Don’t tell Cap’n Handy. I’ve got a major crush on Mark Steyn. I turn on the radio at noon, hoping he will be filling in for Rush Limbaugh. Sometimes I even turn off the radio if Rush is doing his own show. Recently, I bought Steyn’s latest book, After America: Get Ready for Armageddon. I know. Doesn’t the title make you go weak in the knees?
I’m pacing myself, trying not to devour the whole book in one sitting. After all, one can only consider Armageddon for so long before despair sets in, right? Not if my guy Steyn is telling the story. He has this wry brand of humor that distracts his readers from the “we are so doomed” certainty and gets them laughing out loud instead.
Regarding New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and his inability to manage the effects of the snowstorm of December 2010:
His Big Nanny administration can regulate the salt out of your cheeseburger, but he can’t regulate it on to Seventh Avenue. Perhaps if New Yorkers had appeared to be enjoying the snow by engaging in unregulated sledding or snowballing without safety helmets, Nanny Bloomberg could have scraped the boulevards bare in nothing flat.
Describing the ostrich-with-its-head-in-the-sand treatment of the Fort Hood massacre perpetrator:
Old watchword: Better dead than red. Updated version: Better screwed than rude…And “Allahu akbar?” That’s Arabic for “Nothing to see here.”
On his reasons for writing After America:
Nobody writes a doomsday tome because they want it to come true. From an author’s point of view, the apocalypse is not helpful: the bookstores get looted and the collapse of the banking system makes it harder to cash the royalty check.
Funny and smart. Sigh.
But one can’t read Steyn and nothing else. As I was perusing one of my favorite sites for information about news and politics from an ethics standpoint, MercatorNet.com, I came across this piece by Mona Charen on moral relativism. She discusses a study indicating that more than half of the 18-23 year-olds surveyed believe morality is a personal choice: “Moral rights and wrongs are essentially matters of individual opinion.” So there are no moral absolutes. Cheating: whatever it takes to pass, and grades are just some oppressive and artificial construct anyway. Stealing: not good if it’s my stuff but OK if you are taking stuff from the rich to give to the poor. Violence: what’s wrong with roughing up “the man” in the name of justice for the worker? Murder: This one’s tricky, but it’s definitely fine if the soon-to-be-deceased is pre-born, terminally ill, or hopelessly sad (especially if a resident of the Netherlands).
Hard to believe? Not really. We are surrounded by the “no judgments” motto–in schools, support groups, online chatrooms, even Occupy Whatever gatherings. It’s little wonder young adults pooh-pooh morality. I weep for the future.
After such heady and depressing reading, it’s time for more Steyn. He may be sounding the death knell of Western civilization, but at least he has a punchline. Coming to page 203, I read these words:
Once it’s no longer accepted that something is wrong, all the laws in the world will avail you naught…Beating up a 96-year-old isn’t wrong because it’s illegal; it’s illegal because it’s wrong. Not offering your seat to a 96-year-old isn’t illegal at all, but it’s also wrong. And, if a citizen of an advanced western social democracy no longer understands that instinctively, you can pass a thousand laws…and they will never be enough.
OK, so that wasn’t really funny at all. But, how fitting. Smart, funny, and timely. Sigh. I’m sure more comedy awaits on the next page. Mark Steyn would never leave me despairing about a future full of “moral cripples” like Ms. Charen does. (Sorry for throwing you under the bus, Mona.) Maybe he will be hosting the Limbaugh program today. Maybe he will publish a really witty column. I’m not a stalker. Really. This is purely an intellectual thing. Really.