Along with being both timely and timeless, the critical importance of Mark Levin’s latest, Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America, rests in its unique ability to empower and inform the Conservative, or activist, political junkie, and average citizen with a genuine interest in contemporary American politics.
Timely because it cuts to the heart of the political struggle playing out in 2012, timeless in that it’s a concise yet thorough primer addressing the two core philosophies that drive all American politics, the depth of understanding of both Liberalism and Conservatism and the critical struggle between them it provides represents a wealth of information and insight to empower the Conservative and political activist of today.
From government in general, to the particulars of the American experiment embodied in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution, Levin extensively quotes unique and important thinkers, such as Plato, More, Hobbes and Marx on behalf of the utopianist view; with thinkers like Locke, Montesquieu, de Tocqueville and others representing the individualist, or Conservative view as we know it today.
Interspersed with extensive, insightful commentary by Levin himself, one comes to understand the bedrock, theory and practice of two very different political ideologies and how they apply to contemporary American politics playing out on a day-to-day basis, as well as in every election year.
Broadly at issue is, how will man structure himself, so as to function within a society. The utopianist would hold that said society must be structured from the top down, with rules, roles, regulations and laws all purportedly designed for the common good being issued from on high. The individualist, free-thinking, or conservative view would hold that, at the core of all civil society rests the individual, with his natural rights and inclinations, both good and bad, the ideal society being represented by a governmental authority that manifests the least amount of control possible, so as to empower the freedom, happiness and productivity of the individual.
By tracing the development of these two critical schools of thinking from their earliest beginnings, in theory, practice and thought, following them right up to today, one comes to understand American society as existing within a polarity between the two competing schools, with every political decision, be it a vote, or government mandate, as impacting precisely where within said polarity an American must live out his, or her life every day.
By addressing the topic in this manner, Levin allows for the reader to come to understand that liberalism, socialism, Marxism and even Obama-ism are actually all one and the same under the guise of utopianism. The only difference being, where on the utopianist continuum from absolute anarchy (the absence of government) to abject tyranny, or totalitarianism we exist at any point in time.
Because the theory and thinking behind the utopianist vision is always the same, whatever we call it at this time, or that, in this nation, or that, the end result will always be the same – an all powerful government controling much if not all of what any individual may pursue. Self-interest always being subjugated to the state to one degree, or another, with government invariably developing its own self-interest over time, finally, the indivdual, or individualism must always be crushed for the good of the state. The dynamic becomes more a function of time, than of conscious decision by any individual within the state.
So critical is this understanding that, after having come to truly understand it, one might very well make a different political decision, or cast a different vote at any point in time given one’s new understanding of the dynamics behind all American politics as we know it today. As for the Conservative, or activst, coming to understand where precisely we find ourselves betwen these two competing political polarities today – and how any activism, or governmental decision will impact same – one could easily find his- or herself spurred on to action, or more action previously not considered.
More broadly, the wealth of information on, and insight into, this critical subject area addressed in Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America, offers the potential to significantly inform and improve one’s thinking as we head towards a critical election. Beyond that, the increased, deeper understanding of American politics, including liberalism and conservatism as we currently know them, will likely empower a generation of conservative thought and activism and beyond.
It was Thomas Jefferson who said, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” That quote represents revolutionary thinking driven by a state of tyranny. Ameritopia is not that; it is evolutionary thinking – examining how the two fundamental forces that shape American politcs, utopianism or tyranny, versus individual liberty or perhaps constituionalism, came to be and how they play out every day, as well as against one another.
I’d posit, there is another way to preserve the proverbial tree of liberty, as opposed to refreshing same with the blood of patriots and tyrants. That is to understand what the tree of liberty actually is, it’s roots the thinking and ideas of Locke; it’s trunk the advancement in thought of a Montesquieu, and others, the branches the thinking of the Founding Fathers, with the fruits being the gift of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution.
If knowing the tree of liberty better in thought, theory and action from a seedling, to today, empowers one to better preserve it – and I’d argue strongly it does – then Ameritopia accomplsihes a grand goal, indeed.
To augment that metaphor, the tree of liberty is absolutely under significant siege today from a gathering storm. Call it it Euro-socialism, democratic-socialism, Marxism, liberalism, or simply the policies of the Obama administration partnered with an ever-expansive government in Washington, in the end the storm has one name: utopianism.
To know and genuinely understand in depth the now more than gathering storm of said utopianism, as addressed in Ameritopia, is as neccessary and important for the Conservative and activist, as is understanding liberty. Perhaps the real genuis of author Mark Levin captured in Ameritopia is his knowing that and sharing it, as he has.
Politically speaking, one can not preserve a thing he doesn’t actually know and understand, or protect it from an enemy he doesn’t know, or understand, either. Ameritopia provides a sound, deep understanding of both utopianism and liberty. I’d highly recommend one give it a thorough read.