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Hail and Farewell to 2005: Mark Steyn
Steyn Online ^ | 30 Dec 2005 | Mark Steyn

Posted on 12/30/2005 6:48:42 PM PST by Rummyfan


That's another year under the bridge. Here's the first part of how it seemed at the time - or First Quarter results, as they say: tsunamis, Iraqi elections, the death of Arthur Miller, Bush in Europe...

JANUARY I picked up The Village Voice for the first time in years this week. Couldn’t resist the cover story: “The Eve Of Destruction: George W Bush’s Four-Year Plan To Wreck The World."Oh, dear. It’s so easy to raise expectations at the beginning of a new Presidential term. But at least he’s got a four-year plan. Over on the Democratic bench, world-wise they don’t seem to have given things much thought... The Chicago Sun-Times, January 23rd

For all the money lavished on them, the UN is hard to rouse to action. Mr Egeland’s full-time round-the-clock 24/7 Big Humanitarians are conspicuous by their all but total absence on the ground… They’ve flown in (or nearby, or overhead) a couple of experts to assess the situation and they’ve issued press releases boasting about the assessments. In Sri Lanka, Mr Egeland’s staff informs us, “UNFPA is carrying out reproductive health assessments”. Which, translated out of UN-speak, means the Sri Lankans can go screw themselves. The Daily Telegraph, January 4th

Even Enda Kilroy could make no more impressive claim of Kofi Annan than that he is “conspicuously present in Asia assessing the situation”. The battered coastal populations sent out an SOS, not an assess-O-S but that’s the only service the UN moral preeners seem able to provide. Would you let these guys run anything closer to home? Would you patronize a pub managed by the UN? “Two weeks after the beer ran out at O’Malley’s Bar, UN Breweries spokesman Jan Egeland announced that the Secretary-General had appointed a Beverage Supply Coordinator who would be flying in to assess the situation and co-ordinate talks on long-term imbibing needs.” The Irish Times, January 17th

If you want an example of “exit strategy” thinking, look no further than the southern “border”. A century ago, American policy in Mexico was all exit and no strategy… By contrast, the British went in to India without an “exit strategy”, stayed for generations and midwifed the world’s most populous democracy and a key US ally in the years ahead. Which looks like the smarter approach now? The Irish Times, January 24th

If most Germans don’t feel guilty about the Holocaust, there’s no point pretending they do. And that’s the problem with all this week’s Shoah business: it’s largely a charade... The old defence against charges of anti-semitism was: “But some of my best friends are Jewish.” As the ancient hatreds rise again across the Continent, the political establishment’s defence is: “But some of our best photo opportunities are Jewish.” The Daily Telegraph, January 25th

FEBRUARY Even the most benign liberator can’t “give” liberty to someone: you have to want it for yourself, and take it for yourself. This Sunday, Shia and Kurds and even the savvier Sunnis seized it. Iraq was a home of the brave this weekend and will be a land of the free… The most fascinating detail in the big picture was this: Iraqi expats weren’t voting just in Sydney and London and Los Angeles, but also in Syria. Think about that. If you’re an Iraqi in Syria, you can vote for the political party of your choice. If you’re a Syrian in Syria, you have no choice at all. Which of those arrangements is the one with a future? The Daily Telegraph, February 1st

“They can’t have an election right now,” declared John Kerry, Senator Nuance himself, in the Presidential debates. “I personally do not believe they’re going to be ready for the election in January,” said Jimmy Carter, winner of the Nobel Prize for Peanuts. “There’s no security there.” But Carter and Kerry and Old Europe were wrong, and the absurd absolutist simpleton was right. Iraq is free not just because of the military skill of America and her allies but because of the political will of one man, who stuck to his guns against the opposition of the Eurocynics, the UN do-nothings, the Democratic Party weathervanes, the media doom-mongers, and the unreal realpolitik grandees of his own party – the Scowcrofts and Eagleburgers. The Chicago Sun-Times, February 6th

For good or ill, Bush, Blair and Howard are all transformative figures: they’ve remade their political landscapes and driven their opponents into loopy, self-inflicted death spirals. All the Democrats needed last November was their own Tony Blair – on the war, tough, moral and credible, and a big pantywaist on health, education and the rest of the touchy-feely stuff. The story of this election season – from Canberra to Washington to Westminster – is that candidates who engage seriously with the central challenge of the age can see off their opposition, whether left or right. National Review, February 5th

