By Jeffrey Lord on 1.17.12 @ 6:08AM
Mark Levin’s literary dynamite detonates in midst of GOP primaries.
Mark Levin has an uncanny knack for writing a book that isn’t simply a popular bestseller. Levin’s last book, Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto, became a major political player in the 2010 elections. Literary dynamite, if you will, tossed into the political scene with the fuse lit.
Now comes the just released Ameritopia, making it plain Mark Levin has done it again. In fact, without doubt, Ameritopia should be considered the companion book to Liberty and Tyranny.
And yet again it is the historical rarity of a book as major political player — this time at the very heart of the 2012 presidential election itself.
Liberty and Tyranny was a detailed reply to the liberal assault on the Constitution, a combined history lesson and tribute to cherished constitutional beliefs of individual freedom and liberty. Replete with a conservative “how to” manifesto suggesting ways to fight the Leviathan.
That book sold a stunning 1.3 million copies. To understand a fraction of the impact Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny had on Americans, take a look at this video of a Levin book signing for L&T in Virginia, a mere glimpse of the striking phenomenon the book became in the onrush of the landmark 2010 congressional elections. The book quickly emerged, in the words of House Tea Party Caucus Chair Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, as the “intellectual balance and foundation” for the emerging Tea Party movement itself. The Tea Party — the now famous political fuel that rocketed the GOP to that major success in the 2010 congressional elections.
Why will Ameritopia make such an explosive impact in 2012?
Because this time Levin gets to the core of what drives not just the American left in the Obama era but what has driven left-wingers through the millennia of human existence itself.
That would be?
Utopia, of course. Or, as Levin refits the word to describe the American version of utopia — Ameritopia.
Levin’s analysis is deadly to liberalism. Deadly.
Once Ameritopia is read and understood, no cognizant person will not understand what is unfolding around them in 21st century America — and for that matter what has been unfolding in spurts and stops right from the get go of humanity itself, not to mention America. Ameritopia is historical X-ray vision in book form.
Typically, Mark Levin has done his homework… a lot of it…. and it shows. With apologies to J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter, you might say Levin uncovers the philosopher’s stone of American liberalism. Make that philosophers in the plural. And in doing so connects the dots from the likes of Plato, Thomas More, Thomas Hobbes, and Karl Marx straight to what every day Americans are experiencing not simply with life in the Obama-era but with the very essence of liberalism itself. A liberalism that is more properly called statism, a term Levin resurrected from the past that now increasingly floods the public dialogue surely as a direct result of the popularity of Liberty and Tyranny.
WHAT IN THE WORLD makes any of these people relevant to today?
If you want to understand what’s really at work with the mentality that has produced everything from Obamacare to the EPA, campaign finance reform, Roe v. Wade, gay marriage, the controversy over Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital, the New Deal, the Great Society and Fannie Mae — to name a small handful of historical political programs and controversies — Ameritopia is the “must read” of 2012. And beyond.
Plato as American political player in the 2012 campaign? While Levin notes that the famous Greek philosopher wasn’t, even way back in 380 BC, the first to enthuse about a utopian society, he is surely among the most prominent. Plato’s Republic was all about the construction of what Plato called an “ideal city” filled with “Guardians” — Guardians, Levin notes, who will decide who gets what.
Stop right here.
Remember this line from the 2008 campaign?
Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth. This was the moment—this was the time—when we came together to remake this great nation…
In short, this is Obama as Plato. This vision is not the vision of the Founding Fathers. This is utopianism. Or, in its Americanized version, exactly what Levin calls it in his title: Ameritopia.
What Barack Obama is describing is a fantasy. A world where there is no imperfection. A world in which he personally — assuming the modern-day role of Plato’s Guardian — will see to it that every last one of a population of over 300 million has care when sick and always a good job. Like King Canute, Obama will be able to command the oceans when not busy healing the planet.
How will he do it? That’s right. Obamacare. The stimulus. The EPA. Withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan, cutting the military budget. And on… and on and on.
These are the modern signposts of utopia. If they are but done, Obamaites and statists insist, there will be utopia in America.
A concept Levin finds as laughable as it is dangerous, summing up the reality in Ameritopia’s subtitle: “The Unmaking of America.”
All of which makes the book Ameritopia not just a political player in 2012 but a very, very dangerous political player to Obama and his fellow statists.
Ameritopia rips the veil off of statism. In a precise, detailed, just-the-historical-facts ma’am fashion, Levin demonstrates that the Obama worldview — indeed the entire worldview of the American left — is now and has ever been nothing more than an ancient historical shell game. A sham from start to finish. Or, in the words of Plato, a “noble lie.” Except, of course, as Levin documents repeatedly, there’s nothing noble about the lie.
