On Liberty and Tyranny
It is observed that the Statist is dissatisfied with the condition of his own existence. He condemns his fellow man, surroundings, and society itself for denying him the fulfillment, success, and adulation he believes he deserves. He is angry, resentful, petulant, and jealous. He is incapable of honest self-assessment and rejects the honest assessment by others of himself, thereby evading responsibility for his own miserable condition, The Statist searches for significance and even glory in a utopian fiction of his mind's making, the earthly attainment of which, he believes, is frustrated by those who do not share it. Therefore he must destroy the civil society, piece by piece.
For the Statist, liberty is not a blessing but the enemy. It is not possible to achieve Utopia if individuals are free to go their own way. The individual must be dehumanized and his nature delegitimized. Through persuasion, deception, and coercion, the individual must be subordinated to the state. He must abandon his own ambitions for the ambitions of the state. He must become reliant on and fearful of the state. His first duty must be to the state -- not family, community, and faith, all of which have the potential of threatening the state. Once dispirited, the individual can be molded by the state.
The Statist's Utopia can take many forms, and has throughout human history, including monarchism, feudalism, militarism, fascism, communism, national socialism, and economic socialism. They are all of the same species -- tyranny. The primary principle around which the Statist organizes can be summed up in a single word -- equality.
Equality, as understood by the Founders, is the natural right of every individual to live freely under self-government, to acquire and retain the property he creates through his own labor, and to be treated impartially before a just law. Moreover, equality should not be confused with perfection, for man is also imperfect, making his application of equality, even in the most just society, imperfect. Otherwise, inequality is the natural state of man in the sense that each individual is born unique in all his human characteristics. Therefore, equality and inequality, properly comprehended, are both engines of liberty.
The Statist, however, misuses equality to pursue uniform economic and social outcomes. He must continuously enhance his power at the expense of self-government and violate the individual's property rights at the expense of individual liberty, for he believes that through persuasion, deception, and coercion he can tame man's natural state and man's perfection can, therefore, be achieved in Utopia. The Statist must claim the power to make that which is unequal equal and that which is imperfect perfect. This is the only hope the Statist offers, if only the individual surrenders himself to the all-powerful state. Only then can the impossible be made possible. ...
For the Statist, the international community and international organizations serve as useful sources for importing disaffection with the civil society. The Statist urges Americans to view themselves through the lenses of those who resent and even hate them. He needs Americans to become less confident, to doubt their institutions, and to accept the status assigned to them by outsiders -- as isolationists, invaders, occupiers, oppressors, and exploiters. The Statist wants Americans to see themselves as backward, foolishly holding to their quaint notions of individual liberty, private property, family, and faith, long diminished or jettisoned in other countries. They need to listen to the voices of condemnation from world capitals, and self-appointing global watchdogs hostile to America's superior standard of living. America is said to be out of step and regressive, justifying the surrendering of his sovereignty through treaties and other arrangements that benefit the greater "humanity." And it would not hurt if America admitted it's past transgressions, made reparations, and accepted its fate as just another aging nation -- one among many.
The Statist must also rely on legions of academics to serve as his missionaries. After a short period of training and observation, academics receive a sinecure -- a personal stake in the state via lifetime employment through a system of tenure. The classroom is to shape the beliefs and attitudes of successive generations of malcontents and incubate the quiet revolution against the civil society. Academics help identify the enemies of the state, whom their students learn to distrust or even detest through distortion and repetition -- corporations as polluters, the Founding Fathers as slave owners, the military as imperialists, etc.
As Glenn Reynolds says "Read the whole thing." Hell, it's been out one day and already number one on Amazon, and Dan Riehl and Thomas Lifson have both written their reviews of the book. Consider this a third review.
I chose the above to cite from his book for two reasons. First, as someone who debates the Left regularly, this is exactly what I see from them; this is their mindset when it comes to dealing with conservatives. They wants us cowed and broken -- literally just another cog in the great Statist machine. Second, this is exactly the sort of plans put in place by the degenerates from the 60's cultural revolution, and those kids are now running the show. Look at what they have done in a short amount of time.
The 111th Congress came into session in January, and immediately started crafting legislation to seize not only more money from the individual and private industry (we WILL be paying this off for generations, if we survive it) but to create the greatest, largest expanse of federal power unseen since the days of FDR's New Deal.
"The bigger a state becomes the more liberty diminishes." -- Jean Jacques Rousseau
Remember that because it's true. We don't think of it because we don't really see it, but the truth is that as the government grows in the hands of the Statist the less we will see of our own liberties. And recall, if you will, that it was Ben Franklin who said "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." For decades the Statists have worked themselves into the government in an attempt to destroy the republic that was created almost 233 years ago. They are tearing it down because it is a threat to the very Utopian vision they have. And this shows their own imperfection for a Utopia can never be achieved so long as man has free will; the ability to decide what he will and won't do.