The Tory Party looks a lot more like the Democratic Party and the Australian Labor Party than its nominal ideological soulmates. For one thing, they’re losers. Last year, after the Spanish election, after the failure to find WMD, after new commissions and reports every other week, and the sense from the press that the “BUSH LIED!!/BLAIR LIED!!!!” stuff could be made to stick, they fell for the received wisdom that Iraq would prove an electoral liability for the three musketeers of the Anglosphere. Instead, John Howard won big, and so did Bush, and so will Blair. Meanwhile, Iraq’s more of a liability for their oppositions: the Democrats are split between a noisy anti-war faction (Howard Dean, Ted Kennedy) and a bunch of pusillanimous, jelly-spined, finger-in-the-windy weathervane pols who don’t know whether they’re for it or against it until their consultants run it by the focus groups (Kerry, Edwards, 2008 contender Evan Bayh). And somehow the Conservatives have wound up in the same position, divided between those who are agin it (like Do-Nothing Doug Hurd, fast becoming the Ted Kennedy of the Tories) and those who no longer know what they think about it and have fallen into what Janet Daley calls “post hoc equivocation”. As John Kerry learned, that’s unlikely to be rewarded on Election Day. The Spectator, February 12th

One of the reasons I’m in favour of small government is because big government tends to be remote government, and remote government is unaccountable, and, as a wannabe world government the UN is the remotest and most unaccountable of all. If the sentimental utopian blather ever came true and we wound up with one “world government”, from an accounting department point of view, the model will be Nigeria rather than New Hampshire. The Sunday Telegraph, February 6th

It’s a good basic axiom that if you take a quart of ice-cream and a quart of dog feces and mix ‘em together the result will taste more like the latter than the former. That’s the problem with the UN. If you make the free nations and the thug states members of the same club, the danger isn’t that they’ll meet each other half-way but that the free world winds up going three-quarters, seven-eighths of the way. Thus the Oil-for-Fraud scandal: in the end, Saddam Hussein had a much shrewder understanding of the way the UN works than George W Bush and Tony Blair did. The Daily Telegraph, February 15th

Arthur Miller wasn’t amiable enough to be an amiable dunce but he was the most useful of the useful idiots. It was a marvelous inspiration to recast the Communist “hysteria” of the 1950s as the Salem witch trials of the 1690s. Many people have pointed out the obvious flaw – that there were no witches, whereas there were certainly Communists. For one thing, they were gobbling up a lot of real estate: they seized Poland in 1945, Bulgaria in ’46, Hungary and Romania in ’47, Czechoslavakia in ’48, China in ’49; they very nearly grabbed Greece and Italy; they were the main influence on the nationalist movements of Africa and Asia. Imagine the Massachusetts witch trials if the witches were running Virginia, New York and New Hampshire, and you might have a working allegory. As it is, Miller’s play is an early example of the distinguishing characteristic of the modern western left: its hermetically sealed parochialism. His genius was to give his fellow lefties what’s become their most cherished article of faith – that any kind of urgent national defence is, by definition, paranoid and hysterical. It was untrue in the Fifties and it’s untrue today. Indeed, the hysteria about hysteria – the “criminalization” of “dissent” - is far more hysterical than the hysteria about Reds. The Spectator, February 19th

Now the President himself is here, having been up all night on Air Force One trying to master the official State Department briefing paper on the European Rapid Reaction Force, the European Constitution, the European negotiations with Iran, etc. (“When these subjects come up, US policy is to nod politely and try not to giggle. If you feel a massive hoot of derision coming on, duck out to the men’s room, but without blaming it on the escargots.”) The French Foreign Minister took to calling the US Secretary of State “chere Condi” every 30 seconds. It’s doubtful if the French President will go that far, but, if he does, the White House line is that Mr Bush is happy to play Renee Zellweger to Chirac’s Tom Cruise (“You had me at bonjour”). The Sunday Telegraph, February 20th

The President also found time to cast his eye upon Europe’s internal affairs. As he told his audience in Brussels, in the first speech of his tour, “We must reject anti-Semitism in all forms and we must condemn violence such as that seen in the Netherlands.” The Euro-bigwigs shuffled their feet and stared coldly into their mistresses’ décolletage. The Irish Times, February 21st