FROM PLATO, LEVIN MOVES on to Sir Thomas More’s famous novel from 1516. That’s right — 1516, some 496 years ago. What was the title of More’s novel? Right again. It was More’s novel Utopia that gave title to the concept of a world where, as Levin notes, a society exists “in which every need is answered and every want is either met or made results in near-perfect existence.”
Chillingly, More anticipated Obamacare by almost 500 years. In Thomas More’s Utopia there is — wait for it — free health care. Writes More:
For in the circuit of the city… have four hospitals, so big, so wide, so ample, and so large, that they may seem four little towns.… These hospitals are so well appointed, and with all things necessary to health so furnished… there is no sick person in all the city that had not rather lie there than at home in his own house.
And what happens in More’s Utopia to those who are very ill? Writes Levin of More’s idea:
Therefore, individuals who suffer from incurable diseases or fatal conditions, and who are no longer of use to the society in general are encouraged to commit suicide to ease their pain and alleviate the burden they represent to island civilization.
And then specifically quotes the great concept of health care in Utopia as written by More himself:
They that be persuaded finish their lives willingly, either with hunger, or else die in their sleep without any feeling of death.
In other words, Thomas More as an early enthusiast of what Sarah Palin called the “death panels” of ObamaCare.
Thus Barack Obama’s philosophy at work in the 16th century.
LEVIN CONTINUES this devastating tour of various utopias and the always present authoritarian mindset. On through Thomas Hobbes and his Leviathan, and finally that most influential utopian of modern times — Karl Marx and his utopian vision of class struggle: The Communist Manifesto.
Forget, if you can, the sheer evil, the mass murder, the totalitarianism that history now records in considerable detail as accompanying Marx’s idea of utopia.
Focus on present-day America and one will understand why Mark Levin calls his book Ameritopia and exactly why this book is destined to attract the utter fury of today’s utopians.
Take a look around your own home — a good, long look (that is, if you haven’t lost your home as a result of the utopian quest for homeownership for all). Take a good look. What do you see? Levin describes Ameritopia as it appears in your American home:
Inside the home, the federal government regulates washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, dishwasher detergents, microwave ovens, toilets, showerheads, heating and cooling systems, refrigerators, freezers, furnace fans and boilers, ceiling fans, dehumidifiers, lightbulbs, certain renovations, fitness equipment, clothing, baby cribs, pacifiers, rattles and toys, marbles, latex balloons, matchbooks, bunk beds, mattresses, mattress pads, televisions, radios, cell phones, iPods and other digital media devices, computer components, video recording devices, speakers, batteries, battery charges, power supplies, stereo equipment, garage door openers, lawn mowers, lawn darts, pool slides… toothpaste, deodorant, dentures…
In case this list hasn’t staggered, Levin cites a report from the Heartland Institute that performs the same Ameritopia checklist on your automobile. Sure enough, in the land that has become Ameritopia the cumulative utopian list of mandates for your car includes standards for your car’s
engines, bumpers, headrests, seat belts, door latches, brakes, fuel systems, and windshields” as well as side-door guard beams and energy absorbing steering columns…airbags, a centered/rear brake light and electronic stability control system…
And that doesn’t even included the federal government standards the Cato Institute reports that require, Levin notes, “new car fleets to average 35.5 mpg by 2016.”
Is it any wonder, then, that with Ameritopia so intimately woven into the fabric of your everyday life that the larger, more cosmic world of government policy is chock-a-block with the Ameritopia mindset?
Beginning with the famous entitlements of Social Security and Medicare, there is not an area of American life untouched by the unsatiable government mandates of Ameritopia. Levin points out a fraction of them:
Homebuilders must comply with the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act and the National Historic Preservation Act.
And on it goes. And on and on it goes.
Is it any wonder than that Americans in 2012 are rebelling? Is it any wonder that Tea Partiers were waving Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny in the air at their rallies?
One of the more interesting aspects of Liberty and Tyranny was Levin’s ability to popularize a very old and practically vanished word: the “statist.” Meaning someone who believes in the supremacy of the state — which, of course, describes the modern American leftist perfectly.
In Ameritopia, Levin will do for John Locke and Charles de Montesquieu what he did for the term statist. Make them famous — if famous again.
Because it is Locke, Montesquieu, and the always well-known Alexis de Tocqueville who have long ago recognized the threat of utopians and detailed the proper response.
