Which makes Levin's new book, Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto, fascinating to read - even if you're liberally-inclined.
The concept of Liberty and Tyranny is a simple one. Written last year - when the lack of cohesive leadership within the conservative movement was at its most obvious - Liberty and Tyranny is essentially a call to arms for conservatives.
Styled after Karl Marx's 'Communist Manifesto,' it explores what conservatism really is, where the movement's origins lie and what its goals are. He challenges what it means to call yourself 'a conservative' - and Levin even finishes his 'manifesto' on the same note as Marx - a conservative version of the call to action: 'Workers of the World Unite!'
The book demonstrates what a multifaceted concept 'conservatism' has become - and how competing conservative voices often clash as they stand up for opposing values.
What Levin accomplishes is stripping down the values of competing voices, peeling away each prejudice until all that's left are the essential ingredients that make up a 'true' conservative.
It's in recognizing shared values that libertarians, social conservatives and other self-styled conservatives can find a common purpose, even if they disagree on other important issues.
It's in achieving this that Levin's manifesto becomes frighteningly effective.
In attacking liberalism, Levin resorts to crude, but effective techniques. His first step is in refusing to call the left-wing 'liberals' at all. He prefers the more chilling: 'statist.'
As the word "liberal" is, in its classical meaning, the opposite of authoritarian, it is more accurate, therefore, to characterize the Modern Liberal as a Statist.But Levin uses more than name-calling to skewer the left wing - identifying key hypocrisies within the liberal agenda and nailing them with aplomb.
For example, Levin identifies how liberal government bypasses the 1st Amendment 'Right to Free Speech' by encouraging political correctness - the muzzling of free expression through accusations of racism, sexism or bigotry.
The Statist veils his pursuits in moral indignation, intoning in high dudgeon the injustices and inequities of liberty.He similarly highlights how the left-wing use the U.S. Supreme Court to undermine popular law - 'legislating from the bench' to bypass the democratic process.
This is what he calls a 'soft tyranny' - a concept he lifted from Alexis de Tocqueville's book Democracy in America. Levin argues that America has been heading down this path of 'tyranny' ever since Roosevelt's 'New Deal' - and his manifesto warns conservatives that they share a common duty: Opposing the growth of a 'conglomerate' federal government.
Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto is quite unlike any conservative book I've read before, because it has gravitas. Most conservative authors (like the clownish Glenn Beck) produce lightweight literature that's easy to dismiss. Mark Levin, on the other hand, makes a credible case that resonates even with die-hard liberals like myself.
It's not light reading - Levin has a doctorate in law and writes like it. But Liberty and Tyranny is nevertheless an energizing read for conservatives and a thought-provoking one for the rest of us. He might not win any new recruits, but anybody brave enough to read this book will certainly have a new perspective on the ideology of the right wing.
Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto by Mark R. Levin is available now for $15.00