World leaders are always most fulsome when there’s least at stake… all airy assertions about common values, ties of history, all meaningless. Even Rumsfeld’s doing it. At the Munich Conference on Collective Security the other day, he gave a note perfect rendition of empty atlanticist Euro-goo: “Our collective security depends on our cooperation and mutual respect and understanding,” he declared, with a straight face. Rummy’s appearance in Munich was unscheduled. A German federal prosecutor was investigating a war crimes complaint against the US Defence Secretary and, though it seems unlikely even the silliest showboating Europoseurs would have been foolish enough to pull a Pinochet on him, Rumsfeld made a point of not setting foot on German soil until Berlin put an end to that nonsense. That tells you more about transatlantic relations than anything in the speech. The Daily Telegraph, February 22nd

In Hotel Rwanda, the UN swings by in the unlikely shape of Nick Nolte, playing Colonel Oliver, a figure loosely based on the Canadian commanding officer, General Romeo Dallaire… It’s hard to watch him without having total contempt for the UN and their feeble blue helmets in a hue that seems expressly chosen to communicate that they’re not real soldiers. The Spectator, February 26th

MARCH A couple of years back, I went to hear Paul Wolfowitz. I knew him only by reputation – the most sinister of all the neocons, the big bad Wolfowitz, the man whose name started with a scary animal and ended Jewishly. In fact, he was a very soft-spoken chap, who compared the challenges of the Middle East with America’s experiments in democracy-spreading after World War Two. He said he thought it would take less time than Japan, and maybe something closer to the 1989 revolutions in Eastern Europe. I would have scoffed, but he knew so many Iraqis by name – not just Ahmed Chalabi but a ton of others.

Around the same time, I bumped into Dominique de Villepin, the French Foreign Minister and man of letters. He was just back from Egypt, where he’d been profoundly moved when he’d been asked to convey the gratitude of the Arab people to President Chirac for working so tirelessly to prevent a tragic war between Christianity and Islam. You don’t say, I said. And, just as a matter of interest, who asked you to convey that? He hemmed and hawed and eventually said it was President Mubarak. Being a polite sort, I rolled my eyes only metaphorically, but decided as a long-term proposition I’d bet Wolfowitz’s address book of real people against Villepin’s hotline to over-the-hill dictators. The lesson of these last weeks is that it turns out Washington’s Zionists know the Arab people a lot better than Europe’s Arabists. The Spectator, March 5th

In his Oscar monologue, Chris essayed an amusing riff on one of the passing fancies – “Who’s this guy Jude Law? Like, he’s in every movie,” etc. Backstage, Sean Penn heard this throwaway gag and fumed and brooded for three hours until he got to walk on and present the award for Best Actress, and then in his best plonkingly humorless serious-artist mode he reprimanded Chris Rock and explained that Jude Law was, in fact, one of the towering figures of the age. As they say, ignorance of the Law is no excuse. If folks are allowed to get away with that kind of lese-majeste, one day they’ll be up there being mildly irreverent about Barbra Streisand. Or even Sean Penn. All it needed to seal the moment was Yo-Yo Ma to come out and do some mournful cello arrangement of “I Fought Jude Law (And Jude Law Won)” over a montage of Chris Rock’s non-Bush gags bombing. National Review, March 17th

Almost every issue facing the European Union – from immigration rates to crippling state pension liabilities – has at its heart the same glaringly plain root cause: a huge lack of babies… To cite only the most obviously affected corner of the realm, what’s the long-term future of the Scottish National Party if there are no Scottish nationals? The Daily Telegraph, March 22nd

As to arguments about “Congressional over-reaching” and “states’ rights” [re Terri Schiavo], which is more likely? That Congress will use this precedent to pass bills keeping you – yes, you, Joe Schmoe of 37 Elm Street – alive till your 118th birthday. Or that the various third parties who intrude between patient and doctor in the American system – next of kin, HMOs, insurers – will see the Schiavo case as an important benchmark in what’s already a drift toward a culture of convenience euthanasia. Here’s a thought: Where do you go to get a living-will kit saying that in the event of a hideous accident I don’t want to be put to death by a Florida judge or the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals? The Chicago Sun-Times, March 27th

With a few honorable exceptions, Iraq press coverage has been a truly spectacular failure. One day in the future, we’ll dig out the yellowing cuttings and wonder how America managed to lose every daily battle and yet still win the war. National Review, March 31st