It was the English philosopher and physician Locke, one of the most important thinkers of the Enlightenment, and the French philosopher Montesquieu, who together provided a considerable amount of the thinking that would later be used by the Founders as they carefully crafted the Constitution.
It was Locke who insisted on understanding the true nature of man, says Levin, as opposed to utopians and their lust for “insensate societies based on their own prejudices and fantasies.” And that true nature is, among other things, imperfect. Utopia, is, then, unobtainable. Yesterday, today, tomorrow — and forever.
LET’S GO BACK for a moment to but two examples of utopian imperfection that Levin provides in his book. Two examples that are well familiar to every American: the “entitlements” of Social Security and Medicare.
What, after all, was the real origin of these two programs aimed at the elderly and health care for the elderly? Who thought them up? If you are under the impression these programs were the work of assorted 20th century liberal intellectuals and politicians you would be wrong. Yes, Levin names the names of those involved in creating these programs. Columbia University professor Henry Rogers Seager came up with the modern idea of Social Security in his 1910 study Social Insurance: A Program of Social Reform. There is the later bread-crumb trail of American liberal politicians like Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson and 1960s-era House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Wilbur Mills.
But, in the end, of course, the real origin of these twin modern problems was that each of these people (and more) were busily trying to create utopia in America.
And, oh by the way, there was that political side benefit of thinking this would elect fellow liberals through eternity.
What was the original utopian concept? Social insurance for seniors and medical care as well. What could possibly go wrong? What went wrong, of course, is the point Levin highlights throughout his book. In the quest for a perfect world, utopians time and again and always crash into the rocks of reality.
Says Levin of these two pillars of Ameritopia:
… in 2010, the CBO [Congressional Budget Office] estimated that unfunded obligations for Medicare and Social Security are $25 trillion and $21.4 trillion, respectively. Both programs are economically unviable.
In other words: Oops.
Or, as Ronald Reagan might say: There they go again.
Why is this happening to Social Security and Medicare? Why are they destined to crash on the rocks of economic unviability?
Because while on the surface these two programs were supposed to be dealing with social insurance and health care for seniors — in fact what they were really were nothing more than 20th century efforts at bringing utopia to America. Establishing a country where, in complete violation of Locke’s principles about the nature of man, nothing could go wrong. Benefiting politically from selling the whole thing to the gullible.
Now — with the predictability of the sun rising in East — economic disaster looms. Shocker!
SO. LET’S BRING THIS BACK where we started.
The idea of Ameritopia as a political player at the dead center of the 2012 presidential campaign.
What Mark Levin has done with this book — exactly as he did with Liberty and Tyranny — is shine a blinding spotlight on what’s really going wrong in this country. (And the favorable reviews are already coming, as here at PJ Media.) He has illustrated in vivid terms the considerable danger posed by utopian masterminds who have led this country, by leaps and bounds when not by degrees, to what Levin accurately calls a “Post-Constitutional America.”
With considerable hard work Levin has managed to pull together for modern consumption a serious understanding of what Americans are really hearing and seeing when they hear, say, Barack Obama go on and on about being a transformational president halting the rise of the oceans or Obamacare or the need for an almost trillion dollar government stimulus.
Discerning conservatives will have their own reasons to be discomfited when they hear Mitt Romney defend Romneycare or Newt Gingrich attack Bain Capital or Rick Santorum discuss why he supported earmarks.
In their own fashion, each and every one of these people, the presumed “great men” of our era, are looking for a slice of utopia. Looking, as Levin has noted elsewhere, “to create ideal societies.” Ideal societies that can in fact never exist but inevitably wind up creating totalitarian regimes.
It also needs to be said here that Mark Levin is thoroughly establishing himself as a serious public intellectual — a William Buckley, a Daniel Patrick Moynihan (a John Locke?) of today. Yes, yes, yes, the talk radio “get off the phone you big dope” persona is entertaining. But make no mistake here. Mark Levin is a considerably serious man, a serious thinker whose books matter.
What Mark Levin has accomplished here is to write a book that, figuratively speaking, blows up the whole, long on-going game centered around Plato’s “noble lie.” Thanks to Levin, John Locke, the “profound” influence on the Founders, is, finally, ready for his close-up.
Ameritopia is not just a book, it’s a dangerous book. A serious political player. Dangerous to utopians from the White House to your neighbor’s house who, in the eternal human quest for a perfection unobtainable by definition, are possessed in trying to construct a society that will — can only — lead to disaster and despotism.
It asks, in its author’s words, the central question of campaign 2012 and beyond:
“So, my fellow countrymen, which do we choose — Ameritopia or America?”
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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