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From #1 New York Times bestselling author and radio host Mark R. Levin comes a searing plea for a return to America’s most sacred values. In Rediscovering Americanism, Mark R. Levin revisits the founders’ warnings about the perils of overreach by the federal government and concludes that the men who created our country would be outraged and disappointed to see where we've e From #1 New York Times bestselling author and radio host Mark R. Levin comes a searing plea for a return to America’s most sacred values. In Rediscovering Americanism, Mark R. Levin revisits the founders’ warnings about the perils of overreach by the federal government and concludes that the men who created our country would be outraged and disappointed to see where we've ended up. Levin returns to the impassioned question he's explored in each of his bestselling books: How do we save our exceptional country? Because our values are in such a precarious state, he argues that a restoration to the essential truths on which our country was founded has never been more urgent. Understanding these principles, in Levin’s words, can “serve as the antidote to tyrannical regimes and governments.” Rediscovering Americanism is not an exercise in nostalgia, but an appeal to his fellow citizens to reverse course. This essential book brings Levin’s celebrated, sophisticated analysis to the troubling question of America's future, and reminds us what we must restore for the sake of our children and our children's children.


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From #1 New York Times bestselling author and radio host Mark R. Levin comes a searing plea for a return to America’s most sacred values. In Rediscovering Americanism, Mark R. Levin revisits the founders’ warnings about the perils of overreach by the federal government and concludes that the men who created our country would be outraged and disappointed to see where we've e From #1 New York Times bestselling author and radio host Mark R. Levin comes a searing plea for a return to America’s most sacred values. In Rediscovering Americanism, Mark R. Levin revisits the founders’ warnings about the perils of overreach by the federal government and concludes that the men who created our country would be outraged and disappointed to see where we've ended up. Levin returns to the impassioned question he's explored in each of his bestselling books: How do we save our exceptional country? Because our values are in such a precarious state, he argues that a restoration to the essential truths on which our country was founded has never been more urgent. Understanding these principles, in Levin’s words, can “serve as the antidote to tyrannical regimes and governments.” Rediscovering Americanism is not an exercise in nostalgia, but an appeal to his fellow citizens to reverse course. This essential book brings Levin’s celebrated, sophisticated analysis to the troubling question of America's future, and reminds us what we must restore for the sake of our children and our children's children.

30 review for Rediscovering Americanism: And the Tyranny of Progressivism

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    As with all books written by Mark Levin, Rediscovering Americanism is thought-provoking and extremely well researched. Looking at our Constitution, as well as the writings of our Founding Fathers and the philosophical teachings of Tocqueville, Montesquieu, Aristotle, Locke, Croly and Marx, Levin examines our current expanding role of government. The American Dream is under siege with the increasing prevalence of collectivism. We tell our children to strive to be their personal best..to work hard As with all books written by Mark Levin, Rediscovering Americanism is thought-provoking and extremely well researched. Looking at our Constitution, as well as the writings of our Founding Fathers and the philosophical teachings of Tocqueville, Montesquieu, Aristotle, Locke, Croly and Marx, Levin examines our current expanding role of government. The American Dream is under siege with the increasing prevalence of collectivism. We tell our children to strive to be their personal best..to work hard..to study..to win the race..to practice..to strive for honors...yet we live in a society in which everyone gets a trophy. I fear the road our country is taking in which government controls our personal and economic freedoms with the individual being no longer of importance.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    His basic argument: The Bible is what defines the West, and the Constitution, modeled on the Bible, but with more liberties, defines America. Marxism is opposed to the Bible (as it is to all religion) which means it is opposed to the Constitution. He makes a similar argument against science taking a role in determining economic / social positions. Interestingly, he tries to label Marxism and science as religion multiple times -- this reveals his affinity more strongly, as he does not explicitly His basic argument: The Bible is what defines the West, and the Constitution, modeled on the Bible, but with more liberties, defines America. Marxism is opposed to the Bible (as it is to all religion) which means it is opposed to the Constitution. He makes a similar argument against science taking a role in determining economic / social positions. Interestingly, he tries to label Marxism and science as religion multiple times -- this reveals his affinity more strongly, as he does not explicitly present himself as a Christian. Let's not get into another one of his major axioms, that humans are endowed with free will, and that justifies inequalities. The freedom to be poor is a more important freedom for Levin than the freedom to be secure from disease, hunger, ignorance, and the rest. It's funny how the author calls the founding fathers very religious men. Most were deists or closet agnostics, despite being Masons. It's interesting that he uses positivism to smash German Idealism but then dismisses positivism as cultural relativism. (lol wut?) The examples of communism he cites for the failures of Marxism are not communist systems in line with Marx's writings. You would have thought that someone who spent several pages quoting Marx would have read the man's works, but you'd be wrong. He does not discuss post-scarcity economics at length, despite post-scarcity scenarios being the pre-requisites for an "Authentic" Marxist revolution. Blah blah state socialism blah Maoism blah Lenin blah blah. The author interestingly cites capitalism as the force driving the industrial revolution, rather than the progress of technology. He does not talk about the countless deaths, cryptoslavery, environmental destruction, or waste of resources resulting from free market-style economics, but is happy to blame authoritarian genocides in authoritarian communist regimes for communist deaths. (Typical from libertarians & fundie capitalist WASPs...) His argument defusing the Marxist tension between Bourgeoisie and Proletariat is that most workers like their bosses. That's a cute sentiment, but it's missing the point by miles. About half of it is just citations from public domain sources; most of what surrounds these lengthy citations is just framing or snide remarks writing off extensive opposing viewpoints to his hypothesis as being just wrong. He closes by essentially equating taxation, regulation, and messages of tolerance tyranny. At least he doesn't pull the "Hitler was a communist" card. You're not a philosopher, Mark, despite quoting philosophers. If you aren't a crazy, uneducated Christian, or a selfish person willing to use "patriotism" and "Christian ethics" as an emotional appeal, this work will not convince you. This work's tone and presentation is very similar to Christian fundamentalist apologies. If you don't subscribe to the Christian protestant work ethic, you will not find value in this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I am only on page 19, but already (at this point) think this book is a 5. It is such a crucial issue to be discussing and with the July 4th holiday coming up, wanted to point it out to anyone who may be interested; makes perfect holiday reading, especially for our times. ***As the replies discuss below this review, I need to drop the rating down to a 4 (I have a couple chapters left); primarily because it is a little hard to understand for me. As stated, I definitely attribute that mostly to my d I am only on page 19, but already (at this point) think this book is a 5. It is such a crucial issue to be discussing and with the July 4th holiday coming up, wanted to point it out to anyone who may be interested; makes perfect holiday reading, especially for our times. ***As the replies discuss below this review, I need to drop the rating down to a 4 (I have a couple chapters left); primarily because it is a little hard to understand for me. As stated, I definitely attribute that mostly to my deficiency, not to Levin's. I need to continue to read and understand better all the history and philosophy involved in all this. I am leaving it a 4 however based on the seriousness and importance of the information it discusses. Also as stated in the replies below, I believe this to be one of the most crucial problems of our time that all Americans should be thinking about and learning about. We see the fruits of all of this play out every day....the effects of which touch all of us. ***I had to increase the rating back up to a 5...although the middle third of the book was harder for me to understand fully, (which again, I put on me, not him), the beginning and ending third of the book are just spot on in this vital issue.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Charles