APRIL Karol Wojtyla was the third longest-serving pontiff of all time, after Pius IX, Pope from 1846 to 1878, and the first Pope, St Peter, whose papacy lasted from AD 30 to the mid-60s. When you hold an office held by St Peter, you’re not operating on media time. The progressivists’ assumption is that gay marriage, like abortion, is inevitable, so the Pope might as well get with the programme. In that case, why bother with religion at all? The difference between the modern west’s Church of the Self and John Paul’s church is that the latter believes in the purpose of life. The Church of the Flavoured Condom, by contrast, believes that man is no more than the accumulation of his appetites, and so you might as well license them. The Irish Times, April 4th

If you look at The New York Times’ list of complaints against the Pope - “Among liberal Catholics, he was criticized for his strong opposition to abortion, homosexuality and contraception” – they all boil down to what he called sex as self-assertion. Thoughtful atheists ought to be able to recognize that, whatever one’s tastes in these areas, the Pope is on to something – that abortion et al, in separating the “two meanings” of sex and leaving us free to indulge in one while ignoring the other, have severed us almost entirely and possibly irreparably from traditional impulses, like societal survival. John Paul II championed the “splendor of truth” not because he was rigid and inflexible, but because he understood the alternative was a dead end in every sense. The Daily Telegraph, April 5th

Politics affords few greater pleasures than offering one’s opponents some friendly but hopefully lethal piece of advice. We’re in one of those phases now – hence, the vogue for columns on the “Conservative Crack-Up”, a fearsome beast that, like the Loch Ness Monster, more and more folks claim to have spotted looming in the distance. In reality, the unrelieved gloom is on the Dem side of the ledger: the Republicans are all but certain to increase their majority in 2006. Whereas, if you want the state of the Democratic Party in a single image, cut out the photograph from The New York Times the other day: a pumped Robert C Byrd giving a clenched-fist salute at a rally. That’s the Rainbow Coalition 2005 model: a dwindling band of ancient vindictive legislators yoked to a cash-flush unrepresentative fringe. It would actually be to the Democrats’ advantage if the Byrd-Kos union were to crack up, but instead their union seems merely cracked, like a miscast double-act thrown together by a desperate burlesque agent. National Review, April 14th

John Bolton was “standing up” with “hands on hips”! Who’s he think he is – Carmen Miranda? …As for the job Bolton’s up for, what would make Barbara Boxer and Joe Biden put their hands on hips? Child sex rings run from UN peacekeeping operations? Sudan sitting on the Human Rights Commission while it licenses mass murder in Darfur? Kofi Annan’s son doing a $30,000-a-year job but somehow having a spare quarter-million dollars to invest in a Swiss soccer club? There are tides in the affairs of men when someone has to put his hands on his hips and toss his curls. And, if the present depraved state of the UN isn’t one of them, nothing is. Unlike most of the multilateral blatherers, John Bolton is hip to that. The Chicago Sun-Times, April 17th

The Daily Telegraph had an intriguing headline the other day: “US Police Force To Recruit Capuchin Monkey For ‘Intelligence’ Work.” Maybe when the Mesa, Arizona SWAT team is through with the monkey in question, we could get him made chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The Chicago Sun-Times, April 24th

The United Kingdom for which the National Health Service was created has all but ceased to exist: in 2005, the average citizen is more prosperous than his grandparents could have imagined. Britons expect “control” over the cars they drive and the DVD players they buy and the Internet porn sites they subscribe to, yet they live with a health system frozen in 1945. Where are you going on holiday this summer? A charabanc to Morecambe same as always? Say what you like, but at least there’s no risk of tsunamis. It’s a curious inversion of priorities to demand “control” over peripheral leisure activities but to contract out the big life-changing stuff to the government. Free citizens of advanced western democracies are increasingly the world’s wrinkliest teenagers: the state makes the grown-up decisions and we spend our pocket money on our record collection. The Daily Telegraph, April 19th

As I understand it, the thinking behind the asylum policy is that it will shore up the Tory base, boost turnout, and prevent further hemorrhaging to UKIP and worse. But UKIP arose from the Conservatives’ Europhobia-phobia – the party’s wariness about becoming too explicitly anti-EU. I doubt you can woo the lost lambs back to the fold by using a lot of anonymous Balkan deadbeats as a proxy for the A-list foreigners you’re not quite confident enough to have a go at. Yet Mr Howard would rather risk being portrayed as xenophobic than as anti-European. That calculation is very telling. I’m one of those who thinks France’s Euro-referendum will be much more decisive than the UK’s own general election when it comes to determining how Britain is governed. If the French reject the European constitution, they’ll have rejected it for these islands as well. The Daily Telegraph, April 26th

