HH: I begin today as I do on Thursdays when I am lucky with Mark Steyn, Columnist To the World. Mark Steyn, www.steynonline.com, hello, Mark, how are you?
MS: Hey, I’m great, Hugh, and say hi to my Hillsdale colleagues, because I’m usually there for a couple of weeks in the spring.
HH: They tell me you’re coming back again.
MS: Yeah, yeah. I’ll be there round about mud season in New Hampshire, which is always a good time to get out of the state.
HH: So Mark Steyn, I am curious on the occasion of Muammar’s passing whether or not we will see George Bush get credit for having disarmed him of his chemical and biological weapons? Otherwise, this passing might have gone very poorly.
MS: Yes, it’s interesting. He had an active nuclear program until 2003, the end of, pretty much, the middle of 2003. And then after the Iraq invasion, he told Berlusconi in Italy that he saw what had happened to Saddam, and he didn’t want to go the same way. And it had a very salutary effect on him. He was a nimble survivor. You don’t stick around for 42 years. He was basically the last of the pan-Arab Nasir generation of dictators to still be around. And you don’t get to stick around for 42 years without being able to identify which way the wind’s blowing, and to change with it when you have to.
HH: Well, he will not be missed. Now I’ve got to ask you, Mark. Yesterday, I was listening to you fill in for Rush. And you really crushed me, because you revealed that it’s in fact the operation Wall Street people, or Occupy Wall Street people, are being run out of Canada. I was very disappointed by this news.
MS: Yeah, no. I mean, I think it’s pathetic. It’s a Vancouver organization, of Vancouver in British Columbia, if you’re wondering which state that’s in. And it’s an organization called Ad Busters, who started this whole Occupy Wall Street thing. And I’m all for, you know, the jobs Americans won’t do, and we need hard-working foreigners to come and do the jobs Americans won’t do. But when you have to outsource youthful rebellion, I think you’re pretty much done for. And the fact that this whole, what’s it called, Occupy Wall Street, and Occupy Portland, and Occupy Dead Moose Junction, and all the rest of it now, the fact that it’s a Canadian front operation, I think, ought to be deeply embarrassing to America’s youth. Come on, you lazy guys, get off your butts and start your own revolution.
HH: But then you launched into a great commentary I wanted to follow up about, government seizing up. And I don’t know if you’ve followed the Sackett Vs. EPA case, which is before the Supreme Court now, but it’s the EPA telling this nice, little couple in Idaho that not only can they not build their house on a quarter acre, they have to take off the dirt they put in, and they owe them $37,500 dollars a day for their non-compliance.
MS: Right, right.
HH: And it’s astonishing that the government has gotten this big, this burdensome.
MS: Yeah, it’s been true for a while, and we all thought it was a joke. I remember being on a committee in my little town in New Hampshire, and we had a thing where there’s a swing set down by the town beach. And the kids would fall off the swing set and land on a clump of grass. So we thought we should put a cushioning material there. And they were going to move in some sand, so that if you fell off the swing, you’d land on the sand. We then got this thing saying that under the EPA, is was a designated wetlands, and we couldn’t put sand there. And as the chairman of my town’s select board put it, you mean that in America these days, it’s illegal to put sand on a beach?
HH: (laughing) Yes, yes.
MS: And in our case, they were. And we all had a good laugh about it, but it actually isn’t funny. There’s a million things like this. And by the way, what I object to this particular is it’s an assault on due process.
MS: Due process is a fundamental basis of genuine law, that says you have to know what it is, what the law is, before you can break it. And now, there’s like a bazillion regulations for every single, little, itsy-bitsy, nothing activity you want to do in America. Nobody can know any of this stuff.
