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Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America [Livre audio, CD, Version intégrale] [Anglais] [CD]

Mark R. Levin , Adam Grupper

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EPILOGUE

MY PREMISE, IN THE first sentence of the first chapter of this book, is this: “Tyranny, broadly defined, is the use of power to dehumanize the individual and delegitimize his nature. Political utopianism is tyranny disguised as a desirable, workable, and even paradisiacal governing ideology.”

Plato’s Republic, More’s Utopia, Hobbes’s Leviathan, and Marx’s workers’ paradise are utopias that are anti-individual and anti-individualism. For the utopians, modern and olden, the individual is one-dimensional—selfish. On his own, he has little moral value. Contrarily, authoritarianism is defended as altruistic and masterminds as socially conscious. Thus endless interventions in the individual’s life and manipulation of his conditions are justified as not only necessary and desirable but noble governmental pursuits. This false dialectic is at the heart of the problem we face today.

In truth, man is naturally independent and self-reliant, which are attributes that contribute to his own well-being and survival, and the well-being and survival of a civil society. He is also a social being who is charitable and compassionate. History abounds with examples, as do the daily lives of individuals. To condemn individualism as the utopians do is to condemn the very foundation of the civil society and the American founding and endorse, wittingly or unwittingly, oppression. Karl Popper saw it as an attack on Western civilization. “The emancipation of the individual was indeed the great spiritual revolution which had led to the breakdown of tribalism and to the rise of democracy.”1 Moreover, Judaism and Christianity, among other religions, teach the altruism of the individual.

Of course, this is not to defend anarchy. Quite the opposite. It is to endorse the magnificence of the American founding. The American founding was an exceptional exercise in collective human virtue and wisdom—a culmination of thousands of years of experience, knowledge, reason, and faith. The Declaration of Independence is a remarkable societal proclamation of human rights, brilliant in its insight, clarity, and conciseness. The Constitution of the United States is an extraordinary matrix of governmental limits, checks, balances, and divisions, intended to secure for posterity the individual’s sovereignty as proclaimed in the Declaration.

This is the grand heritage to which every American citizen is born. It has been characterized as “the American Dream,” “the American experiment,” and “American exceptionalism.” The country has been called “the Land of Opportunity,” “the Land of Milk and Honey,” and “a Shining City on a Hill.” It seems unimaginable that a people so endowed by Providence, and the beneficiaries of such unparalleled human excellence, would choose or tolerate a course that ensures their own decline and enslavement, for a government unleashed on the civil society is a government that destroys the nature of man.

On September 17, 1787, at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Delegate James Wilson, on behalf of his ailing colleague from Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin, read aloud Franklin’s speech to the convention in favor of adopting the Constitution. Among other things, Franklin said that the Constitution “is likely to be well administered for a Course of Years, and can only end in Despotism as other Forms have done before it, when the People shall become corrupt as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.…”2

Have we “become corrupt”? Are we in need of “despotic government”? It appears that some modern-day “leading lights” think so, as they press their fanatical utopianism. For example, Richard Stengel, managing editor of Time magazine, considers the Constitution a utopian expedient. He wrote, “If the Constitution was intended to limit the federal government, it sure doesn’t say so.… The framers weren’t afraid of a little messiness. Which is another reason we shouldn’t be so delicate about changing the Constitution or reinterpreting it.”3 It is beyond dispute that the Framers sought to limit the scope of federal power and that the Constitution does so. Moreover, constitutional change was not left to the masterminds but deliberately made difficult to ensure the broad participation and consent of the body politic.

Richard Cohen, a columnist for the Washington Post, explained that the Constitution is an amazing document, as long as it is mostly ignored, particularly the limits it imposes on the federal government. He wrote, “This fatuous infatuation with the Constitution, particularly the 10th Amendment, is clearly the work of witches, wiccans, and wackos. It has nothing to do with America’s real problems and, if taken too seriously, would cause an economic and political calamity. The Constitution is a wonderful document, quite miraculous actually, but only because it has been wisely adapted to changing times. To adhere to the very word of its every clause hardly is respectful to the Founding Fathers. They were revolutionaries who embraced change. That’s how we got here.”4 Of course, without the promise of the Tenth Amendment, the Constitution would not have been ratified, since the states insisted on retaining most of their sovereignty. Furthermore, the Framers clearly did not embrace the utopian change demanded by its modern adherents.

