Mark Steyn

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Mark Steyn, 2008

Mark Steyn (born December 8, 1959) is a Canadian journalist, columnist, and film and theatre critic.

Quotes[edit]

  • William Jefferson Clinton was America's entertainer-in-chief. But, like the third hour of It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World, no matter how good the show is eventually you've had enough. It wasn't public approval that saved Clinton, but public indifference. By the end, even his sex life bored them. To rise to the presidency from Hot Springs - a town where there's no right side of the tracks - is an amazing feat. To survive in office despite being your own smokin' gun is spectacular.
  • It's not a clash between civilisations but within them - in the Muslim world, between what's left of moderate traditional Islam and an extreme strain of that faith that even many of their co-religionists have difficulty living with; and in the West between those who think this culture is worth defending and those who'd rather sleepwalk to national suicide while mumbling bromides about whether Western hedonism is to blame for 'lack of services for locals' in Bali. To read Robert Frisk and Margo Kingston is like watching a panto cast on drugs: No matter how often the baddies say, 'I'm behind you!', Robert and Margo reply, 'Oh, no, you're not!'
  • On protests against going to war with Iraq: "One woman bore a picture of some female genitalia – possibly hers, the provenance was obscure – over the caption 'This Bush Is For Peace.' Another waxed eloquent: 'Trim Bush.' Out in Marin County somewhere, other bushes for peace disrobed, lay down on a hillside, and formed the words 'No War.' I wonder if there are any conflicted nudists, with a bush for Iraq and a rack for Bush.
    • The Spectator (25 January 2003)
  • On John Edwards, U.S. Senator from North Carolina: "The stump speech of pretty-boy Senator John Edwards, which I've heard often enough to be able to mouth along with him, has room for everything, including vivid, wrenching portraits of despair: 'Tonight somewhere in America a ten-year-old little girl will go to bed hungry, hoping and praying that tomorrow will not be as cold as today because she doesn't have the coat to keep her warm.' You'd have to have a heart of stone not to be doubled up in laughter at that line.
  • On the movie Monster: "I confess I went into the movie ready to dislike Miss Theron. I'm sick of newspaper articles detailing the amount of time, talent and technical wizardry required to turn some silver-screen beauty into an average-looking woman. There are plenty of average-looking women out there — gritty Britty TV drama seems to be full of them — and it seems excessively unfair that they can't even get a shot at the frumpy roles because Nicole Kidman's hogging the false nose again."
  • Picture a French election circa 2020, 2025: the Islamic Republican Coalition wins the most seats in the National Assembly.
  • Bisexuality is the proportional representation of sexuality in a world where most of us — straight or gay — operate a first-past-the-post system.
  • On David Cameron's Conservative Party: "The carbon emissions trading system imposed by Kyoto is absurd and entirely ineffectual, but in London, David Cameron wants to apply it to hamburgers. Cameron wants to impose some sort of Kyoto-esque calorie trading system on fast-food purveyors whereby McDonald's would have some trans-fat cap imposed to ensure they pick up the tab for what that $3 Big Mac really costs society. And David Cameron is the leader of the alleged Conservative Party. He's also living in a country whose major cities have been hollowed out by Islamist cells. Nevertheless, as England decays into Somalia with chip shops, taxing the chip shops is the Conservatives' priority.
    • Chicago Sun-Times (28 January 2007)
  • On the French view of international politics: "According to my dictionary, the word 'ally' comes from the Old French. Very Old French, I'd say. For the New French, the word has a largely postmodern definition of 'duplicitous charmer who undermines you at every opportunity.'
    • The Australian (23 February 2007)
  • On Al Gore: "The Eco-Messiah sternly talks up the old Nazi comparisons: "what we're facing is an ecological Holocaust, and the evidence of an ecological Kristallnacht is as clear as the sound of glass shattering in Berlin." That 221,000 kilowatt-hours might suggest that, if this is the ecological Holocaust, Gore's pad is Auschwitz. But, as his spokesperson would no doubt argue, when you're faced with ecological Holocausts and ecological Kristallnachts, sometimes the only way to bring it to an end is with an ecological Hiroshima. The Gore electric bill is the eco-atom bomb: you have to light up the world in order to save it.
    • Chicago Sun-Times (March 4 2007)
  • There's no fine line between "free speech" and "hate speech": Free speech is hate speech; it's for the speech you hate – and for all your speech that the other guy hates. If you don't have free speech, then you can't have an honest discussion.
  • Trump, like other philosophically erratic politicians from Denmark to Greece, has tapped into a very basic strain of cultural conservatism: the question of how far First World peoples are willing to go in order to extinguish their futures on the altar of "diversity".
  • It is so depressing to watch, almost on a daily basis, the erasure of great men by know-nothing non-entities who can build nothing, create nothing, do nothing but destroy all that does not conform to the ever shifting pieties of present-tense virtue-signalling.
  • Remember the way old-school feminists used to go on about how this and that was "phallocentric"? Some of them are a bit shocked to find that somehow the wily old phallus outmaneuvered them and that women themselves can now be literally phallocentric... As I always say: Oh, you can laugh, but none of the people who matter in our society are laughing - like the police and the politicians and the judges and the "educators"... So in nothing flat we are on our way not merely to the abolition of the sexes but to a world in which it is no longer permissible even to suggest that someone hung like a horse is not a woman. As Justin [Trudeau] would say, such views "have no place in our country".
  • The things our news media talks about incessantly, whether it’s transgender bathrooms or Confederate statues being toppled or the totally dishonest national conversation on race—nothing like this is heard in China as it goes along steadily strengthening its position as the world’s leading power. The Chinese don’t find themselves stuck in these sterile, drain-circling, dishonest public conversations about identity politics. These conversations are a waste of time. And one thing we should demand of our politicians is that they talk about things that aren’t a waste of time.
  • Our political division in America today is a class division, and we need to expose it as such whenever we see it. The ruling class tries to keep racial and other forms of division stirred up in our politics so that we don’t notice the class protection racket they are running.
  • This is what’s so frightening about the trends in education today. Cromwell told his portrait painter, ‘Paint me, warts and all.’ That’s not what is happening in America, where the trend in education is to paint only America’s warts. So even the great Kate Smith, who sang “God Bless America” for years, is having her statue taken down because she made a racially insensitive record in 1931. Well you know who really had a racially insensitive record in 1931? The Democratic Party. But unlike Kate Smith’s statue, it’s still around.
  • I find myself at odds with virtually the entire politico-media class in my reaction to the "storming" of the US Capitol... I was surprised that even politicians and pundits could utter all that eyewash about "the citadel of democracy" and "a light to the world" with a straight face. It's a citadel of crap, and the lights went out long ago: ask anyone who needs that $600 "relief".