    Waste of time - I can't figure-out why this book is so highly rated - really confused. First, there's only about 10% original content in here - mostly direct quotes (appropriately footnoted) and many go on for pages. Secondly, his emotional hate for progressives taints his ability to clearly state his thesis (in that 10% original writing). Finally, I was put-off early on by his position that unless you believe in God you don't live by "natural law" ? What???? Maybe his other stuff is better, but Waste of time - I can't figure-out why this book is so highly rated - really confused. First, there's only about 10% original content in here - mostly direct quotes (appropriately footnoted) and many go on for pages. Secondly, his emotional hate for progressives taints his ability to clearly state his thesis (in that 10% original writing). Finally, I was put-off early on by his position that unless you believe in God you don't live by "natural law" ? What???? Maybe his other stuff is better, but save your time and money on this one.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    The pure scholarship in this book is phenomenal. Superb. It's a critique too in every sense of particular outcome for the future America if Progressive tenets are continued to be applied. They are nearly the antithesis of the Americanism of the Federalist papers and the core of the Constitution. Absolutely the antithesis of the philosophy which formed the USA entity beyond just the written laws and structures. It's heavy. Too pedantic for me to give it 5 stars; it's a very difficult read because The pure scholarship in this book is phenomenal. Superb. It's a critique too in every sense of particular outcome for the future America if Progressive tenets are continued to be applied. They are nearly the antithesis of the Americanism of the Federalist papers and the core of the Constitution. Absolutely the antithesis of the philosophy which formed the USA entity beyond just the written laws and structures. It's heavy. Too pedantic for me to give it 5 stars; it's a very difficult read because of the exact quotation and research embedded. His is a brilliant mind. Those readers who gave this book 1 star, did not read this book and if they truly did, they do not understand the history, nor the real Founders' or Levin's language. I think it may be over their head. They must hold a worldview that contains no windows to any other "eyes" but ones of identity based division and more and more overhead and endless top down authoritarian big government control. Not a Republic and not one based on INDIVIDUAL rights as was founded. This is not a book I would recommend for the light and enjoyment reader. It's a thorough proof thesis and it is worthy of study.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Justin

    This was my first Levin book.....I think I should've started with some of his earlier writings and I would've appreciated this more. This was a far more complex read than I had anticipated so put your thinkng cap on. It offered a thorough review of the progressive movement and how it opposes the worldview of the framers of our country. He's spot on the progressive movement is destructive to everything that has made our country unique and great. The author mostly failed to connect the book to mod This was my first Levin book.....I think I should've started with some of his earlier writings and I would've appreciated this more. This was a far more complex read than I had anticipated so put your thinkng cap on. It offered a thorough review of the progressive movement and how it opposes the worldview of the framers of our country. He's spot on the progressive movement is destructive to everything that has made our country unique and great. The author mostly failed to connect the book to modern day, to where we are at now in this country and what to do. But at the end I understood that he's offered those ideas elsewhere, so I'm intrigued to read his other books. Plus I've always enjoyed Levin when I've been able to listen to his talk radio show. So if your interested in this book I would read his earlier and seemingly more interesting books first.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ada Evans

    An important read for all Americans! We must review -- or learn for the first time -- the vision our Founders had for the new republic. The philosophical underpinnings of our nation are amazing. What's terrible: how Progressivism is eroding our nation and its philosophical underpinnings and, as a result, our individual liberties. This book is not an easy read. It's an intense read! Recommended for all Americans ages 16 and over.

