The greatest short essayist in my lifetime comes out with another book on August 8, 2011 that is bound to be a blockbuster in sales and penetrating thought. Mark Steyn, an international columnist and thought provocateur previously identified as Ramparts People We Should Know #3 has made a career over the last two decades writing thousands of insightful essays on culture, entertainment, government, religion, liberties, and western ideals that are prodigious in number and unrivaled in clever phrasing, analysis, and introspection. Readers of National Review, Macleans, the Jerusalem Post, Atlantic Monthly and Orange County Register among others have had the constant pleasure of reading sentences and paragraphs from this terrific writer that express clarity, satire, punch, intelligence and comedy in equal measure.
Now 51 years old, Steyn has been an enfant terrible for decades, skewering the pompous, self-important, and dictatorial, eloquently speaking up for freedom of speech and personal liberties. His take no prisoners approach to writing has led to direct confrontation with political correctness and governmental censorship and has made him a hero to millions and a threat those who demand a righteous view of culture and events.
In 2008, Steyn wrote the international best seller America Alonein which he identified the deterioration in European cultural identity, collapsing judeo-christian values, and declining native birthrates, challenged by burgeoning islamic immigrant populations and the unwillingness of those immigrants to assimilate into a western cultural identity. He noted the unique position of America as a country that still had a muscular economy based on entrepeneurism, a constitution preserving personal freedom, and a healthy birthrate of individuals that shared the goals of freedom and economic independence. His fear expressed in the book was that the loss of European cultural identity would leave America dangerously isolated and at risk to succumbing to the progressive growth of reactionary societies and lack of shared history.
A few years later, with the stunning acceptance by the American public of bank and automobile company bailouts, a pathway to personal health servitude relying upon government whim, calamitous spending habits, and governmental acceptance of unfunded debt at inconceivable levels has left Steyn considerably more pessimistic about America’s survival and therefore the survival of the western ideal. The speed at which this turnabout in America’s fortunes and her society’s desire to resist the ebbing of her position as the world leader in progress and freedom has been simply at the level of a freefall. I would suggest readers of the Ramparts would consider Mr. Steyn’s new book After America required reading and hopefully a sufficient prophecy of warning to help us all stop those who would continue to send us hurdling over a cliff. The video below, courtesy of the blog American Power, is extensive but captures Steyn’s passion and intellect on the Canadian television show Sources. Enjoy the discourse. Buy the book. Expand your mind. Enjoy a great writer.