Mark Steyn, author of
America Alone, made the following statements during a
lecture at Hillsdale College on March 9, 2009. The entire
lecture is available at
excerpts below are less than a quarter of the actual
are vital reminders for our times! We may have to go through
this devastating downhill process, but armed with facts, we
can prepare for the changes. What's more, we can equip our
families with the Truth needed to
stand firm in Jesus Christ
-- our unchanging source of
strength -- no matter what happens!
Trading U.S. Rights for UN Rules
"'Live free or die!' sounds
like a battle cry.... But in fact it's something far
less dramatic: It's a bald statement of the reality of
our lives in the prosperous West. You can live as free
men, but, if you choose not to, your society will die....
"There are stages to the
enervation of free peoples. America, which held out
against the trend, is now at
Stage One: The benign
paternalist state promises to make all those worries
about mortgages, debt, and health care disappear....
"As all of you know,
Hillsdale College takes no federal or state monies.... The executive supremo at Bank of America is now saying,
oh, if only he'd known what he knows now, he wouldn't
have taken the government money. Apparently it comes
with strings attached. Who knew?...
"If you're a
business, when government gives you 2% of your income,
it has a veto on 100% of what you do. ...
"Once you have
government health care, it can be used to justify almost
any restraint on freedom: After all, if the state has to
cure you, it surely has an interest in preventing you
needing treatment in the first place. That's the
argument behind... the creepy teams of government nutritionists
currently going door to door in Britain and conducting a
'health audit' of the contents of your refrigerator.
They're not yet confiscating your Twinkies; they just
want to take a census of how many you have....
Britain's National Health Service, for example, smokers
in Manchester have been denied treatment for heart
disease, and the obese in Suffolk are refused hip and
knee replacements. Patricia Hewitt, the British Health
Secretary, says that it's appropriate to decline
treatment on the basis of 'lifestyle choices.' Smokers
and the obese may look at their gay neighbor having
unprotected sex with multiple partners, and wonder why
his 'lifestyle choices' get a pass while theirs don't.
But that's the point: Tyranny is always whimsical.
"And if they
can't get you on grounds of your personal health,
they'll do it on grounds of planetary health...."
"...when the state as guarantor
of all your basic needs becomes increasingly comfortable
with regulating your behavior. Free peoples who were
once willing to give their lives for liberty can be
persuaded very quickly to relinquish their liberties for
a quiet life.... But it's
absolutely certain that it's not the case in Berlin and
The story of the Western world since 1945 is that,
invited to choose between freedom and government 'security,' large numbers of people vote to dump freedom
every time—the freedom to make your own decisions about
health care, education, property rights, and a ton of
the populace has agreed to become wards of the state, it's a
mere difference of degree to start regulating their thoughts.
.... In the interests of 'cultural protection,' the Canadian
state keeps foreign newspaper owners, foreign TV operators, and
foreign bookstore owners out of Canada. Why shouldn't it, in
return, assume the right to police the ideas disseminated
through those newspapers, bookstores and TV networks it
graciously agrees to permit?..."
"...dissenting ideas and even
words are labeled as 'hatred.' In effect, the language
itself becomes a means of control. ... In Britain, a land with rampant property crime,
undercover constables nevertheless find time to dine at
curry restaurants on Friday nights to monitor adjoining
tables lest someone in private conversation should make
a racist remark. An author interviewed on BBC Radio
expressed, very mildly and politely, some concerns about
gay adoption and was investigated by Scotland Yard's
Community Safety Unit for Homophobic, Racist and
Domestic Incidents. A Daily Telegraph columnist is
arrested and detained in a jail cell over a joke in a
speech. A Dutch legislator is invited to speak at the
Palace of Westminster by a member of the House of Lords,
but is banned by the government, arrested on arrival at
Heathrow and deported.
and even Canada are not peripheral nations... They're
three of a handful of countries that were on the right
side of all the great conflicts of the last century. But
individual liberty flickers dimmer in each of them. The
massive expansion of government under the laughable
euphemism of 'stimulus' (Stage One) comes with a quid
pro quo down the line (Stage Two): Once you accept
you're a child in the government nursery, why shouldn't
Nanny tell you what to do? And then—Stage Three—what to
think? And—Stage Four—what you're forbidden to think..."
"As I said at the beginning, Big
Government isn't about the money. It's more profound
than that.... 'Give people
plenty and security, and they will fall into spiritual
torpor,' wrote Charles Murray in In Our Hands.
'When life becomes an extended picnic, with nothing of
importance to do, ideas of greatness become an irritant.
Such is the nature of the Europe syndrome.'
"The key word
here is 'give.' When the state 'gives' you plenty—when
it takes care of your health, takes cares of your kids,
takes care of your elderly parents, takes care of every
primary responsibility of adulthood—it's not surprising
that the citizenry cease to function as adults: Life
becomes a kind of extended adolescence....
Ford liked to say when trying to ingratiate himself with
conservative audiences, 'A government big enough to give
you everything you want is big enough to take away
everything you have.' And that's true. But there's an
intermediate stage: A government big enough to give you
everything you want isn't big enough to get you to give
any of it back. That's the position European governments
find themselves in. Their citizens have become hooked on
unaffordable levels of social programs which in the end
will put those countries out of business....
"The bailout and the
stimulus and the budget and the trillion-dollar deficits are not
merely massive transfers from the most dynamic and productive
sector to the least dynamic and productive. When governments
annex a huge chunk of the economy, they also annex a huge chunk
of individual liberty....
"To rekindle the spark of
liberty once it dies is very difficult. The inertia, the
ennui, the fatalism is more pathetic than the
demographic decline and fiscal profligacy of the social
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