Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America

Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America

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by Mark R. Levin
     
 

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#1 New York Times bestselling author Mark Levin explores the philosophical basis of America’s foundations and the crisis that faces government today.

Overview

#1 New York Times bestselling author Mark Levin explores the philosophical basis of America’s foundations and the crisis that faces government today.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The companion book to Liberty and Tyranny. . . . Levin’s analysis is deadly to liberalism. . . . Ameritopia is historical X-ray vision in book form.”
—Jeffrey Lord, The American Spectator

“A must-read for Americans of all political persuasions. . . . An honest discussion of the dangers presently facing our country. . . . Levin does a fantastic job.”

—Jedediah Bila, Newsmax

“Mark Levin has a unique ability to take complex subjects and boil them down to their essentials.”

—Erick Erickson, Red State

“That Levin wrote this book now demonstrates not only his passion for the United States, but his awareness that he is a statesman defending natural law at a pivotal moment in human history. . . . Mark Levin [does] the lion’s share of our shouting—eloquently—with Ameritopia.”

PJ Media

Kirkus Reviews
Right-wing commentator Levin (Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto, 2009, etc.) charges that America is in danger of losing itself to soul-crushing collectivism. Many non-conservative readers may instinctively think that efforts to "level the playing field" will make America great again. Not so, writes the author, who's leery of "radical egalitarianism" and fears it's just another stab at utopianism, a system, no matter how well intentioned, that concentrates power in a central authority. "Like all other failed forms of utopianism in the past, Levin argues that the new utopianism will ultimately lead to tyranny and the enslavement of its citizens. Utopianism," writes Levin, "is tyranny born of intellectual bankruptcy and dishonesty. The proof is seen every day in the words and actions of politicians, judges, bureaucrats, and the media." The author frequently cites the works of Plato, Hobbes More and other noted thinkers in an effort to bolster his argument. In fact, Levin rarely goes a paragraph without importing huge tracts of texts from other writers. Ultimately, the book never rises above partisanship and is not likely to win any converts. It seems a stretch to claim that there is any movement currently afoot in the United States today that is even remotely comparable to the societal changes implemented in Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto. Simply invoking the words of Ronald Reagan might appease some, but it is hardly sufficient for constructing a convincing argument. A polemic for like-minded readers.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781439173244
Publisher:
Threshold Editions
Publication date:
01/17/2012
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

EPILOGUE

MY PREMISE, IN THE first sentence of the first chapter of this book, is this: “Tyranny, broadly defined, is the use of power to dehumanize the individual and delegitimize his nature. Political utopianism is tyranny disguised as a desirable, workable, and even paradisiacal governing ideology.”

Plato’s Republic, More’s Utopia, Hobbes’s Leviathan, and Marx’s workers’ paradise are utopias that are anti-individual and anti-individualism. For the utopians, modern and olden, the individual is one-dimensional—selfish. On his own, he has little moral value. Contrarily, authoritarianism is defended as altruistic and masterminds as socially conscious. Thus endless interventions in the individual’s life and manipulation of his conditions are justified as not only necessary and desirable but noble governmental pursuits. This false dialectic is at the heart of the problem we face today.

In truth, man is naturally independent and self-reliant, which are attributes that contribute to his own well-being and survival, and the well-being and survival of a civil society. He is also a social being who is charitable and compassionate. History abounds with examples, as do the daily lives of individuals. To condemn individualism as the utopians do is to condemn the very foundation of the civil society and the American founding and endorse, wittingly or unwittingly, oppression. Karl Popper saw it as an attack on Western civilization. “The emancipation of the individual was indeed the great spiritual revolution which had led to the breakdown of tribalism and to the rise of democracy.”1 Moreover, Judaism and Christianity, among other religions, teach the altruism of the individual.

