By Mark Levin
Published by Threshold Editions (August 13, 2013)
The Liberty Amendments spent its first two weeks of sales at #1, and I presume #2 wasn’t close. Don’t miss the subtext: Mark Levin’s perspective and interests relate directly to him being America’s best-selling political author. His choice of topic bears as much relevance to his books’ worth as does the content. Levin appears to primarily interest himself with overarching concerns — philosophy, law, the nature of the state and man’s behavior — and he then references daily matters of governance in such terms. His heart is in “statesman” stuff; his sales are evidence that conservatives’ hearts are, too.
As a response to Obama — and to the century of disregard for the Constitution that preceded him — Levin has drafted proposals for a series of constitutional amendments intended to reinforce the Founders’ intent. As such, this is obviously not FDR’s Second Bill of Rights, yet bafflingly, noting that Levin offers nothing that opposes the Founding motives has become necessary since the book’s publication (Rush Limbaugh mentioned on Monday that even some conservatives have misread Levin’s intent). Each of Levin’s proposed amendments provides additional safeguards for liberty of which the Founders failed to foresee a need, and nothing more.
Of course — via extensive deliberation regarding “known unknowns” — the Founders did foresee a need to install an amendment process allowing future citizens a means of clawing back unintended power from a governing class. The amendment process has been successfully completed seventeen times following the initial ten amendments composing the Bill of Rights, but all seventeen instances involved initiation of the amendment process by the federal government. This is only one of two processes of amending established by Article V of the Constitution; the other method has never been successfully administered. Levin makes the case that this second method bears much promise today.
The following is an excerpt from Article V, with the key passage in italics:
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress.
Levin suggests that current political realities make any federally initiated “liberty amendment” unlikely, but that the state-initiated process holds tremendous potential for restoring individual liberty, and is the proper path for conservatives to consider expending their energies.
Is he correct? Is this book and suggested tactic useful?
Two weeks in, I’ve noted that favorable reviews of the book universally employ descriptors like “concrete,” “blueprint,” and — most telling — “finally.” Conservatives’ perennial revulsion towards congressional GOP members as a whole rests on the inability to use these words. “Weak-kneed,” “directionless,” and “Democrat-lite” are more like it. Should the entire GOP platform be enacted tomorrow, would the needle hardly budge towards liberty? The Liberty Amendments is a tangible, concise representation of conservative ideals, for which conservative voters have been waiting for some time.
Nineteen years, to be precise — the party has been unable to offer concrete platforms in the interim. As to why, the answer is about as depressing and dull as the GOP’s recent product, and not worth discussing now that a blueprint has emerged.