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Thursday, December 22, 2011

After America, by Mark Steyn

Inimitable. Irresistible. Bleak. Hopeless. Grim. Hilarious. These are the words that come to mind when I read Mark Steyn. As Ann Coulter said, 'Only Mark Steyn can write about the decline of America and leave you laughing.' Take this sample, for instance, in which Mr. Steyn describes American descent into Big Government paternalistic socialism as resembling European descent into Big Government paternalistic socialism: 'This isn't a bright new future, it's a straight-to-video disco-zombie sequel: the creature rises from the grave to stagger around in rotting bell-bottoms and cheesecloth shirt terrorizing a new generation. Burn, baby, burn, it's a Seventies-statist disco-era inferno!'

The picture Mr. Steyn draws is so bleak I found myself asking why I ever brought children into such a world. I'm grateful that this world is not ultimate, that I have a hope beyond this world.

If you are a lover of small government and big liberty, if you like to read insightful and incisive commentary about America and the trajectory she is on, read 'After America,' sigh, and push back. If you aren't and don't, read 'After America' and be persuaded to take a different view of matters.


  1. Sounds quite interesting. My only issue with books of this nature is that they spend a lot of time telling us the problem, but don't give much by way of solutions.

    I agree, it is good that this world isn't our home. Reading church history also helps put it into perspective that gov't come and gov't go but we can remain faithful to the One who is our true hope.

  2. It was an interesting read. You're right; Mr. Steyn did spend a lot of time telling us what the problem is, and only talking about solutions in a relatively short epilogue/postscript.

    Mr. Steyn used the strongest, boldest words at his command to galvanize a possibly lethargic or apathetic audience into action. But his words were a little too bold and left me feeling a bit hopeless. I'm reading a book by Daniel Hannan about the same topic, and his book leaves me much more hopeful.

    History does help put matters into perspective, both because what we enjoy here in America is rare and precious and therefore ought to be valued and supported, and because if we were to lose what we enjoy here in America we'd be no worse off than most people throughout history and around the world. I am most grateful for the One who is our true hope, who remains faithful to His people, preserving them in spite of all the upheaval around them.

  3. I'm a big fan of Mark Steyn myself. I'm rather pessimistic about our country's future because we've became largely a non-Christian nation. I'd say maybe 10% actively serve God and try to model their lives according to His word. Although I enjoyed the recent wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton I kept thinking how no one blinked that they'd lived together years before marrying. No big deal, huh. That's America, too, and our nation elects leaders that represent them. Yep, I'm not too optimistic about our future.

  4. One of my favorites reads for this year - and Steyn is one of my favorite writers. Great review. :)

    - Corey P.

  5. Vanessa, I agree. I was also pondering the logistical ramifications of William and Kate living together before marriage. What would have happened if he'd ended up marrying somebody else? What would have happened if he'd sired a child by her? Where would that child be in the line for the crown? And how would that child be treated? Assuming they didn't do away with him in the womb.

    I do think we're living in a largely post-Christian world, but for some reason the States don't seem to be as far 'post' as Europe.

    Corey, you're very kind. I read your review of After America before I got my hands on the book, and I have no doubt that your review was superior to mine. But at this point in my life I'm pleased if I can find the time to cobble together even a couple coherent paragraphs about what I'm reading.

  6. Certainly what I end up typing out never seems as cogent, persuasive, or interesting as all that I think about writing.

  7. Although we should follow God's word 'just because He said so', I do think one of the reason's He said wait until marriage was because of the children born out of wedlock to parents who are not prepared to raise a child. The result? We have a nation full of children who are raised in dysfunctional circumstances. The walking wounded. I am not saying a single mother can't raise a child well-- but it's much, much more difficult to do so w/o a husband for support.

  8. Yes, I agree. Have you watched Demographic Winter?