Mark Styen happens to be one of my favorite thinkers, writers and speakers. Having met with him personally some time ago, along with his son, it was one of the highlights of that trip.
YOUR WEEKEND TREAT! MY EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH MARK STEYN (DON’T SAY YOU WEREN’T WARNED!)
Well, friends, have I got a treat for you.
Following his live appearance at Chapters Indigo in downtown Toronto, I had the pleasure of sitting down with the great Mark Steyn for an in-depth conversation on his new, best-selling book, antisemitism, the collapse of Western civilization, hate speech, Official Jews, and the possibility of being sent to the Middle East to sing groovy James Bond songs to soothe the savage ISIS beasts.
There is so much hot stuff in this interview, I’d be shocked if your computer was not smoking, as you read.
Please enjoy the transcript of our chat, painstakingly transcribed by yours truly with adorationintermittent hot flashes great affection and admiration.
I hope you enjoy it.
Q: I definitely want to start with the new book, and then talk about something that are specific to Canada. The [Un]documented Mark Steyn-Don’t Say You Weren’t Warned. I was wondering if that feel like the story of your life at this point. Is that going to be inscribed on your tombstone? “I told you so, don’t say you weren’t warned-it’s all in my book”. How does it feel to try to explain in real time what’s going on in the world today?
“It does feel like that and that’s not a good feeling. Apart from the fact that ‘I told you so’ is generally not an attractive quality in a person but also because I find whatever happens in the news, you know you wake up on a Wednesday morning or Thursday morning and something’s happened in paris or brussels or wherever and a radio or tv station asks you to come in and comment about it you sigh wearily because you said exactly the same thing 8 or 9 years ago. At a certain point it becomes very tedious and actually faintly obnoxious to say ‘if you had listened to me in 2005 2002 you wouldn’t be in this mess.”
“And that’s one reason why I assembled this particular book, is because there are different specifics but a lot of the big points that I am more and more convinced of, I wrote about 10-15 years ago, you do it initially in the hope people will change course but if they don’t change course you might as well put a book together saying hey this is what I said in 2007 while you fellows were listening to people who were wrong about everything, people is, “hopelessly optimistic” and “pollyannish”, people who have lived in this sort of post 1950 bubble and can’t actually imagine a scenario in which all the certainties of your world are upended. That is what is objectionable about most commentary, it takes the assumptions of that post-1950 bubble and assumes they are eternal and can’t be overturned. That’s the reason I put that book together basically.
Q: And that people think it can’t be overturned when these forces are telling you exactly what they want to do, and exactly how they are going to implement it, it must sometimes be very frustrating, because they’re being very honest about it, and we in the West are not.
“No, that’s true. And there’s a broader point in that. You can say to people who were around in the 1930s, why didn’t you see what was happening, why didn’t you do something, and I think it’s true that when they say ‘we had no idea that the most advanced and civilized state in Europe would construct a vast bureaucratic apparatus simply for the purpose of killing millions of people, that was beyond our imagination, I think it’s valid. But that generation actually, I think had an advantage over us, in that they did understand that life can be going on and then suddenly the adjoining country’s troops come over the border and life is suddenly chaos, you lose all your possessions, your home is destroyed and you have to pick up, and start all over again, sometimes in a town on the other side of your country and sometimes on the other side of the world and you don’t even have to be in the game, really.”
“My grandparents were Belgian and figured that their country wasn’t particularly important and was of no consequence, but for the Germans, it was the express check-in to France. They got invaded and occupied and their lives were ruined just because they happened to be in the way.”
“And that generation, on all sides of Europe, doesn’t matter if you’re talking about Poland, it doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about the Balkans, it doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about Austria people had a sense then, that civilization is the exception to the rule, and that it’s fragile-and the forces of barbarism, everything can look very normal and you can be eating beautiful patisserie and sipping your coffee and watching the world go by but just over the horizon there are always dark forces menacing you.”
“I think we’ve lost that sense of it, so even to go back to the point I was making about the Holocaust in the 1930s, and it being unimaginable because there had always been anti semitism always been low-simmering Jew hatred, and that it would always be like that.
“We don’t even have that excuse, we have seen what it’s like when millions of people are killed and we have the explicit threats to do that again, we have actual murders, not on a large scale but we have a significant small scale of ongoing violence against Jews and we don’t have the excuse that our grandparents’ generation had that it’s unimaginable”. Because we don’t have to imagine it.”
“Every year as we’ve just seen and on significant anniversaries as we’ve just seen, all the big shots line up and congratulate themselves and say ‘Never Again’, again and again and again” and then we go on to letting the Iranians build nuclear bombs, Jewish shops and schools get firebombed, people killed in the Jewish museum in Brussels and kosher grocery store in Paris and “this is now the new normal”.
“Our generation will be treated far more brutally by history because these guys are all standing up there at the big ‘Never Again’ ceremony slapping each other on the back and saying what marvellous fellows they are, that’s on page 1, and on page 37 there’s the story of this weeks’ Kosher grocery bombing. It’s disgusting”.