  8. 5 out of 5

    vaderbird

    Despite being a best seller for weeks, I am amazed at how our press has not done any interviews about this book. What a shocker.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Mulshine

    I listened to the book on audible. It was interesting but hard to distinguish the authors words versus quotations.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Barry

    I have enjoyed all of Levin's books and I wouldn't want to dissuade anyone from reading any of them, but this is my least favorite. There are just too many long quotes. It disrupts the flow of the book. I admit it's the way I would be tempted to write a book. I'd think to myself, "I can't say this any better than Montesquieu did in this long passage, so I'll just quote him. Then this passage by Madison, and this one by Tocqueville..." But Levin is too talented to rely on this technique. I unders I have enjoyed all of Levin's books and I wouldn't want to dissuade anyone from reading any of them, but this is my least favorite. There are just too many long quotes. It disrupts the flow of the book. I admit it's the way I would be tempted to write a book. I'd think to myself, "I can't say this any better than Montesquieu did in this long passage, so I'll just quote him. Then this passage by Madison, and this one by Tocqueville..." But Levin is too talented to rely on this technique. I understand the value of an appeal to authority, but there was just too much of it here.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    This book has messed with my mind. I just could not stop thinking about the structure of government, democracy, and freedom. Levin explained the American Declaration of Independence in great detail. I now understand why there will never be gun control in America as the right to bear arms is enshrined in the constitution. The important thing is for the state to leave people alone for the pursuit of happiness. The separation of the executive (president), legislative (congress), and judicial (cour This book has messed with my mind. I just could not stop thinking about the structure of government, democracy, and freedom. Levin explained the American Declaration of Independence in great detail. I now understand why there will never be gun control in America as the right to bear arms is enshrined in the constitution. The important thing is for the state to leave people alone for the pursuit of happiness. The separation of the executive (president), legislative (congress), and judicial (courts) was totally intentional, preventing any branch taking too much power. To people outside America the federal government can sometimes seem impotent; however that was rather intentional from the founding fathers. Levin has a dim view of Progressives, who believe in Science trumping traditional and the 'inalienable fundamental natural laws' which is God-given. According to Levin, Progressives want to centralise power so that a small group of elites will run the country, making everyone the same. Levin thinks that the federal government intervention is necessary, to provide some education, some health coverage, defence and rules to promote Capitalism and competition. Other than those, it should just back off and allow the market to decide most stuffs. I finally understand why the Republican party has won back control of both the Houses and the Presidency. I understand now why a lot of Republicans question Global warming. Americans have spoken and they want to go back to Americanism. The world, beware.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    Mark Levin has written an excellent critique of almost every work I read in the first year of post graduate studies. He appears to hold Marx, Hegel, Croly, Dewey, and Wilson In an even greater degree of disdain than I do. His thoughts and mention of Tocqueville, Smith, Hayek, Mill, Friedman, Bastia, and the Federalist was a refreshing reminder of the extracurricular reading I did just to keep my sanity. The last page of the epilogue... "those of us whose eyes are open, whatever our numbers, have Mark Levin has written an excellent critique of almost every work I read in the first year of post graduate studies. He appears to hold Marx, Hegel, Croly, Dewey, and Wilson In an even greater degree of disdain than I do. His thoughts and mention of Tocqueville, Smith, Hayek, Mill, Friedman, Bastia, and the Federalist was a refreshing reminder of the extracurricular reading I did just to keep my sanity. The last page of the epilogue... "those of us whose eyes are open, whatever our numbers, have a moral obligation to try to rouse our fellow citizens to take a sober and critical look at the decaying societal conditions, from which a truthful conclusion can be drawn and perhaps improvements made." This statement is the logical conclusion and justification for the entire book. It is a call to action for likeminded individuals to discuss liberty and conservatism to our friends and neighbors, especially those that don't want to listen.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Timothy

    I give up. I tried. I really tried to hold out and finish this book. But it now goes to the rare list of books I just couldn't suffer all the way through. First- The vast majority of the pages of this book are filled with verbatim quotes from The Founding Fathers and in some cases from philosophers hundreds of years before them. Not exactly my cup of reading tea. Second- It's not even a stretch for me to say; I could have written this book. I mean, seriously. Mark Levin barely wrote it himself. H I give up. I tried. I really tried to hold out and finish this book. But it now goes to the rare list of books I just couldn't suffer all the way through. First- The vast majority of the pages of this book are filled with verbatim quotes from The Founding Fathers and in some cases from philosophers hundreds of years before them. Not exactly my cup of reading tea. Second- It's not even a stretch for me to say; I could have written this book. I mean, seriously. Mark Levin barely wrote it himself. Here's an imitation of the book to prove my claim: In 1776 Mr Billy Bob said ...' (next 3 pages contain actual LONG quote from Mr Billy Bob). Mr Billy Bob would go on to say...'(2 more full page quotes from Mr Bob.) *Repeat for 226 pages* Suggestion to Goodreads, make 1 STAR = pure torture to the reader. I should also point out that I'm actually a fan Mark Levin. Imagine how tough it would be for someone that doesn't like him to make it through this. Oooof

