More must-read Steyn

I read a lot of stuff online throughout the course of a week, but rarely do I enjoy anything more than Mark Steyn’s weekly articles at The Orange County Register and Maclean’s. In his latest Maclean’s op-ed, Steyn continues what has been a years-long critique of the European welfare state. Though it’s familiar ground for Steyn it’s one of his best articles in recent memory.

The great thing about Mark Steyn, if you’ve not read him before, is the way he can make a really good joke out of the most depressing social insight. Look no further than the title of this week’s article, “Beating swords into welfare cheques.” The quote, in full:

Absolved from having to pay for their own defence, Continentals, like Canadians, beat their swords into welfare cheques, and erected vast cradle-to-grave social entitlements. Even under the U.S. security umbrella, they proved unsustainable. Why? Because Europeans stopped breeding. And, even with unprecedented levels of immigration, they’ve been unable to halt population decline.

Steyn discusses growing evidence for his argument, such as birth rates in Germany – the supposed economic powerhouse that’s going to save Europe from its financial woes. He also relates how, with Greece burning (both literally and figuratively), some of the “respectable” publications here in the States are warming up to opinions previously dismissed as far-right xenophobia.

My favorite quote from Steyn’s editorial, which you ought to read in its entirety:

How fair thou hast been – but only for the moment, and the moment is passing. Europe’s economic crisis is a mere symptom of its existential crisis: what is life for? What gives it meaning? Post-Christian, post-national, post-modern Europe has no answer to that question, and so it has 30-year-old students and 50-year-old retirees, and wonders why the small band of workers in between them can’t make the math add up.

The End of the World…

You’ve been reading every item I share under “read this” and watching everything I favorite on YouTube… right? Good – I knew it! Seriously though, this is something you don’t want to miss.

I’ve been enjoying a five-part Uncommon Knowledge interview with Mark Steyn, hosted by Peter Robinson at the Hoover Institution. The clips are, like everything featuring Steyn, very relevant and very interesting. Last week the complete interview was released as a single YouTube video, which is 38 minutes long but all kinds of worth it:

Robinson and Steyn’s discussion centers on America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, which is available in paperback now and which I could not recommend more emphatically. Steyn’s mastery of historic facts and current events is mixed with just enough funny anecdotes to keep his writing from being the most depressing stuff on earth… which is no small feat given much of his subject matter!

America Alone (like the interview linked here) is packed with facts that establish the effects of mass immigration on European nations, and warns of how different classically liberal democratic states will be after imbalanced birth rates take their toll. It’s a subject that gets more important each day, with Greece leading the European nanny-states off the fiscal waterfall and American media & politicians refusing to mention Islamic extremism as a possible motive for a Pakistani’s attempted New York City bombing.

Check out the interview, and buy the book! Because I said so, and that’s… what counts?

Ricochet

I finally got around to listening to a Ricochet podcast, which I’ve been seeing recommended around the webs for a month or so. Episode 5, recorded on Friday 02/26, features Rob Long, Peter Robinson, Mark Steyn, and Andrew Breitbart. They discuss – among other things – last week’s health summit, and humorless institutionalized leftism.

Ricochet’s a great listen if you’re into that sort of thing. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a game of Filler 2 on Kongregate.com! Or to a commute, if you have one of those Empee-three Players and a car that knows how to talk to it…


Steyn on “Safety”

Yesterday’s Washington Times has a story from Mark Steyn about the increasing ridiculousness of government regulations, contrasted with America’s refusal to do anything about the threat from Iran:

It is certain that Tehran will get its nukes, and very soon. This is the biggest abdication of responsibility by the Western powers since the 1930s. It is far worse than Pakistan going nuclear, which, after all, was just another thing the CIA failed to see coming. In this case, the slow-motion nuclearization conducted in full view and through years of tortuous diplomatic charades and endlessly rescheduled looming deadlines is not just a victory for Iran but a decisive defeat for the United States. It confirms the Islamo-Sino-Russo-everybody-else diagnosis of Washington as a hollow superpower that no longer has the will or sense of purpose to enforce the global order.

Sure, there are people who insist the Iranian mullahs are saving their oil for later in order to focus a huge portion of their crappy economy on nuclear power. This is based, apparently, on little other than the cute way Iran follows every insane Ahmadinejad rant about nuclear enrichment with a speech by some diplomat about their peaceful intentions.

Oh, right, like the guy in a $4,00-dollar suit is gonna nuke anyone. COME ON!

So long as there are a few isolationist libertarians and pantywaist liberals insisting Iran’s just trying to keep up with the Joneses and not trying to incinerate the Joneses, Obama and the State Department seem content to mix the occasional harsh word in with their flowery diplomatic rhetoric. That would be totally fine, if dictatorships always meant the peaceful things they said and were only kidding about the violent stuff.

But when you’ve authorized successful mob hits on Salman Rushdie’s publishers and translators, when you’ve blown up Jewish community centers in Buenos Aires, when you’ve acted extraterritorially to the full extent of your abilities for 30 years, it seems prudent for the rest of us to assume that when your abilities go nuclear, you’ll be acting to an even fuller extent.

Read the full Steyn article, and remember that President Obama is busy trying to resurrect a leftist health insurance plan that a majority of Americans don’t want and zero Americans can afford. Foreign policy? He’s already not George W. Bush; what do you people want?!

