Review of “Liberty and Tyranny” by Mark Levin

If this is the state of conservatism, let’s just make Barack Obama President-for-Life.


Mark Levin writes Liberty and Tyranny in ten chapters plus an epilogue. The chapters primarily dwell on the following themes:

  • A taxonomy of politics
  • The Judiciary
  • The Welfare State
  • Environmentalism
  • Immigration
  • National Defense and Security

One of these meta-chapters, on the Judiciary, is solid. Before his career as a talk show host, Levin was a lawyer, and his expertise here shows. Levin accurately and forcefully attacks the liberal establishment’s assault on the Constitutional framework of government, beginning with the Executive’s seizure of the rule-making and regulatory powers during the New Deal, and contuing through the increasingly activist left-wing judiciary that reached its height under Warren and Berger, and still lingers in too many courts today. The Judiciary’s activism has transformed it into an extra-legal standing constitutional convention, which deprives the the states and the other branches of their constitutional powers and also pre-empts the emergence of actual amendments that could serve to modernize the Constitution.

If Levin stopped here, and limited himself to an attack on the liberal ulema, Liberty and Tyranny would be a must-read book. Indeed, if he would expand this section to book length it would be incredibly useful for conservatives to understand how the Constitution is attacked and subverted.

Unfortunately, Levin does not stop there. The rest of the book conflates his attack on the unconstitutional means of this opponents with legitimate, social ends such opponents may have. He rhetorically divides politics into a two-sided debate between “Liberty” (his views) and “Tyranny” (views held by those who use extra-Constitutional means). This leads to some humorous contradictions, where seemingly anyone who believes the necessary and proper clause exists, or who believes that Article 1 Section 9 of the constitution prohibits a poll tax, are supporters of tyranny.

Another example if Levin’s trouble with math. He castigates supporters of Tyranny (who he calls Statists) for supporting the regulation of harmful chemicals, as many harmful chemicals have only a one-in-a-million chance of causing death each year. This, of course, would sum to something like 300 deaths per annum. However, he criticizes the CAFE standards, which he blames for 2000 extra deaths each year. By this logic, I would assume he supports the regulation of harmful chemicals, as long as at least 8-or-so are bannedm, so they can sum to the CAFE death level (which appears to be his criterea-for-being-a-national-concern).

Many other sections, such as that dealing with national security and defense, are simply non-sensical.

The weakness of Levin’s non-judicial sections, and the nonsensical divsion between Liberty and Tyranny that he pushes, is unfortunate, because his analysis of the judicial state of the United States is solid. Still, as it currently exists, this book should not be read. The America that Levin envisions is poorer, more dangerous, and less seecure than the country we currently live in.

If Mark Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny represents Conservatism, then get me Barack Obama!