Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto reminds me of an expanded, modern version of Thomas Paine's Common Sense or Frederic Bastiat's The Law. It's nearest direct competitor is Glenn Beck's Common Sense, but Levin's work is superior.
Levin has a nice touch with a pen. He is, for the most part, a careful author that explains his points of view in everyday language, sometimes in a quite stirring way. This is ironic because Mark Levin is perhaps most famous for his radio show (The Mark Levin Show) where he is given to bombastic rants and over the top comments that make me cringe from time to time.
The audiobook is read by Adam Grupper who does a solid job, but, surprisingly not as good as Levin who reads the introduction himself. The introduction is a particularly strong - I think it is the best part of the book - and if you have an Amazon Kindle you can download the introduction as a free sample and read it for yourself.
Levin defines conservatism in its most basic of terms and does not split the movement into its separate parts, such as social conservatives, fiscal conservatives but he does have comments towards some of the Neo-Conservative ideas concerning foreign policy.
-Social Security. This area was very well discussed, including such alarming statistics as the fact that we now have 54 million people drawing Social Security/SSI checks;
-Socialized medicine. It works so well in the UK that dentists do not work once their yearly quotas have been reached (why would they - they don't get paid to do anything beyond their quota?). The creepy story of Barbara Wagner of Oregon who was not offered life-extending (but not curing) cancer treatments due to cost but was offered a free doctor-assisted suicide instead may be a harbinger of things to come;
-The section of Global Cooling/Warming/Climate Change (depending on the year) is strong;
-The Immigration Reform chapter is strong, but stat-laden. It is interesting to note that Cesar Chavez was against illegal immigration because competition from illegal immigrants lowered wages for the United Farm Workers. It is ironic because Chavez is touted as a hero in nearly every English as a Second Language (ESL) classroom I have seen. Other interesting facts that Levine cites (Note: I have no idea as to his sources since I heard it as an audiobook) are that 9% of Mexico's population is living in the United States (if you figured in the American-born children of illegal immigrants you could probably come up with this number) and 27% of Mexico's labor force works in the United States for 1/3 of their formal wage earnings. The comments from Mexico about how it considers the American Southwest to still be part of Mexico are alarming;
-Levin waffles on the topic of the Iraq War and the anti-terrorism laws passed after 9/11;
-Levin also, in my mind, unfairly attacks a vacuous foreign policy speech given in 2007 by then-Senator Obama. I have little patience for most politician's blathering niceties, but it is unfair to interpret the text of one speech given in 2007 as Obama's literal foreign policy stances as president;
-Levin ends with a flourish with a section about international treaties and conventions that emphasize "global citizenship" vs. the true purpose of government (to protect our rights, as noted by Locke, Jefferson and Bastiat).
An entertaining, interesting and thoughtful introduction to Conservatism.
I rate this audiobook 5 stars out of 5.
This audiobook can be found on Amazon.com here: Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto by Mark R. Levin.
Reviewed on October 30, 2010.