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Well, this guy is an A-list imam. And he ferociously attacked — he took time out of his hectic schedule of calling for death to the Jews to attack young Muslim men who follow soccer instead of memorizing the Koran. “Ask one of those young men who are so crazy about soccer to name the names of twenty of the Prophet’s companions. Only 20! The Prophet Mohammad’s companions numbered over 100,000. All I’m asking for is the name of 20 companions.” But if you ask the same man to give you the names of 20 soccer players, he will. Who’s to blame for this?
Well, the imam looked into it. And he quickly discovered who’s seducing the Muslims away from their Korans. “As you know, the Jews have the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Over 100 years ago, they formulated a plan to rule the world. And they are implementing this plan. One of the protocols says, “Keep the [non-Jews] preoccupied with songs, soccer and movies.'”
That’s protocol number 27, incidentally.
“Is it or isn’t it happening? It is. At an important match in Egypt, a man was standing in the stadium, and when his team scored a goal, he screamed, ‘Goooaaal!’ got a heart attack, and died… the Zionists manage to generate animosity among Muslims, and even between Muslim countries, by means of soccer. Whose interests does this serve? The Jews.”
It’s easy to be skeptical.
I mean, if soccer is part of the international Jewish conspiracy, how come Israel has only managed to qualify for the World Cup on one occasion?
Anyone remember when that was? Anybody? Oh, come on, David’s giving away a Chevy Volt.
1970. 1970. Remember how far they got in the 1970 World — oh, come on, he’s giving away a Chevy Volt, if you know how far they got. We’ll staple a Solyndra solar panel to the roof —
— of the Chevy Volt.
What did you say, sir?
Unidentified Audience Member: We lost the first round.
Mark Steyn: That’s right, two-zip to Uruguay.
You see David afterwards about the Chevy Volt —
— complementary Solyndra panel, and most of the members of the executive board stapled to the roof of that Chevy Volt.
They lost two-zip to Uruguay in the opening round. That just shows how cunning these Jews are.
A day or two after the distinguished cleric advanced his theory, I happened to be in Bordeaux. And I found myself outside the Virgin Megastore which brands itself in France as La Culture du Plaisir, the Culture of Pleasure. As far as I know, the chain doesn’t operate in the Middle East. If you’re a Muslim, you have to wait till you self-detonate to hit the Virgin Megastore.
Big time, and with our entire inventory priced to clear. But it struck me that the Western world’s self-evaluation isn’t actually so very different from Imam Anwar’s diagnosis. We promote ourselves as the culture of pleasure — preoccupied, as the imam says, with songs, sports, movies and other delights. Life as a sensual diversion.
The most famous line by the most famous economist of the 20th century is this — in the long run, we are all dead. Keynes’s flippancy disguises his radicalism. For most of human history, functioning societies have honored the long run. It’s why millions of people have children, build houses, plant gardens, start businesses, make wills, put up beautiful churches in ordinary villages, fight — and, if necessary, die — for king and country. It’s why extraordinary men create great works of art, or did in the Europe of old.
Any society — a community is a compact between the past, present and the future, in which the citizens, in Tom Wolfe’s words, conceive of themselves, however unconsciously, as part of a great biological stream.
Europe climbed out of the stream. They decided you didn’t need to make material sacrifices; the state takes care of all that. You didn’t need to have children, and you certainly didn’t need to die for king and country. But a society that has nothing to die for has nothing to live for. It’s no longer a stream but a stagnant pool. “How fair thou hast been,” in Goethe’s words, “but only for the moment. And in Europe, the moment is passing.”
The Western world’s economic crisis, I think, is a mere symptom of its existential crisis. What is life for? What gives it meaning? A post-Christian, post-nationalist, postmodern 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.
In between the trash and the robberies and the rapes, and the extraordinarily high body count, Occupy Wall Street is also agitating for the right to stay out of the stream, sunning yourself on the bank in perpetuity. Pay my college debt. I went to Complacency University to do five years of whatever studies, and it cost me a six-figure sum. And nobody wants to hire me to help me pay it off. So the government should pay for that.
