Ameritopia – by Mark Levin – a Review

Ameritopia by Mark Levin

Sometimes when you take a bite from a meal you get more wonderful flavors than you expected. As I mentioned I started the year trying to catch up on reading, and with “Ameritopia” I knocked out several pieces I may not have gotten around to. I found it to be an excellent primer on basic political philosophy.

Author Mark Levin spends the first half of the book covering the history of political thought, through an examination of Plato’s “Republic”, Thomas More’s “Utopia”, Thomas Hobbes’ “Leviathan”, and Karl Marx “Communist Manefesto”. He covers the basic tenets of each of these and contrasts the between them the political and social structure they envision. He focuses on how each approach the rights of the individual based on the political and governmental structure they recommend.

After a treatment of this history, Levin turns to the writings of John Locke and his formidable influence on our Founding Fathers. He illustrates how Locke’s writings were quoted and referenced in the documents that formed the basis for our country and our government. He also examines the writings of Charles de Montesquieu and Alexis de Tocqueville for how they described and magnified the reasons for America’s success. He related those writings again to the basis from John Locke for a structure in the rights of an individual for this country and it’s departure from the suppositions of the earlier writings by Plato et. all.

After a exhausting journey through political and social philosophy Levin starts to cover where we are in our own history and the forces at work as well as the choices we have to make for our country. After slogging through the difficult and sometimes tedious subject matter of abstract philosophy you are rewarded with a climax at the end of the book rivaling any page turner of a novel. He draws no conclusions about what future choices we will make. He only describes the forces at work in shaping our decisions to come.

No doubt the coverage of the early philosophers are presented in such a way as to make the political points Mark Levin sets out to make in “Ameritopia”. However, it’s a wonderful journey through several classic writings I had wanted to make time for and a rewarding read. While it is not a light read and requires some dedication and patience to work your way through the more involved concepts, I highly recommend this book, whether you are an American, or not.