That's the title of a long, insightful article by Mark Steyn, a transcript of an address he delivered to the Gatestone Institute earlier this year. I think it's one of the best-structured and best-argued articles by him I've ever read, and I plan to re-read it more than once. It's right up there with the best of the late Prof. Andrew Codevilla, whose loss we acknowledged with sadness earlier this morning.
Here are a number of the introductory bullet points from Mr. Steyn's address, plus a few selected paragraphs.
- I have lived in countries that have real domestic terrorism movements.... No country blessed enough not to have a domestic terrorism movement should be inventing one.
- We are living in a blizzard of lies.
- [W]e are more dependent on a handful of woke billionaires to tell us what reality is. They are far more open than ever that they get to determine what are the agreed facts. Google made an explicit announcement about this recently. They said that sometimes they would put warnings on things that are factually accurate because, even though they are true, they do not think it is in society's interest for people to be seeing it.
- [N]ow you will be banned or deleted or blocked or silenced simply for disagreeing with the official version of events. For example, the Great Barrington declaration, which was written by three of the most prominent epidemiologists in the world from Harvard, Oxford, and I think it was Stanford. That was basically deleted from YouTube, banned from Facebook, simply because it contradicted the WHO, CDC official version of events.
- It is just groupthink enforced by a cabal of woke billionaires, who have more power than anyone else on the planet.
- The other thing that emerged during this year very quickly is that we are at a hinge moment of history. We were told a generation or two back that, by doing trade with China, China would become more like us. Instead, on issues such as free speech, we are becoming more like China.
- American companies are afraid of offending China. American officials are afraid of offending China. We are adopting Chinese norms on issues such as free speech and basic disagreements with the government of China.
- We're living in the early stages of a future that is the direct consequence of poor public policy over the last couple of generations. We are not even aware of that...
- Right now, we are witnessing a non‑stop continuous transfer of power to a country that is serious about using that power. This is China's moment. Take it as someone who grew up, in large part, in a great power in decline. There's no real explicit handover day. People, in hindsight, expect to pinpoint the day that the baton was passed.... My great worry is that actually, the transfer to China has already happened. The baton has already been passed. We just haven't formally acknowledged that yet.
- I'll say it straight out loud. I do not think that Joe Biden "won the election." I don't think it is a question of "widespread fraud." I think the way the system works with the Electoral College, you only need actually to spread fraud in six key cities in six key states.
- If you have no basic election integrity, essentially, all the other issues are irrelevant.
- At some point, if we're not prepared to stand up... My whole thing, in all the years, is that Western civilization is sliding off a cliff and most citizens of most Western nations are not even aware of it.
- There is a moral component that we are overlooking. We live in an insane world where moral narcissism attaches to whether or not you rampage around some statue of a Confederate general who died 150 years ago. The fact that you're rampaging around the Confederate general while wearing shoes made by child labor somehow does not impact on your moral virtue at all.
Lord Moulton said that what matters in any healthy society are not the small number of things that one is obliged to do, or, at the other end of the spectrum, the small number of things that one is not permitted to do, but the big chunk in the middle. It is not a question of whether you have to do it, or you are forbidden to do it, but whether we decide for ourselves about those aspects of our lives through what he called the realm of manners. By his estimation, about 80 percent of life should be within the realm of manners rather than within the realm of law.
Now everything is law: How far you have to stand away from people. The realm of manners, in Lord Moulton's phrase -- choice -- has shrunk to nothing.
Everything now, is regulated by the state from above. We are now seeing, for example, influential voices. "The Guardian" newspaper in the UK for example, said the other day that whatever happens to the pandemic, and the COVID, and all the rest of us, they would like us to go into lockdown once every two years. It would supposedly be good for climate change. You do not see this in America, but you quite a lot on overseas news reports. BBC, in the early days of the pandemic was doing all these encouraging reports on how Ireland where it is illegal for you to go more than three miles from your home.
On how Ireland had, fantastically -- and this is really terrific news – they have managed to lower their carbon footprint simply by confining people to their homes and a three‑mile radius. The idea that this is the new normal is deeply disturbing.
At the same time, we have had a serious crackdown on free speech, particularly in America during election year, and culminating on January 20th by the convergence of the Big State and Big Tech.
There's much more at the link. Recommended reading.
One of the greatest tragedies of the breakdown in the American educational system is that our young people are no longer taught how to think, but rather what to think. If you ask the average young person today to analyze Mr. Steyn's article, or the article by Prof. Codevilla that we cited earlier this morning, they might mumble and mutter, but they'd find themselves hard-pressed to summarize their main points simply and concisely. Their analytical abilities have been deliberately suppressed, it seems to me - which may be the entire goal of the progressive-left-dominated educational system in this country. If future voters don't know how to evaluate the electoral pablum they're being spoon-fed, how will they know whether to support it or not? Instead, they'll follow the propaganda with which the mainstream news and social media are bombarding them. It's easier to do that, than to think for themselves.
I suspect the only way we can combat this insidious destruction from within of our society is to try to educate and inform our own young people, and those we meet, to think for themselves. Discussing worthwhile articles like this one is a good start.
(By the way, having shared a number of experiences similar to Mr. Steyn's, I can confirm from personal experience that many of his comments are entirely correct. For example, he says "No country blessed enough not to have a domestic terrorism movement should be inventing one". I couldn't agree more! Having lived for eighteen years, in uniform and out of uniform, in a terrorism-plagued, civil-unrest-torn society, and seen its worst excesses "up close and personal", allow me to assure you: we do not, at this time, have a domestic terrorist movement in the United States worthy of the name. If that ever changes, you'll know about it without needing to be told. Trust me on this.)