Mark Levin: ‘Plunder and Deceit’ - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Mark Levin: ‘Plunder and Deceit’

Uncanny: Mark Levin has done it again. Six years ago, Mark’s Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto appeared, quite coincidentally with the lift-off of the Tea Party. In an instant L&T became what then-Congresswoman Michele Bachmann called the party’s “intellectual foundation.” 

In this space I referred to L&T as “the book that changed America,” writing in part:

Liberty and Tyranny’s red, white, and blue flag-and-flame cover bearing Levin’s bearded visage was waved aloft at Tea Party rallies. Bachmann marvels that “it’s difficult to educate a nation” but says Tea Partiers made a point to “take copies of the book to town hall meetings” to grill House and Senate members on their knowledge of the Constitution they had taken an oath to obey. The book’s cover itself appeared in poster form. One memorable photo captured former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin at a rally seated next to a soldier, the Levin book clearly visible in her lap. While the Palin photo was both real and un-staged, there was the inevitable humorous photo shopping. North Korea’s Communist dictator Kim Jong Il — aka “The Great Leader” — was pictured brandishing a copy of the book written by the man his friends and fans call “The Great One.” Another Liberty and Tyranny fan went to work mocking Obama’s famous 2008 campaign poster, replacing Obama’s image with an iconic rendering of Levin, the caption changed from “Hope and Change” to read simply: “The Great One.”

Now comes Plunder and Deceit: Big Government’s Exploitation of Young People and the Future. A frightening look into exactly what today’s thoughtless and greedy ruling generation of Americans are leaving behind for the next generation — their own children.

Again by the purest of coincidence the book appears as the wave of support for Donald Trump hits the political shores, with one poll after another showing Americans rallying to the candidate who speaks in blunt terms about the incompetence of Washington politicians and their endless spendthrift ways that are mindlessly turning America into Greece, spending and regulating the “last best hope” of man on earth into oblivion. As Trump noted the other day, quite separate from Trump himself this furious resistance to elites in both parties and the media has become a movement unto itself. Meanwhile, on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Americans are seeing the startling sight of another GOP presidential candidate, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, directly taking on the Senate GOP Leadership, with Cruz accusing McConnell of explicitly lying to him in an effort to preserve support for the cronyism that is the Export-Import Bank. 

Plunder and Deceit is the literary version of what is driving this movement, with Mark noting this telling thought from Charles de Montesquieu, the French philosopher whose thinking was so “influential on the Constitution’s Framers”: 

When that virtue ceases, ambition enters those hearts that can admit it, and avarice enters them all…. Formerly the goods of individuals made up the public treasury, the public treasury has now become the patrimony of individuals. The republic is a cast-off husk, and its strength is no more than the power of a few citizens and the license of all.

The public treasury as “the patrimony of individuals” with a “few citizens” — aka Washington special interests — having “the license of all” is exactly illustrated by the current controversy over those Planned Parenthood videos that have horrified Americans with the revelation of crushing baby heads to sell various body parts. Well aside from the appalling immorality — other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play? — the stunning news that Planned Parenthood receives $500 million a year from the public treasury is a pluperfect illustration of Mark’s point that today’s ruling generation is setting up the next — and the next after that on down the line — for a devastating future of “economic and societal calamity.” Writes Mark:

The consequences for the rising generation and future generations of the statists’ immoral, politically expedient, and economically ruinous behavior and policies are unambiguous as evidenced by statistic after statistic, which are mainly ignored, discounted, or excused by most of the media, academia, and, of course, government statists. Nonetheless, there is no mistaking the eventual societal turmoil these facts and figures portend — evidence all Americans, and especially younger people, must heed. 

Exhibit A in this is, of course, the debt, simultaneously the result of both plunder and deceit. Mark addresses it head on:

The nation’s fiscal operating debt was already $10.6 trillion on the day President Barack Obama took office in January 2009. By the end of January 2012, however, the fiscal operating debt had increased 44.5 percent to $15.4 million. As of April 12, 2015, the fiscal operating debt was $18.152trillion — a 71 percent increase in less than six and one half years. Each man, woman, and child in this country’s share of the national debt has grown from $33,220 at the beginning of the Obama presidency to more than $56,900 today. To be sure, the debt habit began long before the Obama presidency, but it is now a full-blown addiction. 

So it is. And it isn’t the only addiction, either. Working his way through Social Security (“it will stop with a crash”), Medicare, and Obamacare (federal control of health care “another impending fiasco”), immigration (“assimilation no longer means Americanization”), education (“too often driven by statist ideology and objectives, academic fads and social experimentation”), the environment (a war on capitalism conducted by extremists “whose real ideology and agenda extend far beyond clean air and water”), the minimum wage (“ a job killer”), and more, Mark patiently connects each to the fate of the “rising generation” that is America’s future.

Suffice to say, as the title of the book illustrates, none of this is good news for those who will someday themselves become “the ruling generation.”

No Levin book would be complete without a discussion of the Constitution, and Plunder and Deceit does not disappoint. He writes:

Why should the United States Constitution, and the faithful adherence to and execution of it by public officials, matter to younger people? It provides the governing order of a republic intended to protect the individual’s liberty from a tyrannical centralized authority and, conversely, the anarchy of mob rule.

President Ronald Reagan once pointedly noted:

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.

Exactly. And alas the current “ruling generation” — those who “naturally and tenaciously guard their young children from threat and peril” — are in fact setting up those very children, the next ruling generation of America, for a serious fall. 

Mark makes a point towards the end of the book of calling for what he calls a “New Civil Rights Movement.” Which he describes as:

… not of the sort that exists today, which has been co-opted by statists, is often led by hucksters, and serves as a surrogate and advocate for centralized government and its pervasive agenda. But a truly new civil rights movement organized around fostering liberty and prosperity for younger people and future generations and against their continued exploitation. Indeed, the well-being of America’s younger people through the restoration and then preservation of the nation’s founding principles should be the primary objective of public policy debates.

Yes — but as Mark also notes, this is easier said than done. 

My own favorite in challenging the statist status quo is in The Liberty Amendments, the last Levin book, which focused on the Constitution’s Article V Convention of the States process. In Plunder and Deceit he notes of it this way, saying that the Article V process “empowers the American people, through their state legislatures, to civilly and lawfully reform an oppressive federal government.”

This reverberates every time the now-Republican led Congress refuses to seriously challenge the status quo or worse, as Senator Cruz made crystal clear over the weekend, lies about doing so. The latter that only results in further inflaming an already furious conservative base of the Republican Party. It reverberates every time the Supreme Court decides to remove a major social issue from the decision-making abilities of the American public. It reverberates every time Congress concedes some of its power to un-elected regulation-making bureaucracies.

The combination of all of this “Plunder and Deceit” is a toxic if not potentially lethal combination for the next generation of Americans — and the next and the next.

The question Mark poses at the end of this book should give the next generation pause. 

So, I ask the rising generation — America’s younger people — what do you choose for yourself and future generations? Do you choose liberty or tyranny? And what do you intend to do about it?

As always when reading Mark Levin — good question. One can only hope that for their sake the members of the rising generation have an answer.

Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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