Monday, April 23, 2012

Absolute Power

An instant classic from Mark Levin on Post-Constitutional America.

Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America
By Mark R. Levin
(Threshold Editions, 288 Pages, $26.99) 

It's here. A century in the making, insidiously installed in piece-by-piece fashion courtesy of the American progressive movement, the absolute power of Post-Constitutional America has arrived.

Not unlike snorting just a bit of crack cocaine here and a little more there and just enough the next day, all while confidently proclaiming self-control and superb physical and mental health, America has now awakened to the statist nightmare that can only be induced snorting the political drug of progressivism. Mark Levin accurately calls the appalling results "Post-Constitutional America."

Clearly, Levin has hit a sensitive chord in the Age of Obama. A mere two days after his new book's release, Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America shot to Number One on the Amazon list of 100 bestsellers. This follows Levin's earlier best-selling analysis of statism and the Constitution, Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto.

Having now spent serious time examining the roots of utopianism, Levin has written a classic. The companion piece to Liberty and Tyranny. This is a book that directly connects the dots between today's America and the earliest and most prominent expressions of societies based on the endlessly bogus and pernicious idea of human perfection.

Divided into three parts, Ameritopia takes a close look at various expressions of utopia appearing as far back as Plato (The Republic) and moving forward to Thomas More (Utopia), Thomas Hobbes (Leviathan), and that infamous utopian bard of class struggle, Karl Marx—of the ultimately murderous Communist Manifesto.

Levin notes a myriad of cautions from prominent thinkers about what is transpiring today, one from Supreme Court Associate Justice Joseph Story anticipating the problem in 1829. Said Story, presciently:

[G]overnments are not always overthrown by direct and open assaults. They are not always battered down by the arms of conquerors, or the successful daring of usurpers. There is often concealed the dry rot, which eats into the vitals, when all is fair and stately on the outside. And to republics this has been the more common fatal disease. The continual drippings of corruption may wear away the solid rock, when the tempest has failed to overturn it.

The "solid rock" of America, of course, has been the Constitution. A Constitution carefully and knowledgeably crafted based on the Founding Fathers' acute understanding, both intellectually and from experience, of what the English philosopher John Locke had a century earlier enlightened as man's nature. The Founders next translated the understanding of that nature into a written Constitution by using the French philosopher Charles de Montesquieu's principles of government based on a separation of powers.

Detailing the utopian thinking that first surfaced thousands of years ago, Levin guides the reader step-by-step from Plato's "ideal city" run by "Guardians" to the acid-like drippings that have both corroded the Constitution while manifesting in its place the absolute power that is the massive presence of the federal government in every area of your life today—beginning with your own home.

Dividing the book into thirds, Levin dissects utopianism, then Americanism, and finally the combination of utopianism in America that has created the Post-Constitutional "Ameritopia" in which we all reside. Ameritopia—a place where the careful understanding of man's nature and the Constitution painstakingly constructed to reflect that understanding has been exchanged for a Post-Constitutional America. An America now teetering precariously as the result of an addiction to an unending series of utopian fantasies. Utopian fantasies destined always to eventually crash and burn on the hard rock of reality that is human imperfection.

Focusing sharply on how an America carefully constructed on John Locke's keenly observant treatises of man's nature and the resulting civil society, Levin examines a land where the government now runs amok in an endless—and necessarily fruitless—busy-bodying quest for human perfection. A Post-Constitutional government regulating everything from your dishwasher to the brakes in your car while, just as an aside, creating two massive entitlements designed to prevent the impossible: the inevitable trials of old age and the declining health that invariably accompanies it. In the process running both Social Security and Medicare—not to mention the nation's fiscal and economic health—over a financial cliff into a Grand Canyon of unsustainable debt.

"It bears emphasizing," writes Levin, "—the utopian seeks control over the individual. The individual is to be governed. Not represented." In other words, the utopian goal is absolute power. A precise description of the premise behind everything from Obamacare to campaign finance laws to the creations of LBJ's Great Society and FDR's New Deal before that.

In making his case Levin moves effortlessly from the utopian ancients to a discussion of precisely who in American history has taken the country to such a point that the phrase "Post-Constitutional America" could strike such a deep chord with so many.

The most prominent of these American "utopian masterminds" is without doubt Woodrow Wilson. Wilson was not simply the nation's 28th president. He was, unique among his presidential peers, the lone academic to serve in the office. As both scholar and progressive, Wilson had used his pre-presidential time at institutions like Johns Hopkins, Cornell, Wesleyan, Bryn Mawr, New York Law School, and finally as president of Princeton to work out a treatise that effectively became a kind of counter to Locke, Montesquieu, and the Founders. The blueprint for a Post-Constitutional America is doubtless Wilson's Constitutional Government in the United States.

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