This book highlights the two main Western ideologies on government – the society versus the individual. The first half of the book summarizes Plato’s Republic, Thomas More’s Utopia, Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan, and Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto. The second half of the book synthesizes the role of the individual – John Locke, Charles de Montesquieu, and Alexis de Tocqueville. After reading the first portion, I am convinced that a centrally located and planed government is not the best way to govern. Also, after reading the 10 main points of the Communist Manifesto, it is clear that America is heading straight toward communism.
A few highlights:
Page 9 – “Therefore, equality and inequality, properly comprehended, are both engines of liberty.” I like this because ideally, the government leaves it to the individual to determine his or her own pursuit of happiness.
Page 54 – Hobbes Natural law of Contract – transferring of rights from one to another. Interesting idea of giving up some freedoms but gaining other.
Page 99 – John Locke assertion that the legislature has to uphold man’s inalienable rights and to be free of corruption and constrain itself. Second, laws must benefit the good of the people. Third, private property is sacred and the fruit of one’s labor. Last, the individual has worth and equal with all other mankind.
Page 152 – Thank God for George Mason – he was the author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights in which James Madison borrowed heavily for the Bill of Rights. These 10 fundamental truths have kept the American Government in check for many years. However, these rights have been trampled upon, we must be vigilant to protect and uphold them.
Page 189 – Woodow Wilson was the worst president. He was a progressive, a racist, gave us the Federal Reserve, progressive income taxes, lied about going to war, and an overall advocate of government over the individual.
This book was by no means an easy read for me. I have heard of all the parts and topics but Levin compiling them in one book was good. My overall sense after this book was that the individual human has significant worth and that America must return back to it’s roots of allowing the individual to flourish under liberty.