- - Wednesday, August 5, 2015


By Mark R. Levin

Threshold Editions, $27, 256 pages

One would think that to succeed in today’s political world one must be intimately familiar with what we know as social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or the newest Internet gadget along with the latest app du jour. Trendy techies and an insulated inside-the-Beltway clique of consultants and candidates vying to master various internet widgets are prone to dismiss conservative talk radio as irrelevant. To do so is a mistake of unimaginable proportions as talk radio reaches more people and has vastly more influence on the politically active than most imagine even if it doesn’t seem as hip to a younger generation seemingly superglued to computers and cellphones.

Mark Levin is a talented and dedicated conservative attorney turned nationally syndicated radio host with an unerring ability to connect to a devoted, ever-growing audience of millions who eagerly turn their radio dials in his direction on a daily basis. There they can enjoy his unique, charismatic and provocative takes on news of the day and — in a noisy media echo chamber — the truth.

But since so many of today’s young people generally choose other means of connecting with their favorite political personalities, it is encouraging to see that Mr. Levin wants to reach a generation of young Americans more likely to be addicted to reality television and Harry Potter movies, but that still reads books.

In his latest book, “Plunder and Deceit,” Mr. Levin predicts a grim future for today’s 18- to 35-year-olds if current political, economic and social trends continue. Bluntly and honestly, Mr. Levin expresses doubts that these young people can look forward to a future as bright as the one their parents and grandparents enjoyed. At his best, Mr. Levin is part philosopher, part oracle, seamlessly moving from Madison’s “Federalist Papers” (particularly Federalist No. 51, “The Structure of the Government Must Furnish the Proper Checks and Balances Between the Different Departments”) to Edmund Burke and Montesquieu. He shines a light on a republic in decline and visualizes the long-term impact of today’s mass dependence on unfunded government entitlements.

Mr. Levin’s style is direct and acerbic. It’s his shtick. Fans of his radio show will recognize the railing against the “ruling generation” and the absolute refusal to engage in the sociologist-speak of boomer/Gen X/Gen Y/millennial classifications. The decision to refrain is a subtle one, with a profound outcome: One really gets a sense of Mr. Levin’s worldview. He sees a nation he loves in peril; undermined by a dysfunctional system of government run by those who seek to enrich the few at the expense of the many. It’s a world divided between “us” and “them” — the “statists” versus the rest of us.

From chapter to chapter, Mr. Levin details the consequences of decades of government largesse, of the skyrocketing federal debt, Obamacare, education and the environment, which he sees as being visited on these young people. They may not have initiated the ruinous policies that he believes are destroying their future prospects, but suggests that to a large extent they have only themselves to blame, noting the irony of a generation of young people in love with the very things that will lead to the financial and cultural difficulties they will wrestle with in middle age.

On education, Mr. Levin speaks directly to young people, addressing the many problems facing a system that puts pensions, tenure and deals with textbook companies above actual education. He cites statistics on how education dollars get spent and he explains how the young are manipulated by teachers’ unions and school administrators more interested in social engineering than readying students for the real world. He takes on the massive education debt shouldered by today’s young people as they start their careers and notes that many are paying far more for an education than can be justified by future earnings.

Ultimately though, his message to young people is a positive one, because he is convinced they have it within themselves to avoid the coming catastrophe. This book is a clarion call to today’s youth, who if they understand the problems they face and are willing to do the hard work, they can set the nation back on the right course and secure their futures.

In “Plunder and Deceit,” Mark Levin ably diagnoses the problems at hand and provides a cure for those willing to listen. It is a book worth reading and taking to heart.

Ian Walters is a musician and longtime communications director for the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

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