I finished "Liberty and Tyranny" today. The book is a valuable learning and teaching tool, in that it covers almost every major challenge to American democracy today. Levin gives the history, major laws and constitutional principles governing the following fronts in our war with the left:
1. The Constitution
3. The Free Market
4. The Welfare State
5. Evironmentalism ("Enviro-Statism")
7. Self-Preservation (the military and foreign policy)
Levin describes how all of these aspects of our democracy have been undermined by statists, i.e. big-government advocates who misuse each of them to obtain and extend their power. He shows how these efforts have reduced our freedom, our security and our prosperity. Last of all, he describes how all of these areas could be restored to constitutional health.
Levin doesn't just put blame on Democrats, but also Republicans, particularly the weak Republicans who see the battle as lost and their only alternative in "working with the Democrats" or fiddling around the edges of these major areas. What is needed is not tinkering, but deep, systemic changes in our government to restore the nation to its founding principles.
He is critical of George Bush where such criticism is justified, e.g. in putting the damaging "bail-out" plan into operation, the same one that Obama is now advancing and expanding.
I found much of the book truly eye-opening. He shows how Herbert Hoover was not, as is commonly believed, a laissez-faire free marketer by any means. Hoover intervened heavily in the economy in an attempt to reverse the Great Depression. FDR merely took over programs and policies that Hoover started and expanded on them -- a parallel situation to Bush and Obama today.
The chapter on Enviro-Statism was particularly enraging to me, where Levin documents the extent of the environmentalist fraud, particularly as it involves "man-made global warming." These false concerns are merely fuel for increased governmental intervention into the lives of the citizens and the economy. Other leftist accomplishments in this area include the banning of D.D.T., which has resulted in millions of deaths in the Third World to malaria. When you think left, think death -- the two are joined at the hip.
The chapter on immigration was no less disturbing. It describes the insane policies the nation has followed since Lyndon Johnson and Congress passed the Hart-Celler Act in 1965, allowing for chain migration that ended both quotas and preference for European immigrants. The result has been a heavy influx of less educated and more impoverished immigrants who are more apt to go on welfare rolls and are less capable of adding benefit to the civil society. The Statist, of course, sees this change as opportunity, as it provides him with a large influx of friendly voters.
It seems to me that many Americans are too intellectually lazy to read such a book and informing the public won't be an easy task. It will take some cataclysmic event to shake them out of their stupor and motivate them to both understand the problems and devise a means of fixing them. Perhaps the secession of a few red states would do the trick; I don't really know. In any case, the compact agreed to by the various states upon entering the union has been effectively obliterated. With some states, like California and Massachusetts, that's probably a desired outcome. Other states like South Carolina and Texas may feel differently.
In any case, the damage to our Constitution and founding principles is so extensive and deep that I despair of the possibility of turning it around. Still, we must try with everything that is in us.