The Debate between Conservatives and Statists

Posted: Apr 08, 2009 12:01 AM

In his new book “Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto,” conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin draws a clear line between conservative ideals and the statist agenda. According to Levin, “[T]he Statist has an insatiable appetite for control…He is constantly agitating for government control.” On the other hand, he notes that “[T]he Conservative does not despise government. He despises tyranny…An “effective” government that operates outside its constitutional limitations is a dangerous government.” Throughout his book, Levin discusses important issues facing this country and how the Statist wants to use many of these issues to create more governmental control.

Similar to the format of Barry Goldwater’s classic book “Conscience of a Conservative,” Levin’s book is composed of issue chapters, each dedicated to his observations on an important political issue or subject. These chapters discuss subjects ranging from the Constitution to the free market to national defense. Many of these chapters note the disparate mentalities used to judge these issues and why the Conservative must continue to fight for his ideas. As Levin notes in the second chapter, “The Conservative understands that Americans are living in a state of diminished liberty- that statism is on the ascendancy and the societal balance is tipping away from ordered liberty.”

Many of Levin’s chapters are especially relevant considering the plans that the Obama administration is currently advancing. In terms of a government-run health care plan, Levin notes that “Rather than the individual making cost-benefit and cost-quality decisions about his own condition, the Statist will do it for him.” On the subject of issues like the free market, Levin writes that “The Statist seeks to impose on individuals a governmental and economic structure that is contrary to human nature.” Levin later writes that the Statist “opposes free trade, because it would alienate his union constituency, which sees protectionism as job security.” The issues of universal health care, free market limitations and free trade are among many examined in the book that will be discussed thoroughly during the Obama administration and conservatives need to be prepared to engage vigorously in these debates. 

Although I don’t agree with all of the sentiments in the book, I found it to be an excellent reminder of many of the values that conservatives continue to stand for and how those values are threatened by governmental control. In the ongoing conversation about conservatism today, Levin’s book is a great tool for people to use to remember once again the distinct differences that lie between the Conservative and the big-government Statist.