Of course, this is not to defend anarchy. Quite the opposite. It is to endorse the magnificence of the American founding. The American founding was an exceptional exercise in collective human virtue and wisdom—a culmination of thousands of years of experience, knowledge, reason, and faith. The Declaration of Independence is a remarkable societal proclamation of human rights, brilliant in its insight, clarity, and conciseness. The Constitution of the United States is an extraordinary matrix of governmental limits, checks, balances, and divisions, intended to secure for posterity the individual’s sovereignty as proclaimed in the Declaration.

This is the grand heritage to which every American citizen is born. It has been characterized as “the American Dream,” “the American experiment,” and “American exceptionalism.” The country has been called “the Land of Opportunity,” “the Land of Milk and Honey,” and “a Shining City on a Hill.” It seems unimaginable that a people so endowed by Providence, and the beneficiaries of such unparalleled human excellence, would choose or tolerate a course that ensures their own decline and enslavement, for a government unleashed on the civil society is a government that destroys the nature of man.

On September 17, 1787, at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Delegate James Wilson, on behalf of his ailing colleague from Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin, read aloud Franklin’s speech to the convention in favor of adopting the Constitution. Among other things, Franklin said that the Constitution “is likely to be well administered for a Course of Years, and can only end in Despotism as other Forms have done before it, when the People shall become corrupt as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.…”2

Have we “become corrupt”? Are we in need of “despotic government”? It appears that some modern-day “leading lights” think so, as they press their fanatical utopianism. For example, Richard Stengel, managing editor of Time magazine, considers the Constitution a utopian expedient. He wrote, “If the Constitution was intended to limit the federal government, it sure doesn’t say so.… The framers weren’t afraid of a little messiness. Which is another reason we shouldn’t be so delicate about changing the Constitution or reinterpreting it.”3 It is beyond dispute that the Framers sought to limit the scope of federal power and that the Constitution does so. Moreover, constitutional change was not left to the masterminds but deliberately made difficult to ensure the broad participation and consent of the body politic.

Richard Cohen, a columnist for the Washington Post, explained that the Constitution is an amazing document, as long as it is mostly ignored, particularly the limits it imposes on the federal government. He wrote, “This fatuous infatuation with the Constitution, particularly the 10th Amendment, is clearly the work of witches, wiccans, and wackos. It has nothing to do with America’s real problems and, if taken too seriously, would cause an economic and political calamity. The Constitution is a wonderful document, quite miraculous actually, but only because it has been wisely adapted to changing times. To adhere to the very word of its every clause hardly is respectful to the Founding Fathers. They were revolutionaries who embraced change. That’s how we got here.”4 Of course, without the promise of the Tenth Amendment, the Constitution would not have been ratified, since the states insisted on retaining most of their sovereignty. Furthermore, the Framers clearly did not embrace the utopian change demanded by its modern adherents.

Lest we ignore history, the no-less-eminent American revolutionary and founder Thomas Jefferson explained, “On every question of construction, carry ourselves back to the time when the constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”5

Thomas L. Friedman, a columnist for the New York Times and three-time Pulitzer Prize recipient, is even more forthright in his dismissal of constitutional republicanism and advocacy for utopian tyranny. Complaining of the slowness of American society in adopting sweeping utopian policies, he wrote, “There is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today. One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century.”6 Of course, China remains a police state, where civil liberties are nonexistent, despite its experiment with government-managed pseudo-capitalism. Friedman’s declaration underscores not only the necessary intolerance utopians have for constitutionalism, but their infatuation with totalitarianism.

It is neither prudential nor virtuous to downplay or dismiss the obvious—that America has already transformed into Ameritopia. The centralization and consolidation of power in a political class that insulates its agenda in entrenched experts and administrators, whose authority is also self-perpetuating, is apparent all around us and growing more formidable. The issue is whether the ongoing transformation can be restrained and then reversed, or whether it will continue with increasing zeal, passing from a soft tyranny to something more oppressive. Hayek observed that “priding itself on having built its world as if it had designed it, and blaming itself for not having designed it better, humankind is now to set out to do just that. The aim … is no less than to effect a complete redesigning of our traditional morals, law, and language, and on this basis to stamp out the older order and supposedly inexorable, unjustifiable conditions that prevent the institution of reason, fulfillment, true freedom, and justice.”7 But the outcome of this adventurism, if not effectively stunted, is not in doubt.

