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    America Alone {Post 2}

    March 5, 2010 by Brandy Vencel


    America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It
    by Mark Steyn

    Well, I certainly planned to blog this book a lot more than I did. Sometimes that happens. Si and I finished it, and then the next day we began Dr. George Grant’s The Blood of the Moon which I am hoping will give us a {broad} historical and Christian perspective on the issues surrounding Islam in the 21st century. I loved Steyn’s book, his analysis seems fairly spot on, but his solutions seem to exist in a bit of a closed system. At least, this is my hunch. Hopefully, I can compare Steyn with Grant and gain a bit of enlightenment.

    For today, though, I thought I’d do a bit of a commonplace book entry, a smattering of quotes, if you will. This book is broad as well as deep, and Steyn has a firm grasp of the consequences of the welfare state on the micro-level {the individual} as well as on the macro-level {countries and continents}. This book is worth reading for many reasons.

    The author is, by the way, hysterically funny. One of my favorite moments was when he called Luxembourg “a country slightly larger than your rec room.”

    The Quotes:

    One reason why the developed world has a difficult job grappling with the Islamist threat is that it doesn’t take religion seriously.

    {p. 96}

    Almost by definition, secularism cannot be a future: it’s a present-tense culture that over time disconnects a society from cross-generational purpose. Which is why there are no examples of sustained atheist civilizations.

    {p. 98}

    That’s another feature of paternalistic welfare state–that the paternalists, the rulers, come to regard the electorate as children, to be seen but not heard.

    {p. 107}

    The Continent has embraced a spiritual death long before the demographic one.

    {p. 111}

    Hilaire Belloc, incidentally, foresaw this very clearly in his book The Servile State in 1912–before record collections, or even teenagers, had been invented. He understood that the long-term cost of welfare is the infantilization of the population. The populations of wealthy democratic societies expect to have total choice over their satellite TV packages, yet think it perfectly normal to allow the state to make all the choices in respect of their health care. It’s a curious inversion of citizenship to demand control over peripheral leisure activities but to contract out the big life-changing stuff to the government. And it’s hard to come up with a wake-up call for a society as dedicated as latter-day Europe to the belief that life is about sleeping in.

    {p. 112}

    Almost every issue facing the European Union–from immigration rates to crippling state pension liabilities–has at its heart the same root cause: a huge lack of babies. Every day you get ever more poignant glimpses of the Euro-future, such as it is. One can talk airily about being flushed down the toilet of history, but even that’s easier said than done. In eastern Germany, rural communities are dying, and one consequence is that village sewer systems are having a rough time adjusting to the lack of use. Populations have fallen off so dramatically that there are too few people flushing to keep the flow of waste moving. Traditionally, government infrastructure expenditure arises from increased demand. In this case, the sewer lines are having to be narrowed at great cost in order to cope with dramatically decreased demand.

    {p. 114}

    The trouble with the social-democratic state is that, when government does too much, nobody else does much of anything.

    {p. 126)

    …the United States garrisons not remote ramshackel colonies but its wealthiest allies, thereby freeing them to spend their tax revenues on luxuriant welfare programs rather than on tanks and aircraft carriers and thus further exacerbating the differences between America and the rest of the free world. Like any other form of welfare, defense welfare is a hard habit to break and damaging to the recipient. The peculiarly obnoxious character of modern Europe is a logical consequence of America’s willingness to absolve it of responsibility for its own security.

    {p. 160}

    [I]t’s in the nature of government to do things worse, and slower.

    {p. 184}

    The best reason to diminish social programs is not to put more money in people’s pockets but to put more responsibility in people’s pockets.

    {p. 192}

    At the heart of multiculturalism is a lie: that all cultures are equally “valid.” To accept that proposition means denying reality–the reality of any objective measure of human freedom, societal health, and global population movement.

    {p. 203}

    Next time, we’ll talk about the connection between the legally required pasteurization of dairy products and socialism. In the meantime, I will go sip some organic grass-fed milk with my girls, milk that is completely unadulterated: raw, not pasteurized  whole, not homogenized, skimmed, or otherwise fragmented by government restrictions.

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    4 Comments

  • Reply Rahime March 9, 2010 at 5:51 am

    Yum, I do like goat cheeses too, and I think I’ve had the TJ one’s you mentioned. I had a glass of fresh goats milk once in Russia (as in FRESH out of the goat…still warm). It wasn’t bad, really, but I just never could get the hang of goat’s milk after that…cold or otherwise.

    Fresh cow milk, on the other hand, is something I dream about…one day having a cow of my own and drinking its milk straight from the cow (I did get to once as a child when we were visiting a friend’s dairy…it was amazing) or cold, eating cheese and butter made from it, and CREAM. Mmmmm.

    I’m glad your girls’ allergies have cleared too!

  • Reply Brandy Afterthoughts March 8, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    Rahime,

    I sort of stumbled upon The Blood of the Moon when I was looking for something else by Dr. Grant on PBS. So far, so good, though, and I’m glad I ordered it.

    I prefer cow’s milk, too, and I’m so glad the girls had their allergies cleared so we can enjoy it together! I have, however, accustomed myself to a couple traditional raw goat cheeses. Trader Joe’s carries one or two that aren’t too terribly expensive and they are quite yummy.

    Anonymous,

    I would take it one step further and say that a proper theology creates the true freedom to which all the benefits are attendant. Multiculturalists, when they say that all cultures are equal, are, in reality, declaring all religions equal, because, as my husband always says, culture is religion externalized.

  • Reply Anonymous March 6, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    In regards to all cultures being equally valid, F. A. Hayek wrote that it was not an accident that Western Civilization eventually ruled the world, Judeo-Christian work ethic and the concept of freedom were extrememly import factors. Freedom creates prosperity.

  • Reply Rahime March 6, 2010 at 5:12 am

    Luxembourg “a country slightly larger than your rec room.”

    Basically true…still one of the most charming cities/countries on earth.

    I’m glad you enjoyed Steyn’s book (and humor). I agree, he def. is able to connect actions w/their inevitable consequences, but his answers do tend to be a bit “island-ish” (they’d maybe work in an isolated, idealistic system).

    I haven’t heard of The Blood of the Moon, but it sounds interesting.

    Oh, and I LOVE that you’re enjoying raw milk. It truly is one of my favorite things (though I haven’t yet been able to accustom myself to goat’s…I’m a cow’s-milk-girl through and through).

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