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Utopian Masterminds: Ameritopia

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A few days ago I got my hands on Mark Levin’s new book – Ameritopia.

This is an excellent book for those who want to brush up on the history of political philosophy as it relates to those writers who set out to define the nature of man and the arrangement of government in the ideal society. If you’ve read Plato’s Republic, Thomas More’s Utopia, Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan, Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto, John Locke’s An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Charles de Montesquieu, and/or Alex de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America then this is a refresher as to the nature of the utopian society that each of theses thinkers believe is the best for man.  If you never read these books then Levin’s book is a tight version of “cliff notes” for these thinkers and works.

The real value and crux of Levin’s book is how the framers of the Constitution of the United States were influenced by these thinkers and why the framers embraced one set of ideas on governance  and rejected another in the development of the US Constitution. For those who think that the US Constitution sprang “from nothing” from the framers minds they will find the necessary historical linkage in Levin’s book.

The unmaking of America

The subtitle of Levin’s book is: the unmaking of America. The structure of the book  is excellent to make this point. The latter part of Ameritopia describes the current state of the American political system and demonstrates that it is exactly the set of ideas and principles about man, society, and governance  that the framers of the Constitution rejected.  The first part of the book provides the necessary historical background to demonstrate this point. 

Ameritopia from Mark Levin is highly recommended.  The historical works cited above are in the public domain available for almost any e-book reader.  Levin’s book is available in paper and e-book formats.  Take a read and seee if Levin has the correct analysis against the current context of over-reach of the Federal govenment. 

(Read more: The New American Dream ; When Nudge comes to push and shove ; Michelle Obama and Sarah Palin at the Food Court: the Concept of Libertarian Paternalism )

Read the reviews of Ameritopia here –
http://www.amazon.com/Ameritopia-Unmaking-Mark-R-Levin/dp/1439173249

A short summary from one reviewer

If there is one statement that defines Mark R. Levin’s work, it is that America’s success is based in liberty and that we must not allow ourselves to fall into tyranny. Of course, no one supports tyranny blatantly and so defending liberty is thought to be easy. But the people who support tyranny don’t always do so blatantly. In this book, Levin shows how people throughout the ages have supported tyranny through an ideology called utopianism, and thus ushered in tyranny through “intellectual bankruptcy and dishonesty.”

In the first part of AMERITOPIA, Levin examines the work of four historical figures, Plato, Thomas More, Hobbes, and Marx. In this treatment, Levin shows how each one promoted what was considered an ideal society and how each one of these ideals is no more than tyranny. In each case, the ideal society contains a highly centralized government which controls the masses through various means–persuasion, deceit, coercion, eugenics, euthanasia–and therefore tears apart the family, community, and faith.

In the second part, Levin counters this with a survey of three thinkers that helped introduce liberty to the Western mindset and establish what he calls Americanism–John Locke, Charles de Montesquieu, and Alexis de Tocqueville. Levin shows how each one viewed human beings as autonomous individuals with God-given abilities and rights. With lawyerly precision, Levin details the many examples of how both Locke and Montesquieu influenced the founders of the United States and how Tocqueville spread Americanism to the European culture of the 19th century.

Finally, Levin explains how the America built upon Locke, Montesquieu, and Tocqueville is at risk of being taken over by the utopian ideology in the 21st century, showing how the various modern movements of liberalism and modern socialism disseminate their intellectual bankruptcy and dishonesty.

The argument is powerful and Levin’s penetrating commentary is grounded well by quotes from the original texts. If there is a flaw in the work, it is in the unforgiving denunciation of the utopian literary genre. While it is clear that most of the works technically classed utopia did include tyrannical elements, I cannot deny the fact that some elements of pro-liberty and American texts include visions of the perfect society. Everyone has a vision of what would be ideal–some are made of tyranny, and others can be seen as the “shining city on the hill” and are made of freedom. If utopias are promotions of the ideal society, then it must be said that all active minds engage in the exercise.

Altogether, however, the point of this book is absolutely correct. America’s success is based on liberty and allowing ourselves to fall into tyranny would be catastrophic for humanity. Everyone who is interested in this very important theme and is compelled to do something about it should also consider the excellent Juggernaut: Why the System Crushes the Only People Who Can Save It by Eric Robert Morse.

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Written by frrl

February 21, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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