In the end, can mankind stave off the powerful and dark forces of utopian tyranny? While John Locke was surely right about man’s nature and the civil society, he was also right about that which threatens them. Locke, Montesquieu, many of the philosophers of the European Enlightenment, and the Founders, among others, knew that the history of organized government is mostly a history of a relative few and perfidious men co-opting, coercing, and eventually repressing the many through the centralization and consolidation of authority.

Ironically and tragically, it seems that liberty and the constitution established to preserve it are not only essential to the individual’s well-being and happiness, but also an opportunity for the devious to exploit them and connive against them. Man has yet to devise a lasting institutional answer to this puzzle. The best that can be said is that all that really stands between the individual and tyranny is a resolute and sober people. It is the people, after all, around whom the civil society has grown and governmental institutions have been established. At last, the people are responsible for upholding the civil society and republican government, to which their fate is moored.

The essential question is whether, in America, the people’s psychology has been so successfully warped, the individual’s spirit so thoroughly trounced, and the civil society’s institutions so effectively overwhelmed that revival is possible. Have too many among us already surrendered or been conquered? Can the people overcome the constant and relentless influences of ideological indoctrination, economic manipulation, and administrative coerciveness, or have they become hopelessly entangled in and dependent on a ubiquitous federal government? Have the Pavlovian appeals to radical egalitarianism, and the fomenting of jealousy and faction through class warfare and collectivism, conditioned the people to accept or even demand compulsory uniformity as just and righteous? Is it accepted as legitimate and routine that the government has sufficient license to act whenever it claims to do so for the good of the people and against the selfishness of the individual?

No society is guaranteed perpetual existence. But I have to believe that the American people are not ready for servitude, for if this is our destiny, and the destiny of our children, I cannot conceive that any people, now or in the future, will successfully resist it for long. I have to believe that this generation of Americans will not condemn future generations to centuries of misery and darkness.

The Tea Party movement is a hopeful sign. Its members come from all walks of life and every corner of the country. These citizens have the spirit and enthusiasm of the Founding Fathers, proclaim the principles of individual liberty and rights in the Declaration, and insist on the federal government’s compliance with the Constitution’s limits. This explains the utopian fury against them. They are astutely aware of the peril of the moment. But there are also the Pollyannas and blissfully indifferent citizens who must be roused and enlisted lest the civil society continue to unravel and eventually dissolve, and the despotism long feared take firm hold.

Upon taking the oath of office on January 20, 1981, in his first inaugural address President Ronald Reagan told the American people:

If we look to the answer as to why for so many years we achieved so much, prospered as no other people on earth, it was because here in this land we unleashed the energy and individual genius of man to a greater extent than has ever been done before. Freedom and the dignity of the individual have been more available and assured here than in any other place on earth. The price for this freedom at times has been high, but we have never been unwilling to pay that price. It is no coincidence that our present troubles parallel and are proportionate to the intervention and intrusion in our lives that result from unnecessary and excessive growth of government. It is time for us to realize that we are too great a nation to limit ourselves to small dreams. We’re not, as some would have us believe, doomed to an inevitable decline. I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing.

So, my fellow countrymen, which do we choose—Ameritopia or America?

© 2012 Mark R. Levin

Meet the Author

Mark R. Levin is the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers Plunder and Deceit, Liberty and Tyranny, Ameritopia, and The Liberty Amendments. He is a nationally syndicated talk-radio host and president of the Landmark Legal Foundation. Visit MarkLevinShow.com.

