My, God! Do I love Mark Steyn’s writing. With elegant, rhythmic, witty prose, he goes right to the heart of an issue — in this case, world wide anti-Americanism:
America is the most benign hegemon in history: it’s the world’s first non-imperial superpower and, at the dawn of the American moment, it chose to set itself up as a kind of geopolitical sugar daddy. By picking up the tab for Europe’s defense, it hoped to prevent those countries lapsing into traditional power rivalries. Nice idea. But it also absolved them of the traditional responsibilities of nationhood, turning the alliance into a dysfunctional sitcom family, with one grown-up presiding over a brood of whiny teenagers — albeit (demographically) the world’s wrinkliest teenagers. America’s preference for diluting its power within the UN and other organs of an embryo world government has not won it friends. All dominant powers are hated — Britain was, and Rome — but they’re usually hated for the right reasons. America is hated for every reason. The fanatical Muslims despite America because it’s all lap-dancing and gay porn; the secular Europeans despite America because it’s all born-again Christians hung up on abortion; the anti-Semites despite America because it’s controlled by Jews. Too Jewish, too Christian, too godless, America is George Orwell’s Room 101: whatever your bugbear you will find it therein; whatever you’re again, America is the prime example of it.
That’s just one marvelous paragraph amongst many that you will find in Mark Steyn’s America Alone : The End of the World as We Know It (this quotation coming from page xxiii).
If you’re guessing that I finally got a copy of Steyn’s latest book, you guessed right. And as with Bruce Bawer’s While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within and Melanie Phillips’ Londonistan, it’s an important, well-written book that’s hugely depressing. Depressing or not, we in America need to read it, and I really wish those in Europe with half a sense of self left within them would read it too. The sad thing about the Europeans is that they seem incapable of nationalism without fascism, as both the first half of the European 20th Century and the beginning of the Russian 21st Century seem to demonstrate.
Anyway, all of three of these books have been out for awhile. You may already have read them but, if you haven’t, steel yourself and make the effort to do so — and then urge copies on your friends. The one thing I can say is that Mark Steyn’s book, while arguably the most depressing, is so delightfully written it does give a spoonful of sugar to help take away the profound bitterness of the book’s content.