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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Road Back

From the New Criterion:

We are in the high tide of America’s Leftist ascendancy: the Obama evisceration of individual freedom and installation of authoritarian collectivism—at warp speed, driven by an ambition that would have made Woodrow Wilson and FDR blush. Against this tidal wave, Mark Levin offers not so much a defense as a plan of attack, a clarion call to roll back the seas of Change.

His answer is a restoration of civil society: the Burkean paradigm of ordered liberty in which the citizen and his society thrive, in all their ineradicable imperfection. Individual freedom is tempered by a moral order that is the heritage of each new generation, and its bequest to the next, in the “chain and continuity of the commonwealth.” In the three-quarters of a century between the New Deal and the new New Deal, civil society has gradually evaporated while the means of its preservation have become ever more remote and elusive. Like Dorothy, though, we’ve always had it in our power to return home. In our case, the ruby red slippers are the principles of the Founding—the Declaration of Independence and a Constitution that elevates liberty by sharply limiting government and, further, divides powers among competing departments, ingeniously suppressing any tyrannical tendencies.


The book is a refreshingly intelligent defense of pro-freedom values.  It has its weak points, including the predictable opposition to open borders and the grounding of liberty in a belief in God, thought these seem to be par for the course for conservatives.  The book is largely silent on the War on Drugs and Creationism.  While Levin provides a strong defense of individual rights and self defense, and seems to accept the sovereignty of the individual, there is no clear rejection of altruism.  

The near destruction of the Republican Party in recent years has come about in large measure by that oxymoron "compassionate conservatism."  While Levin rejects this approach, the ethical premise that underlies it remains unchallenged.  So long as a substantial portion of the Republican Party believes that the highest point of morality is service to others, it will never shake the temptation presented by statist "compassion."  Be unable to effectively resist the attempt to be moral using other people's money.  You cannot reconcile the politics of individualism with the morality of serfdom.

(CP)

Posted by Richard Anderson on May 26, 2009 | Permalink

Comments

Many people on this website will hate large parts of Levin's writings. Levin considers his views a mix of libertarianism and conservatism. Levin is pro-death penalty, pro-gun, pro-life, and willing to take on the activist homosexual crew(opposes gay marriage and backed Ms. California). Levin also calls for a massive downsizing of government. Levin wants judges and government officials to follow the constitution to the letter and no more. In the past, Levin has pointed out that the constitution doesn't allow for abortion, affirmative action, implementation of a radio fairness doctrine or opposition to 10 commandment displays. Also, Seymour won't like him because Levin supports waterboarding terrorists. In addition, Levin is a popular talk radio host that has over 5 million listeners. On the radio, he has called for the Republican Party to move further to the right. Many libertarians won't like him because he refuses to surrender on all the social issues. Levin knows based on polling, that 75% of Americans support school prayer and 10 commandment displays on public land, that pro-lifers are now the majority in the United States, and that gun control is on life support here. In fact, the gay rights movement is the only leftist social grouping that is polling well.At heart, social conservatives still have the edge over social leftists here in the United States.

Posted by: Powell | 2009-05-26 3:48:04 PM


Mark Levin also essentially states that anyone who disagrees with him on torture, gay marriage, imperialism, and [increased] executive power, is "unpatriotic."

He's just another authoritarian right winger who seems to believe that any person who disagrees with him must automatically hate America.

Here's an example of the supposed intelligence from a guy that's a mix of "libertarianism and conservatism."

//LEVIN: Yeah, sure, he can do whatever he wants. Let me ask you a question. Why do you hate this country?

CALLER: No, I love this country.

LEVIN: (angrily shouting) I SAID WHY DO YOU HATE MY COUNTRY?WHY DO YOU HATE MY CONSTITUTION? WHY DO YOU HATE MY DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE? You just said it. He can blow off Congress. He can do whatever he wants, right?

CALLER: Well, he seems to, he just moved (inaudible).

LEVIN: Answer me this, are you a married woman? Yes or no?

CALLER: Yes.

LEVIN: Well I don’t know why your husband doesn’t put a gun to his temple. Get the hell out of here.//

This is why I refuse to consider myself a conservative. I hope to god these people don't fuck up the word libertarian to mean some pro-torture, pro-authoritarian, pro-theocracy, jingoist agenda.

Find me one example of a government being at a minimal level while engaging in jingoism and the faux patriotism that Mark Levin espouses.

Posted by: Alberta Libertarian | 2009-05-26 10:37:30 PM


Awe yes, what a true intelligence coming from a man made up of a mix of "libertarianism and conservatism." Despite his strong support for torture, perpetual warfare, imperialism, jingoism, and the security state.

Here's just one example of the intellectual debate this guy delves in:

//LEVIN: Yeah, sure, he can do whatever he wants. Let me ask you a question. Why do you hate this country?

CALLER: No, I love this country.

LEVIN: (angrily shouting) I SAID WHY DO YOU HATE MY COUNTRY?WHY DO YOU HATE MY CONSTITUTION? WHY DO YOU HATE MY DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE? You just said it. He can blow off Congress. He can do whatever he wants, right?