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mike Heyd

    In this book Mark Levin offers an erudite review of the philosophical foundations of American political society, all to the end of exposing the shortcomings of “progressivism.” Unfortunately he never clearly defines what he means by progressivism. Had he done so, and analyzed the specific failings of contemporary progressivism as thoroughly as he covers its philosophical antecedents, the book might be enlightening and instructive. As it is, I’m left wondering why he thinks progressives are again In this book Mark Levin offers an erudite review of the philosophical foundations of American political society, all to the end of exposing the shortcomings of “progressivism.” Unfortunately he never clearly defines what he means by progressivism. Had he done so, and analyzed the specific failings of contemporary progressivism as thoroughly as he covers its philosophical antecedents, the book might be enlightening and instructive. As it is, I’m left wondering why he thinks progressives are against the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Levin seems devoutly dedicated to free-market Capitalism and repeats the anemic Republican mantra that under its reign anyone who wants all of its benefits need only work for them, a gross oversimplification if ever there was one. Levin’s literature review is fairly impressive; his analytical skills are not. And there is scarcely an original thought or statement in the entire book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Chris Hart

    It really pains me to give this book one star. I think Mark Levin has been a preeminent voice for constitutional conservatism. I've read all his previous books save "Plunder and Deceit", and I've enjoyed and learned from them. This book, however, is basically a string of lengthy quotations from past writers. And I do mean LENGTHY--the longest one I took note of, once I started keeping track, was 3 1/2 pages. Average quotes are over a page long. And there is very little of Mark's original writing It really pains me to give this book one star. I think Mark Levin has been a preeminent voice for constitutional conservatism. I've read all his previous books save "Plunder and Deceit", and I've enjoyed and learned from them. This book, however, is basically a string of lengthy quotations from past writers. And I do mean LENGTHY--the longest one I took note of, once I started keeping track, was 3 1/2 pages. Average quotes are over a page long. And there is very little of Mark's original writing in between quotes. I can read deToqueville or the Federalist papers or any of the other sources he quotes on my own; I don't need someone picking out passages. What a disappointment.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jackie White

    A very heavy and difficult book to get through, but in a good way. The author touches on everything from America’s Christian heritage to our most undeniable right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness...and brings it home with words of our Founding Fathers. Very inspirational and hopeful. Another reason Levin is one of my favorite conservatives.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lee Richardson

    Listened to the audio-book two times, but obviously didn't ingest it as much as I would have while reading a copy. It's a hard listen! This is an interesting take on what it means to be an american, and what are the core principles the country s built on. It takes the progressives (Hegel, Rousseau, Mark, Dewey, etc) as "Stateists", who want an elite, centralized command to systematically control our lives, for the benefit of the collective. This group sees themselves as "philosopher kings", whose Listened to the audio-book two times, but obviously didn't ingest it as much as I would have while reading a copy. It's a hard listen! This is an interesting take on what it means to be an american, and what are the core principles the country s built on. It takes the progressives (Hegel, Rousseau, Mark, Dewey, etc) as "Stateists", who want an elite, centralized command to systematically control our lives, for the benefit of the collective. This group sees themselves as "philosopher kings", whose specialized intelligence and expertise can address all of our problems. While I am sure people think this way, I am not sure they are as nefarious as Levin makes them, perhaps they are even well meaning. This said, Levin makes interesting points about natural laws, tynranny of centralized command, how the government is for giving citizens rights (not dominating), and the idea that people should have property. He traces these arguments through the founding fathers, and the author's they read, such as John Locke, Cicero, and Thomas Aquinas. I couldn't quite parse the chapters about the structure of the government, it's a pretty nuanced argument, but the most interesting thing he points out is natural laws. IE: Are our morals intrinsic to nature, or are they arbitrary that we can make up. Some of the great societies thought that there was such thing as natural law: The stoics (live according to nature), buddhists, John Locke, Christianity, and the founding fathers. I tend to believe there is something universal underlying how we act. For instance, why do we feel bad when we lie? And why do most cultures feel bad when they lie? There is a "natural law" against it, and through reasoning we can some to understand it better. Anyways, given the political scene, I think it's a good idea to look back into the origins of America to understand the ideas behind what made us such a successful and prosperous nations. Although there are obvious downsides, life has improved across the board, and other systems (monarchies, socialism) always seem to crumble. Some of the concepts were pretty nuanced (negative and positive liberty, how the government controls people, then itself, etc.) so I will probably have to listen again or read it to undersatand these points better.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dan DalMonte

    Levin does a great job laying out the various thinkers who propelled both constitutional republicanism and the progressive movement. You will understand the roots and central ideas of these movements much better after reading this book. One issue with this book is that it is about 70-80% quotes. Levin will write a brief introductory sentence to organize the quotes, but sometimes the quote will go on for most of the page and veer into topics that Levin did not introduce. The book is basically mea Levin does a great job laying out the various thinkers who propelled both constitutional republicanism and the progressive movement. You will understand the roots and central ideas of these movements much better after reading this book. One issue with this book is that it is about 70-80% quotes. Levin will write a brief introductory sentence to organize the quotes, but sometimes the quote will go on for most of the page and veer into topics that Levin did not introduce. The book is basically meant to whet your appetite to explore the primary texts that are cited, to really penetrate to the original thinkers who drive the movements we see today. I am inspired to read more Locke, to understand the natural law, and also Hegel, to understand how the individual is supposed to find his or her true freedom in the state.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Anders Koskinen

    This is a collection of quotes. Not just of quotes, but of block quotes some of which span multiple pages of this work. Levin offers next to nothing in terms of original thought, merely cobbling together the thoughts of both progressives and conservatives on the nature of man and of government. This book does not even serve as a good reference book, as the quotes are confusingly stitched together and poorly set up. I have never labored to get through any book so much as I did this one.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Allen Bagby

    What can I say? Another home run from a true liberty-loving scholar. I listen to Mark's radio program a lot. He is, as they say, the thunder on the right. He is very passionate on his program. I love it. But in his books, he is a professor. Great stuff and I love that too. Can't recommend his books enough.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    I enjoyed listening to this book while on a very long drive. I enjoyed hearing about our country's history from the very beginning and how it has changed over time, while I may not like the changes. Mark Levin is a controversial political radio talkshow host Who addresses many interesting points to ponder.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dan Riolo

    Great read. Took me a while to get through it because of how in-depth it was, but worth the work. If I didn't have a background in history and economics then I don't know if I would have made it all the way through though...

