In Liberty and Tyranny, iconic syndicated radio host Mark Levin laid out the stakes of the conflict between Constitutional Americanism and the forces of the statists—those who would see governmental power maximized in order to achieve the chimerical equality sought by the American left. In Ameritopia, he exposed the utopianism underlying the tyranny of the left, a utopianism with roots running back centuries. In The Liberty Amendments, Levin proposed constitutional amendments designed to rollback the perversions of the Constitution foisted upon Americans by those utopian statists.
Now, in his elegant and moving new book, Plunder and Deceit, Levin takes his message to the next generation. While conservatives may find comfort in the old saw that those who aren’t liberal at 20 have no heart, and those who aren’t conservative at 40 have no brain, the truth, as Levin knows, is that those who are statists at 20 usually end up statists at 40. And he’s not content to allow time to take its uncertain political toll. He wants young Americans to know the threats to their future, and he wants them to know those threats now—and he wants their parents to see the errors of their ways before it’s too late.
Levin’s Plunder and Deceit opens with a question not for young Americans but for their parents: “Can we simultaneously love our children but betray their generation and generations yet born?” he asks. The answer, Levin says, is no. We can pretend to ourselves that politics have no importance to the lives of our children, even as we engage as good parents. But that isn’t love, it’s moral cowardice:
To embrace the moral order as parents nurturing their children, yet to abandon the moral order as members of the ruling generation, thereby contributing to predictably deleterious public policies with prospectively calamitous outcomes, is a decadence that leads to unstable and potentially oppressive or even tyrannical contradictions which, in the end, degrade and disassemble the civil society and consume their children’s generation and generations beyond.
Meanwhile, young people are being seduced by utopian idealism at the expense of eternal values:
By cultivating agitation and balkanization almost nothing about the civil society is said to be true, right, or lasting and, therefore, worth preserving and perpetuating. Instead, much uproar is generated in the quest for utopian abstractions and societal transformation – the fundamental cause around which younger people have been encouraged and trained to rally, to their detriment and the jeopardy of subsequent generations, and to the benefit of the statist.
How do we counter the dual trends of parental abdication and youthful utopianism? Levin suggests truth as the weapon and then, armed with truth, resistance.
Levin begins his tome by writing about the crushing debt burden that young people will carry all of their lives thanks to the profligacy of their parents. That debt will take its toll in the form of rising interest rates, less investment, and a dramatically slowing economy. Debt, Levin writes, is a moral problem, not merely an economic one: “Stealing from the future does not establish the utopia promised by the statists. It is the rising generation’s grave moral failure.”
Levin extends that sort of clarity to his examinations of Social Security (“economically and fiscally irrational and irresponsible,” a program destined to take down “the older recipients and the younger payers alike”); Medicare and Obamacare (“simultaneously expanding and imploding”); modern American education (“administrators and educational bureaucrats, labor unions, tenured educators, improvident construction projects, and statist indoctrination”); immigration (“immigration without assimilation and Americanization undercuts the civil society as ethnic, racial and religious groups self-segregate”); climate change (“hysterical doomsday predictions of environmental Armageddon, which can only be avoided by the imposition of [environmentalists’] severe, ideologically driven agenda”); minimum wage (“the consequences… include pervasive unemployment and the lack of important job experience”); national security (“too many younger people are inattentive to or nonplussed about – or in rancorous opposition to – the development and maintenance” of strong national defense).
Finally, Levin comes to the Constitution. The bedrock document upon which the nation was founded has taken a heavy beating from President Obama and statists for decades; Levin looks to it as a guidebook from our current predicament rather than a beloved relic to be worshipped as a museum piece. The Constitution, Levin writes, “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.” But the document requires an informed citizenry to utilize it: “The citizenry must be alert and resolute and ensure that those who hold high office uphold the rules of governance.”
The people, however, have failed in their duty to uphold the Constitution, Levin says. Levin poses the battle as one between defenders of the Constitutional republic and statists informed by the spirit of Marx. And the Marxists are winning, gradually reducing the American people to a state of soul-sucking apathy and servitude.
Levin, rightly, blames Congress, which was supposed to be the lawmaking branch. His stunning comparison between the number of pages of federal regulations for 2014 (79,066) and number of actual regulations (3,541) versus the number of laws passed by Congress (129) demonstrates the increased power of the executive branch at the expense of the legislature. The statist vision is coming to pass in real time. And if the members of the younger generation continue to allow statists to plunder and deceive them, “they will commit future generations to an even more miserable plight.”
Levin responds to that threat by calling for a “new civil rights movement,” focused on the complete overhaul of education, immigration policy, Medicare and Obamacare, and all the rest. The new civil rights movement, says Levin, must “speak out, challenge, debate, rally, and protest. It must become a force for respectful and prudential activism. And when circumstances are unjust or oppressive, it must even disobey – but in a civil and peaceful way, unlike the violent and destructive rage of the 1960s radical underground movement and its modern adherents.”
“The right cause,” Levin concludes, “now is nothing short of self-preservation.” This is a battle for our lies and the lives of our children. It’s time to engage.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.