Lest we ignore history, the no-less-eminent American revolutionary and founder Thomas Jefferson explained, “On every question of construction, carry ourselves back to the time when the constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”5

Thomas L. Friedman, a columnist for the New York Times and three-time Pulitzer Prize recipient, is even more forthright in his dismissal of constitutional republicanism and advocacy for utopian tyranny. Complaining of the slowness of American society in adopting sweeping utopian policies, he wrote, “There is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today. One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century.”6 Of course, China remains a police state, where civil liberties are nonexistent, despite its experiment with government-managed pseudo-capitalism. Friedman’s declaration underscores not only the necessary intolerance utopians have for constitutionalism, but their infatuation with totalitarianism.

It is neither prudential nor virtuous to downplay or dismiss the obvious—that America has already transformed into Ameritopia. The centralization and consolidation of power in a political class that insulates its agenda in entrenched experts and administrators, whose authority is also self-perpetuating, is apparent all around us and growing more formidable. The issue is whether the ongoing transformation can be restrained and then reversed, or whether it will continue with increasing zeal, passing from a soft tyranny to something more oppressive. Hayek observed that “priding itself on having built its world as if it had designed it, and blaming itself for not having designed it better, humankind is now to set out to do just that. The aim … is no less than to effect a complete redesigning of our traditional morals, law, and language, and on this basis to stamp out the older order and supposedly inexorable, unjustifiable conditions that prevent the institution of reason, fulfillment, true freedom, and justice.”7 But the outcome of this adventurism, if not effectively stunted, is not in doubt.

In the end, can mankind stave off the powerful and dark forces of utopian tyranny? While John Locke was surely right about man’s nature and the civil society, he was also right about that which threatens them. Locke, Montesquieu, many of the philosophers of the European Enlightenment, and the Founders, among others, knew that the history of organized government is mostly a history of a relative few and perfidious men co-opting, coercing, and eventually repressing the many through the centralization and consolidation of authority.

Ironically and tragically, it seems that liberty and the constitution established to preserve it are not only essential to the individual’s well-being and happiness, but also an opportunity for the devious to exploit them and connive against them. Man has yet to devise a lasting institutional answer to this puzzle. The best that can be said is that all that really stands between the individual and tyranny is a resolute and sober people. It is the people, after all, around whom the civil society has grown and governmental institutions have been established. At last, the people are responsible for upholding the civil society and republican government, to which their fate is moored.

The essential question is whether, in America, the people’s psychology has been so successfully warped, the individual’s spirit so thoroughly trounced, and the civil society’s institutions so effectively overwhelmed that revival is possible. Have too many among us already surrendered or been conquered? Can the people overcome the constant and relentless influences of ideological indoctrination, economic manipulation, and administrative coerciveness, or have they become hopelessly entangled in and dependent on a ubiquitous federal government? Have the Pavlovian appeals to radical egalitarianism, and the fomenting of jealousy and faction through class warfare and collectivism, conditioned the people to accept or even demand compulsory uniformity as just and righteous? Is it accepted as legitimate and routine that the government has sufficient license to act whenever it claims to do so for the good of the people and against the selfishness of the individual?

No society is guaranteed perpetual existence. But I have to believe that the American people are not ready for servitude, for if this is our destiny, and the destiny of our children, I cannot conceive that any people, now or in the future, will successfully resist it for long. I have to believe that this generation of Americans will not condemn future generations to centuries of misery and darkness.

The Tea Party movement is a hopeful sign. Its members come from all walks of life and every corner of the country. These citizens have the spirit and enthusiasm of the Founding Fathers, proclaim the principles of individual liberty and rights in the Declaration, and insist on the federal government’s compliance with the Constitution’s limits. This explains the utopian fury against them. They are astutely aware of the peril of the moment. But there are also the Pollyannas and blissfully indifferent citizens who must be roused and enlisted lest the civil society continue to unravel and eventually dissolve, and the despotism long feared take firm hold.

