March 30, 2015 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Levin's 'Liberty' Needs Less Utopia, More Whig

Utopian visions are typically the purview of the left. Conservatives, with their well-placed tendency to have less faith in the perfectibility of man, tend to steer clear of such things.

Now comes talk-radio host, best-selling author and lawyer Mark R. Levins The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic, which bills itself as a first step on the road out of perdition.

Really, though, its a conservatives view of utopia, where the states can amend the Constitution and transient policy preferences such as 15 percent tax rates and caps on debt pegged to gross domestic product are enshrined in the organic law.

Dont get me wrong. Almost all of Levins ideas are good ones, from my perspective (not too sure about repealing the 17th Amendment and returning the election of senators to state legislatures, but everything else looks good).

He argues them lucidly, with just the right touch of ideological fanaticism.

And, as a book of policy proposals, The Liberty Amendments is as good a place to start as any for conservatives hoping to shape the debate inside and outside the Republican Party.

But Levin presents the book as more, and that is where he runs off the rails.

The idea that informs the book is that liberals have taken over the political process to such an extent that it is impossible for the true voice of the people to be heard.

The Statists have been successful in their century-long march to disfigure and mangle the constitutional order and undo the social compact, Levin writes.

Which leaves one wondering: How were they able to do this? Could it be that it was because they won elections and then acted on their principles? (Hey conservatives, that looks like fun. Why dont you try it sometime?)

The governing masterminds, as Levin refers to them, have left the people lamebrained and dumbfounded. Again, this raises an interesting question. How are we supposed to trust the lamebrained and dumbfounded (thats us, by the way) to fix this mess?

Levin doesnt really blame the people for their abdication of responsibility, though, instead asserting that the public has been indoctrinated, manipulated and misled by its elected representatives.

Unfortunately, he has a point. But only up to a point. If people are being indoctrinated, manipulated and misled, its at least partly their own fault. People make choices, especially in a republic, and if they choose to make bad ones over and over again, theres very little anyone can do about it (except the statists, who want to keep them from drinking soda and living too far from work and smoking in public and on and on and on).

Levins solution to all this is to employ the never-before-used provision in Article V of the Constitution that requires Congress to call a convention upon application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the states for the purpose of considering amendments.

Levin, whose writing is always entertaining, is like the doctor who provides a perfect diagnosis for your incurable disease, then offers a curative that is unobtainable.

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