The slyer virus: The West's anti-westernism (2002)[edit]

"The slyer virus: The West's anti-westernism", The New Criterion Vol. 20, No. 6, February 2002
  • Reverend Jesse Jackson, President-for-Life of the People’s Republic of Himself.
  • In the multicultural West, our values are that we have no values: we accord all values equal value; the wittering English feminist concerned that her tolerance is implicitly intolerant of the Sudanese wife-beater and compulsory clitorectomy scheduler.
  • As for 'cultural genocide', if there's any going on these days, it's the genocide of the Britannic inheritance — in North America, in the Antipodes, in Blair's Britain.
  • To London's Europhiles, Britain is obviously "part of" Europe. But, in the age of jet travel, cellphones, wire transfers and the internet, we are less bound by physical proximity than ever. Yet Britain for the first time in history has chosen to be imprisoned by geography and to disconnect itself from its own culture.
  • The principle underpinning the EU is not "We, the people" but "We know better than the people" — not just on capital punishment and the single currency, but on pretty much anything that comes to mind. Not so long ago, Jean-Pierre Chevenement, France's Defence Minister at the time, insisted that the United States was dedicated to the "organized cretinization of our people." As a dismissal of American pop culture — MTV, Disney — this statement is not without its appeal, though it sounds better if you've never had the misfortune to sit through a weekend of continental television. But the reality is that nobody is as dedicated to the proposition that the people are cretins than M. Chevenement and the panjandrums of the new 'Europe.' The EU is organized on this assumption. If, like the Danes and now the Irish, they're impertinent enough to tick the wrong box in referenda on deeper European integration, we'll just keep asking and re-asking the question until they get it right.

