- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 5, 2009



One wrinkle overlooked in the internecine squabble between conservative thinkers Mark R. Levin and David Frum, as highlighted by Eli Lake (“The case for radically shrinking the state,” Plugged in, March 24), is how little actual disagreement there is, at least insofar as Mr. Frum’s total body of work is considered.

Mr. Levin’s “Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto” correctly rails against big-government statism, painting the statist as the enemy of constitutional liberty, fiscal sanity and moral responsibility. However so did Mr. Frum in his 1994 book, “Dead Right.” He wrote the following passage, which easily could have been authored today by Mr. Levin: “Why be thrifty any longer when your old age and health care are provided for, no matter how profligate you may be in your youth? Why be prudent when the state insures your bank deposits, replaces your flooded-out house, buys all the wheat you can grow? Why be diligent when half your earnings are taken from you and given to the idle?”

The problem has worsened considerably in the intervening 15 years, growing exponentially in the last six months. Perhaps Mr. Frum has concluded that government is now “too big to fail.” However, in the Age of Obama, constitutional conservatism will have many opportunities to resist this trend. Rather than focusing on personalities, conservatives must rise to the task of confronting spending we cannot afford and should not desire.



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