Everything that has made Mark Levin one of the conservative movement’s most influential voices is there in his new book “Plunder and Deceit.”
There’s championship-level rhetoric, Mr. Levin’s trademark unapologetic zeal, as well as his relentless flood of facts and data. But this time there’s something else, too.
“Plunder and Deceit” is more than a book. It’s a manifesto. The likes of which you’d expect to be written by an Old Testament prophet pleading with the emerging generation to return to the righteous path their ancestors strayed from. Mr. Levin puts everything from the national debt, to foreign affairs, and the state of the nation’s schools and universities in their lap and asks the question the prophet Isaiah posited to God’s people so very long ago:
“Where would you yet be struck?”
While the seeds of our culture’s self-imposed destruction have been planted for multiple generations, and the rotten fruit of such toxic horticulture is increasingly self-evident, the emerging generation seems willing to double-down on the generational failure they’re inheriting nevertheless. Mr. Levin is concerned they have achieved Zen-like status when it comes to self-deception. He puts it this way in his opening chapter about the ubiquity of young, self-proclaimed political independents who nonetheless vote for deeply Marxist policies and activist government:
“The rising generation seems wedged in its own contradictions. While it is said to distrust ambitious authority and question the so-called status quo, further examination suggests that in large numbers its members sanction both … furthermore, when asked ‘would you say that most people can be trusted or that you can’t be too careful in dealing with people, just 19 percent say most people can be trusted.’ But what is activist government if not trust in a relative handful of political masterminds exercising extraordinary power and commanding a large army of civil servants to manage the lives of millions of individuals?”
With “Plunder and Deceit,” Mr. Levin has authored a devastating cost/benefit analysis for our young intelligentsia, who along with their children will experience the brunt of a once-great culture’s collapse unless something changes and changes fast. For example, what do you get when you combine all of that college debt with per-pupil public education spending near the top of the international first-world average, all the while played to the relentless tune of progressive indoctrination?
Let’s just say it ain’t exactly paradise.
Mr. Levin points out, by way of a Pew Research study, that those between the ages of 18-32 ‘are the first in the modern era to have higher levels of student loan debt, poverty, and unemployment and lower levels of wealth and personal income than their two immediate predecessor generations had at the same age.”
And Mr. Levin continues with help from the Census Bureau and Moody’s Analytics:
* One in five young adults (18-34 years old) now lives in poverty (13.5 million people), up from one in seven in 1980.
* A record 30.3 percent of young adults are living at home with their parents, up from 22.9 percent in 1980.
* Workers under the age of 35 have gone from a savings rate of 5 percent in 2009 to negative 2 percent today.
Mr. Levin calls upon the Founding Fathers to aid his begging the demographic plagued by such flaccidness to wake up and do the math. Jefferson, Madison and others are joined by philosophical cousins such as Burke and Montesquieu to issue words now hundreds of years old. But whose predictive value has only grown appreciably in value over time.
Jefferson knew us well : “(With the decline of society) begins, indeed, the war of all against all, which some philosophers observing to be so general in this world, have mistaken it for the natural, instead of the abusive state of man. And the fore horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.”
The fact that we are all beginning to feel the impact of that unraveling at the moment would seem to spark renewed interest in the vision of our Founding Fathers. But that vision is more of a mystery to the emerging generation of Americans. Thus, a tutorial such as Mr. Levin offers is sorely needed when a people loses its legacy.
How else, according to Mr. Levin, could it be true that from 2005 to 2014 the number of regulations foisted on the American people by the executive branch of government could total a vulgar 36,877. Meanwhile, Congress – you know, the legislative body with the actual constitutional authority to make law – has passed less than 2,000 bills in the same period.
That isn’t governing. That is usurpation. That is revolution. A long train of abuses even.
Whether or not we are too deeply damaged to salvage the nation our Founders forged remains to be seen. Mr. Levin, as we’ve come to expect, sugarcoats nothing in that regard:
‘“The time is urgent for the ruling generation and the rising generation – that is, parents and their progeny – to step up in defense of their joint interests and in opposition to their common foe – a government unmoored from its constitutional beginnings and spinning out of control. The statist abuses and exploits younger people and subsequent generations, expropriating the fruits of their labor and garnishing wealth yet created, as a cash cow for voracious, contemporary governmental plundering, and manipulating and constricting their prospects and liberty even before they are of age to more fully pursue and enjoy them.”
Mr. Levin has authored a Rosetta Stone for a true conservative to win back the White House in 2016. Now all we need is such a candidate to say “here I am send me.”
(Steve Deace is a nationally syndicated talk show host and also the author of the new book “Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again.” You can “like” him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow.)