Countless books chronicle the forward march of the liberal agenda and attempt to deconstruct the fallacies in modern leftist thinking. Many critique the statist policies the left has imposed on us the past half-century and their disastrous effects on our culture, our economy and our national security.
Few modern books, however, direct our attention to first principles, perhaps assuming people implicitly understand the philosophical and ideological underpinnings of conservative thinking, and even fewer truly explore the anatomy of the liberal vision.
In "Liberty and Tyranny," Levin laid out the conservative vision and contrasted it with the liberal vision. But "Ameritopia" examines more deeply the historical and philosophical roots of the utopian ideal, for it is that ideal that has always animated the liberal worldview.
Levin takes us through the seminal thoughts of some of the most noted political philosophers and writers who laid out the utopian vision -- from Plato to Thomas More, Thomas Hobbes and Karl Marx -- and then unpacks the contrasting vision of John Locke, Baron de Montesquieu and others whose ideas greatly influenced America's founders.
Liberal utopianism is a fantasy of arrogant philosophers and philosopher kings who believe their vision is superior to those of other lowly mortals. Levin calls them the "masterminds" -- the latest and most prominent being President Barack Obama and his cadre of utopian elitists. They believe they are proponents of enlightenment thinking and rationalism who could construct the ideal society if deniers and other obstructionists would just get out of their way.
In reality, however, they couldn't be more irrational, as they reject human nature, history and all empirical evidence that contradicts their vision. Indeed, writes Levin, "utopianism is regressive, irrational, and pre-Enlightenment."
History and the whole of human experience be damned; utopians can achieve the ideal society even if all similar utopians who preceded them failed. As Levin says, they always believe that "what went before them" was "piecemeal and therefore inadequate. The steps necessary to achieve true utopianism have yet to be tried."
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