Steyn’s Situational Sensibility

Key points expressed by Mark Steyn in his address at Gatestone Institute A Hinge Moment of History.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.  Complete text of address is at the link above.

I have lived in countries that have real domestic terrorism movements…. Any country blessed enough not to have a domestic terrorism movement should not be inventing one.

We are living in a blizzard of lies.

[W]e are more dependent on a handful of woke billionaires to tell us what reality is. They are far more open than ever that they get to determine what are the agreed facts. Google made an explicit announcement about this recently. They said that sometimes they would put warnings on things that are factually accurate because, even though they are true, they do not think it is in society’s interest for people to be seeing it.

[N]ow you will be banned or deleted or blocked or silenced simply for disagreeing with the official version of events. For example, the Great Barrington declaration, which was written by three of the most prominent epidemiologists in the world from Harvard, Oxford, and I think it was Stanford. That was basically deleted from YouTube, banned from Facebook, simply because it contradicted the WHO, CDC official version of events.

It is just groupthink enforced by a cabal of woke billionaires, who have more power than anyone else on the planet.

The other thing that emerged during this year very quickly is that we are at a hinge moment of history. We were told a generation or two back that, by doing trade with China, China would become more like us. Instead, on issues such as free speech, we are becoming more like China.

American companies are afraid of offending China. American officials are afraid of offending China. We are adopting Chinese norms on issues such as free speech and basic disagreements with the government of China.

We’re living in the early stages of a future that is the direct consequence of poor public policy over the last couple of generations. We are not even aware of that….

Right now, we are witnessing a non‑stop continuous transfer of power to a country that is serious about using that power. This is China’s moment. Take it as someone who grew up, in large part, in a great power in decline. There’s no real explicit handover day. People, in hindsight, expect to pinpoint the day that the baton was passed…. My great worry is that actually, the transfer to China has already happened. The baton has already been passed. We just haven’t formally acknowledged that yet.

I’ll say it straight out loud. I do not think that Joe Biden “won the election.” I don’t think it is a question of “widespread fraud.” I think the way the system works with the Electoral College, you only need actually to spread fraud in six key cities in six key states.

I would like some of these genius jurists, including [US Supreme Court Chief Justice] Mr. Roberts and his colleagues, to then give us a figure on what is the acceptable level of fraud in American elections. Denmark, in its history, has never actually had a plausible accusation of any kind of electoral fraud. As we know, in the United States, in cities like Philadelphia, this is a tradition that has long roots and goes back 150 years.

If you have no basic election integrity, essentially, all the other issues are irrelevant.

Big Tech has essentially wrecked the internet.

Now Facebook is working with state power. The first place these Big Tech guys learned to do this was with China…. I’m in favor of breaking these companies up as soon as we can.

Right now, in the United States we worry because Facebook is canceling some actress or pop star. In Australia right now, Facebook is trying to cancel an entire country. We have left it far too late to take serious moves against these people.

Standard Oil was broken up because of its control over the oil business. Facebook and Google and Apple have far more control over their business than Standard Oil did 110 years ago. The difference is that their business is knowledge and the access to knowledge, which is more important even than oil.

I take Iran seriously. Not so much because of the Iranians, but because of the promises and the expectations in places like Sudan that Iranian nuclear technology will basically be shared with some of the most lethal basket-case states on Earth. Iran is in some sense like Russia and China. These are all, in a certain sense, great civilizations that have become perversions of themselves in a relatively short time.

What we ought to be trying to do is connect the Iranian people with their great glorious past, which actually is a platform on which you can build a future.

At some point, if we’re not prepared to stand up… My whole thing, in all the years, is that Western civilization is sliding off a cliff and most citizens of most Western nations are not even aware of it.

There is a moral component that we are overlooking. We live in an insane world where moral narcissism attaches to whether or not you rampage around some statue of a Confederate general who died 150 years ago. The fact that you’re rampaging around the Confederate general while wearing shoes made by child labor somehow does not impact on your moral virtue at all.

We are the civilization that built the modern world. If you do not like us, we can go back to what it was 500 years ago. Basically, the world functions because of the world we built.

The war on the past is straight out in 1984, straight out of Orwell: Who controls the present, controls the past. Who controls the past, controls the future. If you blow up the past, you make social engineering so much easier because there is nothing to go back to.

I try to restrain myself from seeing obvious metaphorical geopolitical symbolism in trivial events, but that story the other day about how China was making US diplomats undergo COVID anal swabs had too much symbolic power for what China has basically done to the entire planet to let it go.

The big change over the last year is that these issues are no longer abstractions. Everyone in the Western world has had some familiarity with the core meaning of Western liberties, whether you are talking about freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom of association, freedom of religion, they have all become very real, even for people living the most quiet and uncontroversial lives. We have states, a few weeks ago issuing orders on who you were allowed to spend Christmas or July 4th with.

3 comments

    • Ron Clutz · September 20

      Thanks for that beth. I credit you for another one years ago.
      Climate lemmings on the move.

      Like

  1. beththeserf · September 20

    Ron, those lemming jokes illustrate, so well, the madness of crowds.

    Like

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