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Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America 4.4 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 123 reviews.
CharlieV_KC More than 1 year ago
This book, which I'm only just getting into via Nook, has already convinced me that it is a must-read. While Levin is a real flame-throwing radio host, this book is in no way a political rant. Levin has written a meticulous and even handed explanation of the great (or not so great) philosophical influences of political thought. He begins with an overview and critique of the most influential "utopian" philosophers from Plato and his "ideal city" through Marx and the Communist Manifesto. In each case, Levin demonstrates how these governmental models end in tyranny. Next Levin explains how the Framers of the American Constitution rejected these philosophers in favor of Locke and Montesquieu and their focus on individual liberty, private property, and equality of opportunity. After sneaking a peak at the Epilogue, it is clear that Levin's concern is that modern American politicians reject the philosophy of liberty in favor of the philosophy of government as caretaker of all. The warning is that unless our Nation wakes up from the current misguided path, we are doomed to fail as a society. This is difficult stuff and Levin is doing an excellent job of breaking it down into language that the average reader can understand. This book is a public service.
sisgp More than 1 year ago
Having studied Locke, Hobbs, Rousseau and other like minded thinkers at university in the UK while all my contemporaries were studying the foes of liberty Marx, Engles, Weber and a gaggle of other euro marxists left me with a lasting love and appreciation for the philosophy behind what the founding fathers of the USA did. It's just a shame that many over here don't understand their brilliance and what it brought to this country and have no idea how to value what they had, and are loosing. Mr Levin has linked the philosophers together in a popular way to try to make these ideas understandable for those not studying political theories at degree level. No mean feat. As usual it it an easy read of interesting and timely material.
BobSinPA More than 1 year ago
First; I have to say that one should consider the book that Night Butterfly DOES recommend and you'll see that she's just another "tedious" liberal. If you are an American with any inkling of concern for the condition of our nation and its direction, you must read this book by Mark Levin. Please open your mind and read Ameritopia regardless of your party affiliations and preconceived notions. These times are critical for the health of our nation and its people. We must go beyond our traditions and the party propaganda. We must awaken to the principles that made this nation great and walk in those principles. Mark Levin has penned another great book that will prove to be one of great significance and timeliness.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a well researched and clearly written discussion of the Utopian visions of Plato, More, Hobbes and Marx. Mr. Levin accurately describes how totalitarian regimes, using Utopian philosophy, strip away individuality and freedom. He also explains why the Founding Fathers turned to the philosophy of Locke and Montesguieu and their theories of government and freedom; those very freedoms which we are in danger of losing by constant federal government intrusion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Are you kidding? Only 4 out of 5 stars. That will zoom up to a 5/5 in a short while. Mark's writing is in a league of his own. Only a few in history have the intellectual capital to discern and then be able to articulate the real state of man and his inherent desire to control his fellow man. Such is the bain of socialism, communism, and (more precisely termed) statism. But here, in this book, you will learn how the statist thinks and operates. More importantly, you will learn what must be done to stop and reverse the Eutopians. Control is the mantra... at all costs. Ameritopia is for individualists who believe in freedom and the Constitution. Ameritopia is brilliance in print!
Jayarby More than 1 year ago
I've read the reviews by the one-star reviewers and with the exception of one (who seemed to have a bias against Levin going in) none said they actually read the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In Ameritopia, Mark Levin cogently exposes the philosophical underpinnings of the modern day statist/liberal. Concisely analyzing classical works such as Utopia, Leviathan and The Communist Manifesto, Levin demonstrates how the thinking of today's liberal (knowingly or unknowingly) has been shaped by the works of Plato and Karl Marx. By contrasting these works with the thinking and writings of John Locke and Montesquieu Levin, brilliantly demonstrates how America is on an untenable path towards destruction. Unless we embrace the principles of the Founders and men like Locke, and reject the teachings of Marx, America will fail as the most successful experiment in human history. Levin's book is especially necessary in an election year, when we will make a choice of whether we embrace the doomed philosophies of the statist or return to the ideas that made us great.
Cabo More than 1 year ago