  23. 5 out of 5

    Garrett

    In a time when nationalism, populism, cult of personality, and progressivism have emerged as the dominant schools of thought, Mark Levin's book is a well-timed study of the eternal principles embedded in our founding documents that made America special...and a plea for the nation to return to them, before we lose them. Levin looks to the writings of the Founders and other political philosophers to expound on the revolutionary ideas of natural law and inalienable rights (which Levin has dubbed Ame In a time when nationalism, populism, cult of personality, and progressivism have emerged as the dominant schools of thought, Mark Levin's book is a well-timed study of the eternal principles embedded in our founding documents that made America special...and a plea for the nation to return to them, before we lose them. Levin looks to the writings of the Founders and other political philosophers to expound on the revolutionary ideas of natural law and inalienable rights (which Levin has dubbed Americanism) that ultimately made America the most innovative and powerful nation the world has ever seen. Why are these principles so important, so powerful, and why is America abandoning them for something more ordinary and tyrannical? Have we not already experienced the failure of the Progressive movement, which is reshaping America into a more centralized, primitive, arrogant form of governance? Levin also examines recent so-called Progressive thinkers like Woodrow Wilson who repeatedly expressed his long-held contempt for the Declaration of Independence and its principles. Other philosophers Levin examines have impacted President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and other influential modern Progressives, including members of the U.S. Supreme Court. Those who are expecting a rehash of Levin's bracing and oftentimes wildly entertaining radio show may be surprised to be find a more cerebral style pervades his writing. 'Rediscovering Americanism' is on a college level, and I expect many will find its material quite challenging. I have read all of Levin's books since the inception of his radio show, and I still find that I need to take time to digest his writing. It often takes me several sittings, pen in hand, furiously underlining and marking the passages I find especially impactful or challenging. As is his custom, Levin's book concludes with a call to action, hoping his work will be impactful in a practical sense. But the way Levin ends this one is not as inspiring as he has in past books, and I was a bit thrown by its frankness. He expresses exasperation that the D.C. establishment refuses to act to avert the fiscal crisis or do anything meaningful to restore constitutional structures. Although he praises the grassroots volunteers of Convention of States Project (a movement to use the Constitution to restore America's principles which he jump-started with 'The Liberty Amendments'); Levin worries we are losing everything that made America special, and wonders if enough people are willing to do anything about it. "What will the future hold for our children and grandchildren?" he writes. "Will they be free, happy, prosperous, independent, and secure? What of the civil society? Will it have have frayed beyond repair? What will they say about us? Will they say that we were a wise and conscientious people...or will they say we were a self-indulgent and inattentive people, easily shepherded...who stole the future from our own children and generations yet born?" Levin is seemingly a voice in the wilderness, a prophet who pleas with his people to turn from the path of destruction and back toward the path of justice and freedom, their true heritage... He's a lone voice with millions of listeners, but more of the listeners need to become activists. 'Rediscovering Americanism' feels like a sequel, or perhaps a prequel, to 'Ameritopia' (which I still believe is his best book, and he has intimated the same). Perhaps the most valuable thing about Levin's books is that he introduces his massive following to great thinkers that we otherwise would never have read or studied, but they were well-read by the Founders. By more intimately understanding the thinking of our Founders--and the philosophy of those who reject them--the reader is captured by a renewed reverence and deeper belief in the eternal truths that truly make America great. As President Coolidge once said, (in response to the Progressives who rejected of the Declaration of Independence): "The Declaration of Independence is a great spiritual document. It is a declaration not of material but of spiritual conceptions. Equality, liberty, popular sovereignty, the rights of man--these...are ideals. They have their source and their roots in the religious convictions. They belong to the unseen world..." "If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed by their creator with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final." "No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time where there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people." "Those who wish to proceed in that direction cannot lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers."

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bryan McGuire

    Best Levin Ever Having read several of his books, I can safely say this is Mark Levin at his best. Laying out the ideas and opinions of the philosophers on both the conservative and progressive sides really does shine a light on their stark contrasts, and especially when viewed through the lens of the Constitution.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Love Mark Levin. His books are always worth reading. Intelligent & educational Love Mark Levin. His books are always worth reading. Intelligent & educational