Upon taking the oath of office on January 20, 1981, in his first inaugural address President Ronald Reagan told the American people:

If we look to the answer as to why for so many years we achieved so much, prospered as no other people on earth, it was because here in this land we unleashed the energy and individual genius of man to a greater extent than has ever been done before. Freedom and the dignity of the individual have been more available and assured here than in any other place on earth. The price for this freedom at times has been high, but we have never been unwilling to pay that price. It is no coincidence that our present troubles parallel and are proportionate to the intervention and intrusion in our lives that result from unnecessary and excessive growth of government. It is time for us to realize that we are too great a nation to limit ourselves to small dreams. We’re not, as some would have us believe, doomed to an inevitable decline. I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing.

So, my fellow countrymen, which do we choose—Ameritopia or America?

© 2012 Mark R. Levin --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Relié .

Revue de presse

“The companion book to Liberty and Tyranny. . . . Levin’s analysis is deadly to liberalism. . . . Ameritopia is historical X-ray vision in book form.”
—Jeffrey Lord, The American Spectator

“A must-read for Americans of all political persuasions. . . . An honest discussion of the dangers presently facing our country. . . . Levin does a fantastic job.”

—Jedediah Bila, Newsmax

“Mark Levin has a unique ability to take complex subjects and boil them down to their essentials.”

—Erick Erickson, Red State

“That Levin wrote this book now demonstrates not only his passion for the United States, but his awareness that he is a statesman defending natural law at a pivotal moment in human history. . . . Mark Levin [does] the lion’s share of our shouting—eloquently—with Ameritopia.”

PJ Media --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Relié .

Détails sur le produit

  • CD: 7 pages
  • Editeur : Simon & Schuster Audio; Édition : Unabridged (17 janvier 2012)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 1442349107
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442349100
  • Dimensions du produit: 14,5 x 13,2 x 2,3 cm
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Amazon.com: 4.3 étoiles sur 5  2.163 commentaires
518 internautes sur 589 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The intense ideological battle for the heart and soul of America is really nothing new...it has been raging since antiquity. 25 janvier 2012
Par Paul Tognetti - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Take a look around at the sad state of our nation. In the 100 years since the self-proclaimed "progessive" Woodrow Wilson was President of these United States Americans have slowly but surely been ceding their rights and liberties to the state. The "masterminds" in our government, those who are so cock-sure that they know what is best for the rest of us, have been systemically consolidating their power and building a mammoth bureaucracy designed to control nearly every aspect of our lives. Then in 2008 the American people elected Barack Obama who promised to "fundamentally change America". Obama has taken the "statist" agenda to a whole new level and most Americans have become increasingly alarmed at the direction this country is headed in. The battle lines have been drawn and the 2012 election will no doubt prove pivotal in the ultimate direction our nation will take. Those of us who favor the traditional American values of hard work, freedom of speech and free enterprise are going to have to articulate our case in the best possible way to a wider audience of our fellow Americans in order to win the day. Lawyer, author and syndicated radio talk show host Mark R. Levin has given us all a huge assist in this regard with the release of his powerful new book "Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America". Drawing on the writings of the great philosophers on both ends of the political spectrum Levin provides his readers with a plethora of devastating arguments against the direction Obama and the progressives in both political parties are taking this nation. It is a truly compelling read!

