Tag Archives: Mark Steyn

Disgrace in Benghazi

The president is too lazy and cocksure to have learned any prepared remarks or mastered the appropriate tone, notwithstanding that a government that spends more money than any government in the history of the planet has ever spent can surely provide him with both a speechwriting team and a quiet corner on his private wide-bodied jet to consider what might be fitting for the occasion. So instead he sloughs off the words, bloodless and unfelt: “And obviously our hearts are broken . . . ” Yeah, it’s totally obvious.

Mark Steyn has a new post up on NRO – need I say it’s terrific? Give it a read, if only (as Dan Phillips puts it) to see what a literary razor-blade looks like: Disgrace in Benghazi

Last Time I Checked

A few thoughts on the brouhaha over Chick-Fil-A:

Several weeks ago, Mr. Dan Cathy was asked where he stood on same sex marriage. He didn’t rant or rave. He didn’t fire back with wrathful invective. He didn’t say that homosexuals would be refused service (or even employment) at Chick-Fil-A restaurants. He simply stated that he stood by the traditional one man/one woman definition of marriage. And everyone went batty.

In the mean time, Chicago alderman Joe Moreno (supported by Mayor Tom Menino) boasted about “denying Chick-Fil-A’s permit to open a restaurant in the First Ward.” His reason? Dan Cathy’s “ignorance.” Ah, we all say. Dan Cathy’s ignorance. So that’s the reason.

Just one thing… what, exactly, is he ignorant about? Health and safety regulations? How the permit process works? Zoning? How to properly make a chicken sandwich? Fry a batch of waffle fries?

Nah. Dan Cathy knows about all these things. He just happens to be “ignorant” of the politically-correct and socially-acceptable position on homosexuality.

And everybody, in unison, cries, How dare he! Tar and feather the bastard! 

Can someone get me a napkin? I just choked on the coffee I was drinking.

Now, maybe I’m delusional, but last time I checked, we lived in the U.S. of A. Freedom of speech and all that. Not the dang Soviet Union.

Support Chick-Fil-A Day was an opportunity to stick up for a company that supported traditional (i.e. biblical) family values. It was also about standing against corrupt bureaucrats who think they have the right to punish those who don’t agree with them.

Mark Steyn says it well and forcefully,

It’s bad enough that in a supposedly free society you can’t sell a chicken sandwich to your fellow citizen without buying a bazillion permits from the state. If they can prevent you from selling a chicken sandwich because they don’t like your opinions, then what can’t they do to you?

Who the hell is Tom Menino to say you can’t sell chicken in Boston unless you agree with him? Who the hell is Murray Geiger-Adams to say you can’t tell a joke in Vancouver unless he approves it? Until more citizens of free nations are willing to say to statist hacks “Who the hell do you think you are?,” liberty will continue to bleed.

Book Review: After America

The front cover of Mark Steyn’s latest book, After America, shows the pallid corpse of Uncle Sam lying beneath a death shroud and bedecked with a toe-tag. Very telling. If – for some bizarre and inexplicable reason – you thought this book would qualify as lighthearted fare for a rainy afternoon, think again: After America is not for the faint of heart. It’s a challenging, unsettling, and eye-opening read about the depths to which our country has sunk… and what we must do to bring her back to the surface.

In America Alone, Steyn predicted the economic and social collapse of the entire Western world except America. But in his latest book, Steyn notes that his warnings evidentially “proved so influential that America decided to sign up for the same program but supersized” (p. 2).

We’re in the express lane to ruin – impending financial collapse; a post-modern, post-nationalist, post Christian culture determined to believe that government is the answer to everything; and foolish, pathetic policymaking in Washington. According to Steyn, America is already in decline. Next up is the fall – “fast, sudden, off the cliff” (p. 13).

Who needs the horror genre? Real life is scary enough as it is.

Then again, this is Mark Steyn we’re talking about here. The Mark Steyn. As another reviewer pointed out, reading After America is like having a comedian diagnose you with a deadly illness. The subject matter is dreary and chilling, to be sure; but the author’s trademark, razor-edged wit shines through, making the book funny (if not exactly fun) to read.

Aside from being humorous, Steyn’s writing is lucid, compelling, and refreshingly crisp. His style is hard-hitting and powerful, without being harsh or over-strident. He turns what could have been a dry, textbook read into something that has you turning pages. And that’s a fairly significant accomplishment in my book.

Chilling as it is, After America isn’t all “doom and gloom”. Towards the end, Steyn outlines what he considers the best (and only) prescription for winning America back from Big Government. Steyn believes that if America is to survive, she must 1) De-Centralize, 2) De-Governmentalize, 3) De-Regulate, 4) De-Monopolize, 5) De-Complicate, 6) De-Credentialize, 7) Dis-Entitle, 8) De-Normalize, and last but not least, 9) Do.

If you want to know what all of that means in detail, you’ll have to read the book. Suffice it to say, it’s the very opposite of the path the liberal establishment would have us take. (And of course, from a Christian standpoint, the foundation for these radical changes must be radical Repentance. One cannot effect real, lasting change if God is left out of the equation.)

As with America Alone, I think this is a book best reserved for older teens and adults. Mature themes (some of them sexual) are dealt with throughout, and there is a smattering of strong, crude language.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, I loved After America. It’s the second of Steyn’s books to make it onto my list of favorites. At present, it’s available here on Amazon for about $16. Buy it: it’s worth every penny.

I think I’ll let Steyn have the last word:

Americans face a choice: you can rediscover the animating principles of the American idea – of limited government, a self-reliant citizenry, and the opportunities to exploit your talents to the fullest – or you can join most of the rest of the western world in terminal decline To rekindle the spark of liberty once it dies is very difficult. The inertia, the ennui, the fatalism is even more pathetic than the demographic decline and fiscal profligacy of the social democratic state, and, because it’s subtler and less tangible, even harder to rally against…

This is a battle for the American idea, and it’s an epic one, but – to reprise the lamest of lamo-o lines – you can do anything you want to do. So do it.

(I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for a review.
I was not required to write a positive review.)

Stirring Up Apathy

“Big government depends on going around the country stirring up apathy – creating the sense that problems are so big, so complex, so intractable that even attempting to think about them for yourself gives you such a splitting headache it’s easier to shrug and accept as given the proposition that only government can deal with them.”

~ Mark Steyn, After America: Get Ready for Armageddon (Ch. 2, pg. 51)

Christ-less Christianity

“Most mainline Protestant churches are, to one degree or another, post-Christian. If they no longer seem disposed to converting the unbelieving to Christ, they can at least convert them to the boggiest of soft-left clichés, on the grounds that if Jesus were alive today he’d most likely be a gay Anglican bishop in a committed relationship driving around in an environmentally friendly car with an ‘Arms are for Hugging’ sticker on the way to an interfaith dialogue with a Wiccan and a couple of Wahhabi imams.”

~ Mark Steyn, America Alone (pg. 100)