that we know and that has been the greatest, most powerful, most productive, most democratic nation in history.

Mr. Obama is on the path to tyranny and away from liberty.

What is the answer? This is the perfect time for a book that analyzes the problem and comes up with the solution. It is by Mark R. Levin and it is titled Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto. Mr. Levin is one of the nation’s top talk show hosts and is the president of the Landmark Legal Foundation. He is a native Philadelphian and a graduate of Temple University and its school of law.

The book is also important, as it gets back to basics, to our founding principles. He shows how those founding principles are also the principles of conservatism. He also shows how our present course radically departs from those founding principles, those conservative principles. In fact, the path of Mr. Obama, the liberals, or the Statists (as Mr. Levin prefers to call the liberals) takes us not to liberty but to tyranny. As government expands, freedom contracts. As government expands, free markets and free enterprise contract and finally die.

Mr. Levin makes this relationship between the liberal, the Statist, the share-the-wealth approach and true conservatism in a quotation from Abraham Lincoln:

“We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name — liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names — liberty and tyranny.”

Bringing Lincoln’s statement to the present time, he might have said conservative principles mean true liberty, while those of the Democratic Party and the liberals mean true tyranny.

In my view, Mr. Levin and Lincoln put Mr. Obama in perfect perspective: He preaches and tries to enact share-the-wealth taxation schemes. He favors increased government regulation, the latest example being a trial balloon on a proposal to regulate executive compensation (floated in The New York Times on March 21, 2009), not to mention cap-and-trade and the takeover of health care via national health insurance.

Mr. Levin persuasively makes the case that America has been on the course that has taken it away from founding principles. And he sees America going off course since Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal set us on a path that we have continued down ever since, with the exception of eight years under Ronald Reagan. With that exception, the Republican Party has not succeeded in getting us to reverse that course and get us back to founding principles:

“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? If the bulk of the people reject the civil society for the Statist’s Utopia, preferring subjugation to citizenship, then the end is near anyway.

“But even in winning elections, governing without advancing first principles is a hollow victory indeed. Its imprudence is self-evident. This is not the way of the Conservative; it is the way of the neo-Statist — subservient to a ‘reality’ created by the Statist rather than the reality of unalienable rights granted by the Creator.”

Mr. Levin lays out what conservatives have to do to save the country from a bloated government, from a cramped and dying private sector, from European-style socialism and the high unemployment and sclerotic economy that such socialism guarantees.

First, he writes, “The conservative must become more engaged in pubic matters.” Although the conservative is content to live and let live, that is not enough now. The Statists have “turned the instrumentalities of public affairs and public governance against the civil society.” This column has often focused on how our colleges and universities have become centers of anti-Americanism. The mainstream media also is one of those instrumentalities of public affairs that has actually turned on America. We are in the midst of a revolution that seeks to reverse what America stands for. Hence, the conservatives must step up their efforts to rescue America from the forces of Statism.

He urges them not only to step up in participation in public affairs, but also to move to get into the media, to get into higher education, to get into government and to seek positions in Hollywood, which has been influential in influencing public opinion. Mr. Levin writes, “The Statist does not have the birthright ownership to these institutions. The Conservative must fight for them, mold them, and where appropriate eliminate them where they are destructive to the preservation and improvement of civil society.”

This also means parents, grandparents and others have “to teach their children and grandchildren to believe in and appreciate the principles of the American civil society and stress the importance of preserving and improving the society.”

Our schools can no longer be depended on to teach the great American values, principles and traditions. In fact, as already suggested, they teach the opposite in the form of a pernicious anti-Americanism.

But the teaching should not be confined to parent-child and the like. Mr. Levin argues that we must all become educators on behalf of America and America’s founding principles in our interactions with everyone. Whether it is a conversation with a neighbor, a co-worker or anyone else, people should not hesitate to explain conservative and America’s founding principles and to get others to see the light.

The conservative also has to broaden his sources of information. Mr. Levin says this does not mean abandonment of the conventional media and other sources of information. But to get a fair and balanced source of information it is essential to tap into the new sources of information such as the Internet. Mr. Levin names some of the best sources of information that will contribute to the understanding of conservatives.

He names the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Avalon Project and the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. There are also excellent established publications such as Human Events and the National Review. There is conservative talk radio. There are two institutions of higher learning that still teach founding principles rather than anti-Americanism — Hillsdale College and Chapman University. There are also groups dedicated to conservative principles such as the Young America’s Foundation, the Leadership Institute and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

Mr. Levin, in the final chapter of his book, comes up with “A Conservative Manifesto.” It is a 10-part program of what has to be done “if the nation is to improve.” Here is some of that manifesto:

Taxation

Progressive taxation should be eliminated, as it is a device to redistribute wealth, rather than raise revenue to support government. It should be replaced by a flat tax. Every resident should be required to pay taxes, to give all Americans a stake in eliminating abuse. I’d add that taxation should not be used as a piece of class warfare, to stir up prejudice against high-income earners and to punish the most successful segment of our country.  We should encourage all to strive for the same success, rather than try to pull everyone down to the same level.

