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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Mark Steyn on who the future really does belong to

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HH: I begin this Thursday hour as I do every Thursday hour when I can with Mark Steyn, Columnist To the World. Mark Steyn, it’s great to have you, but I’m afraid I can’t be talking to you, because the President said this at the U.N. this week.

BO: The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam

HH: So I was thinking to myself, that’s got Steyn written all over it.

MS: It has. He also said, I believe, that the future belongs to those who empower women, and the power belongs to those who invest in education. It doesn’t quite add up to me, all this. It sounds like as if he’s saying the future belongs to gay, feminist Muslims. I wouldn’t like to take a bet on it, but I’d bet that he’s wrong on that. The fact is, the president of the United States had no business saying that. If you happen to be a believer in Islam, Muhammad is your prophet. If you’re not, he’s just a bloke who died in the 7th Century, and it should be permissible to say as much.

HH: And Mark Steyn, the definition of slander in at least the radical Islamist world is fairly broad. I think it includes saying no, he’s not my prophet.

MS: Yes, I mean, it’s interesting, this, by the way. The concept…the United States, and believe me, I know, because I have a threatened legal suit against me from Dr. Michael Mann, the hockey stick fellow, and I’ve been through this a number of times in Canada and the United Kingdom and elsewhere. The difference, the law on slander and libel in the United States is very different from those in other English-speaking countries and the rest of the world. And you’re basically free to say what you like about public figures. And Muhammad would seem to me to meet the definition of a public figure, not withstanding the fact that he’s also been dead for getting on for a millennium and a half. And generally speaking, you can say what you like about people who’ve been dead for a millennium and a half.

MS: No, and it is extraordinary to me. Imagine if he had said, imagine if he had said this. Imagine if he had stood up there and said the future will not belong to those who slander the Lord Jesus Christ.

HH: Yup.

MS: Imagine the uproar there would have been from the party that just a couple of weeks ago was actually booing God. You know, God got booed off stage at the Democratic National Convention. God got given the hook at the Democrat Vaudeville show. But Allah, apparently it’s a whole different game.

HH: It is. I’ve got to move on to other election news. And this is the context in which we talk. This morning, the GDP in the second quarter was revised down a massive, about 25%, to 1.3%, the worst anemic growth. Durable goods plunged, the orders for durable goods. And if you look at the CEO survey that is run by the Business Roundtable, they predict sharply reduced sales, hiring, capital spending and GDP in the 3rd quarter. Mark Steyn, we’re falling off of the cliff. We’re no longer approaching it. We’re falling off the cliff, but the President is out doing happy talk today.

MS: Yeah, and there is no economic growth, and there is no possibility of economic growth. Economic growth occurs in jurisdictions where there is certainty about the conditions. People are stupid about this, by the way, when they talk about outsourcing and off-shoring. They always sort of give the impression that it’s going on in dodgy places or in cowboy jurisdictions where there’s no laws and no taxes, and all the rest of it. It’s not. It’s going to developed nations that have certainty about the rules by which you play the game. Nobody knows what the rules are going to be. Nobody knows how the health care costs of hiring someone are going to shake out. Why should I hire someone right now? I have no means of knowing what it’s going to cost me. So nobody’s hiring, nobody’s growing their businesses. Everybody’s sort of hunkering down and waiting to see how all this stuff shakes out. We’ve got the biggest tax increase in American history happening on January 1st. I said, I happen to own a U.S. corporation. Don’t ask me why. Call me stupid. But I said despairingly to my accountant a few months ago, I can’t see why anybody in their right mind would have a corporation in the United States. And he looked at me rather sadly and he went well, some of us have to live here. And so if you’ve got to, you know, if you’ve got a restaurant, if you’ve got something that has to be physically located in the United States, then you’re basically stuck with the tax rates and all the business-killing regulations that are going on here. But nobody else has to be. This is Deadsville. Deadsville. Barack Obama, standing up there telling us what the future’s going to be, the future is that we’re falling off the cliff, he’s the president of Brokestan, and the future doesn’t belong to broke losers.

