If you're of an economically, politically, and/or socially conservative mindset, you have almost certainly heard of Mark Steyn. And if you have heard of or read Mark Steyn's work, you know full well just how erudite and articulate he is.
If you don't know him, or haven't heard of him (which is pretty damn unlikely), here is just a sampling of his unique wit, wisdom, and abilities as a speaker.
If I have one major disagreement with Mark Steyn, it is that he is not quite intellectually consistent.
If you have read America Alone or After America, you will know that Mark Steyn's criticisms of America's self-destructive policies are spot-on. He's absolutely right to castigate American political leadership for engaging in socialist economic policies, the insanity of multiculturalism, a massive running-up of the national debt, and a deliberate dumbing down of the education system. He is perfectly right to argue that a world without a strong America will be more dangerous, less free, less stable, and less pleasant to live in. And he is quite correct to argue that American interventionism is counterproductive and dangerous.
So what is his prescription for solving the ills of declining American power?
The same one as that followed by virtually every American neoconservative: more spending on the military, more 2nd-Generation toys of destruction designed specifically to lose against 4th-Generation opponents, more games of grand "strategery" and realpolitik to "contain" Iran and "support" Israel, more foreign intervention in Third World hellholes like Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan to shore up crumbling allies.
You will notice, by the way, that these are the exact same things that landed America in its present mess.
Just goes to show that not even the most brilliant and articulate conservative is necessarily always capable of seeing the big picture.
He does, however, recognise what truly consistent conservatives, like William S. Lind, have been arguing for quite some time. Namely, he understands full well that the time of the "Anglosphere" is coming to an end.
William S. Lind has argued for years that the era of the State, as the primary source of order and the preservation of the same, began with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. Mark Steyn has similarly argued for years that, for very roughly the last 500 years, the world has been shaped in the image of the Western powers- and, specifically, in that of Britain and then America.
Other conservatives, notably Britain's Daniel Hannan, have posited that when future historians look back at the reign of the British and American empires, they will likely conclude that not only did these two superpowers do immeasurable good for the world, on balance, but that the ease with which the world transitioned from British to American hegemony will be regarded as unique in world history.
They are correct on both points.
The Anglosphere has indeed been a huge net benefit to the world. Its unique culture, built upon the unusual and mutually supportive trinity of Greco-Roman philosophy, Judeo-Christian morality, and an ironclad belief in the primacy of the individual over the collective, has done more to advance human happiness and prosperity than anything else that came before. And Mark Steyn, and others like him, are absolutely right to lament its demise and to warn of calamity ahead as that decline is realised.
I just wish they'd be a little more consistent between their diagnoses of the problems, and their prescriptions for the solutions.