Quotes and Excerpts

"Live Free or Die"

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 http://www.hillsdale.edu/news/imprimis.asp  (The excerpts below are less than a quarter of the actual message.)

These 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 peace and strength -- no matter what happens!

For background information, see 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....

"Under 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...."

Stage Two

"...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 Paris.... 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 other stuff....

Stage Three

"When 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?..."

Stage Four

"...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.

"America, Britain, 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..."

Final stage.

"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....

"As Gerald 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 democratic state."


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See also Smiling at Socialism | Purging the Memory of Our Christian Roots

EXPELLED and Academic Free Speech