HH: And you end up in front of the Supreme Court. And I’m glad you know about the Sackett case. We’ll come back to that. I’ve also got to know, I’ve got to jump down to Joe Biden talking to 4th graders in Philadelphia yesterday, Mark Steyn, because I think you need to hear this and comment on it. Here’s the Vice President yesterday in Philadelphia:
JB: What it’s like to be a president is it’s harder than being a vice president. You know why? Because I can give the president all the advice in the world, but guess what? He has to make the decision all by himself. And so these really difficult decisions he has to make, for example, one of the decisions we’re trying to make now, we think that because here in this school, your school, you’ve had a lot of teachers who used to work here, but because there’s no money for them in the city, they’re not working. And so what happens is, when that occurs, each of the teachers that stays have more kids to teach. And they don’t get to spend as much time with you as they did when your classes were smaller. We think the federal government in Washington, D.C. should say to the cities and states, look, we’re going to give you some money so that you can hire back all those people. And the way we’re going to it, we’re going to ask people who have a lot of money to pay just a little bit more in taxes.
HH: Mark Steyn, he’s propagandizing 4th graders.
MS: (laughing) I know, I know. What is this, the start of the Biden Youth Movement?
HH: (laughing) Look, this is an idiotic example. The people/teacher ration in the United States is half of what it was a century ago. And this statistic, by the way, is from an excellent book that some guy called Mark Steyn wrote, called After America. So you can check it up in there. It’s all sourced up the wazoo. And since 1970, public school employment has increased ten times faster than public school enrollment. And I bet if you asked a lot of those 4th graders, they wouldn’t be averse to actually having fewer teachers, because there’s way more than there were when their parents were in school, and when their grandparents were in school.
HH: But the idea of telling them we want D.C. to give more money to your city to hire teachers, it just teaches exactly the opposite of the federal system. It is despicable.
MS: Oh, well, but there’s no federalism anymore. I don’t think we should even use the word. This isn’t a federal government. This is a national government. This elementary school, whatever it’s called, that Joe Biden was at, this is part of, one of 15,000 school districts in the United States of America. And I think that school district should be able to make its own decisions on what teachers it can hire, and can afford to hire. And as he said, the only correct part of that statement he said is that some teachers who used to be here aren’t here anymore, and that’s because there’s no money to pay them. Well, there’s no money to pay them in Washington, either. We’re broke at the local level, we’re broke at the county, we’re broke at the state level, and we’re broke at the federal level. And no matter how you shuffle the brokenness around, what’s consistent at all levels is the brokenness of the brokenness.
HH: Well then, that means, given Joe Biden’s comment in Flint, Michigan, when he made a stop there, that we’re all going to be murdered. Here’s Joe Biden in Flint earlier this week.
JB: Pay Moynihan said everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, but they’re not entitled to their own facts. Let’s look at the facts. In 2008, when Flint had 265 sworn officers on their police force, there were 35 murders and 91 rapes in this city. In 2010, when Flint had only 144 police officers, the murder rate climbed to 65, and rapes, just to pick two categories, climbed to 229. In 2011, you now only have 125 shields. God only knows what the numbers will be this year for Flint if we don’t rectify it.
HH: And then, he took his magical mystery tour to Philadelphia, Mark Steyn, and he said this, cut number two:
JB: The other thing I’ve heard from my friends who oppose this, this whole jobs bill, and this, that this is just temporary. Well, let me tell you. It’s not temporary when that 911 call comes in, and a woman’s being raped, if a cop shows up in time to prevent the rape. It’s not temporary to that woman. It’s not temporary to the guy whose store is being held up and has a gun pointed at his head if a cop shows up and he’s not killed. That’s not temporary to that store owner. Give me a break. Temporary? I wish these guys who thought it’s temporary, I wish they had some notion of what it’s like to be on the other side of a gun, or a 200 pound man standing over you, telling you to submit. Folks, it matters.
HH: It matters, Mark Steyn, it matters.
MS: Well, he’s flown the coop now…
MS: So the idea is that we’ve advanced, by the way. This is an advance. Harry Reid, you know, just a couple of months ago, was saying oh, no, the Republicans are going to decimate the federally-subsidized Cowboy Poetry Festival. Now, we’ve moved beyond that to a land where cowboy poets are going to be raped and murdered by the thousands because of those Republicans. So I don’t know, at this rate of ratcheting up, I don’t know where the rhetoric’s going to be in a couple of months beyond this. Nobody believes any of this stuff. Nobody believes any of this stuff.
HH: But you’ve panicked the cowboy poets out there, Mark Steyn. Thank you. www.steynonline.com, America.
End of interview.