In the long run, we are all dead, says Keynes. The public sector workers on the streets of Madison, Wisconsin are Keynesians to a man — we don’t care if our benefit packages are unsustainable and will bankrupt the state. Just keep the checks coming till we’re dead.
A lot of my friends on the right have a reductive view of what’s happening here. They think these are bookkeeping issues, green eyeshade issues, a question of somehow finding a way to make the arithmetic work. But they’re not. Ultimately they’re moral questions.
Think about it. What sort of society does a state that hands out free diapers and regulates bed sheets and shuts down your grade-schooler’s lemonade stand — what sort of citizens does such a society produce? Would such a compliant people be willing to rouse themselves to resist, say, the nuclearization of Iran? Or would they be willing to rouse themselves to see off the subtler challenges of incremental Islamization in the Western world? The honor killings in Ontario and Arizona that the press can’t quite bring themselves to identify as such? The French satirical magazine that attempts to make the same jokes about Islam it makes about Christianity, and gets its offices firebombed — and then, adding insult to injury, has to endure lectures from Time Magazine on how it was being unnecessarily provocative, and how sometimes freedom of speech — says the Time Magazine correspondent loftily — sometimes freedom of speech means having the courage just to shut up and keep your head down, and not say anything.
A few years back, I thought even spaghetti-spined Western liberals might draw the line at female genital mutilation, or FGM, as it’s already known in far too many Western hospitals, from Virginia to Australia. It’s a key pillar of institutional misogyny in Islam that Baroness Cox, whom some of you may have heard earlier — the Baroness Cox is tackling head on in London at the moment.
It’s a key pillar of institutional misogyny. Its entire purpose is to deny women sexual pleasure. True, a lot of us hapless Western men find we deny women sexual pleasure, even without trying. But we don’t demand bodily mutilation to guarantee it. And on such slender distinctions does civilization rest.
In 2010, the American Academy of Pediatrics floated the suggestion that because certain — ahem — immigrant communities were shipping their daughters overseas to undergo female genital cutting, which is their new nonjudgmental term for it — in a spirit of multicultural compromise, perhaps US pediatricians should amend their opposition to the practice and provide a ritual nick to young girls. The American Academy of Pediatrics. Do we have any pediatricians in the house tonight? That’s good. If you see one, don’t go near him while he’s holding the bread knife.
I have a statistic in my book. By 2020, just the interest payments on the federal debt will be larger than the US military budget. That’s not paying down the debt, but merely staying current on the servicing. Like when you get your MasterCard statement and you can’t afford to pay off what you borrowed, but you can just about cover the monthly interest charge. Except in this case, the interest charge for US taxpayers will be greater than the military budgets of China, Britain, France, Russia, Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, India, Italy, South Korea, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Spain, Turkey and Israel combined. Just in interest payments on the debt. That’s 20 percent of federal revenues, a fifth of your taxes, entirely wasted.
Pious celebrities often simper that they’d be willing to pay more in taxes for better government services. But a fifth of what you pay won’t be going for government services at all, unless by “government services” you mean the People’s Liberation Army of China, which will be entirely funded by US taxpayers by about 2015. The People’s Liberation Army is the largest employer on the planet, bigger even than the US Department of Community Organizer Grant Applications. And we’re already funding about 80 percent of it.
As I’m sure you know, when the Visigoths laid siege to Rome in 408, the Imperial Senate hastily bought off the barbarian King Alaric with 5,000 pounds of gold and 30,000 pounds of silver. But even in the slough of despond and decadence, they didn’t budget for Roman taxpayers picking up the tab for the entire Visigoth military as a permanent feature of life. That unprecedented historical act had to wait for our time. There is no precedent for this in human history, of one power consciously, consciously, funding its successor power.
And every congresswoman who proposes a bill for federal diapers should know we’re doing that and should be mocked for piling on even more. Every time a congresswoman stands up and says she wants to introduce a federal diaper program, she’s in essence arguing that you need to pay more money for the Chinese to get a bigger army.
