Title: The Liberty Amendments


Author:  Mark Levin

Copyright: 2014

Reviewed By: Jim Hull


Main theme (from Amazon.com):

In his #1 bestsellers Liberty and Tyranny and Ameritopia, Mark R. Levin has all but predicted the current assault on our individual liberties, state sovereignty, and the social compact—the inevitable result of an all-powerful, ubiquitous central government. Fortunately, such dire circumstances were anticipated by the Founding Fathers, who gave us the means to amend the Constitution in order to preserve our rights and pre­vent governmental behemoths. Here, Levin turns to the Constitution and its Framers to lay forth eleven specific prescriptions, thoughtfully con­structed within the Framers’ design, for restoring the American Republic.  His proposals are pure common sense, ideas shared by many—such as term limits for members of Congress and Supreme Court justices and lim­its on federal taxing and spending—that draw on the wisdom of James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and others. With The Liberty Amendments, the American people can take the first step toward reclaiming what belongs to them.


About the Author (from Amazon.com):

Mark R. Levin is a nationally syndicated talk radio host and president of Landmark Legal Foundation. He has also worked as an attorney in the private sector and as a top adviser and administrator to several members of President Reagan's cabinet.  Mark holds a B.A. from Temple University and a J.D. from Temple University School of Law.  He is the author of the million-copy-selling #1 New York Times bestseller Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto. His nationally syndicated talk-radio show has 8.5 million listeners and is heard nationwide on hundreds of radio stations as well as on satellite radio and Armed Forces Radio. His previous books, Men in Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America and Rescuing Sprite: A Dog Lover’s Story of Joy and Anguish, were also New York Times and national bestsellers. He also contributed a preface to a book by his father, Jack E. Levin: Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address Illustrated.

 

Context of the Book (passages taken from the book):

“What was to be a relatively innocuous federal government, operating from a defined enumeration of specific grants of power, has become an ever-present and unaccountable force. It is the nation’s largest creditor, debtor, lender, employer, consumer, contractor, grantor, property owner, tenant, insurer, health-care provider, and pension guarantor. Moreover, with aggrandized police powers, what it does not control directly it bans or mandates by regulation. For example, the federal government regulates most things in your bathroom, laundry room, and kitchen, as well as the mortgage you hold on your house. It designs your automobile and dictates the kind of fuel it uses. It regulates your baby’s toys, crib, and stroller; plans your children’s school curriculum and lunch menu; and administers their student loans in college. At your place of employment, the federal government oversees everything from the racial, gender, and age diversity of the workforce to the hours, wages, and benefits paid. Indeed, the question is not what the federal government regulates, but what it does not.  And it makes you wonder— how can a people incapable of selecting their own light bulbs and toilets possess enough competence to vote for their own rulers and fill out complicated tax returns?”[1]


“I was originally skeptical of amending the Constitution by the state convention process. I fretted it could turn into a runaway caucus. As an ardent defender of the Constitution who reveres the brilliance of the Framers, I assumed this would play disastrously into the hands of the Statists. However, today I am a confident and enthusiastic advocate for the process. The text of Article V makes clear that there is a serious check in place. Whether the product of Congress or a convention, a proposed amendment has no effect at all unless ‘ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States or by Conventions in three fourths thereof...‘ This should extinguish anxiety that the state convention process could hijack the Constitution.”[2]


“What follows are proposed amendments to the Constitution— The Liberty Amendments. It is my hope and aspiration for our country that these amendments can spur interest in and, ultimately, support for the state convention process. In any event, should there come a time, sooner or later, when the states convene a convention, these amendments or amendments of the same nature— as I make no claim of unassailable knowledge— may prove useful and find their way into the debate. But a plan is what is needed, as is a first step. This is mine.”[3]


Context of the Book’s Review:

The King George TEA Party needs to identify the things it wants to do for the next 2-1/2 years as our country ramps-up to both the 2014 mid-term and 2016 general elections.  Within the context of the Convention of States project (www.conventionofstates.org), Mark Levin’s book is the potential roadmap to those amendments that would apply much-needed corrective action where a uniformly-held religion and a shared desire to improve the country, vice a separate political party, worked in centuries past.  Levin’s book has the capability to introduce the Tea Party movement to the legislative strength found in the constitutional process of an Article V Convention of States at the same time that the Convention of States project can find an popular ally in the Tea Party movement.  Together this symbiotic relationship could achieve goals that independently neither would be able to achieve.  As a result, the reviewer was looking for some specific input and guidance from this book to shape the effectiveness of TEA Party activism.


The thesis of the book (passages taken from the book):

“The thesis of this book is that it is asking too much of today’s governing masterminds and their fanatical adherents to reform the product of their own fatuity— that is, the continuing disassembly of the Constitution and society.  After all, despite one credible source after another, both within and outside the federal government, ringing alarm bells about the nation’s hazardous track—describing it as unsustainable, desperate, and immoral— they are blinded to reason, experience, and knowledge by their political DNA and ideological invincibility and therefore are intransigent to effective ameliorative steps.  They long ago renounced by word and action their adherence to the Constitution’s confinements since the Statists’ utopia and the Framers’ Constitution cannot coexist.[4]


Unlike the modern Statist, who defies, ignores, or rewrites the Constitution for the purpose of evasion, I propose that we, the people, take a closer look at the Constitution for our preservation. The Constitution itself provides the means for restoring self-government and averting societal catastrophe (or, in the case of societal collapse, resurrecting the civil society) in Article V.  Article V sets forth the two processes for amending the Constitution, the second of which I have emphasized 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...“[5]


Reviewer’s thesis of the book:

The reviewer’s thesis of this book is that the author has provided a well-founded justification and framework for strategic level goals (within the spectrum of the strategic, operational, and tactical) for restoration of our government’s focus.  Thus, conservatism could be restored by adding a handful of constitutional Amendments that force the government to (finally) govern constitutionally.


Summary of Content

The following are the suggested “restorative” Amendments:

·     An Amendment to Establish Term Limits for Members of Congress

·     An Amendment to Restore the Senate

·     An Amendment to Establish Term Limits for Supreme Court Justices and Super-Majority Legislative Override

·     Two Amendments to Limit Federal Spending and Taxing

·     An Amendment to Limit the Federal Bureaucracy

·     An Amendment to Promote Free Enterprise

·     An Amendment to Protect Private Property

·     An Amendment to Grant the States Authority to Directly Amend the Constitution

·     An Amendment to Grant the States Authority to Check Congress

·     An Amendment to Protect the Vote[6]


Analysis and Evaluation of the Book

This was an excellent book, moderately easy to read, intellectual in nature, and provided a firm argument for implementation of methods to amend the Constitution via Article V procedures.


Conclusion

A highly recommended read for understanding how to restore American governance despite the roadblocks that have been implemented to prevent such.


[1] Levin, Mark R. (2013-08-13). The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic (Kindle Locations 99-108). Threshold Editions. Kindle Edition.


[2] Ibid., Kindle Locations 217-223.


[3] Ibid., Kindle Locations 263-267.


[4] Ibid., Kindle Locations 138-143.


[5] Ibid., Kindle Locations 176-184.


[6] Ibid., Kindle Locations 20-22.

King George, Virginia