Radio host, commentator and legal expert Mark Levin has a particularly vile form of “plunder and deceit” in his sights, throughout his new book of the same name: inter-generational theft. The ruling generation is robbing the rising generation blind.
He’s hardly blind to all the other Big Government plunder going on, but in every chapter he returns to the ruling vs. rising generational conflict, urging young people to wake up and pull the political burglar alarms before they are wiped out. He knows this is an uphill battle, because so many liberal positions have been made fashionable to the very same young people whose future is being stolen by statism.
“So you thought the environmental movement was about clean air, clean water, and polar bears?” Levin writes in his chapter on environmentalism. “Such messages are especially seductive to younger people, albeit hugely deceptive and manipulative.”
He makes similar points about the minimum wage, sold to young people with the absurd spectacle of President Obama bellowing “Give ‘em a raise!” even though minimum-wage hikes freeze youngsters out of the job market; open-borders immigration, which likewise snatches away jobs from young Americans and depresses wages far more than any minimum-wage increase could correct; and even student loans, as Levin asks why students should cheer “reforms” which have radically increased the burden of debt laid on their shoulders in a remarkably short period of time.
The education system at large serves Levin as a fine example of the plunder and deceit he denounces. “Unfortunately, the rising generation is the victim of an exceedingly expensive and inferior public education, too often driven by statist ideology and objectives, academic fads and social experimentation, and administrative and bureaucratic empire building,” he warns. Poorly-educated youngsters end up needing insanely expensive college educations, plus taxpayer-subsidized retraining programs on top of that, just to secure modest entry-level career positions.
That’s the plunder part of the education racket. The deceit comes from structuring the debate so that all dissent from the Democrat-union agenda is portrayed as unreasoning hatred of teachers, children, or both.
Levin provides hard numbers in every chapter, to back up every argument he makes. The numbers are especially dismal in the education chapter, where the old wheeze that only insufficient taxpayer funding keeps America from top-flight student performance is resoundingly debunked. How many more years must we limp along with a combination of world-class spending and mediocre performance, before the public decisively rejects our public education system as fatally flawed? How much longer must we watch secondary-education students applaud a socialized university system that blew the price of tuition through the roof, while also leaving us so deficient in native-born STEM graduates that Big Business claims it must import technicians and engineers from overseas?
Actually, that canard about immigration – like nearly everything else the Democrat and Republican establishments say about immigration – is false, and Levin tears it to shreds.
He hits nearly every bit of stale, media-perpetuated conventional wisdom in his neatly-organized chapters, with an eye toward proving how all of these widely-accepted falsehoods fit together into single unified deception: fooling voters into thinking everything important should be “free,” thus letting the statists run wild until resistance is futile, and a national crash is inevitable. Plunder is easiest when the victims don’t appreciate the value of what they’re losing.
Levin emphasizes that none of the alarm bells he’s ringing are new. Today’s statist pitfalls were foreseen centuries ago by the American Founders, who he quotes extensively. They knew what would happen when the separation of powers was abandoned in favor of a despotic executive. They had a very dim view of debt, because they understood how it shackles future generations to the obligations of the past, leaving the young unable to make their own free and fair decisions about how society should be ordered. Law has been almost entirely replaced by such obligations as the voice of previous generations in current affairs. It’s a very poor substitution.
Of course, the Left loves to present itself as hip, modern, forward-looking, and unfettered by silly old laws and traditions. “In bourgeois society… the past dominates the present; in Communist society, the present dominates the past,” Marx and Engels argued in the Communist Manifesto – one of several times Levin quotes from that black tome of horror, and challenges today’s left wingers to explain exactly how they disagree.
In this particular citation of the Communist Manifesto, Levin exposes the biggest left-wing deceit of all: the claim that they represent the future. Plunder and Deceit presents a compelling case that liberalism is strip-mining the future to make themselves rich and powerful today, while making dissent increasingly difficult for a populace robbed of its freedoms.
If you want to see a textbook example of the past dominating the present, wait until the bills for all that wild statist spending come due, and it’s no longer possible to keep piling up debt at artificially low interest rates. Wait until those New Deal and Great Society programs – the ones we were told never to worry about paying for – join with their mutant progeny ObamaCare to devour every nickel of government spending. Wait until we learn a central government of consolidated powers and impenetrable bureaucracy has grown so powerful that it no longer even pretends to care what voters think about any issue of substance.
It is not yet impossible for the younger generation to fight back… but the hour is growing late. In his conclusion, Levin calls for a “new civil-rights movement,” every bit as urgent, joyous, and righteous as the civil rights crusade of the Sixties. Unlike the statists he opposes, he’s not interested in fooling the kids into thinking it will be easy. His crisp, well-documented, beautifully-written book offers a grim diagnosis followed by an inspiring conclusion. It’s not a fatalistic work – it’s a call to arms for a difficult battle. Levin is keenly aware his generation isn’t the cohort with the most at stake.
“This book is, against heavy odds, an appeal to reason and audacity,” Levin explains. “It is intended for all Americans but particularly the rising generation, which is the primary, albeit not singular, target and casualty of the federal Leviathan’s improprieties. It is an appeal to younger people to find the personal strength and will to break through the cycle of statist propaganda and manipulation, unrelenting emotional overtures, and the pressure of groupthink, which are humbling, dispiriting, and absorbing them; to stand up as individuals and collectively against the strong hand of centralized government, which if left unabated will assuredly condemn them to economic and societal calamity.”