Last year, the Pentagon issued a report on Beijing’s massive military buildup, including new missiles, upgraded bombers, an aircraft carrier R&D program intended to challenge US dominance in the Pacific. And what they didn’t mention is who’s paying for it. And the answer is you are. When the commies take Taiwan, suburban families in Fort Lauderdale and small businesses in West Palm Beach will have paid for it.
But it goes beyond that. If you think the free diapers and California’s sheet regime are crazy, consider this — the US Agency for International Development gives foreign aid to China. That’s to say — follow me on this — that’s to say we borrow money from China to give to China, as a gift. Most of the foreign aid, we’re told — this is the reason we’re told we shouldn’t worry — most of the foreign aid we give to China is to “promote clean energy.” So that makes it okay, makes it perfectly reasonable. I mean, who here doesn’t borrow money from his loan shark in order to winterize his loan shark’s home? It makes perfect sense.
According to the IMF, China is on course to become the dominant economic power on the planet by the year 2016. And that means the fellow we elect next November will be the last President of the United States to preside over the world’s leading economy. For the first time since Grover Cleveland, we’ll be the [also and]. And we give them foreign aid because they’re a “developing nation.” And we’re so overdeveloped we don’t think of ourselves as a nation at all, but more like a geopolitical version of one of those nonprofit foundations that underwrite all those dull-worthy programs on NPR; a nation-state that has national interests — we’re way beyond that, way beyond that. “Developing nations” is a weasel word. It presumes that they’re — even multiculturalists use it — and yet it presumes that they’re developing into something closer to us.
We saw some scenes from the so-called Arab Spring. Seventy-five years ago, if you’d attended the opening of Parliament in King Farouk’s Egypt, it was like a kind of toy-town version of Westminster. Lady Cox would’ve felt quite at home there — basically the same kind of deal. You’d have assumed that Cairo was developing in the direction of London. Instead, what happened — that in tower hamlets and the old Jewish East End — London’s turning into Cairo. The Kingdom of Egypt in the period between 1922 and 1952 was flawed and ramshackle and corrupt, but it got closer to a functioning pluralist society than anything in the 60 years since.
The first minister of finance of the Kingdom of Egypt was a man called Joseph Cattaui, who was a member of Parliament and a Jew. Try to imagine that now — a Jew serving as an Arab Muslims’ nation — as the finance minister of an Arab Muslim nation. Or even getting elected as an obscure backbench MP. It sounds like something from a give-peace-a-chance, multi-faith fantasy. But it actually happened. And then it stopped happening, and then it became inconceivable for it to ever happen again under any plausible scenario.
And then, having got rid of all the Jews, Egypt had a Facebook revolution, and now it’s getting rid of all the [cops]. And once again, in a few years’ time, we will accept that just as there were once Jews in Egypt but now there are none, so there were once cops in Egypt but now there are none, and that’s just the way it is.
Sometimes things go backwards. Egypt got worse, Syria got worse, Lebanon got worse. And you don’t have to be a cynic to figure that in a world without American order, worse is the way to bet. When money drains, power drains. And power is already draining remorselessly. It starts with the money, but it never ends there.
I’m not interested in turning the clock back to a 1950 golden age. I think the 1950 golden age was a product of a particular historical moment and moments past. In a way, the 1950 postwar order was the real bubble — not the credit bubble, not the housing bubble; the 1950 moment was the real bubble. And we have to get over that and get on with the new world that’s arising before our eyes.
We need serious course correction, urgent course correction. It’s not about putting John Kerry on a congressional super-committee to report back about possibly raising the age of Medicare eligibility from 65 to 67 in the year 2050, or whatever other genius idea he comes up with. There isn’t going to be a 2050 if that’s the best the so-called super-committee can do. The best thing John Kerry can do for America is to go and windsurf off Nantucket in that buttock-hugging yellow spandex suit he seems to think flatters his figure, and windsurf till 2050.