Battered Westerner Syndrome inflicted by myopic Muslim defenders (2002)[edit]

Battered Westerner Syndrome inflicted by myopic Muslim defenders", column, 23 August 2002
  • As I understand it, the benefits of multiculturalism are that the sterile white-bread cultures of Britain, Canada and Australia get some great ethnic restaurants and a Commonwealth Games opening ceremony that lasts until two in the morning. But in the case of those Muslim ghettoes — in Sydney, in Oslo, in Paris, Copenhagen and Manchester — multiculturalism means that the worst attributes of Muslim culture — the subjugation of women — combine with the worst attributes of Western culture — licence and self-gratification. Tattoed, pierced Pakistani skinhead gangs swaggering down the streets of Northern England are as much a product of multiculturalism as the turban-wearing Sikh Mountie in the vice-regal escort at Rideau Hall. Yet even in the face of the crudest assaults on its most cherished causes — women's rights and gay rights — the political elite turns squeamishly away.
  • We're told the old-school imperialists were racists, that they thought of the wogs as inferior. But, if so, they at least considered them capable of improvement. The multiculturalists are just as racist. The only difference is they think the wogs can never reform: good heavens, you can't expect a Muslim in Norway not to go about raping the womenfolk! Much better just to get used to it.
  • "As one is always obliged to explain when tiptoeing around this territory, I am not a racist, only a culturist. I believe Western culture — rule of law, universal suffrage — is preferable to Arab culture. That's why there are millions of Muslims in Scandinavia, and four Scandinavians in Syria. Follow the traffic. I support immigration, but with assimilation.

America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It (2006)[edit]

  • In 1970, the developed nations had twice as big a share of the global population as the Muslim world: 30 percent to 15 percent. By 2000, they were at parity: each had about 20 percent.
    And by 2020?
    • p. xv
  • We are witnessing the end of the late 20th-century progressive welfare democracy. Its fiscal bankruptcy is merely a symptom of a more fundamental bankruptcy: its insufficiency as an animating principle for society. The children and grandchildren of those fascists and republicans who waged a bitter civil war for the future of Spain now shrug when a bunch of foreigners blow up their capital. Too sedated even to sue for terms, they capitulate instantly. Over on the other side of the equation, the modern multicultural state is too watery a concept to bind huge numbers of immigrants to the land of their nominal citizenship. So they look elsewhere and find the jihad. The Western Muslim’s pan-Islamic identity is merely the first great cause in a world where globalized pathologies are taking the place of old-school nationalism.
    • p. xix
  • The state has gradually annexed all the responsibilities of adulthood - health care, child care, care of the elderly - to the point where it's effectively severed its citizens from humanity's primal instincts, not the least the survival instinct.
    • p. xx
  • I'm a "social conservative." When the mullahs take over, I'll grow my beard a little fuller, get a couple extra wives, and keep my head down. It's the feminists and gays who'll have a tougher time.
    • p. 14
  • On the Continent and elsewhere in the West, native populations are aging and fading and being supplanted remorselessly by a young Muslim demographic.
    • p. 33
  • The evidence suggests a third of all births [in France] are already Muslim.
    • p. 47
  • Almost by definition, secularism cannot be a future: it’s a present-tense culture that over time disconnects a society from cross-generational purpose. Which is why there are no examples of sustained atheist civilizations. "Atheistic humanism" became inhumanism in the hands of the Fascists and Communists and, in its less malign form in today's European Union, a kind of dehumamism in which a present-tense culture amuses itself to extinction. Post-Christian European culture is already post-cultural and, with its surging Muslim populations, will soon be post-European.
    • Ch. 5, p. 98
  • 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.
    • p. 100
  • Unfortunately, magnanimity is often seen as weakness by those on the receiving end. It's easy to be sensitive, tolerant, and multicultural — it's the default mode of the age — yet, when you persist in being sensitive to the insensitive, tolerant of the intolerant, and impeccably multicultural about the avowedly unicultural, don't be surprised if they take it for weakness.
    • p. 158
  • Americans and other Westerners who want their families to enjoy the blessings of life in a free society should understand that the life we've led since 1945 in the Western world is very rare in human history. Our children are unlikely to enjoy anything so placid, and may well spend their adult years in an ugly and savage world unless we decide that who and what we are is worth defending.
    • p. 207

