After a couple of weeks overseas, I returned to The Hugh Hewitt Show for my weekly chit-chat with the maestro. Hugh was kind enough to mention my forthcoming appearance in Minneapolis, presented by the Center of the American Experiment live at Orchestra Hall on October 9th. You can get more info and book tickets here.
The Daily Caller was more interested in what I had to say to Hugh about Obama and ISIS:
"He wants to neutralize ISIS, not in terms of driving them from the map in the Middle East. He want to neutralize them as an issue in November," said the bestselling author. "He wants to seen to be appearing to do just enough to make ISIS go off the front pages."
"But other than that, he has absolutely no interest in driving a stake through them," said Steyn.
You can hear the audio here.
~In the end Scotland decided to stick with their Sassenach sugar daddy. Certain consequences will flow from that vote, which we will consider in the weeks ahead - not least the matter of how long the English can be denied a "nationalist movement" of the kind encouraged and deferred to among the Scots, Irish and Welsh. Meanwhile, Scotland's "First Minister" and the former future Father of his Country Alex Salmond has announced his intention to resign, but here at SteynOnline, in the morning after the wild Hogmanay the night before, we'll be waggling the sporran with some referendum-related entertainment this weekend.
A few days ago, we dusted off my prescient Sunday Telegraph column on Blairite devolution from 17 years ago. As a postscript to that, we're re-posting a companion piece from the archives, from January 2006. Mr Salmond arranged for 16- and 17-year-olds to get a vote in Thursday's referendum, for the obvious reason that, as with Quebecers in M Parizeau's referendum two decades back, young Scots trend more secessionist than their elders. Unfortunately, as in Quebec, there aren't enough of them. Here's what I wrote in The Daily Telegraph eight-and-a-half years ago:
Consider the following headline from The Scotsman the other week: "Teaching jobs in doubt as pensioners set to outnumber pupils by 2009."
This was a story by Peter MacMahon, the paper's "Scottish Government Editor", and it begins thus: "Scotland's demographic time bomb will explode in three years, when the number of pensioners north of the Border overtakes the number of children in school, the Executive has been warned."
Seems straightforward enough: the country's demographic death spiral is accelerating faster than expected. And, as far as The Scotsman is concerned, the alarming thing about this development is that it could put cushy state teaching jobs "in doubt". For crying out loud, man, get a grip. It puts every job "in doubt". It puts the continued existence of your country "in doubt". And it means the Scottish National Party is going through the motions: nobody needs a Scottish nation if there are no more Scottish nationals. See you, Jimmeh? Not for much longer.
Indeed, the remarkable feature of contemporary Scottish nationalism is that it has achieved all the features of a failed nation state without achieving the status of a nation state. "Teaching jobs" are the least of it. And doubtless the unions will see to it that, even when there is only one wee scrawny bairn left in the whole of Scotland, platoons of teachers will still be manning abandoned elementary schools across the kingdom. The jobs-for-life public-sector employee stood on the burning deck whence all the boys had fled.
With half the annual births it had in the 1950s and a population on the brink of falling below five million, Scotland has become a minor member of the axis of extinction: Germany, Japan, Russia - once great nations now recording net population loss. In its general approach to economic reality, not to mention the physical health of its population, Scotland is closer to the Russian end of the picture than to the German-Japanese end.
Oh, and that ancient column comes with the obligatory Braveheart quote, too!
Where is the spirit of Mel McGibson in Braveheart? "Aye, fight and you may die. Run and you'll live…at least for a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin' to trade all the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take…OUR FREEDOM!"
But it's all more complicated than that. The modern Scot is prepared to fight - or, at any rate, strike - but only for the right to die in his bed on a government pension... Scotland is the canary in the United Kingdom's coal mine, but, given that three of the four component parts of the realm are mired in the same bloated, dead-end dependency culture, it would be foolish for the English to assume they won't get stuck with the bill for a Celtic fringe decaying into a long-term geriatric hospice. I doubt any Scot with an eye to electoral viability would want to run on anything that smacked of American conservatism, but surely they could at least learn something from Ireland, where, you will recall, Braveheart was filmed. They could have shot it in Scotland, but the Scots are too busy shooting themselves.
You can read that entire 2006 column here.
~It was a bad week for self-conferred Nobel Laureate Michael E Mann, starting on Monday with the remarkable fact that not a single person was willing to file an amicus brief in support of him and his deranged lawsuit, and continuing on Wednesday with the world's most hilarious hashtag debacle. Halls of Macadamia deftly encapsulates Mann's dilemma here, The Pointman waxes somewhat more luridly:
The blood's in the water, the Steyn shark is circling in and you're treading water on your lonesome ownsome. It's just a matter of time.
As flattered as I am by that scenario, I don't think that's actually what happened - anymore than did Greg Laden's great Twitter conspiracy masterminded by yours truly. I've been busy with rather distressing family matters thousands of miles from Penn State these last two weeks, and in no position to mastermind any conspiracy. And even on a good day I lack the command of "social media" that the lads at ISIS have.
No, what really happened can be figured out by reading all those questions at #AskDrMann: They're remarkably well informed about Mann's shenanigans. That's to say, too many people now know that the public identity he invented for himself - world-renowned scientist whose hockey stick has been endorsed by NOAA, Lord Oxburgh, the British Government and the Nobel Prize Committee - is a crock from top to toe. Even more telling than the hostile questions was the near total absence of friendly ones: People who support the climate-change "consensus" increasingly understand that there is something malodorous about Dr Mann that (as I put it, channeling Lady Macbeth, in my countersuit to his complaint) "all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten".
I gather Mann is off to speak in Bristol (in England, the non-secessionist bit of the UK) on Monday, where no doubt he'll be assured of a warmer welcome.
We press onward - to discovery, deposition and trial. Thanks for your continuing support.