Alex Knapp is blogging Mark Levin’s “conservative manifesto” Liberty and Tyranny (here, here, and here so far – he’s only gotten through chapter two). This is good for me because Alex is the one who gets to suffer through Levin’s book, and I get to read Alex make fun of Levin instead. Saves me time and sanity.
Here’s Alex riffing off of Levin’s claim that – because of ‘statists’ – we are living in an age of “diminishing liberty”:
This is an incredibly simplistic way of looking at the world. In most ways — not all ways, but most ways — Americans are freer now than they’ve ever been. Consider the country’s state at the Founding — only landowners could vote. Women couldn’t own property. Blacks were property. Native Americans were being murdered and having their land stolen from them. Asians were prohibited from immigrating into the country. Trials were short, provided very few protections for defendants, and most people accused of crimes were on their own when it came to representation. Most trades were locked down by guilds, which were protected by law. State chartered corporations dominated the economy. Government jobs were determined by who was in favor with the local party bigwigs. You couldn’t have a business open on Sunday or overnight. Blacks, Germans, Irish, and Italians were forbidden from even entering certain towns, or at least staying overnight in them.
Almost 250 years later, can you honestly tell me that people are less free than when the country was founded? The economy is enormously freer. Civil service is determined by merit, not political bootlicking. (Thanks for that, James Garfield!) Women can own property and their husbands can’t rape them. Slavery has been abolished. Equal treatment is the law of the land. Immigration is no longer determined by race. Defendants have much more protection from the depredations of the State. Every citizen can vote regardless of whether they own land.
There are a lot of problems, to be sure. And the federal government, in the name of the “war on terror” has adopted an enormous number of illiberal, unconstitutional policies. But I’ll take today over 1790 in a heartbeat when it comes to personal liberty. There is no doubt in my mind that this is a freer country than it was in 1790.
Absolutely. The rest of the three posts are well worth a read. Not because Levin deserves your attention, but because mockery of Levin deserves your attention. Surely now, Alex will join the ranks of the world’s most deranged bloggers….