In his recent broadcasts, talk radio host and conservative author and litigator Mark R. Levin has told his listeners that the subtitle of his new book, Plunder and Deceit, is even more important than the title.
The subtitle reads: “Big Government’s Exploitation of Young People and the Future.” This is a book written about, and for, the young Americans who were so important to Barack Obama’s election and re-election–and who are the main victims of his policies, which have exacerbated the nation’s fiscal crisis and eroded public trust in the political system itself.
Levin’s starting point is a paradox: namely, the fact that so many parents today–whom he calls the “ruling generation”–who genuinely care for their children’s well-being behave politically in ways that doom their children’s future.
There is also another paradox, he adds: the “rising generation” itself purports to challenge authority and the status quo, yet “in large numbers its members sanction both through their political behavior and voting patterns.”
Both the “ruling” and “rising” generations have a common interest in a better future; why are they ruining it?
Each chapter then lays out, in grim yet captivating detail, the ways in which today’s utopian politics are destroying tomorrow’s potential.
The country’s fiscal situation and its entitlement systems, Levin writes, are sapping the prosperity of future decades. Medicare and Obamacare are undermining the health care system; our lax immigration policy is substituting a fractious multiculturalism for our hitherto liberal (small “l”) social order; and the neglect of our national defense is allowing new threats to emerge that our children may be ill-equipped to confront.
Perhaps the most arresting chapter is Levin’s exploration of the environmental movement, which claims to make the world more sustainable but does the opposite. Many conservatives are familiar with critiques of the “climate change” agenda, but Levin goes far deeper, exposing the “degrowther” movement that revives 19th-century communism in the guise of 21st-century science, and which is at the heart of contemporary environmental activism and policy.
That movement, Levin argues, is hurting young people by discouraging the technological innovation that helps to save time–which is, for the young and ambitious, “the one priceless commodity, the most passionately needed.”
Historically, Levin points out, the young have been “the main beneficiaries” of modern labor-saving devices. “And if the production and, above all, the invention of such devices is retarded or diminished by the ecological crusade, it will be one of the darkest crimes against humanity–particularly because the victims’ agony will be private, their voices will not be heard, and their voices will not be noticed…”.
It is that silent constituency for which Levin speaks, in two ways. First, he argues for the general interest of the public as a whole, which is often overlooked by the central government because its policies create vocal minorities that are better able to defend their interests.
Second, he argues for the specific interest of future generations, who are neglected by policymakers, both because of indifference to the unintended consequences of policy, and because of a tragic cognitive dissonance that causes the rising generation to vote for its own impoverishment.
If Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny, published in 2008, was one of the first books to anticipate the ruin of the Obama era (from the vantage point of the late George W. Bush era, when it began), Plunder and Deceit is one of the first to survey the damage that will be left as Obama retreats, reluctantly, from the spotlight.
Levin’s prescription is for a “new civil rights movement”–an activist generation that will “inject itself into purposes and events that affect its well-being” and follow progressives’ model by insinuating itself into every institution, big and small.
What might that movement look like? Events of the past few weeks provide a glimpse, as the young consumers of “disruptive” technologies like Uber, Airbnb, Lyft and others have pushed back efforts by their so-called “progressive” heroes to defend the sclerotic monopolies of 20th century statism.
The shock of realizing that Hillary Clinton is on the wrong side of that battle is a potential wake-up call to the disillusioned millennial generation.
In Plunder and Deceit, Levin has prepared a new list of targets for them to “disrupt.” Our national future depends on it.