For three decades, most western governments trumpeted as a virtue what was, in fact, a profound weakness. In bragging about the numbers of Sikhs and Muslims, Africans and Arabs adding hitherto unprecedented vibrancy to the restaurant scene in Malmo and Winnipeg, western governments made multiculturalism as an indispensable part of their sense of their own goodness. In reality, Canada and western Europe needed immigrants because of their own terrible combination of unsustainable welfare systems and deathbed demographics. As China and India follow South Korea and Taiwan, and Iraq and Ukraine follow China and India, immigrants will stop coming. One day soon, Europeans may well become the emigrants, deciding there are better opportunities in India and Taiwan: the present trickle out of Holland could become a continent-wide version of American cities’ “white flight”. National Review, April 28th

As a centralized nation state, today's China is as artificial an entity as the Soviet Union or Yugoslavia. A lot of lefties are pinning their hopes on the emergence of some grand new Chinese superpower, but China will not advance to the First World with its present borders intact. The Spectator, April 30th

MAY Nearly four years after September 11th, I can’t think of any big pop star in uniform except Madonna, who on her world tour last year cavorted in a blue burqa and, when she disrobed, as she inevitably does, was revealed to be wearing a US army uniform underneath. This was in order to make the highly original point that the Taliban and the Bush Administration are both equally oppressive. Well, I never. The herd mentality of celebrity “dissent”. Would it kill ‘em once in a while to dissent from their dissent and try something other than the stultifying orthodoxy of Hollywood cardboard courage? The Daily Telegraph, May 3rd

The problem with the war on terror is that once it was framed as an existential struggle for western civilization it was all too predictable that the left would act as it did the last time we had one of those, the Cold War: they’d do their best to lose it. This is lamentable to those of us who thought on September 11th that the justice of our cause was so obvious that it wouldn’t be a party thing. It must be even more distressing to that brave band of British lefties who backed the war. Mr Blair has spent the last four years seeking to prove that a “progressive” “liberal” Europhile can still be a reliable US ally. His party’s told him to shove it. The Chicago Sun-Times, May 1st

In this election, both the left and the right were split – on the left, between the pro-war Blair and the anti-war Liberals; on the right, between Europhobic UKIP and Eurequivocating Tories. In Solihull, the LibDems won by 279 votes; the UKIP candidate got 990. Down the road in Warwick and Leamington, Labour won by 306 votes; the UKIP bloke got 921. By some analyses, the UKIP vote cost the Tories 25 seats. Without them, the LibDems would have won merely an extra seven seats and the Labour majority would have been down to 34. Which split – the left’s or the right’s - is likely to be patched up by the next election? The Daily Telegraph, May 10th

Conservatives win when they champion ideas. They win in two ways: sometimes they get elected; but, even if they don’t, their sheer creative energy forces an ever more intellectually bankrupt left to grab whatever right-wing ideas they figure they can slip past their own base. In essence, that’s how Tony Blair “reformed” the Labour Party. But contrast the Tories’ paralysis in the face of Blair with the Republicans’ response to Bill Clinton. Like Mr Blair with New Labour, Mr Clinton sold himself as a New Democrat: he was fiscally responsible and said things like “the era of big government is over”. And instead of whining, like the Tories, that oh no, he’s “stolen our clothes”, the Republicans moved further right – especially on cultural issues – and kept winning. The Spectator, May 14th

All that the so-called “multilateralists” require is that we be polite and deferential to the transnational establishment regardless of how useless it is. What matters in global diplomacy is that you pledge support rather than give any. The Chicago Sun-Times, May 15th

What do the Liberals have to do to lose? The rule that there’s no such thing as bad publicity is supposed to apply to soap actresses and rock stars, but look at the polls: Grits 32.5% Tories 30.5%. And, even when you find a national poll showing a Conservative lead, break it down regionally: Liberals 38% Tories 34%. That’s Ontario, which is the critical battleground, as we psephologists say... Paul Martin could be captured on DVD giving a Quebec advertising agency $20 million to supply him with coke and rent-boys and there would be a political earthquake in Ontario resulting in the shock poll result: Liberals 37.5%, Conservatives 34.5%. As I wrote in the very first issue of The Western Standard, the Grits must occasionally wonder: where did we go right? The Western Standard, May 16th

