On July 4, 1826, the National Intelligencer published a letter written several days earlier by Thomas Jefferson to his fellow citizens, just as the great revolutionary leader was expiring at the age of 83 on a “little mountain” outside the hamlet of Charlottesville, Virginia.
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them, legitimately, by the grace of God. These are grounds of hope for others. For ourselves, let the annual return of this day, forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.*
Even at the end of his life, Jefferson held out hope for the American people, though he worried about those who would “ride them” for their own malevolent purposes.
In his new bestseller, “Ameritopia,” Mark Levin warns that this is exactly what is happening today. Levin gives readers a tight and rational view of contemporary America, which he argues is under siege from oligarchic collectivists.
What Levin does is tolerantly and methodically deconstruct the contradictions of modern liberalism. Liberals, Levin explains, support laws enforcing the maxim “from each according to needs, to each according to his abilities,” yet they reject the rule of law. They embrace the self-interest of the anointed elites, but reject it for everyone else.
Barack Obama, for instance, will never give up his pampered and privileged lifestyle at the top of the heap, which he acquired in part by saying that the laws of campaign finance were good and righteous — just as long as they were not applied to him.
The swooning, slobbering sycophants of the ruling elites genuflect before his sophistry. As Tocqueville warned, their kind use the very freedom granted them under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to deny these freedoms to others. He called it a “strange paradox.” Levin calls it “post-Constitutional America.”
“Ameritopia” is not a political book in the sense of suggesting that the reader vote for one candidate or party over the other. It is an indictment of the administrative state and its ever-growing threat to the individual and individuality, the human mind and the marketplace as the best arbitrator of success and failure.
It is a political book in the sense that it discusses power and how the liberal administrative state uses its power over the individual and the market. Levin rattles off at various points the goods and services now regulated by Washington — including “pacifiers, rattles and toys, marbles, latex balloons, matchbooks …” The lengthy list is comical. Less funny is the growing regulation of thought.
Levin reminds readers that Ronald Reagan warned his fellow citizens that freedom is just one generation away from ruin, that it is not passed from parent to child in the blood, but must be taught and re-taught if it is to survive. Reagan’s conservative heirs — including Levin — understand that the concept of “maximum freedom consistent with law and order” is an intellectual exercise. One must think about its meaning, teach it and have the capacity to express it as opposed to utopianism, in which one must “feel” and “emote” and “share.” Indeed, according to Levin, utopianism is anti-intellectualism because it is anti-common sense.