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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Mark Steyn:--empty headed fantasy « Previous | |Next »
March 16, 2003

After walking the dogs in the Adelaide Parklands this morning I had breakfast in the early a morning autumn sunshine. A day's painting lay ahead of me after washing the dogs, so I lingered over coffee and glanced through the Weekend Australian and came across an article by Mark Steyn called 'Europe abdicates' in the Inquirer section. Steyn is rarely syndicated to Australian newspapers, and as I had only read bits and pieces of his work, I read the article with interest. He is a big name. Maybe he stood for quality journalism.

You know, after reading it I had no idea what the article was about. I could see the Old Europe bashing ---to be expected in the Murdoch Press that pushes the Washington line. According to Steyn, Europe (ie., one run along French and German lines) was about morality, moral character and pacifism. France pacifist? Germany perhaps given its recent history. France has always stood for the independent use of military power to protect to its national interests. Like the US.

Yet pacifist Europe was what Steyn was trying to argue: Europe as a superpower with no means of defense. But demography--declining population was against it because the continental model of the welfare state presupposed a constantly growing population. It is on the way to becoming a basket case. Europe is a joke. Its a sclerotic statism compared to the vitality of the Anglo Saxon capitalism of the US. UK and Australia.

So what was Steyn arguing? I dunno. You tell me. All I could get was that an arthritic, snobbish Old Europe is finished and three cheers for the defenders of the heathy free market, as this stood for the future of the West. His reference to the this National Review indicates that the three nation states of Auustrali, the US and the UK are the most plausible alternative to the traditional Western alliance as they represent a Western liberal Western civilization characterized by a high degree of individualism and dynamism, assimilation and high trust.

Its trading in fantasy.

Oh, well, now to wash the dogs and do the painting.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:32 AM | | Comments (2)



Today’s Australian continues the theme, with an Op Ed piece by a National Review “senior editor” (= staff writer, I assume), Ramesh Ponnuru on the “Anglosphere”.

Ponnuru’s “Anglosphere” argument is indeed incredibly lightweight. This in turn reflects on a broader tendency of the Right (or some parts of it), to draw the ideological chuckwagons in a defensive circle at every turn, major or minor. With the Injuns outside temporarily at bay – or conveniently abstract – some para-intellectual will then deliver that day’s lesson, in tones of Charlton Heston gravitas.

Thus, last week’s French nose-thumbing re Iraq, which I suspect will have zero long-term historical impact, has been near-instantly absorbed (for now) into the ever-pulsing and morphing virtual scriptures of the Right.

Personally, I’m with the Right on Iraq – but the National Review’s kind of intellectual sloppiness gives me (together with about 0.001% of society, the independent thinkers) the creeps.

Hi Paul,
yes, it is the intellectual sloppiness that is astonishing.

I read the Ponnuru article. We have individualism and dynamism in the free market, assimilation in the sphere of culture and high trust in civil society.

Well, the free market's ethos of self-interst and profit making has a tendency to undermine social trust of civil society---eg. all the problems of tacky corporate governance and people losing their superanuation from shonky corporate governance.

And assimilition in a multicultural Australia will undermine social trust in civil society because it means different ethnic groups giving up their customs and practices and become Anglo-Celtic.

Its pretty close to being vacuous as well as being out of touch with with what is actually happening. No doubt it will play well to the North Shore set in Sydney.