Mark Steyn on Miley Cyrus, the post-American world, and a return toÂ Canada
Commentator Mark Steyn admits he left his native Canada in a fit of bitterness. His warnings that the West threatens to be swamped by Islamic cultures’ growing fertility rates put him squarely in the sights of Canadian Muslims and this country’s quasi-judicial human rights commissions. Even though his side won, and the case against his “alarmist” diatribes ultimately contributed to the repeal of the Section 13 hate speech law this year, Mr. Steyn was “drained” by the ordeal. He’s since focused on his current home, with the best-selling booksÂ America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, andÂ After America: Get Ready for Armageddon. “When I finally get the hideousness of Canada’s so-called human rights commission out of my system, I’ll probably come back and start writing for theÂ PostÂ and the Canada press again,” he said ahead of a speech at Calgary’s Petroleum Club this week. America is the ‘‘brokiest brokey broke nation in the history of the world,’’ and it’s left to him to ring the clarion call for a return to small government and self-reliance, he told theNational Post’s Jen Gerson:
Q: Let’s have that discussion about how terrible things are about to get: Brokiest broke of all the brokiest countries in the world.
A:Â On its present trajectory, America is looking at $20-trillion debt by the time this president leaves office, just the federal debt.Â That will mean the 44th president has run up more debt than the previous 43 presidents combined.Â It was $10-trillion when he took office. No one has ever spent that much in the history of the planet. And he has nothing to show for it.Â And the question then becomes, is serious political course correction possible in the United States?Â And I think the answer to that is very difficult.Â The question then is whether the rest of the developed world sits back and watches America drag everybody else over the cliff, or whether they start making plans, as Australia and certain other countries are doing, for the post-American world? The post-Second World War American order is over.Â We didn’t ask for it.Â The Americans did this to us; we didn’t do it to them.Â But, you know, it’s a new world out there and we have to look for other partners.
Q: How much do you credit that incredible debt to overspending versus a massive decline in revenues as a result of the economic slowdown?
A:Â The decline in revenue, due to anemic economic growth, is related to the growth of uncertainty.Â If, for example, you want to hire somebody and pay them, let’s call it $40,000 a year.Â What is the cost to you of putting $40,000 in Mrs. Smith’s pocket when you hire her to do a job in your business?Â Nobody knows the answer to that in the United States because the tax rates are uncertain, the provisions of the health care law are destabilizing so that companies are â€” if you come up to the 50-employee mark then you’re suddenly responsible for health care.Â There’s no certainty in America.Â I mean everyone always thinks when things are outsourced or when jobs go overseas people think oh, they’re sending it to Chad or wonder where everything is cheap.Â They’re not, they’re sending it to stable developed nations like Ireland where you have a reasonable sense of what the tax rates are gonna be, what the corporate tax rates are gonna be, what the cost of hiring people is.
Q: So we’re saying Ireland is more stable than the U.S. right now?
A:Â I’d say Ireland is more stable than the U.S. right now.
Q: When do we know that we’ve reached the tipping point of the end of the American age?
A:Â Goldman Sachs thinks that China will become the world’s biggest economic power sometime around 2016.Â In other words, and if that year is right, let’s just suppose for the sake of the argument it is, it means Barack Obama will end his term in a position no president has been in since Grover Cleveland.Â We’re in a post-American world. And at that point the question is whether it’s a gentle decline like for the European empires after the Second World War, or whether it’s, you know, Mad Max on Interstate 95.
Q: Where do you have your retirement funds set in, stun guns or stocks?
A:Â I think guns will come in more useful than stocks.Â And certainly most of my neighbours in New Hampshire have more firepower down in the basement then the average European Union army, and one can well see why they would think that way. But that’s the point. It’s gonna be, you know, it’s not gonna be pretty.Â It’s not gonna be Vienna after the fall of the Habsburgs. It’s gonna be something much more convulsive.
Q: What if you’re wrong? What if America’s fine?
A:Â Well, I’d prefer it because I’m an author. And the problem with predicting societal collapse is if you’re right the bookstores get looted and the banks get burned down so there’s nowhere to cash your royalty checks.Â You know, you write the apocalyptic doom-mongering tome because you want a happy ending, ’cause you want people to wake up in time.
Q: And buy books.
A:Â Well, you want book sales, but in the end I’ve got kids and my kids aren’t gonna profit from total societal collapse. You know, the Chinese think half a millennium of an Anglo European blip is coming to an end and the world’s returning to the natural Asiatic order.Â And they might be right about that.Â And the thing about that, is if they’re correct that’s the biggest story of the age and why wouldn’t you want to write about it?Â So it’s not just to sell books, I mean I could write a book about Miley Cyrus twerking and, you know, I could sell books on that.
Q: That’s easy money.
A:Â Yeah, it is.Â But, you know, in the end, it’s easy to twerk as Rome burns. You can’t see it because of Miley’s pert bottom twerking away in front of you, but behind the twerking is the biggest story of our time.Â And that’s why you’d want to write about it, regardless of whether you’re right or you’re wrong, or whether your book sells or it won’t.Â If you’re in that game, that’s the story to write about.
Q: What am I forgetting to ask you, aside from Miley Cyrus’s pert bottom twerking?
A:Â I’ve probably overstated the pertness of her bottom.
â€¢ This interview has been edited and condensed.