I read and agree with Mark Levin, lawyer, former Reagan DOJ official, now radio conservative commentator and author, that his most recent book, Rediscovering Americanism: And the Tyranny of Progressivism (2017) is probably his best. In this book, Levin exhibits an extraordinary level of scholarship and insight on matters of political philosophy, sociology, ideology, pedagogy, history, and politics. His other books are excellent; this book is just better.
Every one of Levin's books is insightful and eloquent in exposing the insanity of the international and domestic socialist scam and describing what to do about it. Levin always explains the superiority of a limited and just government by consent of the governed as one that preserves individual freedom and liberty, protects property rights, and preserves the polity's traditional morals. That established, Levin explains the nature of the enemies of Americanism and the appropriate reaction or counter-action to those arrayed against the traditionalist-constitutionalist-conservative citizens of the nation. For two decades, Levin has been involved in professional activities and advocacy to bring interested parties up to speed on the foundation of the United States, the role of the judiciary, the problems of the expanding social welfare administrative state, and why the American success story faces a crisis created by a socialist ideological malignancy promoted by the chattering class.
This new book is an excellent and thoroughgoing exegesis of the American phenomenon of limited representative government with respect for private property and individual liberty. It's also a siren call that names names and explains the theories and the unfortunate successes of domestic and foreign enemies of the American Experiment prominent in the 19th and 20th centuries, in particular, which have brought us to a critical and dangerous point. Unfortunately, President Reagan was right when he said we are only a generation (a wasted generation, for sure) away from the extinction of American freedom and liberty if citizens are not attentive. Levin, who was chief of staff in the Reagan administration's Department of Justice under Ed Meese, is always on the alert and ready to defend America's precious founding precepts as an author; a daily radio commentator; the director of a legal action foundation; and, as considered here, an author of great success and repute.
The strength of the book Americanism is Levin's ability to lay out the history and the ideological tenets and conflicts, major events, and players and pull them all together into a story of how America came to be, and then explain why recently developing progressivism (read: atheistic/secular/utopian/humanistic administrative welfare statist socialism) is a threat. Levin reminds us of the basis for the American Founding's rational natural law-based approach to creating a sophisticated republican government that avoids the dangers of mobocracy and human ambition that can abuse power. Levin's focus is the foundation – natural law and its elements, traditional morality derived from natural law, individualism, capitalism, property rights, liberty, and freedom from oppression. He shows that the structures that provide for limited government are based on the natural law and respect for property rights as well as citizens' freedom from tyranny of the majority, or tyranny of the government. As Levin repeatedly emphasizes, America is all about the value of the individual citizen, the precious value of the human person.
In the latter half of the book, Levin turns to the rise of statism/socialism, which he calls progressivism, and the major proponents of the totalitarian ideology who are the product of the thinking of Plato, Rousseau, Hegel, and Marx in the 19th century and then Herbert Croly (a name I had not seen before), Wilson, Dewey, the Roosevelts, and other socialist promoters in the 20th, all of whom spawned the expansive administrative welfare state and changed the educational system at all levels to create socialized-based governance. The common thing the proponents hold up is that individuals are not as important as the collective – and that, ideologically, is the beginning of the skid to tyranny of the state, as Levin energetically and thoroughly explains.
John Dewey, Levin states, saw education as a way to "counteract and transform" the individualist tendencies in people and instill in them instead a "cooperative and collective" attitude. According to Levin, "[t]here is now a vast gulf between the government the progressives have constructed and the framers' Constitution. Over that foundation are now layers and layers of progressive, administrative, centralized control over minute aspects of daily life. In creating these new layers, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the separation of powers, and federalism have been rejected and diminished. Countless individual rights and liberties have been seized or rejected as "impediments" to control. The expansive tyrannical administrative state extinguishes the value of the citizen, and that in turn snuffs out freedom and liberty and the right to property.
At heart, Levin explains, a progressive is one who believes in the perfectibility of man by government tinkering and control, and if the tinkering and control produce harm, the good intentions immunize the well intended progressive. For instance, the goal for Woodrow Wilson-style progressives was to create an activist and interventional government that Wilson called an "unbounded activist government." Wilson wanted that, installed as "rule by a trained centralized bureaucracy, independent from the genuine consent of the governed and constitutional constraints." Levin clearly demonstrates that progressives set this stage over 100 years ago and have been pushing forward successfully to promote the expanded administrative state ever since.
Mark Levin never disappoints when he sets out to educate Americans on the importance of our founding principles and the threats to those principles. Levin asserts we should be represented by those we elect to speak for us, not ruled without consent by an army of bureaucrats with long-term agendas and silly utopian posturing that always creates the problem of unanticipated negative consequences. Levin always asserts to his credit that our voices as individuals should be paramount and our freedoms must be protected by our Bill of Rights. Levin is informative, and he also provides authoritative references that expand on his points.
Levin provides overwhelming evidence that the government now is nothing like what was intended by the framers and founders of America, with the development of an administrative state that has layers and layers of bureaucrats and central controls of details of people lives never conceived of by our forefathers. At the same time, there is an extinction of the intents of the framers to create a limited government by the consent of the governed, a government limited by its enumerated powers but also limited by separation of powers of the branches and sharing of power with the states (federalism). A government of limited and enumerated powers has now become an unlimited hegemon, ambitiously expanded in its enumerated powers and in administrative state executive agencies with the complicity of the judiciary and the Congress, so that we now have a government controlled by unelected white-collar despots who have acquired not only legislative, but judicial powers. The consequence is that bureaucrats (apparatchiks, or nomenklatura, if you prefer) make rules, decide how to enforce those rules, and choose whom to punish for disobedience. The result is a ruling-class oligarchy of unelected people launched onto a national project that produces tyranny.
In the latter half of the book, Levin takes up the problem of the what should be – Americanism and the destruction of the should be of the leftist-socialist-progressive army who believe in the perfectibility of man, the future of utopian government created by well meaning socialist oligarchs, unlimited power and financial resources to do continuous tinkering and law-making. It is essential to the new-age socialist project to be a parasite on a well developed economy – America and Western capitalism are essential hosts for the parasites of socialism. Socialism in less prosperous countries kills the host.
Levin asserts that government by progressives trashes the natural law and traditional morality, allowing the nation and its constituents to be preyed upon by the tyranny of arbitrary morality and rights decided by the powerful without restraints, a muscular state promoted by progressives who stood on the theories and the destructive tenets of Plato, Rousseau, Hegel, and Marx.
Well, that's enough in favor of Mark Levin and his book. Read it. Grab hold of what he's saying. Teach it to your friends and family. Promote it publicly. Not much time left to stop the commies. We cannot survive as a host for the socialist parasites who now represent the threat described in the Declaration of Independence as one example of the tyranny of King George: "He has erected a multitude of New Offices and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance." That sentence describes the destructive effects of the modern administrative state. The modern parasite is socialist statism; the threat to freedom, liberty, and property is similar.