Reagan, Kemp, and Mark Levin: Natural Rights and a challenge to moral superiority.
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“But America is more than just a place…it’s an idea. It’s the only country founded on an idea. Our rights come from nature and God, not government.”
Rights that come from nature and God, not government.
This is true, of course. But until fairly recently it’s safe to say that there weren’t many prominent candidates running around saying it — and it is certainly true that weren’t many Americans thinking about it.
This began to change with the advent of the Tea Party in 2009.
The Tea party and something else that happened in 2009 — a big something else.
As was noted here in this space in November of 2010 — which is to say the aftermath of the stunning conservative victory in the fall elections — Mark Levin’s 2009 book Liberty and Tyranny had become “The Book That Changed America.”
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann noted that Levin’s book had provided “the intellectual foundation” that had “motivated and inspired” Tea Party campaigns across the country. At the time, we posted this March of 2009 video of a crowd in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia, standing patiently in a stunningly long line of people waiting to get into a Levin book signing, noting:
IT’S REASONABLE TO ASK after all of this — why all the fuss over a book that defends the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence? What is it that drives over 1.2 million books to sell like glasses of cold lemonade in the Sahara Desert? What kind of book gets over 2,000 reviews on Amazon, the book rated with five stars by all but a handful of readers? What kind of book sends Americans into the streets waving copies as if they’d uncovered the Holy Grail?…
In a manner that Levin could not possibly have foreseen, his arguments defending individual freedoms and liberty from what Alexis de Tocqueville called “soft tyranny” — the supremacy of the state suddenly took on a vivid, personal meaning for Americans. As the new Obama administration and its allies on Capitol Hill began rapidly expanding the size and scope of the federal government almost exponentially, jamming a government takeover of health care through a Congress besieged by constituents shouting — sometimes literally — not to do this, millions of Americans were provoked from stunned amazement to outrage. On top of a staggering so-called stimulus plan that cost almost $1 trillion plus government takeovers and bailouts of everything from car companies to financial institutions, the realization dawned on many Americans that Levin was right: the long march of collectivism had suddenly turned into a sprint.
Word of Levin’s book spread like wildfire.…
His use of a once-forgotten old word quickly made its way into the 21st century American vocabulary. The term “statist” began tripping from angry lips, Levin having used it to characterize the “Modern Liberal.” As Americans realized they were going to be forced by the government to buy health care, as they watched the President smoothly — chillingly — tell a woman in one televised exchange that the government would have to have “rules” for deciding end-of-life care, Levin’s writings that the “Founders understood the greatest threat to liberty is an all-powerful central government” resonated.
Those who had never gotten closer to the Declaration of Independence than a Fourth of July picnic were now gobbling up a book that devoted its opening chapter to the philosophical history behind the first of the two founding documents creating the United States of America. For many it was a first time tutorial in the connection between Natural Law and individual rights. Writing clearly and concisely, Levin had taken care to present the basics of the ideas that had resulted in the country’s founding. Philosophers from Adam Smith to Charles Montesquieu, John Locke and Edmund Burke were getting the spotlight treatment along with their thoughts on the free market, separation of powers, natural rights and, specifically, what Levin cited as Burke’s “interconnection of liberty, free markets, religion, tradition, and authority.”
In other words, Mark Levin had taken the oldest concepts of the founding of the American Republic and, in book form, popularized them in Liberty and Tyranny. Following up again this year with another bestseller, Ameritopia, in which he lasered in on the eternal leftist drive to create a utopia on earth — or in this case, in America.
Just the other night, NBC’s coverage of the Olympics included a special with Tom Brokaw on Britain’s “Finest Hour” in the beginning of World War II. In which, Brokaw said (without a trace of irony as to where he might have seen the phrase) of this period that (my bolding):
“England stood alone, when England was all that was left between liberty and tyranny.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online