Friday, March 17, 2006

Heart of Steyn

Mark Steyn writes like this:

Most people reading this have strong stomachs, so let me lay it out as baldly as I can: 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. The challenge for those who reckon Western civilization is on balance better than the alternatives is to figure out a way to save at least some parts of the West.

So it's a wonder he hasn't been run out of Europe a long time ago. But now it seems to be coming to that. Here's what he said in a recent interview with Hugh Hewitt:

My relationship with the Telegraph group, which the Spectator also belongs to, deteriorated over the last year, and became adversarial, which I don't think is particularly healthy. And I don't mind ... I've been the token conservative on liberal newspapers. I don't mind an adversarial relationship in terms of your position on the Gulf War, or Afghanistan, or the European Union or whatever. I don't mind having differences with editors and so forth on that. But when it gets into, when the whole relationship just becomes generally toxic, then I think it's best to hang out your shingle somewhere else, which I will do in the United Kingdom at some point.

Boy, can I relate to that "toxic relationship" bit; not that I'm anywhere in his range. But Steyn has some other observations in the interview that get a "bullseye" score from me. Like this, on U.S. newspapers:

[I]f you get off the plane at almost any airport on the continent, and you'll pick up the local paper which will be a monopoly daily, published by Gannett or some other similar company, and it will just have like the world's dullest comment page, the world's dullest op-ed page. This is a great riveting time of war, and say what you like about crazy folks on left or right, but there's a lot to say about it. And in fact, the newspapers, and their monopolies, have made them dull, and that's the danger, I think, in much of the United States, that you want someone, whether you agree with him or not, that you want something that will be riveting and thought-provoking. And some of these guys have been just holding down prime op-ed real estate for decades. It's amazing to me.

And I work for one of the few indy papers left in the U.S. -- a city daily not owned by a chain. And our editorial page is as dull as all that, if not duller (except on the days they let me write the editorials).

Finally, there's this on Iraq:

You know, Iraq isn't a Broadway play in previews. The show has opened, and it's on now. So it's too late to have arguments about this little weak spot in the first act, and we should get it re-written. The show has opened, and the responsibility of these people involved in this, James Baker, Lee Hamilton, Rudy Giuliani, all these people, is that they should now be saying let's win it, and then have the arguments.

Courtesy of Instapundit, who doesn't need the link.

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