Mark Levin's "Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto" couldn't be more relevant or important. It is a masterful restatement of conservative principles that is succinct (205 pages) and yet comprehensive. It is thoughtful and deep but highly readable. It is timely yet timeless.
Conservatism is under attack from puffed-up liberals, feeling their oats with the ascendancy of President Barack Obama and the huge Democratic congressional majorities, and from a disgruntled group of conservatives who believe that conservatism, to remain politically effective, needs a face-lift.
Liberal columnists are writing with unrestrained glee about conservatism's internecine wars, and conservatives are engaged in intramural debates about which principles and policies conservatives should be promoting. Levin's book will go a long way toward muting the liberals' premature gloating and refuting the arguments of those who, perhaps with good intentions, would hijack conservatism from within and transform it into liberalism lite, all in the name of political pragmatism. "An 'effective' government that operates outside its constitutional limitations is a dangerous government," Levin writes. "By abandoning principle for efficiency, the neo-Statist, it seems, is no more bound to the Constitution than the Statist. He marches more slowly … but he marches with him nonetheless."
There has not been a widely read conservative manifesto as such since Barry Goldwater's "The Conscience of a Conservative" in 1960. Given the unbridled assault on conservatism today, not to mention the personal attacks on its leading proponents, we must celebrate the release of "Liberty and Tyranny" as the modern road map back to our conservative roots.
Having eaten, breathed, slept and studied conservatism, politics, law and history his entire life, Levin, who is my friend and client, is uniquely qualified and situated to have written this book. In undertaking this formidable task, he stands on the shoulders of the giants who have preceded him but has made those giants very proud with this work.
Don't make the mistake -- no matter how learned you are in politics or related disciplines -- of assuming you have nothing to gain from reading a primer on conservative thought. This is much more than a primer. It delves into the historical and philosophical roots of conservative thought and ties them to America's founding. It explains the enduring principles that undergird our unique constitutional system and exposes the dangers in continuing to violate those principles.
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