I think that it is fair to say that most Americans have only a passing knowledge of the writings of philosophers such as Plato, Thomas More, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Charles de Montesquieu and Alexis de Toqueville. Some would attribute this to the "dumbing down of America" that has been inexorably taking place in our schools over the past half-century or so. But the truth is that all of these individuals as well as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels have exerted a great deal of influence over American political thought in the 235 years of our nation's existence. Plato, More, Hobbes and of course Karl Max all come down on the side of "collectivist" or "utopian" states whereby individuals must necessarily become subservient to the interests of the state. In such an environment individuals "must be managed and suppressed by masterminds for the greater good." There is no tolerance for individual self-interest or even self-preservation. A person's labor and property belong to the state or are controlled by the state. Citing lengthy excerpts from the extensive writings of each of these individuals, Levin points out the obvious flaws in this line of thinking. Mr. Levin succeeds in arming his readers with the ammunition they will need to refute the arguments offered by the leftists and statists in this country on a wide variety of issues like universal health care, the progressive income tax and an ever-expanding and intrusive federal government. To paraphrase an old boxing expression "in this corner" we have the Barack Obama's, Nancy Pelosi's, Lincoln Chafee's and Chuck Schumer's of the world.

Part Two of "Ameritopia" hones in on the writings of John Locke, Charles de Montesquieu, and Alexis de Toqueville who all champion a much smaller, less intrusive government. John Locke in particular had an enormous influence on our Founding Fathers as they went about the rough and tumble business of fashioning the Constitution. It is an indisputable fact that for most of the history of the world mankind has been ruled by despots and repressive governments. The Founding Fathers wanted something much different. John Locke wrote that "laws made by men and governments without the consent of the government are illegitimate and no man is bound to them." Regarding personal property rights Locke explained that there is always going to be an unequal distribution of property resulting from the manner in which a man applies his labor. This is just plain common sense. "As much land as a man tills, plants, improves, cultivates and can use the product of, so much is his property. He by his labor does, as it were, enclose it from the common. He gave it to the use of the industrious and rational; not to the fancy or covetousness of the quarrelsome and contentious." Amen! Meanwhile, another major influence on the thinking of the Founding Fathers was the French philosopher Charles de Montesquieu. Montesquieu warned of "the dangers of a republican government attempting to transform a civil society--including superceding the effects of religion, family, commerce, traditions, customs, mores etc. through legal coercion." Sounds like a page from the Saul Alinsky handbook does it not? Finally, Montesquieu goes on to observe that "There are two sorts of tyranny: a real one, which consists of the violence of the government, and one of opinion, which is felt when those who govern establish things that run counter to a nation's way of thinking." Many of us would argue that this is precisely what has been going on for the past three years.

In the final section of "Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America" Mark Levin explains how the statists have advanced their agenda over the past eight decades and why the 2012 elections stand as a watershed in American history. The choices we face have never been more clear. If you are one of those people still sitting on the fence I urge you to read "Ameritopia". Meanwhile, if you are someone who is largely in agreement with the principles espoused by our Founding Fathers I would wholeheartedly encourage you to pick up a copy of "Ameritopia" as well. Mark Levin's compelling book will help to crystallize the arguments in your mind as your attempt to educate your friends, relatives and neighbors in the coming months leading up to the election. Kudos to Mark Levin for an extremely well thought-out and well-executed project. Very highly recommended!
570 internautes sur 687 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Ameritopia 18 janvier 2012
Par Polokfla - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Once again, through very researched detail and very precise wording, Mr. Levin gives us all a very ominous warning about what type of government growth we are careening towards and to what extent our personal liberties will necessarily be lost to that end. The book seems to be condensed to the point where re-reading usually brings out even more points to consider.
If you love what our country has always stood for and honestly want our Democratic-Republic to endure-this is a must read.
And very hard to argue with, hence the ratings attack by the lefists in this review section. It is their modus to simply slime something that they can not logically argue with.
Read and enjoy, then let it stew a week or so then re-read. You're bound to miss something the 1st time.
662 internautes sur 800 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A reaffirmation of liberty, inalienable rights, civil society, and constitutional republicanism 17 janvier 2012
Par John R. Smith - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
If there is one statement that defines Mark R. Levin's work, it is that America's success is based in liberty and that we must not allow ourselves to fall into tyranny. Of course, no one supports tyranny blatantly and so defending liberty is thought to be easy. But the people who support tyranny don't always do so blatantly. In this book, Levin shows how people throughout the ages have supported tyranny through an ideology called utopianism, and thus ushered in tyranny through "intellectual bankruptcy and dishonesty."