The pictures on the front pages today capture the reality of our country: a “Liberal” billionaire and a “Conservative” billionaire beaming as they announce their deal to carry on wasting the money of Canadians who earn $30,000 a year - all in the interests of “national unity”. For, as Belinda Stronach said (and with a straight face!), “I feel that the interests of individuals or parties are being placed above the national interest. The country must come first.” And for the country to come first the Liberal Party must come first, now and always. And happily the interest of this particular party coincides with the interest of this particular individual – and all in the national interest! ...Miss Stronach, the former future Mrs Peter MacKay, seemed unlikely to settle for life as the Ottawa version of the old Hollywood joke about the starlet so dumb she slept with the writer. She’s stopped sleeping with the writer and traded up to the studio chief, and a new gig as Minister for Human Resources and Skills Development. Who knew that’s all it would take? To quote Sir Thomas More in A Man For All Seasons : “Why, Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world... but for Wales?” But for Human Resources and Skills Development? SteynOnline, May 18th

Both the US media and those rioters in the Afghan-Pakistani hinterlands are very similar, two highly parochial and monumentally self-absorbed tribes living in isolation from the rest of the world and prone to fanatical irrational indestructible beliefs - not least the notion that you can flush a 950-page book down one of America’s Federally-regulated lo-flush toilets (inflicted on the nation by the eco-zealot Al Gore), a claim no editorial bigfoot thought to test for himself in Newsweek’s executive washroom. The Chicago Sun-Times, May 21st

May the farce be with you! The final descent of Ian McDiarmid’s Chancellor Palpatine into Darth Hammitup brought on more laffs, as did the moment when Anakin attempts to talk Padme into joining him over on the Dark Side: “Together you and I can rule the galaxy,” he snarls. Well, tries to snarl. “Obi-Wan was right. You’ve changed,” says Princess Padme. “I don’t know you any more.” He used to look like Princess Di flashing those big eyes from under his hair. But suddenly he looks like Princess Di with too much kohl and in a peevish mood. What can this mean? Well, Anakin’s worried that his beloved Padme might die in childbirth. Padme promises him she won’t die in childbirth. “I promise you I won’t die in childbirth,” she says. I wrote a couple of Star Wars back that Lucas characters always have to spell out what they’re thinking and feeling because he’s incapable of showing it. You can’t make the core of the story the absolute overpowering love of boy for girl when the two of them have all the sexual chemistry of their Burger King merchandising tie-in action figures The Spectator, May 28th

When he’s not playing European “president”, Mr Juncker is the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, a country two-thirds the size of your front room, but he bestrides the continent like a colossus. Just to make sure we all got the message, he spelled out precisely the impact that the people’s view of the European constitution would have on their rulers’ adoption of said constitution: “If it’s a Yes, we will say ‘on we go’, and if it’s a No we will say ‘we continue’.” I didn’t see the actual Euro-ballot, but evidently it’s “Check the Yes box if you favour ratification of the EU constitution. Check the No box if you favour ratification of the EU constitution. For Neither of the Above, check Both of the Above.” The Irish Times, May 30th

The Eurofetishists can’t seem to agree their line on this referendum business. On the one hand, The Guardian’s headline writer was packing up and heading for the hills - “Europe Is Plunged Into Crisis” – and EU leaders warned that “Europe” might cease to function. Oh, come on. We won’t get that lucky. On balance, Jean-Claude Juncker, the “president” of “Europe”, seems closer to the mark in his now famous dismissal of the will of the people: “If it’s a Yes, we will say ‘on we go’, and if it’s a No we will say ‘we continue’.” And if it’s a Neither of the Above, he will say “we move forward”. You get the idea. Confronted by the voice of the people, “President” Juncker covers his ears and says, “Nya, nya, nya, can’t hear you!” The Daily Telegraph, May 31st