I would like most — with a few exceptions, most of the congressional members to go and windsurf off Nantucket till 2050. Because those of us on the receiving end of their genius need to understand that it’s not about midcentury; it’s about mid-decade. If we don’t turn this thing around in the next four years, we are going to pass the point of no return.
Here’s one way to look at it, by the way, here’s one way to look at it. Right now, we’re approximately — the federal government is spending 4 trillion and only taking in in revenues 2 trillion. We’re roughly — we’re getting to the point where we’re spending $2 for every dollar we take in.
So look at everything you see in government, and say — could it be half the size? When Barack Obama takes a 40-car motorcade to visit an ice cream parlor on Martha’s Vineyard, could he get by with a 20-car motorcade?
That’s the way to look at it. In my part of the world, they just built a $17 million border crossing at North Troy, Vermont — a border crossing with Mansonville, Quebec. Mansonville, Quebec — Her Majesty the Queen makes due with a one-room hut. Uncle Sam used to have a one-room hut on the other side. But under the stimulus bill, they widened it to an eight-lane road and built a $17 million Starship Enterprise that they dropped in the middle of the woods. Eight-lane highway for a border post that gets two cars an hour. So that’s four lanes for each car. Maybe if they just built a four-lane superhighway for the gateway to North Troy, Vermont — North Troy’s vacation playground — maybe if they just built a four-lane superhighway — look at everything — could we — we’re spending 4 trillion, taking 2 trillion — can we make do with half?
Every time you go through that eight-lane border crossing, it’s not communicating power; it’s communicating a suicidal kind of decadence. The aliens — when they plow through the rubble, the aliens from planet Zonga will be looking at — saying North Troy, Vermont! What a seat of a mighty empire! Look at the size of this! Gaze upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!
Look at it this way. Look at every single thing you see — could we cut it in half? We could cut the Canadian armored super-bus the President pretended to tour Iowa in. He could have toured in a Canadian armored minivan quite as easily. Because they just loaded it into the plane and flew it to his next venue, and then he got out of it and drove into town five minutes later. That’s the way to look at it.
Your representatives need to be talking about half the spending. You can’t close a $2 trillion gap. There is not enough money on the planet. The only way to close it is to look at what we’re spending and say — can we do with half of it?
The United States is still different. It’s still different. Somebody said earlier — where do I go if it all goes wrong here? For some of us, for some of us, this is the last stop on the tour. There is nowhere else to go. This is the hill to die on. If you can’t save Western civilization here, you can’t save it anywhere.
When America slides off the cliff, it lands with a much bigger thud than Iceland or Portugal. And it drags down the rest of the planet with it. This is the hill to die on.
In the wake of the collapse, mobs besieged their parliaments, from Iceland to Bulgaria, demanding the government do more. Elderly students in Britain attacked the heir to the throne’s car over [fruitling] attempts to constrain bloated, wasteful, pointless university costs. Why didn’t you, the government, do more for me?
America was the only nation in the developed world where millions of people took to the street to tell the state — I can do just fine if you control-freak statists would shove your non-stimulating stimulus, your jobless jobs bill and your multitrillion-dollar Vermont border crossings, and just stay the hell out of my life and my pocket. That’s the America that has a fighting chance.
Allen said — it’s up to you. He’s absolutely right about that. It’s not about waiting for some kind of government bailout, it’s not about waiting for a new messiah because the 2008 messiah is already three years past his sell-by date. It’s not about that at all. It’s about tens of millions of people moving the meter on public discourse and acting as self-reliant citizens. And if we don’t do it next November and we don’t do it in the next four years, we will pass the point of no return.
As they say in my great state — live free or die. It’s not a battle cry, it’s a statement of the choices before you. You can live as free men. But if you choose not to do so, your society will surely die.
So choose carefully. Do as Allen advised. You are the army, you are the generals. You are, ultimately, the Commander in Chief of this republic of limited government. It is for you to assert yourselves.
Thank you very much, indeed. Thank you.
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