Tuesday morning, I was sitting at a kitchen table across from one of the most brilliant men I know. He is in his seventies, made his living driving a truck, a military man, traveled all over the U.S. and even internationally, and has read voraciously all his life. He is a staunch Conservative. We were drinking coffee and, as usual, discussing politics.
He asked if I had heard about Chavez giving Obama a book. I told him I had, and that I found it outrageous that Obama would accept a book with anti-American notions in it.
But he raised his finger (as he normally does when he is about to make a point), "It is a diversion. It makes it easy for the big 3 media to report on the contents of this book, and report the fact that it is currently in the number 2 spot, making everyone run out to buy it just so they can read what Obama is reading. That puts the book's ideas fresh in America's mind. That way, the ideas in the book that is currently number 1 are, as they suppose, being diminished."
The number 1 book is called Liberty and Tyranny by Mark Levin. My friend, whom we will call PJ for the moment, told me that bookstores are having a terrible time keeping it on their shelves. I was intrigued. I had not heard of the book before then, even on talk radio. So I went to a bookstore just to see if what I had heard was true. Sure enough, two unscheduled orders had already been placed to restock the book on their shelves. I bought their last copy myself.
This book is not for fence-straddlers, centrists, or any other with a "middle of the road" political philosophy.
I will not spoil the book for you. What I will do is recommend it.
The book amazed me in different ways. I was amazed at how little Levin used the word "Republican" in association with Conservatism, echoing my own idea that the Republican party is no longer the party for Conservatives (1). Early on, he replaced the usage of the word "liberal" with the word "statist", which I thought was a good move. He opened up with a crash course on American History and the Constitution, which is always a good place to start when expounding Conservative ideology. He hammers especially hard on the idea that Federal Government should be limited.
The only place where I disagreed with Levin was in his affirmation of The Patriot Act. I think the act does forfeit our liberty in the name of security. I have nothing to hide, but that doesn't mean I want Big Brother listening to my telephone conversations or reading my e-mails. For more about his, in detail, I recommend A Nation of Sheep by Andrew Napolitano.
I was also amazed that he said true Conservatives should not want revolution. Levin seems to prefer the word reformation. I can live with that. In religious matters, a reformation generally occurs when the church has become so weighed down with peripheral ideologies that it needs to shake itself free, find again its fundamentals, and reacquaint itself with, to put it in the language of Scripture, its first love.
Isn't that what Conservatism needs? Centrists on both sides have fuzzied the line between Liberalism and Conservatism. Both Clinton and Bush, representing 16 straight years of centrists ideas in the Whitehouse, fuzzied the line. Now, no one knows exactly what being a Conservative means. We need to shake ourselves free and reacquant ourselves with true Conservatism. We better, because you can rest assured that our current president is no centrist. He is far-left, and unless Conservatives rally and remove the democratic majorities in 2010, we are looking at being profoundly closer to Socialism and Globalism before 2012. Obama is massing armies of youth LINK. He is wanting to repeal the 22nd amendment removing term limits on the president LINK. And he has even worked with Janet Napolitano to take foundational Conservative Principles, and associate them with domestic terrorism LINK. I made a funny picture about that. You can see it in My Facebook photos, or here. Dare I mention Obama's threats to revive The Fairness Doctrine or introduce the Freedom of Choice Act? What more should a Conservative need to become motivated?
I think Levin's book is a perfect opportunity to do this. We should essentially unlearn what we have learned the last 16 years, and take it up fresh. Take Levin's book, along with some other research material, like perhaps Reagan and William Buckley, and Conservatism may be able to find its sea legs again.
I want to close on this thought. I love studying the Civil War. My favorite general in the Civil War was General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. When the Confederate Army was beaten down, their Officer was known to direct their attention to Jackson and say, "Look! There's General Jackson, standing like a stone wall. Rally behind the Virginians!" The battered and broken regiment would find new strength, reform their line, and once again become the Greek phalanx they were trained to be.
It could be that Levin is the Jackson of our time. He has provided us with the perfect springboard for such a Conservative Revival.
(1) Footnote - I currently believe that the Republican Party can never fully represent Conservative values, and that a true Conservative revival means the rise of a third political party into political viability. I recommend The Constitution Party. It is already the third largest political party in the United States. At any rate, however a Conservative revival is to manifest itself, I hope it means a return to the U.S. Constitution, in its original context.