  26. 5 out of 5

    Feng Ouyang

    Rediscovering Americanism: And the Tyranny of Progressivism by Mark R. Levin This book, written by a conservative radio show host and author, is a systematic statement of the conservative political view. The book can be roughly divided into three parts. The first part (chapters 1 to 3) reviews the positions of conservatism and progressivism. In the author’s framework, conservatism refers to the founding father’s views, as reflected in the U. S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence, of a li Rediscovering Americanism: And the Tyranny of Progressivism by Mark R. Levin This book, written by a conservative radio show host and author, is a systematic statement of the conservative political view. The book can be roughly divided into three parts. The first part (chapters 1 to 3) reviews the positions of conservatism and progressivism. In the author’s framework, conservatism refers to the founding father’s views, as reflected in the U. S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence, of a limited government, rooted in John Locke’s social contract philosophy. He also calls it Americanism. To the conservatives, a just society is based on human nature, which is permanent. Therefore, the guiding principles of the Government, as stated in the U. S. Constitution, remain valid throughout the ages. Progressivism, on the other hand, believes that a society is in continuous progress, and so should be its guiding principle. As society becomes more sophisticated, more power should be concentrated on the Government for effective managing. Therefore, they view the U. S. Constitution as an outdated document made for a particular era. Progressivism stems from the European philosophy that views society (and thus government) as the fundamental entity. The “common good” and “collective interest” trumps individual rights. The second part (chapters 4 and 5) deals specifically with the relationship between Government and individuals. In this sense, the author labels his position as liberalism, since it values individual rights advocates a limited government. In particular, he argues that even with a government with a democratic process cannot cross the boundary of individual liberty. He bases the argument on three grounds. First, philosophically, individual rights are the most fundamental one, while Government power is derived from personal liberty: people willingly give up some rights to better pursue the basic rights of justice, liberty, and happiness. Therefore, the Government only has the powers that people give it. Second, knowledge, especially economic ones, are distributed among all participants of a free market. The notion of running the country by a “scientifically minded” administrative class does not work. Third, a democratic process has the nature of depriving the minority of their rights and lead to inefficient and unjust operations in society. Therefore, we need to put a limit on the power of a democratic body. The third part extends the argument to property rights. The author pointed out that property rights do not just mean ownership (excluding others from using the property), but also the rights to use the property for productive use. Therefore, a well-functioned free market (including capital market) is required for property rights. On the contrary, a centrally controlled economy in any form deprives property rights. It leads to disastrous consequences, as proven by the history of both the Soviet Union and the U. S. (the New Deal). This book is very similar to “The Conservative Sensibility” by George F. Will. They are both meta-studies of past thinkers. In these books, conservative thinking is explained through numerous citations of past work. But it is not supported by evidence and logic. The book does a great job of highlighting the difference between conservatism and progressivism. This helps in energizing the conservative base. However, it does not convince people who do not subscribe to conservative philosophies in the first place. The book also frequently refers to contents in other books written by the same author. Therefore, it might be helpful to read the other books, as well. A more detailed summary follows. 1. Americanism ● The basic concept put forward by the Declaration of Independence: everyone has natural rights, which is the foundation of building a society. This idea appeared in many other political documents at the time. So it is the consensus during the founding period. ● The concepts originate from John Locke’s philosophy. It can also be traced back to Aristotle and early Roman philosophers. ● People’s natural rights are the most fundamental. Natural rights lead to natural laws, which are the ideas of justice and rightness. As with natural rights, natural laws are universal and perpetual. ● The states are established on the bases of natural rights and natural laws. Their purpose is to protect and facilitate natural rights. 2. The Progressive Masterminds ● American progressivism started in the late 19th century. Notably by Herbert Croly (1869-1930), founder of the New Republic. ○ The basic idea is that human society is in a process of constant progression. ○ The states are established to advance such progression. ○ The laws and the ideas of justice evolve with the progression. So they change as society changes. ○ Croly especially despised individualism. He thought people are inseparable in creating common goods for society. His views were echoed by Barak Obama in his “you didn’t make it” speech. Croly also disagreed with the idea that individual freedom enables people to pursue equal economic opportunities. Instead, he considered equal economic opportunities (more like equal outcomes, as he advocates government regulation of wealth distribution) is a prerequisite for individual freedom. ○ Croly was against the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution on several grounds. ■ They don’t dictate American values, which come from multiple sources. ■ They are not permanent but were based on social situations at the time. ■ They are not democratically drafted but the product of a small group of elites. ○ Croly has a different view of the government ■ The check and balance process and the Consitution amendment hurdles prevent the Government to represent the will of people. Only overwhelming public tendency can change the course of Government. ■ On the other hand, Croly thought that the Government should not run by people but by a group of highly educated experts. They should be free to conduct social experiments and social engineering to advance progressive courses. ■ To gain popular support for progressive courses, people need to be educated. So spreading higher education is an important progressive agenda. ○ Croly’s positions are closer to revolutionaries than to democrats. ■ He thinks capitalism produces a class society, which is unjust. ■ The current two parties are too weak to change anything. We need a third party, which is similar to Marx’s communist party with clear canons like The Communist Manifesto. ■ He was impatient about changes following the democratic process. Instead, he wants radical actions akin to a revolution. ● Teddy Roservolt (1858-1909) is a follower of Croly. ○ He did not agree with the idea of natural rights outlined in the Declaration of Independence. ○ Another component of progressivism from Roservolt is nationalism, which moves more power from states and local governments to the Federal level. Their justification is that national popular votes should determine public affairs. But another purpose is to move government affairs away from people and into the hands of “experts.” ● Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) was another prominent progressivist ○ He also stresses the variable nature of laws and principles. He viewed the founding documents as obsolete. ○ He advocates a highly efficient and powerful bureaucratic state to deal with the challenges of today’s complex society. He views the state not as a guarantor of people’s rights but as a facilitator. ● John Dewey (1859-1952) is the consummation of progressivism ○ He criticized John Locke’s idea of natural rights, which precedes human society. He does not believe in absolute and permanent human nature. ○ He thought capitalism was outdated. In the complex society today, we cannot rely on the market to coordinate things. Instead, we need central planning and control from the experts. ○ He was against individualism. He thought individual values can only be realized in a collective context, just as a spec of color is meaningful only when considering the whole painting. ○ His view of social science is social experimentation. We need to explore and test out new methods of running a society in response to the changing conditions. And since society changes fast, our responses need to be drastic. ○ Dewey is also set to reform American education. He views education as a social tool to shape the ideas of students. He advocates teaching science as a distilled set of laws and facts, not a way to understand and handle things in daily lives. He removes common sense and traditions (rules of thumb) from the education contents. He also envisions having other social institutions serving the roles of educators to promote collective ideology. ● Walter Weyl (1873 - 1919), nationalist ○ Weyl thought America had the wrong past (Declaration and Constitution) and miserable present. It pretty much should start afresh. ● As Tocqueville pointed out, a strong and overbearing government engaging in social engineering is harmful in many ways. ○ It breaks down the community as spontaneous cooperations become unnecessary and impossible. People rely on the government instead of neighbors for help. ○ It degrades and destroys individuals. The ever-increasing roles stiffen out innovation and adventurism. People become less vital and less innovative. ○ It turns democracy into tyranny. When a government has to deal with small decisions that are used to be left to individuals, people find governing overwhelming and give their power to the “professionals.” 3. The Philosopher-Kings ● Progressive thoughts about the role of states in Europe in 18 centuries onward ○ Economically (Jean-Jacques Rousseau), inequality tends to grow. A small inequality of results leads to inequality in opportunity, which leads to even larger inequality in results. Therefore, a government is needed to limit inequality by redistribution. ○ Politically (also Rousseau), a state is needed to represent the “common will”, which is different from the collection of individual wills. Since a common will is not simply an aggregate of the individual wills, the state cannot simply be ruled by the majority. Instead, we need wise and knowledgeable “kings” to execute the common will. ○ Philosophically (Hagel and Marx), the state is the real essence of existence. Individuals are only meaningful when they “advance” to members of a state. Furthermore, history evolves according to its intrinsic track. So individuals don’t really have any roles to play. 4. Administrative-State Tyranny ● This section is about the practice of American progressives in governing. ● Society precedes government (the constitutional order), which is established to serve society. This is the social contract idea stated in the Declaration of Independence. ● Progressive thinks as a society becomes more advanced and complex, its government should be controlled by elites, not the people. ● Hayek (1899-1992) pointed out that even for the truly knowledgeable, power gives them the wrong incentive. They care less about the truths than about attractiveness by “newness” of the ideas. ● While the progressives derive their legitimacy from “science” and “intelligence,” the fact is that most governments and government programs are run poorly, and administrative science is no science at all. ● Progressives grab power for their ideology. So they must deny the natural laws and with that, the US constitution. 5. Liberty and Republicanism ● This section discusses some more theoretical issues. ● John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) provides excellent writings on the meaning of liberty. [He is a utilitarian, believing happiness to be the highest value.] ○ On the boundary between individual and society rights, Mill’s answer is that society protects individuals from infringement by others. In other words, the domain of personal freedom is limited only by the interest of other people. ○ Although Mill values happiness the most, he considers virtue as an important component of it. Such a point is consistent with Jefferson’s view. Virtue is human nature and the foundation of society. The government cannot replace virtue and cannot operate without virtue. ○ Since virtue, as human nature, is fundamentally important to all forms of society, laws should be judged on the basis of virtue. There are good laws and bad laws, therefore. ● Isaiah Berlin (1909-1997) talked about the issue of liberty ○ Berlin proposes positive and negative liberty. Negative liberty means the absence of barriers that prevents you to do something. It is more related to individuals. Positive liberty means the resources and power that enable you to do something. It is more related to collectives. ○ Berlin clarifies that it may be righteous and justified to ask people to sacrifice their freedom for equity (or “positive liberty”). However, we must recognize that this is a sacrifice. We do not end up with more freedom by such sacrifice. ○ Another danger of stressing positive liberty is to confuse people with the collective. With “common goals”, we stop to be individuals. ● Philip Pettit (1945-) on freedom ○ He distinguishes between the good interference and the bad one. The republican governing is “good interference,” because it uses just laws without overstepping into personal freedom. Good laws relieve people from domination. For this, the Bill of Rights is a good example. ○ There is a difference between intervention and dominant. Intervention is governing according to people’s will. Dominant is governing according to the will of a small group (e.g., the scientists). ○ Comparing with Berlin, who advocates nonintervention (or minimum intervention), Pettit accepts intervention as long as it is not dominant. However, the difference may not be essential. Pettit’s “right intervention” can actually assure liberty, as the Bill of Rights did. ● The progressive views on the issue are represented by Auguste Comte (1798-1857) and his philosophy of positivism. ○ Positivism elevates science to the position of the supreme law. Permanent truths and transcending laws such as Human nature and natural justices are relegated to irrelevance with religion. ○ According to the concept of positive law, society should be governed by science, or more specifically, by those who understand science. The wills of the people are not supreme. Instead, they are to be shaped and controlled by science. ○ However, eventually, the “science” becomes the new dogma (e.g., the climate change theory) and the “wisdom” becomes tyranny. ● The republican view of government is based on the philosophy of Montesquieu. ○ Montesquieu is definitely against the despotic governments, which concentrates the power into the hands of a small group. Although despotic governing is against human nature and ideals, it is nevertheless th

