Programming note: Today, Monday, I'll be returning to UK telly screens for the first time in decades. I'll be joining Colin Brazier on GB News, who, aside from anything else, has more than done his bit to reverse the Anglo-Welsh demographic death-spiral. Colin's show airs at 8pm London time, which is 3pm North American Eastern.
UPDATE! If you missed it, Colin's show is re-run at 4am British Summer Time, which is 11pm Monday on the North American East Coast, 8pm on the West.
You can watch from anywhere on the planet on the GB News home page - or you can click the livestream below (you may have to refresh the page):
I hope you'll tune in. If it goes well, I may be asked back in another third of a century.
~More or less exactly a decade ago I published a book called After America, a book that, as usual, even many shrewd and insightful persons considered alarmist. Peter Worthington, for example, was one of the last old-school newspapermen (founder of The Toronto Sun) and a guy with such an infallible nose for a story that he was standing behind Lee Harvey Oswald when Jack Ruby shot him. He had seen a lot of the world by then, having lied about his age to get into the Royal Canadian Navy.
Nevertheless, great men can be wrong. He published this column ten years ago under the headline "Mark Steyn's Wishful Thinking About A Doomed US". Well, it certainly wasn't wishful. I said it because I wished to prevent it. But here's how Peter began:
The inaugural Michael Coren show - The Arena - on Sun TV was something of a tour de force featuring author/columnist Mark Steyn, fearless Anne Coulter, laid-back Juan Willams and Muslim moderate Tarek Fatah.
Since then, Michael Coren, author of Why Catholics Are Right, has left the Church of Rome and become a modish Anglican vicar hot for Muslims, trans, whatever's next down the pike. Not many "conservatives" transition so totally, but there's a lot of it about.
Most provocative was Mark Steyn, who cited an International Monetary Fund prediction that China will be the world's dominant economic power by around 2015. What's more, Steyn seemed to believe this.
Yeah, China as dominant economic power? That's just crazy talk.
Coren, as host, offered no substantial opinion but probed Steyn who, in his unique way, predicted America was evolving from 'a nation of aircraft carriers to a nation of debt carriers.' By its interest payments alone to China, the U.S. will be 'covering the entire cost of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.'
Well, even then - 2011 - the US Government was paying China $74 million in debt interest every day. Since then, the People's Liberation Army Navy has become the largest surface fleet on the planet and, as the Indian Ocean was once a so-called British lake and the Pacific an American lake, is turning both into Chinese lakes. The PLA naval budget in 2011 was about $20 billion; the debt interest from Uncle Sam that year was $27 billion. As I wrote in After America, if we ever do go to war over Taiwan, we'll be funding both sides: Civil War 2.0, at least fiscally speaking.
For what it's worth, I think Jeremiah apprehensions (or hopes, by some) of America's demise are nonsense...
China (as Steyn acknowledges) is a country of peasants, no human rights, no property rights, little intellectual freedom, a country of repression and oppression, a system that lies, steals, corrupts and has no principles except what are in its own interests. In a way, this is China's strength -- and its ultimate weakness.
Despite what Mark Steyn says about the U.S. as a nation of debt carriers, it still has more aircraft carriers than any country and can protect itself.
Tell that to any Haitian "refugee" or Afghan "translator" minded to walk into a country that's supposedly so secure it's been on permanent "orange" alert for two decades.
The essential strength of America is that it's a free country with free speech and economic opportunity. And it's filled with Americans. Turn Americans loose, and they're capable of anything...
That's the way the world works. Wait and see. And have confidence.
America has less and less freedom of speech every day. Whatever the First Amendment says, the broader culture of free expression is dying, so that even as weedy a milquetoast as National Review's Rich Lowry, the man who appeased the mob and canceled John Derbyshire, now cannot give a talk on Thomas Jefferson without mass triggering.
Economic opportunity? Pre-Covid, China made everything and left Americans with low-paid service jobs. Then they unleashed the WuFlu, there went the service jobs, and tens of millions of Americans are disinclined to return to them, because a modest government subvention to stay home all day is more appealing than what remains of "economic opportunity".
America, says Peter Worthington, is "filled with Americans". Truer then than it is now. According to the UN, America's foreign-born population is (officially) over 48 million, a proportion that's quadrupled since 1965 and which would be unassimilable even if the US still believed in the concept. As I noted the other day, on the (again official) monthly numbers of those crossing the Rio Grande, 2021's intake of the Undocumented will come close to matching all the babies born in America this year.
"Turn Americans loose"? The only fellows turned loose this last year-and-a-half are antifa, BLM, and savages who sucker-punch you on your stroll through midtown Manhattan or shove you onto the subway tracks. On the other hand, if you go to a school board meeting, the G-men put you in their database.
In four years, or 10 years, America will still be the world's leading democracy and China will be changing in ways that are right now unpredictable and unexpected.
Well, that tenth anniversary is here. And "the world's leading democracy" has the free world's crappiest election system, where the results of the contest for New York's 22nd congressional district held on November 2nd 2020 were not known until February 5th 2021. On Rush, I compared the system to that in Sudan - and then apologized, to Sudan. (I see Khartoum has just staged a Deep State coup.)
As for China "changing in ways that are right now unpredictable", well, yeah: Beijing's now got space nukes and its Coronaviruses are subsidized by US taxpayers.
Nobody wants to be a glass-is-fifteenth-sixteenths-empty guy. But, a decade ago, I looked around and wondered: what's holding all this up? If we don't know the answer now, it's because we don't want to. The good news is that we're unlikely to get another decade of complacency, because, absent any serious pushback, we're transitioning from the "gradually" to the "suddenly" phase.
~Re that throwaway line above about my long absence from UK telly: I have a vague recollection of being on the BBC's Newsnight with Kirsty Wark and Diane Abbott possibly this century, but it may well have been the mid-Nineties, early Seventies, whatever... If memory serves, it was between Fireball XL5 and Jim'll Fix It.
GB News is new since my time. It's about three months old and meant to be an alternative to the stultifyingly narrow perspectives offered on the BBC and Sky UK (which is much weedier than Sky Oz). Its hosts include my doughty debate-stage comrade Nigel Farage, Andrew Doyle ("Titania McGrath" of Twitter), former DUP leader Arlene Foster, and Simon McCoy, who's just married Emma Samms from Dynasty. Which is enough accomplishment for any fellow. The guests in the last week range from David Starkey to Megyn Kelly, Boris's dad to our old chum Tim Rice. Given the dismal output of the other channels, it's a scrappy start-up worth your attention.
~It was a very busy weekend at SteynOnline, beginning with, in remembrance of the late Leslie Bricusse, an audio special on Goldfinger with the above-mentioned Tim Rice, Don Black, David Arnold and Leslie himself. For our weekend movie date, Rick McGinnis celebrated cool film noir from the bell-bottomed Seventies. Our Sunday song selection was a searing ballad by a Finnish Lutheran turned New York Jew. Our marquee presentation was my latest Tale for Our Time - Northanger Abbey - with a bonus special on the musical world of Jane Austen. To hear our ongoing serialization of Northanger, click for Part Twenty, Part Twenty-One and Part Twenty-Two - or go here for a good old binge-listen. Part Twenty-Three airs tonight.
If you were too busy swimming four miles offshore to pick up your new laptop direct from the container ship, we hope you'll want to check out one or three of the foregoing as a new week begins.