Mark Steyn Warns About What the World Will Look Like "After America" If We Don't Change Course

Posted on February 23, 2012 by


Mark Steyn recently came out with a disturbing and insightful new book, “After America: Get Ready for Armageddon“, and here he offers a timely warning:

C-Span doesn’t allow other websites to embed their videos, so click on the image to watch it on C-Span

There’s a long intro on this clip so skip to 7:45 on the ticker.   I encourage you to watch the entire speech in context because it’s very informative (and often humorous, despite the bleak subject matter).

Here are some of the important snippets:

“The $7 billion that John Boehner calls ‘a real enforceable cut for financial year 2012’ represents what the government of the United States currently borrows every 37 hours.”

“Within a decade, the Unites States will be spending more of the federal budget on its interest payments than on its military.”

“Our monthly interest charge will be more than the combined military expenditures of China, Britain, France, Russia, Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, India, Italy, South Korea, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Spain, Turkey, and Israel. You add up all their military budgets, that’s our interest charge on the debt.”

“By 2015, we will be covering the entire cost of the People’s Liberation Army of China.”

“Permanence is the illusion of every age. We are not just outsourcing the economy, we are outsourcing power.  American power fades…it’s outsourcing the future to a very dangerous planet.”

“It starts with the money but it never stops there.  Just let me spell out where a post-American world leads…”

A is for Addiction:  “We spend too much. It’s not a revenue issue, it’s a spending issue. The United States joined the rest of the western world in voting itself a lifestyle it was not willing to pay for, and indeed can never pay for.   When government spends on the scale that Washington’s gotten used to, it’s not a spending crisis – it’s a moral one.  There’s nothing virtuous about ‘caring, compassionate, progressives’ demonstrating how caring and compassionate and progressive they are by spending money yet to be earned, by generations yet to be born.  We are looting the future to bribe the present. Indeed, we’ve looted the future to such an extent, it’s no longer clear we have one…Increasing dependency, disincentivizing self-reliance, absolving the citizen from responsibility for their actions – the multi-trillion dollar debt catastrophe is not the problem, but merely the symptom.  It’s not about balancing the books.  It’s about rebalancing the structures of society.”

R is for Redistribution: “When you’re redistributing wealth from the future to the present, you’re redistributing wealth that has not yet been created, wealth that does not exist.  Meanwhile, day by day in this republic, we see an unprecedented transfer of resources from the productive class to the ‘obstructive’ class: to government, to regulators, to bureaucracies.  So if much of this wealth does not yet exist, what exactly are we redistributing?  We’re redistributing liberty. We’re delivering a self-governing republic into rule by regulators, bureaucrats and social engineers. If a second grader can no longer sell homemade lemonade in her front yard without $500 worth of permits, what aspect of your life can’t the government regulate?”

M is for Monopoly:  “It’s not just a monopoly of power.  Right now, we have ruled by a monopoly of ideas, which is the most dangerous monopoly of all. Take, for example, our so-called meritocracy.  We’re ruled by, effectively, not technocrats, not a meritocracy, but a card a cartel of conformocrats, who impose a sterile monopoly of outmoded ideas. We have a ruling class that thinks alike, and cannot conceive that anyone other than a racist, a terrorist, or a mentally ill lunatic [could disagree].  [The New York Times] recruits on the basis of diversity of race, diversity of gender, diversity of orientation…every diversity except the only one that matters: diversity of ideas.  And if anyone could use some new ideas right now, it’s America’s wretched, elite ruling class.”

A is for Arteriosclerosis: “America is seizing up” under a blanket of red tape and bureaucracies that make it nearly impossible to get anything done. “The Empire State Building was put up in 18 months during a depression.  Where’s that spirit today? What can you do in 18 months today?”

G is for Global Retreat: “As Britian and other great powers quickly learned, the price of Big Government at home is an ever smaller presence abroad…You can have Euro-sized entitlements at home or a global reach abroad, but not both.  Putin in the Kremlin, the Politburo in Bejing, the Mullahs in Tehran, they’re all enjoying this glimpse of the post-American world in Libya right now…a world in which the global order-maker of the last 60 years not only can’t enforce its will, but no longer makes any serious attempt to do so.  They’re looking forward to that world.”