Income tax withholding should be eliminated, as it conceals the amounts now being confiscated by the federal government. The corporate income tax should also be eliminated, as it is a form of double taxation. The death tax should be eliminated as it denies the rights of citizens to pass on the fruits of their labor.

Federal income tax increases should require a supermajority of three-fifths of Congress. And federal spending should be limited to 20 percent of the gross domestic product.

Environment

The special tax-exempt status of environmental groups should be eliminated, as they are no longer nonpartisan charitable foundations. I used to belong to the Sierra Club, but dropped my membership when I found that its mailings in content and frequency seemed to resemble those of the Democratic National Committee.

The special statutory authority of environmental groups to bring lawsuits on behalf of the public should be eliminated, as it tends to be used mainly to pursue the Statist’s agenda. There has to be a fight against environmental regulation to set environmental industrial policies and diminish the standard of living. The classic example is “cap-and-trade” to regulate “man-made climate change.”

Judges

The Supreme Court’s review power has far exceeded the Founders’ intent. To reign in the power, Congress should have a legislative veto over such decisions, perhaps requiring a two-thirds supermajority. Eliminate lifetime tenure for federal judges. Stop confirming any judicial nominee who rejects the jurisprudence of originalism — interpreting the Constitution as a social contract, which it is, whose words still mean what they meant to the Founders.

If you keep changing the meaning of Constitutional terms you are, in effect, repealing the Constitution. The notion of a living, breathing Constitution are just code words for giving judges the authority to rewrite the Constitution in line with their liberal agenda. Mr. Levin describes it as “lawless and arbitrary activism.”

The

Administrative State

 Start by sunsetting all independent federal agencies each year, with the requirement that Congress affirmatively reestablish them. Require federal departments and agencies to reimburse those whose property is devalued as the result of regulation.

Reduce the federal workforce by 20 percent and eliminate unions for federal workers. The civil service provides for merit and professionalism over patronage. The unions empower their leadership and promote Statism.

Government Regulation

Eliminate monopoly control of government education by applying the anti-trust laws to the National Association of Education and the American Federation of Teachers. The monopoly power is destructive of education quality and makes the system unresponsive to taxpayers and the needs of children.

Eliminate tenure of all teachers, including those at colleges. This is needed to make them accountable for the quality of their instruction. Then get rid of the Statist agenda in education, such as teaching multiculturalism and global warming, and replace that with actual education to promote the civil society and to teach core principles. Finally eliminate the federal Department of Education since education is primarily a state and local function.

As I was finishing this column, I read that the Washington Post (March 24, 2009) is reporting the Obama administration wants to expand its authority to seize companies whose collapse might hurt the economy. Now it has only power to seize banks. This is just one more piece of a president not only on a spending binge but also on a regulatory binge, moving us to bigger government and centralization of power in Washington. The Obama administration seems dedicated only to Statism, the relentless expansion of government power and the constriction of individual liberty. This development suggests Mr.  Levin’s book is a useful blueprint to predict the direction of the new administration.

Immigration

Eliminate chain immigration, which brings in all family members of an immigrant already here. Mr. Levin argues that shifts control of the flow of immigration to aliens and foreign governments. Secure the nation’s borders and enforce the immigration laws.

Mr. Levin also offers this immigration proposal: “End multiculturalism, diversity and bilingualism in public institutions, which beget poverty, animosity, and ethnic balkanization; promote assimilation and unity of citizenship, allegiance to American culture, and English as the official language of the United States.”

Entitlements

Start building pressure to contain, limit and reform entitlements such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. They amount to a $50 trillion IOU to be paid for by future generations. This is the classic case of intergenerational grand larceny. Fight all efforts to nationalize health insurance, which has been a failure where tried, and which would be overwhelmingly rejected by Americans if they knew what they were getting.

Foreign Policy

And Security

Reject all efforts in all guises of transferring American sovereignty to some global power or interest. And make sure America remains the world’s superpower. That means maintaining our military power, not watering it down.

Faith

Here is Mr. Levin’s proposal for faith: “Oppose all efforts to denude the nation of its founding justification — that is God-given unalienable, natural rights that the government can neither confer on the individual nor deny to him. The Statist seeks the authority to do both. Moreover, faith provides the moral order that ties one generation to the next, and without which the civil society cannot survive.”

If you doubt his prescription, read the Declaration of Independence. Pay special attention to the Declaration’s appeal to “the Laws of Nature and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that are among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” These are rights that God gave us and no government should or can take them away.

The Constitution

Eliminate any efforts to limit free speech. That means eliminate campaign finance laws, which try to limit free speech by controlling contributions. As long as there is full disclosure, there should be no limit on contributions.  So McCain-Feingold should go.

Defeat all efforts to unconstitutionally regulate free speech on broadcast outlets. Mr. Levin writes, “The Statist now seeks to consolidate the power he has accumulated by silencing noncompliant voices through a variety of schemes that would regulate broadcast content.” The most obvious example, not named by Mr. Levin, is the Fairness Doctrine.