Mark Levin has once again produced a book which should be required reading for all Americans. Through extensive research, he provides historical background of the failed societies and their attempts to produce a utopian society where everyone is equal. He then refreshes the readers' minds about the founders and the quest to recover the rights of the individual of liberty and private property. He related these ideas to today's American society, where the present administration is attempting to "fundamentally transform" the country vs. a government which adheres to the constitution and respects the rights of the individual.
2silverspurs More than 1 year ago
What can I say about another great read from Levin. This guy makes a lot of sense (again). I just finished the book in record time.
SteveInSoFlo More than 1 year ago
....and then you have liberal drones like nightbutterfly giving one star ratings after OBVIOUSLY not rushing out and reading the entire book this morning. Get a life.
My_Last_Clancy More than 1 year ago
Ameritopia – the Unmaking of America, by Mark R. Levin, is a “must read” for every aspiring defender of freedom, aka ultra-conservative. After all, it is highly endorsed and recommended by the high priest of ultra-conservatism, Rush Limbaugh. I expected to find – and did – all the raving against Utopianism, with the government regulating every moment of our lives. Levin explains, with many very selective out-of-context quotes, all the restrictiveness in the writings of Plato, Thomas More, Thomas Hobbes, and Carl Marx. All of these philosophies have already been debunked and are irrelevant as actual threats to freedom, but he needs a windmill to tilt with, a fantasy enemy to match all the evils that would, in fact, exist under the tutelage of ultra-conservatives. He does well with John Locke and Charles de Montesquieu and their influence on the framers of our constitution, and quotes many citations by Federalists and Anti-Federalists alike as rationale for and against what became our constitution. He lauds Alexis de Tocqueville’s assessment of the American democracy, who discusses in fairy sound democracy in action. Levin implies that today’s government should be like it was in 1840, ignoring the advances in technology, industrial capabilities, population growth with its concentration and internal differences and conflicts, and the great oligopolies that have developed since. He says nothing of Adam Smith, Thomas Payne and others, though. Levin goes on with a diatribe about the evils of government’s evolving as society develops in technology and population growth. All regulations, he says, restrict individual liberties and are, therefore, utopianistic and despotic or even tyrannical. It doesn’t matter that established rules are essential to a society to establish standards for communication and trade, create infrastructure, interpersonal behavior, and defense. He demeans the Supreme Court which, he says, deliberately exceeds its constitutional authority, but his colleagues use it to further the ultra-conservatives’ own “noble lie” that lowering taxes on the super rich, placing more burdensome taxes on the poorest of our society, and total deregulation corporate activities will bring prosperity and freedom to all. He assaults Social Security and Medicare, government-supervised medical care, and food and drug regulations as despotic and intimates that all the benefits of government in a society should be eliminated Essentially he proposes virtual anarchy where the very powerful alliances can exercise tyrannical control over the “motley horde” and constantly exploit, without fear of reprisal, the least powerful subjects of their regime. Unquestionably, the ultraconservatism he proposes would lead to simply diabolical, draconic exploitation of the “motley horde” by the very kind of people he rants against. Not at all what he suggests at the start of his tirade are his true intentions. Never once does he suggest any concerns about SEC, Federal Reserve, monopolistic giant corporations or any other abuses or potential abuses of the ultraconservative agenda. Ameritopia – the Unmaking of America is a “must read” for every true defender of freedom, aka the “motley horde” – that is, everyone who is not deceived by the great “noble lie”, those not swallowing the propaganda of the despots, dictators, and tyrants attempting to take over our society. After all, it always helps to know your enemy. Read it discerningly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Most of us conservative hold our beliefs instinctively, basing them on personal experience and hopefully a familiarity with history. It's nice to have the arguments as well as the evidence displayed so logically and coherently. Next I would like to see from Levin a history of the Constitution, explaining where we have gone astray and how we find our way back.
RVOH More than 1 year ago
If you want to know the historical, philosophical backgrounds of individual liberty and collectivist tyranny, this is the book for you. Cerebral and enlightening.
JohnGalt73 More than 1 year ago