JUNE The distinguishing characteristic (as Paula Jones would say) of the Clintons’ Democratic Party is that it was swell for the Clintons, disastrous for the Democratic Party: throughout the 1990s, the Democrats lost everything – Congress, state legislatures, governors’ mansions, tumbling to their smallest share of elected offices since the 1920s. But somehow Bill and Hill were always the lone exceptions that proved the rule. There is no reason to believe the Clintons’ amazing historical immunity to their party’s remorseless decay will not continue. The Sunday Telegraph, June 5th

Nobody got killed in Gitmo, so instead America’s being flayed as the planet’s number one torturer for being insufficiently respectful to the holy book of its prisoners, even though the Americans themselves supplied their prisoners with the holy book, even though the preferred holy book of most Americans is banned in the home country of many of the prisoners, even though Americans who fall into the hands of the other side get their heads hacked off, even though the prisoners’ co-religionists themselves blow up more mosques and Korans than Americans ever do, and even though the alleged insufficient respect to the prisoners’ holy book occurred at a rate of one verified incident of possibly intentional disrespect per year. But sure, go ahead, close Gitmo and wait for the rave reviews – right after the complaints that it’s culturally insensitive to rebuild the World Trade Center when it’s the burial site of ten devout Muslim flying enthusiasts. Guantanamo will be remembered not as a byword for torture but for self-torture, a western fetish our enemies understand very well. The Spectator, June 11th

Just for the record, some 15-30 million Soviets died in the gulag; some six million Jews died in the Nazi camps; some two million Cambodians – one third of the population – died in the killing fields. Nobody’s died in Gitmo, not even from having Christina Aguilera played to them excessively loudly. The comparison is deranged, and deeply insulting not just to the US military but to the millions of relatives of those dead Russians, Jews and Cambodians, who, unlike Dick Durbin, know what real atrocities are. Had Senator Durbin said, “Why, these atrocities are so terrible you would almost believe it was an account of the activities of my distinguished colleague Robert C Byrd’s fellow Klansmen”, that would have been a little closer to the ballpark but still way out. The Chicago Sun-Times, June 19th

My favourite headline last week was in The International Herald Tribune: “E.U. Leaders And Voters See Paths Diverge.” Traditionally in free societies, when the paths of the leaders and the voters “diverge”, it’s the leaders who depart the scene. But apparently in the EU this is too vulgar and “Anglo-Saxon”, and so the great permanent Eurocracy decided instead to offer up Euro-variations on Bertolt Brecht’s jest about the need to elect a new people. Whatever the rejection of the European constitution means, it certainly doesn’t mean the rejection of the European constitution... Even if the French and Dutch had been boorish enough to want to vote no to the constitution, they would have been incapable of so doing as the whole thing was designed to be way above their pretty little heads. “It is not possible for anyone to understand the full text,” declared Valery Giscard d’Estaing. “Europe’s Jefferson” has apparently become Europe’s Jefferson Airplane, boasting about the impenetrability of his hallucinogenic lyrics. The point is the French and Dutch shouldn’t have read beyond the opening sentence: “We the people agree to leave it to you the people who know better than the people.” The Daily Telegraph, June 21st

Even as universal access decayed into universal lack of access, the utopian left defended it all the more vigorously: the fact that we all received the same non-treatment testified to our virtue, though even this perverse defense was utterly phony: one of the most unattractive features of our ersatz-egalitarianism was that it led to the creation of a humbug nomenklatura who (like Canada’s Prime Minister) use private clinics for their own health even as they continue to proclaim that decrepit incompetent monopoly public health is an eternal “Canadian value” that can never be changed. National Review, June 23rd

It becomes clearer every week that western telly viewers threw far more money at tsunami relief than was required and that much of it’s been siphoned off by wily customs inspectors and their ilk. If you really wanted to make an effective donation to a humanitarian organization, you’d send your cheque to the Pentagon or the Royal Australian Navy. The Spectator, June 25th

There’s another photograph of Rachel Corrie – at a Palestinian protest, headscarved, her face contorted with hate and rage, torching a homemade Stars & Stripes. Which is the real Rachel Corrie? The “schoolgirl idealist” caught up in the cycle of violence? Or the grown woman burning the flag of her own country? Well, that’s your call… But you’ll look for [that second photo] in vain in the innumerable cooing profiles of the “passionate activist” that have appeared in the world’s newspapers. One of the big lessons of these last four years is that many, many beneficiaries of western civilization loathe that civilization - and the media are generally inclined to blur the extent of that loathing. The New York Sun, June 27th

A couple of months ago, on our Letters Page opposite, Mr Tony Roberts of Cheltenham responded to my column on the Pope’s death as follows:

Presumably Mr Steyn has never had casual sex, or, if he has, maybe his sensitivity to the ‘splendour of truth’ prevented him from deriving any pleasure from the experience.

