Published in the Mar-Apr 2012 issue of MyLIFE magazine
An imaginary land where everything is supposed to be perfect. Utopia comes from two Greek words that mean “no place,” and the name refers particularly to a society with ideal economic and social conditions. People often apply the word “utopian” to plans to reform—plans that they consider impractical and visionary.
Utopia was used as the title of a famous book by St. Thomas More, first published in Latin in 1551. The book is written partly in the form of a dialogue. It gives More’s views on the ideal government. But, like most writings on the subject of utopia, the book also criticizes social and economic conditions.
Several other books have presented an imaginary ideal state of society. One of the first books describing a utopia was Plato’s The Republic, published in 375 B.C. More recent utopias are described in Samuel Butler’s Erewhon (1872) and Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward (1888).
Now comes Mark R. Levin with Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America—already at No. 1 on The New York Time’s Best Sellers list in four different categories, including hardcover nonfiction; combined hardcover and paperback nonfiction; political books; and combined print and e-book nonfiction.
Levin’s previous book, Liberty and Tyranny, was hailed by conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh as “the most compelling defense of freedom for our time,” and The American Spectator called it “the necessary book of the Obama era.” Just as Liberty and Tyrnany attempted to make a case for conservatism, Ameritopia makes the most persuasive case yet for that movement and presents an argument against statism in a generation. In this most crucial time, this leading conservative thinker explores the psychology, motivations and history of the Utopian Movement, its architects and its modern-day disciples—and how the individual and American society are being devoured by it.
Levin asks: What is this utopian force that both allures a free people and destroys them? He digs deep into the past and draws astoundingly relevant parallels to contemporary America from Plato’s The Republic, More’s Utopia, Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan and Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto—as well as from the critical works of John Locke, Charles Montesquieu, Alexis de Tocqueville and other philosophical pioneers who brilliantly diagnosed the nature of man and government.
Levin says his objective in writing the book was to “reinvigorate” the conservative movement and the Tea Party at the grassroots level. “This is my goal, this is my hope—to show absolute respect for the intelligence of this audience, and to embrace you and your concerns.”
As Levin meticulously pursues his subject, the reader joins him in an enlightening and compelling journey.
In a relatively short book, Levin has provided the words of philosophers and thinkers from history, showing that there is a divide in theory from Americanism and statism (to borrow a word from Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny). He shows us how central planning “masterminds” and controlling micro-managers take away our natural, God-given rights and force us into slavery, killing our ideas, our potential and our dreams.
In the end, Levin’s message is clear: The American public is in great peril. People must now choose between utopianism and liberty. In a way, he echoes the words of Adam Smith in 1759 when he wrote The Theory of Mortal Sentiments: “The man of system, on the contrary, is apt to be very wise in his own conceit; and is often so enamored with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it. He goes on to establish it completely and in all its parts, without any regard either to the great interests or to the strong prejudices which may oppose it. He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chessboard.”
So, what kind of an impact did the book have on me? In the words of fellow reviewer Jen Kuznicki: “It is you and I who fall into this group of regular Americans who will educate ourselves and lead this nation back on its original path of freedom and liberty, strength and prosperity.”
And yes, Mark Levin has truly become a beacon for us to achieve this singular and most important goal for America.
Publisher: Threshold Editions
(A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.)
267 pages, $26.99