HH: Now I’ve got to ask you then, given that background, and I think a vote for President Obama is a vote for economic suicide and national security suicide, that’s why I’m actually not concerned about these alleged polls from Marist and Quinnipiac, because I understand how Americans vote in tough times. They never vote for failure, Mark Steyn. They just never vote for failure. So my question to you is what do you make of these polls from Marist and Quinnipiac? Broken? And if so, intentionally, or simply as an inability to read an electorate that is increasingly privacy-driven and rambunctious when the pollsters call?

MS: Yeah, I mean, there is a pattern here, which is that when, which we see…the interesting question will be a week out before the election when, as has happened in previous years, the pollsters need to start worrying about the bottom line of their businesses, and there’s usually an attempt to realign the numbers with something close to reality. But generally speaking, it doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about Scott Walker in Wisconsin or the Richard Lugar primary defeat in Indiana, the polls tend to skew in a consistently anti-conservative direction.

HH: The Ted Cruz win in Texas, yup.

MS: Yeah.

HH: Ted Cruz came out of nowhere, except we all knew he was going to win five, six, seven weeks before he won.

MS: Yeah, and so I think the question is here, whether there is a…and I think when you’re in a cultural environment as well which is telling you all the time that the one guy is just this stiff in a top hat and a monocle who wants to twirl his mustache as he ties widows and orphans to the railroad track, and the other guy is the coolest guy on the planet. Wow, look, he’s sitting between Barbara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg. Can you imagine? We’ve got a president who’s on the View. Isn’t that just the greatest thing ever? And if you’re sitting there…the whole point about the Emperor’s New Clothes is that it took the little boy to point that out, because nobody else, once a sort of consensus develops that a guy is the coolest guy ever, nobody wants to prick that bubble. And I think there’s an element, I do think there’s an element of that, that if you’re in that, there’s people out there who whatever they think, they’re aware that every time they switch on the TV…Madonna has had Obama tattooed on some body part of hers. I can’t remember which one it is, and if she’s in the studio, Hugh, I don’t want her to show it to me.

HH: No.

MS: But I gather that she’s had, and she’s pledging to take it all off if he’s reelected. And so when you live in a world where when the pop stars are saying this, the movie stars are saying this, Whoopi and Barbara are saying it when you switch on the morning TV, you know, actually bucking that sort of cultural, that stifling cultural consensus does actually take a bit of spirit.

HH: Well, I have noticed as well the younger journalists, and you know them as well as I do, like Sam Shepard, who was on the show this week from the National Journal, or Dave Weigel, or any of the people working at BuzzFeed, or all these different places, they are trapped in this parallel universe, this Manhattan-Beltway, and it’s getting smaller, because they’re working hard to impress each other overtime, Mark Steyn, and they are not asking basic questions about methodology or about the presidency. And I think that echo chamber is even more debilitating than it has been for the past 20 years.

MS: Well, what is fascinating to me is we are, we have the biggest story of our time in front of our noses. I mean, if you’re Chinese, it’s the biggest story in half a millennium. I mean, the Chinese basically think that a half a millennium of perverse Euro-American world domination is coming to an end, that America…and if you take a slightly shorter perspective, that basically the post-war era, post-Second World War era of America as the global order maker is coming to an end. And we have stories that are part of that, like the goat herders in Afghanistan taking out the squadron of aircraft, and the Benghazi consulate fiasco. We’ve got evidence…the Egyptian president treating American taxpayers with contempt in New York. We’ve got evidence of this on every front, plus the economic stuff. And to want to be…I couldn’t live with myself if I were one of these court eunuchs, and just obsessing on the trivia that these guys do. You’ve got the biggest story in front of your nose. You’re not Beyonce’. If Beyonce’ wants to sip champagne with the president, that’s one thing. You’re not Beyonce’.

HH: Agreed, and I hope people in the Manhattan-Beltway media bubble listen. Mark Steyn from, author of After America, thank you.

End of interview.


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