Tony Blankley

Last Sunday's New York Times reported: "Mr. Obama will confront resentment over American-style capitalism and resistance to his economic prescriptions when he lands in London. … He will be tested in face-to-face meetings by the leaders of China and Russia, who have been pondering the degree to which the power of the United States to dominate global affairs may be ebbing. … The American banking collapse, which precipitated the global meltdown, has led to a fundamental rethinking of the American way as a model for the rest of the world."

This may seem an odd beginning to a review of Mark Levin's spectacularly well-timed and vital new book, "Liberty and Tyranny." But it catches perfectly the always-present instinct in the world to strive to crush liberty by those who have neither the courage nor the capacity to exercise it. The dignity of free men and women is a constant moral reproach to those who chose or are compelled not to live in such dignity. And each time a free people suffer some temporary material reversal, such as in 1929 and now, the enemies of individual freedom and liberty offer up some substitute for it that goes by many names but ultimately devolves toward tyranny.

And that is the vital lesson that my friend Mark Levin instructs us on in his new book, which is already a best-seller in America -- and also should be so in London, Paris, Berlin, Moscow and Beijing. Individual freedom should be a universal blessing. That it isn't is a cause for lamentation. That it miraculously was born and thrived in America is a cause for thanksgiving and celebration. That we are losing it should be a spur to rise to its defense. "Liberty and Tyranny" is precisely such a stiff, sharp goad to the body politic.

This is really a superbly useful book. It is the perfect companion for the college freshman to fortify the student against what he or she is about to hear. It is an ideal detoxicant for the graduating senior. Most vitally, it should be read by those who do not consider themselves conservatives, because it carefully lays out the central historic, philosophic and constitutional relationship between conservative principles and our individual freedom.

Even for ilk such as me (now in my fifth decade as a conservative activist, government official, lawyer, author, journalist and commentator), this book is very useful. Mark has an eye for exactly the right historic examples, current facts and obscurities that illuminate well-known events.


Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

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