Mr. Levin has a perfect quote of President Reagan to support his call that, “We Conservatives need to get busy.” Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was like in the United States when men were free.”

Perhaps, in view of recent developments, Reagan should have added that freedom is often one presidential term away from extinction. It requires eternal vigilance to protect and when subjected to real and immediate threats, it requires extraordinary action and work by those who want to preserve the great legacy of our Founders.

Mr. Levin has produced a classic, and one reason is that he has marshaled the wisdom of the Founders and the thinkers on whose ideas their values were based on. As he said in an interview about his new book, when someone tries to sell you these liberal ideas, just remember that these swarming liberals are not likely to be smarter than Madison, Jefferson, Washington, Franklin, Plato, Aristotle, Burke and the others whose ideas are the very foundation of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.



Herb Denenberg is a former Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner, and professor at the Wharton School. He is a longtime Philadelphia journalist and  consumer advocate. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of the Sciences. His column appears daily in The Bulletin. You can reach him at advocate@thebulletin.us.

Josie06 Josie06
56-60, F
14 Responses Mar 25, 2009

BTW, is this another 'mass buy effect' Regnery?<br />
Meaning no one reads it, they just pump up the numbers?

They don't like repigs using the word "liberal" to disparage anything progressive Josie.<br />
Just like Repigs don't like to be properly identified...as Nazis.<br />
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Wrong btw, ALL good comes from eliminating dynastic wealth in favor of workers.<br />
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But if you had studied economics, you'd know that.<br />
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Remember the last time Capitalism collapsed?<br />
<br />
Stalin.<br />
Tojo.<br />
Hitler.<br />
Mousolinni.<br />
Direct results of the failure of Capitalism to break up the dynasties drowning the economy in demands for return without profit to the nation.

The US is now on a very slippery slope heading with the path the current Administration is taking.<br />
<br />
They don't like the word liberal so they now call themselves progressives, hearkening back to early 19th Century when much of this socialist ideals for making everyone equal began.<br />
<br />
The idea of taking from one to raise/help another. It has good points but putting into practice helps one at the expense of another.<br />
<br />
That is what personal charity is designed for, not governmental practices.

EXCELLENT point!
Charity NEEDS to come from the private sector, not the public trough.


Progressives are communists who denounce the violence required to implement their theories.

The problem iwth implementing this agenda, that compared to the status quo is very radical, is the dilution effect of the democratic process. There are checks and balances whic hmean that amendments and so on change the nature and impat of many proposals. What you need fo rthis agenda to work is dictaorial powers. One leader to push it through and make it work. Maybe you could call him the "great Leader" and his sucessor could be the "dear Leader". <BR><BR>you guys are too smart to be taken i nby this populist nonsense. The ethnic blakanisation he tlaks bot, the standardisation of culture, the angicisation of language, all of this is the language of far right racist parties that are proliferating in Europe due to poor immigration policies. It is lazy politics to simplypoint at the problems wihin society and say that the solution is to return to the colonial utopia of the 1800s. Native americans would probably not support you in that. You are flirting with neo nazism. It won't fix the economy. Hilter's Germany was bankrupt just before going to war. He sacked his chief economist for telling him the truth. The economy was founded on slave labour , but then u already know about that one - I guess.

Bitlord is an ignorant little troll who knows nothing. He ran away from this site awhile ago after people saw him for what he really was.

There are Immigration Laws in place right now. However some and possibly bitlord is one of them, don't want to follow them, let alone enforce them. They don't believe the laws in place are sufficient ... so we must have more. More! More!<br />
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Amnesty didn't work under former President Reagan, so it will not work now. Many are 'in line' following the laws, but others need a break and should skip all they have done.<br />
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Wrong, on so many levels.

He's a freaking bigot dedicated to undoing the last 200 years of IMMIGRANT AMERICA.<br />
What a bunch of buffoons, willing to pay good money for this tripe.<br />
Hey people,the only 'pure' Americans have brown skin.

i enjoy him on the radio and his books.

Mark Levin is freaking AWESOME!

yes i agree Josie. Americans come from many different cultures. there is nothing wrong with all of us knowing about the different cultures and individuals staying true to their cultures however, all citizens should unite as Americans and have a common language and culture we share. This will bind us together not tear us apart.

i think this is the paragraph you mean ILustKarl:<br />
<br />
Mr. Levin also offers this immigration proposal: “End multiculturalism, diversity and bilingualism in public institutions, which beget poverty, animosity, and ethnic balkanization; promote assimilation and unity of citizenship, allegiance to American culture, and English as the official language of the United States.”<br />
<br />
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For me it is get back to uniting America and not dividing it and pulling it apart by teaching that every culture is paramount. You can have your history and your heritage ... but not at the expense of burying everything American.

What is exactly 'End multiculturalism and diversity ... in public institutions' ?

i tried too. Guess i'll sit back and hope the library gets it ... might be faster than my getting it. His other books were good.

The book is sold out here. I ordered it earlier to day along with a couple of others. I'll let you know how it is.