As always from Mark Steyn, a very good read on America’s decline in world power and standing. Tons of quotable quotes. Via AoSHQ.
Selected excerpts from The Case for Pessimism follow:
– if you’re on an Indian Ocean island when the next tsunami hits, try calling Libya instead of the United States for help and see where it gets you.
– the preeminent economic power on the planet will be a one-party state with a Communist Politburo and a largely peasant population, no genuine market, no human rights, no property rights, no rule of law, no freedom of speech, no freedom of the press, no freedom of association.
– The politico-media class of this country seems to think it entirely normal that we should spend two months in tense, difficult, painstaking negotiations over how to go seven billion steps forward—and then breezily spend 20 minutes going 447 billion steps backwards.
– Today, the government of the United States borrows $2 billion every 11 hours. We could have 220 Savings and Loan scandals for the cost of the Obama jobs bill. We could have 500 Savings and Loan scandals for the cost of one Obama stimulus package. We could have 850 Savings and Loan scandals for the cost of this year’s budget deficit.
– Here’s another example of the kinds of dollars that are being thrown around now. The Obama administration’s $38.6 billion clean-technology program was supposed to “create or save 65,000 jobs.” Half the money has been spent, $17.2 billion, and we have 3,545 jobs to show for it. That works out to an impressive $4,851,904.09 per green job created. A world record! People say America can’t be number one anymore, but mister, we’re number one at this. The previous world record was held by Spanish taxpayers who subsidized every job on a solar panel assembly line to the tune of $800,000 per post. I’ll bet Spain thought that record was safe for a couple of years. Not so fast, amigos. The American taxpayers took it and sextupled it—not $800,000 per green job, but $4,800,000 per green job. I’d like to see those cheeseparing Spaniards reclaim that record any time soon!
-Now consider the people who went rampaging through the streets this summer in London. These are the children of dependency, people who have been marinated in stimulus within an inch of their lives, and they’re good for nothing but lobbing concrete through store windows so they can steal the latest models of electronic toys. … These are the great-grandchildren of a tiny island that stood alone against the Germans during the Blitz in that terrible year after the fall of France. If those Britons of mid-century were to come back, they would assume they had landed in some bizarro alternative universe—until, like Charlton Heston rounding the corner and seeing the shattered Statue of Liberty poking up out of the sands, they realize that the Planet of the Apes is their own. The evil of big government is not that it is a waste of money, but that it lays waste to people.
– Israelis are on the military call-up list until 55—or about the age a Greek hairdresser gets to retire on full salary. … Israel implemented the terms of the Oslo accords, and in return Israelis got an Arafatist terror squat on their Eastern flank, suicide bombers on their buses, Iranian proxies to their north and west—and, in the wider world, isolation, demonization and delegitimization accompanied by a resurgent and ever more respectable anti-Semitism.
– Washington and its geriatric EU allies wanted the Copenhagen climate change deal in 2009, the biggest exercise in punitive liberalism ever mounted, an embryo exercise in global government. Brazil and India joined with China to block it. It’s a mark of the perversity of the age that it takes the Politburo to save global capitalism.
-For as the past few years have taught us, the great thing about the United States is that it is not Europe. When the economy headed south in 2008 and 2009, everywhere around the planet, people besieged their parliaments, asking them, “Why didn’t you, the government, do more for us?” They did it in Iceland. They did it in Bulgaria. They did it in Lithuania. They did it in Greece. They did it in the United Kingdom. They did it in France. The United States is the only country in the world where a mass movement took to the streets in 2009 to say we could do just fine if you, the government, stayed the hell out of our pockets and the hell out of our lives.
– Every time Barack Obama stands at his teleprompter and is forced to pretend that he’s interested in deficit reduction, we have taken a step toward that Milton Friedman reality. You have to create the conditions, as the Tea Party and the town hall meetings did, whereby the wrong people are forced to do the right things.