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662 of 800 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A reaffirmation of liberty, inalienable rights, civil society, and constitutional republicanism, January 17, 2012
This review is from: Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America (Hardcover)
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 bound to cause a stir, and Levin's penetrating commentary is grounded well by quotes from the original texts. If there is a major 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, the genre is not aimed at building political systems. It is aimed at exploring new possibilities. And while I cannot deny that some pro-liberty works refute the idea of utopianism, Levin 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. This says to me that it is not utopia that is at fault, but rather tyranny. Indeed, if utopias are promotions of the ideal society, then it must be said that all active minds engage in the exercise.

Altogether, 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 an excellent book which offers a grand summary of modern economics, how we got to where we are, and what to do about it--Juggernaut: Why the System Crushes the Only People Who Can Save It by Eric Robert Morse.
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Tracked by 5 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 44 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 17, 2012 6:53:37 AM PST
F. Hollister says:
John R. Smith:

You did an excellent job of summarizing Off-the-Mark's book. Your review is cogent, well-written, flows nicely and covers all the bases.

Just one question - if I may. In light of the fact the book was officially released today, and it is rather early in the morning (at least here on the Left Coast) - did you actually read the book?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 17, 2012 7:24:08 AM PST
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Jan 17, 2012 7:54:41 AM PST
Anna says:
If you listen to Mark Levin regularly you will already have a good idea of what is in the book. Plus, there are numerous thorough reviews already posted by other prominent conservatives, not to mention Mark Levin's personal interviews which have been playing for the last few days.

LOL...you two will complain regardless of whether the book is read or not. Heck, Hollister has been complaining long in advance of the release date. No one is going to take either one of you seriously...and I advise Levin fans to hit the 'ignore this customer' for both Hollister (aka King of the Drones) and J.E. Mack.

Posted on Jan 17, 2012 7:57:01 AM PST
Tabula Rasa says:
Nice review- well thought out and delivered. And those who question the promptness of the review should realize that some people get advanced copies of books especially for the purpose of reviews. I know someone who got a book four months before it was released to the public.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 17, 2012 8:22:51 AM PST
F. Hollister says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 17, 2012 8:25:23 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Jan 18, 2012 3:23:21 AM PST]

Posted on Jan 17, 2012 9:04:41 AM PST
Mark Twain says:
The book was available to certain people before the publication date.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 17, 2012 9:33:06 AM PST
F. Hollister says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 17, 2012 10:45:47 AM PST
T. Showalter says:
It is very funny, mocking incompetent liberals like "Her Thighness"

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 17, 2012 10:55:25 AM PST
F. Hollister says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]
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