Mark Levin's 'Plunder and Deceit' -- a Wake-Up Call for the Youth of America
In addition to "how high is up?" "how long is a piece of string?" "how ripe are strawberries?" and "what do women want?" one of the thorniest questions of human existence is "why do young people vote liberal/progressive/lefty?" Given the overwhelming evidence that the economics of social democracies like those in Europe and, latterly, the United States are doomed, it's a puzzlement. Like the Eloi in The Time Machine, young folks are being both exploited and fattened up for the slaughter. And yet they do absolutely nothing about it.
This is the subject Mark Levin -- lawyer, best-selling author and national radio talk-show host -- has tackled in his latest book, Plunder and Deceit. Thematically, it follows his seminal Liberty and Tyranny as an unsparing analysis of the current dire straits in which the United States of America currently finds itself. Although it's chockablock with irrefutable statistics about the coming collapse of the American economic dream, at root it's a book about the moral collapse of a once-great, individualistic nation, and the forfeiture of the civil-society protections the Founders so painstakingly wrote into the Constitution in favor of something that increasingly looks like centralized tyranny.
The statistics, laid out in the book in grim detail,are horrifying: runaway entitlements, a shrinking job market, the disappearance of whole industries practically overnight, increased job competition from both legal and illegal immigration, the breakdown of the family... this is the world the Left has bequeathed our progeny, and yet they fell for Barack Obama practically en masse. Writes Levin:
Joblessness and underemployment among younger people have also changed the family dynamic, making it more difficult for young adults to leave home. For example, Pew Research reports that from 1968 to 2007 the percentage “of young adults living in their parents’ home was relatively constant [at about 32 percent]. By 2012, 36 percent of those between the ages of eighteen and thirty-one lived in their parents’ home."
As his regular listeners know, Levin is nothing if not a constitutionalist, and his ire at the way that noble document has been corrupted practically leaps off every page of Plunder and Deceit, because he understands (quoting Montesquieu), that: "in a popular [or republican] state there must be an additional spring, which is VIRTUE. When that virtue ceases, ambition enters those hearts that can admit it, and avarice enters them all…. The republic is a cast-off husk, and its strength is no more than the power of a few citizens and the license of all." Powerful stuff, and no less true for being more than three centuries old.
Ultimately this is not merely about dreary yet didactic statistics but... about morality. The devastating consequences of wealth redistribution, intergenerational thievery, massive federal spending, endless borrowing, and unimaginable debt accumulation on American society, and most particularly on the ruling generation and future generations, are a travesty. Stealing from the future does not establish the utopia promised by the statists. It is the rising generation’s grave moral failure.
As the passages quoted above make clear, Levin's unsparing denunciation of the parlous state into which America has fallen is not simply a radio rant, or a matter of his opinion alone. He marshals philosophers and Founders alike in his discussion:
In Federalist 51, Madison explained the essential balance between the civil society and governmental restraint: “But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections of human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.
And there, in a nutshell, is Levin's brief against the Leviathan State -- it cannot control itself. Instead, like the Thing That Devoured Cleveland, it keeps growing, arrogating unto itself more and more of everything a citizen possesses: more money, more of his property, more of his liberty. Left unchecked -- and as the growing tyranny of the courts illustrates, it almost cannot be checked -- it will beggar the population, consume the institutions of the nation, and leave behind only Montesquieu's "cast-off husk." What worse, that's exactly what the modern Unholy Left (as I characterize it in my own new book, The Devil's Pleasure Palace) wants.
This book is primarily addressed to the next generations, the millennials and those coming after them, who are being led down a garden path of fleurs du mal in the guise of "compassion," "tolerance," "fairness" and all the other familiar leftist shibboleths.
Can we simultaneously love our children but betray their generation and generations yet born? ... Why do so many loving parents, as part of the ruling generation, abandon the civil society for the growing tyranny of a voracious central government that steals their children’s future, thus condemning their children and unborn generations to a dangerously precarious and unstable environment, despite a large majority acknowledging the national decline for which they blame politicians?
Answer: no, and I blame the influence of the Frankfurt School on our academics. So what is to be done?