AMERITOPIA: Mark Levin Connects the Dots
When I came across the line that "Utopia misapprehends man's nature," I had to stop reading and make a note to self. I do this with any brilliantly succinct and accurate notion. This line was so good that I wish I had written it myself. I had not.
Mark Levin wrote that and many other such nuggets -- and wove them into a tightly coherent narrative on where and why America is today. It's entitled Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America, published today. Like his Liberty and Tyranny three years ago, this book should defy publishing gravity and demonstrate that Americans are indeed interested in intellectual history -- as long as the author can make it compelling and demonstrate relevance.
Levin does both.
Before reading the book, I assumed that Mark would show us where we are headed as a nation. I was wrong. Instead he shows us where we already are and why we are there. The style is conversational -- like the style of that one history professor you might have known who really made history fun. But do not be fooled. The research underlying the conversation is comprehensive, and the easy flow is infused throughout with simple profundities.
It struck me from the opening pages that Levin knew exactly where the book was going before he started it. This will not surprise anyone familiar with Levin's career -- which includes not only a number of books, but his nationally syndicated radio show and a busy speaking schedule. His readers and listeners already know that he is passionate and knowledgeable about America and our Constitution and our place in history. This comes through loud and clear in the pages of Ameritopia, as it does when any liberal "dope" has to be ushered off the line on Levin's radio show.
From his days in the Reagan administration and the Landmark Legal Foundation -- through his introduction to radio as "F. Lee Levin, EIB Special Legal Correspondent" for the Rush Limbaugh Show and up through today -- Levin has always spoken forcefully and logically about this experiment in self-government, and always aimed his righteous anger and rapier wit at anyone or anything that threatens it.
In other words, he does not suffer gladly anyone or any ideas that threaten our nation as founded.
And Levin demonstrates that what most threatens America today is a thought process and a mindset that deserve a front-row seat on the ash heap of history. As you no doubt deduced from the title of the book, this is the misguided notion that some among us think that we can form a perfect union: a Utopia. Our Founders knew better, as they specifically aimed for this nation merely to form "a more perfect union."
To hammer home that our Republic is already rather well-advanced on this wayward path, Levin brings Plato and Thomas More and Thomas Hobbes and Karl Marx -- not to mention FDR and LBJ and the Clintons and Barack Obama -- right into your kitchen and into your garage and into your medicine cabinet. He tells you why they are there -- and why you have the moral imperative to kick them out.
Ameritopia is eye-opening as Levin connects all utopian attempts with our own modern utopians. Far from being fresh hope and change, utopian attempts are always hopeless and stale.
Part One, which contains the first five chapters, is a stunning history lesson that will have you thinking that you are reading quotes from Wasserman-Schultz, Nancy Pelosi, and Thomas Friedman instead of Plato, Hobbes, and Marx. Not so great minds think alike -- obviously.
Levin shows that in all previous theoretical utopian societies the ruling elites required arbitrary bureaucratic control -- which he describes this way:
Consequently, the mastermind relies on uniform standards born of insufficient knowledge and information, crafted from his own predilections, values, stereotypes, experiences, idiosyncrasies, desires, prejudices, and, of course fantasy.
No, that is not a modern job description for today's government bureaucrats. It is the template for Marx's and Engel's government planners. But who could blame readers if they should think it a description of almost any government bureaucracy they know? In fact, the consistency of thought between all of the failed utopian thinkers of the past and modern American liberals is simply astounding.
Part Two -- the next five chapters -- discusses the great minds that inspired/recognized the Founding principles of our nation. What leaps off the pages is the grasp and vision they had for the America we all know and love.
Levin writes, "In America, Tocqueville saw equality, properly comprehended. That is, in the context of inalienable rights -- and as practiced nowhere else." It's as if Levin himself picks up his game as he writes of the prescient genius of de Tocqueville and Montesquieu. The reader will recognize America as founded in the words and will share the author's passion for and awe of those who inspired and defined it.
Part 3, the final two chapters and an Epilogue, really connects the past with the present, and Levin does so without any rose-colored glasses. The choices we face as a people are real, and they are stark, and they are upon us now. Using a Ronald Reagan quote to close the book is perfect -- demonstrating not only Reagan's stunning prescience, but also the author's understanding of this point in history.
All of which makes Ameritopia a must-read for anyone who wants to participate in the arena of ideas that will determine the future of our republic. It is a fast-moving conversation that you need to have -- and you'll be astounded at how much you have learned and how many of your deepest notions about America, liberals, and human nature are validated.