In the first part of AMERITOPIA, Levin examines the work of four historical figures, Plato, Thomas More, Hobbes, and Marx. In this treatment, Levin shows how each one promoted what was considered an ideal society and how each one of these ideals is no more than tyranny. In each case, the ideal society contains a highly centralized government which controls the masses through various means--persuasion, deceit, coercion, eugenics, euthanasia--and therefore tears apart the family, community, and faith.

In the second part, Levin counters this with a survey of three thinkers that helped introduce liberty to the Western mindset and establish what he calls Americanism--John Locke, Charles de Montesquieu, and Alexis de Tocqueville. Levin shows how each one viewed human beings as autonomous individuals with God-given abilities and rights. With lawyerly precision, Levin details the many examples of how both Locke and Montesquieu influenced the founders of the United States and how Tocqueville spread Americanism to the European culture of the 19th century.

Finally, Levin explains how the America built upon Locke, Montesquieu, and Tocqueville is at risk of being taken over by the utopian ideology in the 21st century, showing how the various modern movements of liberalism and modern socialism disseminate their intellectual bankruptcy and dishonesty.

The argument is bound to cause a stir, and Levin's penetrating commentary is grounded well by quotes from the original texts. If there is a major flaw in the work, it is in the unforgiving denunciation of the utopian literary genre. While it is clear that most of the works technically classed utopia did include tyrannical elements, the genre is not aimed at building political systems. It is aimed at exploring new possibilities. And while I cannot deny that some pro-liberty works refute the idea of utopianism, Levin cannot deny the fact that some elements of pro-liberty and American texts include visions of the perfect society. Everyone has a vision of what would be ideal--some are made of tyranny, and others can be seen as the "shining city on the hill" and are made of freedom. This says to me that it is not utopia that is at fault, but rather tyranny. Indeed, if utopias are promotions of the ideal society, then it must be said that all active minds engage in the exercise.

Altogether, the point of this book is absolutely correct. America's success is based on liberty and allowing ourselves to fall into tyranny would be catastrophic for humanity. Everyone who is interested in this very important theme and is compelled to do something about it should also consider an excellent book which offers a grand summary of modern economics, how we got to where we are, and what to do about it--Juggernaut: Why the System Crushes the Only People Who Can Save It by Eric Robert Morse.
186 internautes sur 224 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 He's done it again. 21 janvier 2012
Par Culver City Mom - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Great book, but keep the dictionary and encyclopedia nearby. Mark assumes a very high reading level. So novices beware. Should be required reading for all high school and college students.
35 internautes sur 40 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Instant "Classic" & Required Reading 1 juin 2012
Par Carmen P - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
"Ameritopia", by Mark Levin, is not - by any stretch of the imagination - light reading. I had to read each section twice, in succession, in order to be sure I completely understood the wealth of information and history being presented.

Chock-full of citations and quotes, and using examples rather than theory, Levin leads the reader along two philosophical paths, demonstrating the eventual Hell that results from taking the utopian path and the enlightenment and individual freedoms enjoyed by choosing the conservative path.

He then seamlessly folds the history and philosophy lessons into an exposition on the government's 100-year march toward "utopian statism", as he labels it. The confiscatory nature of an ever-expanding central government (stealing our liberty, our property, incurring unsustainable debt that makes us slaves to the state) resulting in the inevitable loss of our individual sovereignty, and the consequent collapse of the civil society.

Mark Levin's "Ameritopia" is one of the most prescient works of our time. A much heavier book than his equally compelling "Liberty & Tyranny", "Ameritopia" weaves together first the threads of Marxist utopianism and then Lockean conservatism embraced by our Founders/Framers, creating two diametrically opposed tapestries and finally asking: "Which tapestry shall we use to blanket the United States?"

This should be required reading for every single high school and/or college student - especially when we consider that these same young people are the ones who will be left holding the bag should we choose poorly when answering Levin's concluding question: "So my fellow countrymen, what do you choose, Ameritopia or America?"
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