Steyn on Healthcare

Mark Steyn, in the Orange County Register:

Freedom is messy. In free societies, people will fall through the cracks – drink too much, eat too much, buy unaffordable homes, fail to make prudent provision for health care and much else. But the price of being relieved of all those tiresome choices by a benign paternal government is far too high.

I generally enjoy his jokes and always love his writing style, but quotes like this are why I’m such a big fan of Steyn. Personal responsibility is the beauty of American democracy, not a broken feature that should be brought in line with the smothering socialism of other Western states. If a free citizenry looks to you like the result of a lazy central government, you can move to Europe.

We absolutely need health care reform – to clean up Medicare and Medicaid. Is there some compelling reason why, in a stuttering economy, Congress can’t address what’s broken in the current system before trying to implement something even bigger and more complex? Democrats claim “46 million” uninsured Americans desperately need Washington’s help… but I think Steyn gets much closer to the truth.

Mark Steyn – “Lights Out”

I contributed my first review to Amazon over the weekend when I noticed none had been posted for Mark Steyn’s recently published Lights Out: Islam, Free Speech, and the Twilight of The West. Maybe that’s because, unless you order from the Steyn Store, the book is not shipping yet… but I’ve been a fan of Steyn’s work for several years so I wanted to take the time to write a review. Though I’m a nerd of many hobbies and a short attention span, I cracked open Lights Out as soon as it arrived in the mail. Despite the fact I noted with my order that no dedication was necessary, Steyn took the time to add a funny comment with his autograph. For a frothing xenophobic hatemonger, he seems like a nice enough guy.

My Amazon review:

In “Lights Out: Islam, Free Speech And The Twilight Of The West,” Mark Steyn details his recent misadventures with Canada’s laughable “Human Rights” Commissions. After Maclean’s, a Canadian news weekly, printed an excerpt from Steyn’s America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It, the Canadian Islamic Congress sued Maclean’s for their “flagrant Islamophobia,” demanding space in the privately owned magazine to print a response. Two of three Commissions agreed to hear the case, despite the plaintiff’s arguments being written by five of Canada’s least literate law school students.

Lights Out is primarily a compilation of Steyn articles from the past several years, with a fair amount of new commentary related to the “human rights” trials. The Maclean’s articles cited as justification for legal action by the plaintiff are reprinted in full, followed by the plaintiff’s complaints, followed by Steyn’s concise destruction of said complaints. Far from the obnoxious partisan your average multiculti-cultist dismisses him as, Steyn relates international headlines and demographic stats in a way that’s thoughtful, worrying, and humorous. There are Muslim populations in Western countries that are hostile to Western culture and laws. These populations are growing rapidly, while native birth rates hover at unsustainable levels. Are these issues we’re allowed to discuss?

Steyn’s stated purpose is repeal of the Canadian law that created the freedom-suppressing Human Rights Commissions. An ambitious goal, to be sure, but one that will gain momentum after a few hundred thousand Canadians have read Lights Out. If you care about free speech, order this book.

So far I’m batting a thousand: 1 of 1 people found the review helpful. Ahh, the sweet taste of a stranger’s acceptance.

If you’re a regular Steyn reader, you may have already read many of the articles featured in Lights Out. If you’re a regular Steyn reader, I don’t have to tell you the book’s worth your time anyway!

Demographics!

Mark Steyn points out at The Corner that the residents of Dixville Notch, New Hampshire – 100% of whom apparently vote at midnight in each presidential election so the rest of us can ask “where the heck is Dixville Notch?” every four years – favored Obama, 15:6. Steyn comments about what this may foreshadow.

Mark is missing the bigger picture: in the past two presidential elections, 100% of the voting population of Dixville Notch was 26 people. It’s now 21. The village’s population has dropped over 19% in just four years! I can only conclude that National Review’s self-described Resident Demography Bore has been swept away in the uplifting tsunami that is Obamania. Shoot, at this rate Dixville Notch will be devoid of native citizens around the same time as much of Europe! Hopefully they’ve got a few Undocumented Americans filling in, doing jobs Dixville Notchers won’t do.

But seriously… I hope and pray that as the rest of our results come in, we see a majority of Americans who don’t want all the miserable things an Obama-Pelosi-Reid leadership would yield, and are prescient enough to vote accordingly.

Mark Steyn = Comic Genius

And he knows a ton of stuff, too. Today’s column in The Spectator (irritating but free registration required) is a long, sweeping reflection on the predictions of Steyn and others regarding the Global War on Terror. No, it’s not the first article of this sort that’s been written (hey, even Jon Stewart has been re-thinking his stance), but it’s one of the best I’ve seen. If you’ve got the time, read it all. If you don’t, the last few lines were my favorite part:

If Rumsfeld were to say, “Free Tibet? Jiminy, what a swell idea! The Third Infantry Division go in on Thursday”, the bumper-sticker crowd would be aghast…

But for those of us on the arrogant unilateralist side of things, that’s not how it works. “FREE AFGHANISTAN”. Done. “FREE IRAQ”. Done. Given the paintwork I pull off every time I have to change the sticker, it might be easier for the remainder of the Bush presidency just to go around with “FREE [INSERT YOUR FETID TOTALITARIAN BASKET-CASE HERE]”. Not in your name? Don’t worry, it’s not.