E is for Engineering:  “The ideological homogeneity and social engineering of our education system would be regarded as child abuse in any other age.  Aside from it’s other defects, it diverts too many Americans into frivolous, unproductive activity while our competitors get on with the real work.  In 1940, the majority of the US population had no more than a grade 8 education.  By 2008, 40% of 18 to 24-year-old’s are enrolled in college.  So we’re on track to a world in which the typical American is almost twice as old by the time he completes his education as he was in 1940, has spent over twice as long in the classroom.  No country needs to send the majority – never mind ALL – of its children to college, and no country should.  Not every child has the aptitude to benefit, and and not every child who has the aptitude wants to go or needs to.  For most who end up there, college is a waste of time and money and life.  Hacks pretend to teach, slackers pretend to learn, and employers pretend its a qualification.  American individuals hold $1 trillion just in college debt.  That’s the equivalent of  a G7 economy.  The ambition of [many students] is to go to work for a ‘non-profit’. It sounds so nice, doesn’t it?  America is the [ultimate non-profit].  When you’re $15 trillion in the hole, you’re the all time champion of non-profits.  This is the diversion of too much human capital into wasteful and self-indulgent activity.”

D is for Decay and Disintegration: ” We’re becoming the highly singular United STATE of America.  No advanced society has tried hyper-regulatory direct rule for $350 million people.  Will it work?  Or is it likely that increasingly incompatible jurisdictions and social groups will conclude the the price for keeping 50 stars in the flag is too high?  What’s left of American youth will be taxed to the hilt to pay for the retirement and medical care of a Baby Boom generation who enjoyed a life of American prosperity that their kids will never know.”

O is for Open Season: “We find it hard to imagine a world without America, but the Russians, the Chinese, and Mullahs don’t, and they’re making plans for it.  For 60 years, the American security umbrella has absolved the wealthiest nations on the planet for paying for their own defense, and they’ve gotten used to it.  The United States Army lives in Germany.  If you like the German welfare system, good for you – because you’re paying for it.  Because you freed up the German military budget so they could beat their swords into welfare checks.  Now we’ve decided we’d like to live like the Swedes and the Belgians, but without a sugar daddy to take care of us, as we took care of Europe.  We face the prospect of a world in which the wealthiest societies in history, from Norway to New Zealand, are incapable of defending their borders while third-world basket cases go nuclear.  How long do you think that arrangement is going to last?”

N is for “Nukes Away!”

“Put them together, they spell ‘Armageddon.’  From state-regulated lemonade sales, to nuclear devastation, from fiscal ruin to planetary ruin in nothing flat.  If you don’t want this to happen, you need to get serious and you need to demand your candidates get serious.  It’s not about mid-century, it’s about mid-decade.  It’s about right now.

“The United States is still different.  You know this.  In the wake of the economic meltdown, the decadent youth of France rioted over the most modest of proposals to increase the retirement age.  Everywhere from Iceland to Bulgaria, angry mobs besiege their parliaments demanding the same thing: ‘why don’t you the government do more for me?’  America was the only nation in the developed world where millions of people took to the streets to tell the state, ‘I can do just fine, if you control-freak statists would shove your non-stimulating stimulus, your jobless jobs bill, and your multi-trillion dollar porkathons, and just stay the hell out of my life and out of my pocket!’  That’s the America that has a sporting chance.  ”

“Even as America’s spendaholic government outspends not only America’s ability to pay for it, but by some measures, the planet’s; even as it follows Britain into the dank pit of transgenerational dependency and a failed education system and unsustainable entitlements; even as it makes less and less and mortgages its future to its rivals for cheap Chinese trinkets, most Americans – including far to many of my friends on the right – assume that because they’re American they’re insulated from the consequences.

“To be born an American is to win first prize in the lottery of life…Do you think the laws of God will be suspended in favor of America simply because you were born in it?

“Milton Friedman says, ‘Don’t elect the right people to do the right things.  Create the conditions whereby the wrong people are forced to do the right things.’  Every time you see Obama go and give a speech, someone has taken the precaution of loading some lame boilerplate into his prompter about how we need to get our fiscal house in order and we need to control the deficit…The only reason he’s even pretending to care about it is because the meter of public discourse was moved in 2009 and 2010.  He’s the wrong person, being forced to pretend that he wants to do the right thing.  Let’s keep changing the discourse, until the wrong people are actually forced to DO the right thing.

“In extreme circumstances, many of us can rouse people to rediscover the primal impulses in the way that the brave men on Flight 93 did.  They took off on what they thought was a routine commuter flight, and when they realized it wasn’t, they went into General Stark mode and cried ‘Let’s roll!’   But it’s harder to to maintain that ‘Live free or die’ spirit when you’re facing not an immediate crisis, but just a slow, unceasing ratchet effect, which is – in stable societies, unthreatened by revolution or war within their borders – always the way liberty falls.  Traded away to the state, incrementally, painlessly, all but imperceptibly.

“You can live as free men, but if you choose not to, your society will surely die.  ‘Live free or die’.  It’s America’s choice, so make the right call, because the fate of our world depends upon it.”

Cross posted at