This American Apocalypseon April 11, 2012 at 11:30 pm
Like me, you probably spend your time trawling the Internet for new people to get angry at. As the whole “99% vs 1%” meme has grown, I have begun compiling a list of people who will eventually have to be guillotined in the upcoming Terror. It is with regret that I must add Mark Steyn’s name to the list.
Mark Steyn is simply the most erudite, convivial conservative asshole I have yet encountered in virtual reality. I even came close to not calling him an asshole! But eventually, I chose to place him in the same category I reserve for nearly every arch-conservative, from Malkin to Hannity to Medved, and yes, even the diplomatic Dennis Prager. After listening to hours of Steyn, I am forced to conclude that there is simply no distinction between the shrieking eels of Fox News and the more refined conservatives who pour honey in our ears. Their hearts are still as black and wormy as the rest.
What makes me lump Mark Steyn in with the rotten fruit of Glenn Beck and Michael Savage is his bigotry. You see, after a decade plus of our nation marching its boots up and down the streets of two Muslim nations, it takes a pair of watermelons between the legs– we’re talking State Fair quality–to bitch about a few Muslims living here in the in the West at our invitation. But bitch he does, and every chance he gets.
Muslims are Steyn’s speciality. Like most conservative chatterers, Steyn letters in one or two bumper sticker issues to distinguish himself from the herd. But don’t get him confused with talk radio’s bombastic good ol’ boys! Mark Steyn is that perfect conservative: the one completely unaware that he bears exactly the same pedigree as those Berkely poofters who wrinkle his widdle nose. He is a professor, a writer, a Broadway musicals groupie… a guy who strikes you as the sort who would refuse to drop a tip at a restaurant if his tilapia came festooned with one too many capers. In other words, he is exactly the same number of push-ups away from Navy SEAL territory as Noam Chomsky.
I scarcely need to justify myself further when I point out that Steyn is a regular guest host for Rush Limbaugh, but something about Mark’s polished, englishy voice (he is actually Canadian) made me want to give him the benefit of the doubt. And so I listened to him pimp his new book “After America: Get Ready for Armaggedon” for three hours on C-Span’s In Depth program on Book TV, and in doing so I realized that what conservatism’s famous bluster hides is a deep-seated pessimism completely at odds with their “American Exceptionalism” propaganda.
This surprised me, actually. The right always projects a kind of hopefulness about dragging the nation up from the mud and rekindling some lost revolutionary spirit. This is why Saint Reagan figures so prominently in their rhetoric, all that “shining city on a cliff” bullshit. In fact, Reagan is the pristine example of what is wrong with conservatism, which is its despondency and backward-lookingness, and Mark Steyn is a true prophet of our yesterdays. Just take a look at his recent reflections on America:
Wow! Pour me three fingers of cyanide! Folks, don’t let anyone tell you that the “hate America” crowd is liberal. It’s Debbie Downers like Steyn who can’t wait to rush America into a coffin.
So Steyn wears his heart on his dust jackets, and it is a heart of darkness. but the question is why? We’re all familiar with slanderous books like Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Facism or Anne Coulter’s Godless: The Church of Liberalism. It’s the pablum that “culture war” conservatives feed on. But conservatism also has a new defeatist wing, epitomized by Steyn but with help from the likes of Mark Levin (Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America) and Pat Buchanan (Suicide of a Superpower). I’m used to books that suggest that America is on the ropes but ready to rise again in glory thanks to some hillbilly on a white charger, but never have such apocalyptic titles emerged from people who weren’t Hal Lindsay!
What Steyn disclosed to me–by being listenable– is that conservatives, never endowed with a trailblazing attitude, are now simply giving up and letting nostalgia curdle into despair. What good is retaliation for 9/11 when Muslims are allowed to breed as wantonly as they care to in the Netherlands? What is the purpose in passing something like Arizona’s “Paper’s Please” law into existence when another branch of the government can declare its provisions unconstitutional? Even the Tea Party can’t daub Mark’s tears. Oh sure, they look great in their breeches and tricorns, but the debt can’t be wished away with fife music!
And when does Steyn think America’s decline began? Color me shocked, but it was on New Year’s Eve, 1959! Before that, Western Civilization was cranking out never before seen wonders, like refrigerators, and curing diseases faster than you could name them!
But today? The cars are still driving on wheels, and the human genome project hasn’t erased even a single plague! Surely this inertia bespeaks extinction-level ennui. As Steyn puts it, “There has to be more to a society than inventing a slightly smaller device on which to download Justin Bieber…and I don’t think we’re making progress on that front.”
This is where a thousand educated words cannot disguise a brain full of ignorance. How the hell can any intelligent person reduce the past quarter century of technology, where every year is practically a new Millennium, to Justin Bieber? “The telephones have buttons instead of a dial, but basically nothing much has changed,” says Steyn, reflecting on our modern toys. Yeah, phones have buttons. Oh, and they are wireless, the size of a grain of rice, you can use them in the middle of the fucking desert and they contain the sum of all human knowledge. Do they need to turn lead into gold before they impress you, guy?
Steyn’s lament on the state of medicine is even more risable. Yes, the bugs and germs of the early 20th century were the low hanging fruit and cancer is a stickier wicket, but shit! He’s wrong there too! They only just invented a vaccine for the human papillomavirus, which causes cervical cancer, so how can …oh wait. Refusing that good news was the conservatives’ opening move in their current War on Vaginas.
Okay, forget that. How about this fellow? He just had his face rebuilt after losing most of it in a shotgun accident. Now he can be seen in public after fifteen years of looking like a Basil Wolverton cartoon! You couldn’t fix that in the roaring 50’s, although you could throw tomatoes at a black girl for wanting to attend a public school in Alabama!
There’s a reason why the perception of America’s decline is acute amongst conservatives, and that is because the conservative bubble has popped twice, once on 9/11 and again in the Crisis of ’08. Worse, the end of the delusion both of America’s untouchability and the virtue of unfettered capitalism happened on the watch of the Conservative Dream Ticket. Don’t let the right wing tell you different: Bush/Cheney was conservative Camelot. Taxes on the rich sank to near zero, Saddam had his neck stretched, the American eagle dropped her olive branch and doubled down on arrows and the President took Christ off the cross and put Darwin in his place! Together with the Rubberstamp Congress, this was THE Republican moment.
And by the end, if giant spiders had been seen rampaging through San Francisco it would have been par for the course. Even that last stronghold of Western supremacy, white supremacy, had to be surrendered.
So I don’t blame Mark Steyn or the rest of his brood for being depressed. Conservatism has fucked itself in every hole it had, and they still have another election to forfeit!
So slip a toetag on Uncle Sam if you must, Mark, and dress your garden variety xenophobia in the trappings of some Islamist plot. Daydream about a coup where reactionaries and revanchists somehow move beyond talk radio to conquer Hollywood and pop music. Masturbate over the End of Days! Everyone needs a hobby. Liberals have never prevented a war, and conservatives have never stemmed the tide of history, but they must both always pretend that they have it in them.