By Chet Yarbrough
America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It
By Mark Steyn
Narrated by Brian Emerson
Listening to Brian Emerson’s narration of Steyn’s book makes one smile and cringe. In one section Steyn intelligently reflects on the demographics of world population, and in the next, he whips out a Glenn Beck-like’ riff on the name “Muhammad”.
It sounds like Michele Bachmann and Roger Stone’s guilt-by-association comments. Both imply ex-Senator Wiener’s wife, Huma Abedin, is a member or agent of the Muslim Brotherhood because she grew up in Saudi Arabia and worked for an academic journal called “The Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs”.
To state the obvious–meeting with someone or writing about minority affairs does not mean you changed religions or beliefs (Ms. Abedin was born in Kalamazoo, Mich.). Steyn, like President Trump, incriminates the entire Muslim world by inferring there is a fascist conspiracy to take over the world.
On the one hand, Steyn reasonably notes that the average age of many Muslim countries is 15 and youth is often a source of discontent and aberrant cultural behavior; on the other, he infers Muslims hold a monolithic belief system that is bent on converting or destroying the world “…as We Know It”. Steyn flits from reason to nonsense at the turn of a page.
When visiting a Muslim family in India, a young woman explains her disgust with Osama bin Laden and the 9/11 terrorist event. She is appalled and embarrassed by the belief that bin Laden would be considered by Americans as representative of her or her family’s religion.
In Egypt, a Muslim farmer is appalled by terrorists who use the cloak of religion to justify their murderous actions. The many mosques visited in other countries reinforce history’s record of acceptance and tolerance of other faiths by Muslim leaders.
One appreciates an argument that is made by Steyn that socialist government policy has the potential for demotivating entrepreneurs and subsidizing economic freeloaders but is frustrated by Steyn’s failure to criticize unregulated capitalism that increases the gap between rich and poor and presumes that “free enterprise” equates with equal opportunity.
Free enterprise does not exist in the world; particularly not in the United States, beginning with an unfair tax code and continuing through overt subsidies of big oil, big banks, and dying industries.
The world economy is in a state of transition like that which was experienced in the industrial revolution. Jobs are being lost because they are being replaced by technological advances. It is as tragic to an automobile assembler in 21st century as it was to a wool gatherer in 19th. Who does the major bread winner in a family turn to when they lose their job because of changes beyond their control?
It is the job of private and public organizations to educate and train workers displaced by technological change. This re-education creates jobs while ameliorating unemployment.
Steyn is obviously well read and informed but one feels like he plays the publicity game of talking heads like Rush Limbaugh that have the objective of being darlings of an ideological minority that can make them rich.
Limbaugh rails against Trump by suggesting he is waffling on a political commitment to build a wall between Mexico and the United States. Trump responds with an equal level of irrationality by closing vital functions of the government to force Congress to fund the wall.
Steyn, like Limbaugh and other talking heads, wastes his intelligence; pandering to an ideological constituency rather than serving the general public by searching for the truth.
There is a truth and it lies in freedom and social responsibility. Demographics are not destiny; i.e. demographics are a part of the human condition that can be managed by recognizing human nature’s fundamentals, and conscientiously creating nations that are governed by rule-of-law.