I resisted the urge to respond, confident that within 48 hours the Telegraph mailroom would be deluged by the maidenhood (if that’s the appropriate term) of Britain rising to my defence, pointing out that memorable 20 minutes – well, okay, six – in the back of my second-hand Austin Princess in the lay-by on the B47932 just after the mini-roundabout for the industrial estate back in 1987. Alas, there was only a deafening silence, as readers remained unaccountably preoccupied with war, elections and other trivia. It seemed faintly unbecoming for a Telegraph columnist to protest about how much action he’s getting, but, had I run into Mr Roberts in the Cheltenham singles bar, I would have endeavoured to explain that what’s at issue is not which of us is getting more and better casual sex but whether it’s an appropriate organizing principle for society. Or at any rate whether a cult of non-procreative self-gratification is, as the eco-crazies like to say, “sustainable”. The Daily Telegraph, June 28th

TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 2005review; marksteyn; steyn
The first half of the year anyway......
1 posted on 12/30/2005 6:48:44 PM PST by Rummyfan
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To: Rummyfan
"It’s a good basic axiom that if you take a quart of ice-cream and a quart of dog feces and mix ‘em together the result will taste more like the latter than the former. That’s the problem with the UN."

I nominate this for Quote of the Year.

2 posted on 12/30/2005 6:59:42 PM PST by thoughtomator (How to recognize the enemy: he says "peace" and means something entirely different)
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To: Pokey78


3 posted on 12/30/2005 7:01:50 PM PST by misterrob
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To: thoughtomator
"It’s a good basic axiom that if you take a quart of ice-cream and a quart of dog feces and mix ‘em together the result will taste more like the latter than the former. That’s the problem with the UN."

Seconded! ROTFLMAO!!!!!!

4 posted on 12/30/2005 7:10:46 PM PST by Rummyfan
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To: Rummyfan

Steyn Overload! Steyn Overload! :)

5 posted on 12/30/2005 7:11:39 PM PST by mylife (The roar of the masses could be farts)
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To: Rummyfan
ping for later. You have to have time to savor these perfect Styn writings......these are not to be scanned hurriedly over :)
6 posted on 12/30/2005 7:13:07 PM PST by arbee4bush (Our Airman Daughter KB4W--Hero, Patriot and the Love of her mom & dads life!)
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To: thoughtomator

I agree. Truer words have hardly ever been spoken.

7 posted on 12/30/2005 7:20:47 PM PST by packrat35 (The America hating bastards at the NYT must spend their entire life with their heads in the toiletat)
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To: Rummyfan

New Year's Bump...

8 posted on 12/30/2005 7:40:29 PM PST by redhead (Alaska: Step out of the bus and into the food chain...)
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To: Rummyfan


9 posted on 12/30/2005 7:53:14 PM PST by Christian4Bush ("The only 'new tone' we hear should be that of the Left's telephone being disconnected. " dogcaller)
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To: Rummyfan

Steyn & beer for later bump.

10 posted on 12/30/2005 8:03:22 PM PST by SquirrelKing
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To: thoughtomator

It's good, but I like this one, too:

"Politics affords few greater pleasures than offering one’s opponents some friendly but hopefully lethal piece of advice."

11 posted on 12/30/2005 8:14:13 PM PST by hsalaw
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To: Rummyfan


12 posted on 12/30/2005 9:31:36 PM PST by ODC-GIRL (Proudly serving our Nation's Homeland Defense)
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To: Rummyfan

Print to read at the Rose Parade.

13 posted on 12/30/2005 9:34:51 PM PST by Pagey (The Clintons ARE the true definition of the word WRETCHED!)
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To: Rummyfan

Save for later.

14 posted on 12/30/2005 10:04:43 PM PST by Eagles6 (Dig deeper, more ammo.)
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To: Rummyfan

My gosh, I'm smarter than I ever imagined. I agree with everything Steyn wrote.

15 posted on 12/30/2005 11:00:04 PM PST by Malesherbes
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To: Rummyfan


16 posted on 12/31/2005 4:27:54 AM PST by Right_in_Virginia
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