  27. 4 out of 5

    David Steele

    An important re-examination of the essential ingredients of the American experiment and the consequences of embracing a progressive agenda.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Sipper

    An enlightening book! If you don't understand the difference between our country's founding principles and progressivism, this book is a good starting place. The first chapter takes readers through the philosophers who influenced our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. John Locke, Aristotle, and Cicero are cited as most important in understanding natural rights and natural law. The beauty of our nation's founding really comes alive in this very first chapter An enlightening book! If you don't understand the difference between our country's founding principles and progressivism, this book is a good starting place. The first chapter takes readers through the philosophers who influenced our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. John Locke, Aristotle, and Cicero are cited as most important in understanding natural rights and natural law. The beauty of our nation's founding really comes alive in this very first chapter as Levin illustrates the importance of these principles in understanding the basis for the formation of the government of the United States. Chapter 2 explores the rise of the progressive movement in this country beginning with Herbert Croly, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and John Dewey. The author explores the various tenets of progressivism which is defined as "the idea of the inevitability of historical progress and the perfectibility of man--and his self-realization--through the national community or collective" (Levin 28). For Levin, everything about progressivism goes against the founding principles. For the believers of this doctrine, the individual is always subordinated to the collective, and by extension the natural rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Furthermore, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are living documents that can change according to the times. To the progressive, these documents were relevant during the founding, but as the country, circumstances, and people change, so must these documents. This chapter shows readers how our nation's founding principles are jeopardized by the progressive ideology. Upon reflection, the current course of events in the United States can only cause a state of apprehension as many of these progressive tenets have taken a strong foothold in our nation's government, society, and in the education of young people. Continuing the history of progressivism, Chapter 3 relates the philosophies of the progressive thinkers including the Swiss-Frenchman Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, and finally, that other German philosopher Karl Marx. The last three chapters continue the discussion of the founding principles versus progressivism with the last chapter dedicated to an examination of private property rights. Overall, this is a well-written book that provides an illuminating look at what the United States is up against if the people wish to preserve their birthright. Ignorant people are easy to control. Mark Levin's book can help educate American citizens about what they have been bequeathed by their forefathers. The author ends the book on an uncertain note--at the heart of the book is the question--will Americans rouse themselves from their stupor and protect their individual rights, or will they succumb to to the tyranny that so many other people in the world live in today?

  29. 5 out of 5

    mark

    This is a dense book – at times it put me to sleep. Mostly, it’s quoted text from others: philosophers, economists, historians, culturists, and politicians, from Barack Obama back to Aristotle. In a nutshell, it’s an argument for individual freedom over the authoritarian rule of the state. Levin uses thoughtful discourse throughout history to make his point. The words and language of the ancients is what was soporific for me, precise as it may be. (What, no F word for emphasis?!) Aligned with hi This is a dense book – at times it put me to sleep. Mostly, it’s quoted text from others: philosophers, economists, historians, culturists, and politicians, from Barack Obama back to Aristotle. In a nutshell, it’s an argument for individual freedom over the authoritarian rule of the state. Levin uses thoughtful discourse throughout history to make his point. The words and language of the ancients is what was soporific for me, precise as it may be. (What, no F word for emphasis?!) Aligned with his argument is that—individual freedom—comes from God; and that the founders of the United States understood this, and used it for the basis of their documents declaring America a free and independent nation. It was their belief in a supreme being, a creator – that led to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. In sum – the right of all men to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They believed these rights were “Natural Laws” (as does Mark Levin) granted by God, and therefore “unalienable”; or unable to be taken away – regardless. Levin argues that America is unique in this regard, that we (= the founding fathers) discovered this, or uncovered it, and/or were the first men to make a legal, governing document with these principles as paramount. (The king is dead! Power to the people! Let freedom ring!) And then along comes Progressivism, or alongside, anyway – which posits that the state, the governing body, knows best, and is needed to mediate between the individual and the people, or the common good. Which then leads to an authoritarian state that profits from the labor of individuals under the guise of egalitarianism. (Big Government, and, Everybody gets a trophy.) Levin’s argument is that private property is the spur that induces individuals to achieve great things – that ultimately benefit everyone, i.e. the people. This is the universal ‘achievement’ motivation. According to Levin, the US’s founding documents unleashed this natural law. Now, one can (I do) debate where this ‘natural law’ comes from – and that’s my beef with Levin. When America was founded, Darwin had not published his Origin of Species, And Freud had not published his Interpretation of Dreams – so humankind really had no idea what was what w/r/t the human condition. Nevertheless, I think Levin’s argument has merit. In a nutshell: the freedom to achieve without interference from the state, the freedom to compete and acquire and own the fruits of one’s labor – to rise – spurs men (and women) to run faster, to be ‘all that they can be’; and that everyone benefits from that, an individual’s freedom and liberty. I think that’s undeniable. And, I also think that the Progressive agenda is a ruse – a bait and switch that will be our (= the people’s) undoing. Thursday, July 27, 2017

  30. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    This book exposes the monumental effort and ingenuity required to create our political system and the current massive attacks that it is enduring. Many people seem to regard our constitution as a casual whim to be modified or discarded like last years clothing instead of the exemplary revolution of human society that it is.

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