For Americans, the best-case scenario is that Washington’s ruling kleptocracy sleepwalks its subjects into smaller homes, smaller cars, smaller lives, and soft despotism so beguilingly they don’t notice it’s over until late in the day. A more likely prospect is a catastrophically convulsed America that descends into Balkanized ruin and social collapse on a planet with no global order in which the former hyperpower still makes the most inviting target.
So predicts the despondent Mark Steyn in his new book After America: Get Ready for Armageddon. A columnist for National Review and contributing editor for Canadian newsweekly Maclean’s, Steyn joined Heritage for this week’s Scribecast to discuss his dark view of America’s future.
After America is something of a followup to Steyn’s 2006 bestseller America Alone. The trends he documented five years ago – the civilizational decline of much of the West – have been hyper-accelerated in recent years by an American president who, by Steyn’s telling, is determined to push the United States towards the failed model of European social democracy.
Steyn’s book was released on Monday, mere days after Standard and Poor’s downgraded America’s credit rating for the first time in the country’s history. The unlikely timing only served to underscore Steyn’s dire predictions. As riots envelop London, his warnings of the inevitable destruction wrought by the entitlement state seem all the more prescient.
America’s “ruling kleptocracy,” Steyn argues, has spent, regulated, and redistributed the country to the edge of oblivion. While the trend has accelerated of late, he notes, decades of attempts to socially engineer the American people and centrally plan the country’s economy have not only pushed the nation towards economic ruin, but have sapped the Tocquevillian spirit of civic engagement and self reliance that made the United States the most prosperous country the world has ever known.
But all hope is not lost. While violent mobs in Europe rose up to demand the preservation of unsustainable cradle-to-grave entitlements, a protest movement here at home took to the streets to demand only that the government leave them alone. “That’s the America that has a fighting chance,” Steyn writes.