Mike Kueber's Blog

January 26, 2012

Sunday Book Review #60 – Ameritopia by Mark Levin

Filed under: Book reviews — Mike Kueber @ 6:39 pm
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Mark Levin is one of the most popular personalities on conservative-talk radio.  Nicknamed “The Great One” by Sean Hannity, he has a brash, confrontational personality.  Educated to be a lawyer, he first worked in the Reagan administration before becoming an advocate for conservatism and finally seguing into radio broadcasting through the support of Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.

Ameritopia seems to be Levin’s attempt to burnish his credentials as a historian, to be more than a mere blowhard.  Like Gingrich claiming to be a historian for Freddie Mac, or like Bill O’Reilly writing about Lincoln or Glen Beck writing about Washington, the bona fides of a true conservative must include an intense interest in early American history.

Levin’s objective with Ameritopia is to show how America is deviating dangerously toward the failed politics of Utopia.  The first part of the book strips the bark off the term “Utopia” and reveals it for what it is – tyranny and the destruction of the human soul – and then describes several famous variations – Plato’s Republic, Thomas More’s Utopia, Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan, and Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto.  According to Levin, the idea of Utopia had nothing to do with the founding of America   

In the second part of the book, Levin discusses the two men who actually were the philosophical influences on the founding of America – John Locke for recognizing the ultimate importance and sovereignty of the individual (liberty and the social contract), and Charles de Montesquieu for the decentralization and check-and-balances (separation of powers) that keep government from destroying the individual.

In the third part of the book, Levin shows how far America has deviated from its founding principles, with most of his focus on Presidents Wilson, FDR, and Obama.  Documenting how the tentacles of Washington have spread throughout the American economy did not require much research. 

Although I have a degree in political science and am fascinated by the subject, I found Ameritopia too dry and abstract.  I agree with Levin’s thesis, but have no interest in being able to distinguish between Hobbes and Locke.

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