CALLER: Well, he seems to, he just moved (inaudible).

LEVIN: Answer me this, are you a married woman? Yes or no?

CALLER: Yes.

LEVIN: Well I don’t know why your husband doesn’t put a gun to his temple. Get the hell out of here.//

But then again, in a conservative worldview Robert Taft would now be considered "anti-American."

Posted by: Alberta Libertarian | 2009-05-26 10:40:48 PM


Yeah, you libertarians are such purveyors of tolerance! I have seen quite a few of you people belittle religious people. Also, several of you fellows have rather crudely attacked those that support going on the offensive against Al-Qaeda. In addition, a number of you seem to have an intense hatred of cops. I'm beginning to wonder if some libertarians do backflips when a cop is hurt on the job. Traditional values are to be spat on! Loving your country is jingoistic! It sounds like a lot of you guys are snorting something. Was Jim Jones acceptable because he operated independent of the government in Guyana? Oh sure, he killed people but man did he love those drugs!

Posted by: Boone | 2009-05-27 2:35:11 PM


//Yeah, you libertarians are such purveyors of tolerance! I have seen quite a few of you people belittle religious people.//

Only the ones who want to criminalize homosexuality, use Revelations as a guidebook for foreign policy, and those who insist the ten commandments be put up in courtrooms across the nation.

Religious tolerance is great, theocracy is disasterous. The separation of church and state is a good thing, regardless of what the Pat Robertsons of the world might think.

// Also, several of you fellows have rather crudely attacked those that support going on the offensive against Al-Qaeda.//

You mean we've been critical of attacking Iraq. Which according to the state department never sheltered Al-Qaeda.

I'd like it if conservatives could actually learn about Al-Qaeda instead of spewing mindless rhetoric. They were never concerned about Al-Qaeda, if that was the case they would have supported efforts to track down Bin Laden and defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan. Instead we heard support for an unecessary war in Iraq and more rhetoric for a far more deadly war in Iran.

//In addition, a number of you seem to have an intense hatred of cops. I'm beginning to wonder if some libertarians do backflips when a cop is hurt on the job.//

Actually, I'm applying to become a police officer. Fortunately for myself I can still be critical of the government regardless of who the powers may be.

//Traditional values are to be spat on!//

Such as? Many "conservatives" really don't have many traditional values anymore, outside of ensuring the gays can't marry.

//Loving your country is jingoistic!//

Problem is that there is a difference between loving your country and loving your government. One deserves love, the other deserves skepticism.

This once again proves my point, conservatives will give up most of their liberties as long as it's in the name of "patriotism."

//It sounds like a lot of you guys are snorting something.//

I've never done drugs, outside of alcohol.

//Was Jim Jones acceptable because he operated independent of the government in Guyana?//

I don't really think Jim Jones was a libertarian considering the fact libertarians values INDIVIDUAL liberty.

//Oh sure, he killed people but man did he love those drugs!//

My point has just been proven. The modern "conservative" movement is more concerned with being vulgar and acting barbaric.

It seems obvious that Boone has never really taken the time to read up on libertarianism, if that was the case it would become apparent that libertarianism isn't about hating police officers, supporting Al-Qaeda, and we support Jim Jones.

What exactly are traditional values?

Posted by: Alberta Libertarian | 2009-05-27 6:53:23 PM


Can you be a libertarian and support a strong military? Can you be a libertarian and support the war on terror? Can you be a libertarian and support getting tough on criminals? Read up on the New Zealand ACT party and decide. This party is libertarian on most economic and social issues(parliment members are allowed a free vote on all social issues with the exception of gunowner rights which the party supports). Yet, it supports the use of New Zealand troops in Afghanistan. The party also supports more than doubling the size of New Zealand's military. ACT has pushed for sentencing guidelines that make their justice system tougher than Canada's. At the same time, ACT has called for a flat tax, large scale privatizations, expansion of school choice, reforming welfare programs, and reinstating privately run prisons. The ACT Party got the Nationals to agree to much of this as part of their forming a governing right-wing coalition. New Zealanders are getting tax cuts, labor law reform(opposed by unions), tougher sentencing, welfare reform, and have no one trampling on their gun rights. Can Canadians say the same? ACT seems to be the libertarian party that sets the standard! Could the libertarians of New Zealand have their "act" more together than Canadian libertarians?

Posted by: Pat | 2009-05-27 9:34:32 PM


First of all, where has ACT stated they support criminalizing acts between consenting adults when it comes to drugs? Second, where in their platform do they support suspending habeas corpus and the right to a trial as most of the right in America currently do? Where in the ACT platform do they support suspending the Geneva Conventions and domestic law?

As for the war on terror, you can support the war on Al-Qaeda and still be a libertarian. But you can't be a libertarian if you blindly follow an ideological government that believes we can re-engineer societies halfway across the world by the barrel of a gun.

Posted by: Alberta Libertarian | 2009-05-31 1:19:37 AM



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