It's the Demography, Stupid (2006)[edit]

"It's the Demography, Stupid", column, Wall Street Journal, 4 January 2006
  • The great thing about multiculturalism is it doesn't involve knowing anything about other cultures — the capital of Bhutan, the principal exports of Malawi, who cares? All it requires is feeling good about other cultures. It's fundamentally a fraud, and I think was subliminally accepted on that basis. Most adherents to the idea that all cultures are equal don't want to live in anything but an advanced Western society.
  • As a famous Arnold Toynbee quote puts it, "Civilizations die from suicide, not murder", as can be seen throughout much of the Western world right now. The progressive agenda — lavish social welfare, abortion, agnosticism, multiculturalism — is collectively the real suicide bomb.
  • Much of what we loosely call the Western world will not survive this century, and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most Western European countries. There'll probably still be a geographical area on the map marked as Italy or the Netherlands--probably--just as in Istanbul there's still a building called St. Sophia's Cathedral. But it's not a cathedral; it's merely a designation for a piece of real estate. Likewise, Italy and the Netherlands will merely be designations for real estate.
  • It seems more likely [...] that by 2010 we’ll be watching burning buildings, street riots and assassinations [in EU] on American network news every night.
  • Europe by the end of this century will be a continent after the neutron bomb; the grand buildings will still be standing, but the people who built them will be gone. We are living through a remarkable period: the self-extinction of the race who, for good or ill, shaped the modern world.
  • A decade and a half after victory in the Cold War and end-of-history triumphalism, the "what do you leave behind" question is more urgent than most of us expected. The Western world, as a concept, is dead and the West, as a matter of demographic fact, is dying.

After America: Get Ready for Armageddon (2011)[edit]

  • Churchill called his book The History of the English-Speaking Peoples – not the English-Speaking Nations. The extraordinary role played by those nations in the creation and maintenance of the modern world derived from their human capital. What happens when, as a matter of state policy, you debauch your human capital? The United Kingdom has the highest drug use in Europe, the highest incidence of sexually transmitted disease, the highest number of single mothers, the highest abortion rate; marriage is all but defunct, except for toffs, upscale gays, and Muslims. A couple of years ago, the papers reported that stabbings are so rampant in British schoolyards that a company that specializes in military body armor is now manufacturing school blazers lined with Kevlar. For Americans, the quickest way to understand modern Britain is to look at what LBJ’s Great Society did to the black family and imagine it applied to the general population.
  • Europe’s economic crisis is a mere symptom of its existential crisis. What is life for? What gives it meaning? Post-Christian, post-nationalist, 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.
  • Faced with public discontent about the statist agenda, the Condescendi look out the window at the unlovely mob in their "Don't treat on me" T-shirts and sneer, "The peasants are revolting." You oppose illegal immigration? You're a xenophobe. Gay marriage? Homophobe. The Ground Zero mosque? Islamaphobe. If that's the choice, I'd rather be damned as a racist and sexist. The evolution from -isms to phobias is part of the medicalization of dissent: the Conformicrats simply declare your position as a form of mental illness.
  • When you hit the expressway to Declinistan there are few exit ramps. That America's animating principles should require a defense at all is a melancholy reflection on how far we've already gone.
  • You cannot wage a sustained ideological assault on your own civilization without grave consequences. We are approaching the end of the Anglo-American moment, and the eclipse of the powers that built the modern world.

About Mark Steyn[edit]

  • Our treatment plants will always be ready to receive the literary outpourings emanating from his most humane soil

External links[edit]

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