Just finished reading Ameritopa what a great read. An informative walk through the utopian philosophies that underpin todays liberals. He covers how Hobbes, More and Marx have influenced todays political thought. Then he leads you through the thoughts of Locke and how it influenced our founders, but the part I found the most amazing was how much Montesque informed our founders and how much our government philosophy was influenced by him. This is not the usual conservative read as it delves much deeper into the philosophical base upon which many people hold.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read numerous books by Mark Levin, and this is yet another brilliant, informative book. He is a passionate person with a gift!! It's a shame that liberals are too uneducated (stupid) to understand his message. Great read!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mark Levin has written a book that gives us all a blueprint for what is taking place at this time in our country. Every person should take the responsibility to read this book & join in to stop the tyranny of this government.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brilliant book. America's road map back to it's foundation as a constitutional republic. One of those rare books you wish was longer.
HWHR More than 1 year ago
Those who do not learn from history are doomed to be ruled by Statists.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read and brings together all the philosophers who had grandious ideas about a perfect society. You just can't argue logic and Mark Levine is the master of logic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For all those "1 Star" rating liberals/socialist utopian seekers, it is very obvious that either you did not read the book or you did with a perfectly closed mind! I find it amazing that self entitled "intellectuals" cannot or refuse to recognize the historical and factual links that utopianism has with its eventual evolution into a totalitarian suppresive government and the lost of individual freedom. Levin indexes these links with 2000 years of facts and in a manner that everyone should be to understand. This presentation has nothing to do with the selling of a political philosophy but with the exposure of what the pursuit of an utopian society will result in. Thank you Mr. Levin!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Have only read part of it right now...but Mark has a great insight into our floundering country and explaining why. Can't wait to read all of it. Would recommend to all who love this country and want to "save" it from the current path of destruction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well, besides the obvious, WOW, here are a few words about this book. After reading Mark Levin's "Liberty and Tyranny", I was very intrigued about this one. Just the title itself arouses interest and when I heard Mark on Sean Hannity show, describing the book, I had to have it.Short of giving away the point of the book, which is actually impossible, since everyone has to read it for themselves to be able to grasp the incredible point made here, Mark takes the works of historical writers from both sides of the societal isle and compares them to one another. He takes works of Plato, Moore, Hobbs, Marx and then draws a parallel to the works of Locke, Montesquieu, Tocqueville and of course the framers/founders of America, our balanced government design and our Republic. When one reads this book, he/she has to keep in mind, is it the social justice by a few or is it the government by the governed, opportunity filled and individual freedom based society, that you want? I know that in theory, many who are fooled by the social justice/socialist design of, government can decide society sounds great, but in reality, if you think that the individualism is bad and the individuals are corrupt, then how can you entrust your life, your free will and your future into the hands of a few corrupt individuals in the government body? Now, if you put that into consideration, is it the social justice that you seek or an opportunity and individualism for the citizens? As Mark asks, is it Ameritopia that you want or America? Fantastic book and the only reason not to read it for someone is because you are too set in your theory of government run society, despotism that comes out of it and decisions made by a few corrupt/power hungry, rather than a reality of free individuals. I recommend this to everyone. Trust me, whether you agree with me in this review or not, you will not be disappointed and might actually see the light of day, once you have read Ameritopia.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A harder read than Liberty and Tyranny because it is packed with lots of data on key political philosophies and philosophers. I learned a lot about the sources used by the founders. This will give me something to think about for a while.
James_Bing More than 1 year ago
Mark Levin has done it again. Ameritopia is an exceptional read for any serious person interested in exploring the ideas and the men that shaped the framing of the United States Constitution. Especially important are the exerpts from the writings of the great minds that inspired and guided our founding fathers. An exceptionally education for every American.
Teaching_for_Change More than 1 year ago
Not finished yet but am blown away with the read so far. The use of Plato, Marx, More, Hobbes, Locke, and Montesquieu to help define liberty and our modern infringement is artfully worked. Very informative read. Many liberals should read, but won't because they are too indoctrinated to realize how far we have strayed from our founding principles. Great job to Mr. Levin.