Mr. Levin's book is a fine work, and one that the reader can tell he put a great deal of effort into. This is not a slipshod work. This is carefully researched, properly footnoted, and above all it is a treatise on what it means to be a conservative. He does an excellent job of taking a conservative and a Statist, and wiping away the grey areas that the Statist uses constantly to blur the lines and confuse the individual. Reread that last paragraph I cite above, and ask yourself about what kids are taught today in school. Better yet, ask yourself what kids AREN'T being taught in school today. The answer to the latter is quite simple: They are not taught about true American history, and they are not taught about the Constitution. Why? Because both are a threat to the state.
True American history, not the revised BS they teach in schools today, threatens to tear down the Statist's overall goals because the history of the United States is one of freedom, liberty, rugged individualism, and entrepreneurship. This is how the nation was founded, and that's how it grew to be the greatest, freest nation on the face of the planet. The constitution threatens the Utopian vision of the Statist by informing people of their God-given liberties that so much precious blood has been spilled in it's defense.
When you take away the moral relativism and grey areas in ideology, the differences between conservatives and Statists are quite clear. One believes in the individual, while the other believes in a totalitarian state -- peace and security under the boot-heel of an all-encompassing, all-too-invasive government that treats it's citizens like children rather than free men. And they will tarnish, crush, or destroy anything that threatens their vision. this is why our history is under assault, why our religions are under constant attack, and why our liberties are disdained as some outmoded, outdated idea which time has come and gone. Imagine the Constitution today if it were written the way it has been interpreted over the last fifty years.
"The Court must be living in another world. Day by day, case by case, it is busy designing a Constitution for a country I do not recognize." -- Justice Antonin Scalia, (Board of County Commissioners, Wabaunsee County, Kansas v. Umbehr, 1996)
The quote is prescient because that is what we have. Mr. Levin brings this up in a later chapter entitled "On the Constitution":
The Statist is not interested in what the Framers said or intended. He is interested only in what he says and he intends. Consider the judiciary, which has seized for itself the most dominant role in interpreting the Constitution. When asked by a law clerk to explain his judicial philosophy, the late Associate Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall responded, "You do what you think is right and let the law catch up." The late Associate justice Arthur Goldberg's answer was no better. A law clerk recounts Goldberg telling him that his approach was to determine "what is the just result." Still others are persuaded by the Statist's semantic distortions, arguing that the judge's job is to spread democracy or liberty.
The Statist is a formidable, ideological foe, and won't be easily defeated. This fight has been going on for decades, and at this point in history it seems as though all is lost. Mr. Levin's lesson is a simple one -- don't get dispirited, and don't lose faith. The moment we lose either, the Statist knows he has an in; he knows you are on the ropes, and he knows that all it takes is a little push to knock you over the edge. Thomas Jefferson once said "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God" and he was right. We are witnessing the soft tyranny of the current government. But the rebellion I see isn't one using guns. I see us using what we use best, which is our minds, our intellect, and our general intelligence. The old conservative axiom that we win the war of ideas is true. All the Statist has to offer are the same failed ideas that history is replete with.
That's the point of Mr. Levin's book, and it's one he repeats often. Conservatives, this is the book you need to read if for nothing else than to remind yourselves what your responsibility to the nation, your family, and yourselves is. We have no responsibility to the government. We pledge allegiance to the United States, not to the federal government. Look at the oaths taken by those in the military, or those serving federal office. the oath is not to the government. It is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. We owe no loyalty to the state, especially when that state, and it's willing and able minions, demand absolute loyalty; security in exchange for liberty.
To them I say I think not. I bow to know one, save God. I adhere to no man, save the Founders and Framers who created this nation, and enshrined our liberties in the most brilliant document ever produced by man. Marcie and I side with Mr. Levin. We are conservatives, and by God we will resist the Statist's overreaching goals of destroying this nation.
I encourage conservatives to get Mark Levin's book. You will find yourself nodding your head in agreement, not only on his observations about what conservatism is, but also what the Statist is, and his misguided -- dare I see nefarious -- ideals. As a matter of fact, buy a couple copies, and give them to friends, especially those that seem dispirited at the direction this country is going. I can guarantee you that when they read it, they will rediscover their ideals, and toss aside the funk they're in. This is not over yet. We aren't beaten. The ideological battle continues, and we sure as Hell need as many minds in the fight as we can muster.
ADDENDUM: Welcome Instapundit readers. Feel free to look around and comment. (I'll answer comments tomorrow.)
ADDENDUM II: HT to SubManDave in the comments for pointing out I got the Franklin quote reversed. Fixed now, Thanks!