Skip to comments.The Week That Was (Interview Between Hugh Hewitt And Mark Steyn) Thanks To RadioBlogger!
Posted on 04/20/2005 11:17:51 PM PDT by goldstategop
The inimitable Mark Steyn
Here's the week that was, according to one of the world's greatest living columnists, Mark Steyn:
HH: On this, the first full day of the papacy of Benedict XVI, we begin a conversation about that day with none other than Mark Steyn. He, columnist of international fame and fortune, based in either Canada or New Hampshire, as the moment requires. He joins us now from I don't know where. Mark, welcome. How are you?
MS: I'm in New Hampshire today, Hugh.
HH: Well, if you move to Vermont, I will support your bid to replace Jim Jeffords, who announced his retirement today.
MS: Yes, hallelujah to that. You know, I don't mind liberals, and I don't mind conservatives. But I do have a great objection to the overall quality of U.S. Senators. And Jim Jeffords was one of the most bumbling and foolish and incoherent Senators. If he ever had to...if you asked him a question, that his aides hadn't prepared a written answer for, he just sounds...he was an embarrassment to the state of Vermont, frankly.
HH: We're going to come back and talk about the U.S. Senate in a moment. I want to start with Benedict XVI. Rarely have I seen mainstream media turn and bare their teeth as quickly as they have towards Benedict, Mark Steyn. Why? And what does it tell us about media?
MS: Well, I think they were rooting for Ellen Degeneres or Rupert Everett. And the fact that the new Pope is, in fact, a Catholic, seems to have come as a great surprise to them. And, you know, each to their own. But if, for example, social conservatives were to complain that the new editor of the New York Times wasn't Rush Limbaugh or you or William F. Buckley, that would sound equally ridiculous. The fact is, institutions are allowed to act in what they see is their own interest. And this, in fact, is just rather childish, this reaction to the Pope. They're sort of, they seem genuinely bewildered that the Cardinals of the Catholic Church think differently on these issues, from Andrew Sullivan and the New York Times.
HH: It is remarkable. Here's a tremendous intellect. The man speaks ten languages, authored forty books, is generally regarded as a very gentle, though very serious thinker, and the world's media is aflame with discontent, probably because he's not for turning.
MS: No. And I think interestingly as well, the difference between him and most western politicians, for example, is that he has given some thought as to how he wants what he believes in to survive, in a very difficult century which we face. For example, he's concluded in Europe, there's no point listening to the New York Times and Andrew Sullivan, because secularism is weak. And that even though he is 78, you know, if he lives to 90-95, by the end of his life, it will be clear to all but the most obtuse, Belgian, Dutch, French, German and Italian politicians, that secularism as it's practiced in Europe, has been a disaster. It's left them with this birthrate that's made them almost extinct, and which will be presenting tremendous conflicts. And he thinks the real challenge is to make Christianity resonate with the people who are going to be in the majority in Asia and Africa and other parts of the world, and not to listen to this sort of pathetic, feeble, parochial minority represented in the western media.
HH: I reviewed all of the elite newspaper's editorials today, and every one of them brought up the fact that he had opposed Turkey's admission to the EU as a reason for grave concern. Is it a reason for grave concern, Mark Steyn?
MS: No, I don't think so. I think he understands, for example, that Islam is the fastest growing religion in Canada, America, Britain and Europe because it's not like the Frank Griswold Episcopal Church. It doesn't say hey, man, whatever your bag is, we're cool with that. If you want a gay church, you want a lesbian church, you want an abortionist church, we'll go along with that. It's precisely because Islam is a demanding religion that it has an appeal. And no one needs a religion that merely licenses your appetites. And this is what the guys like Frank Griswold and the Episcopal Church don't seem to realize. You know, the churches that are complaining about this fellow, are the churches that the New York Times want the Catholic Churches to be like. These are the churches in decline, and frankly, I think a lot of these critics have made themselves look actually rather ridiculous in being unable to see it like this. If you want a gay, abortionist church, found one of your own. There's nothing in Catholic theology of the last 2,000 years to suggest that they'd be cool with that.
HH: Other than will. And that's why his homily on the dictatorship of relativism on Monday was such a bold statement, because you give that sermon, you walk into conclave, a day and half later you are the Pope. You can say mandate, can't you, Mark Steyn?
MS: Absolutely, and I think these Cardinals have actually accepted his view that the challenge to the Catholic Church is actually the opposite of what the western critics say. It's not a question of how quickly it signs onto the New York Times' agenda. It's how fiercely it can hold the line, given that the disastrous consequences of the New York Times' agenda are going to be more and more plain in the next decade or two. And that's why it is, in that sense, not just an act of blind foolishness, but it's a conscious rejection of the New York Times' worldview.
HH: You know, in the choice of the name Benedict, I think he also signaled that he's perfectly prepared to go monastery if he has to.
MS: Yep, and that's what he understands, too. That it's what's important is not...you know, if you compare it with what's happened in the Anglican communion, where effectively the U.S. branch, the Episcopal church, has been kind of semi-suspended from membership. The African members of the Anglican communion are fed up with the way all they ever hear from the American, British and Canadian branches of their church is just about gay weddings and gay priests. They think this is an irrelevant issue, if you're struggling in Africa. And what this Pope seems to realize is that it's better, if necessary, to lose members in Massachusetts, and hold on to the large body of Catholic believers worldwide, who want a Pope who gives voice to their belief, rather than the moral relativism that may win them a couple more theoretical votes in the San Francisco bathhouse. I mean, that's a ridiculous proposition.
HH: I would love to find a couple of Republican Senators to give voice to the beliefs of the people who elected their majority. George Voinovich is not among them, and I'm wondering if there are any on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Rarely has a stock value plummeted as fast as the reputation of the Senate Republicans in the last two weeks, Mark Steyn. Can they get it back?
MS: Well, I've got very little time for the U.S. Senate, ever since I spent, you know, whatever it was, six weeks in close quarters with them during the impeachment trial. But I think this goes too far with Voinovich. For one thing, this is a scurrilous, last minute rumor. The company who employed this woman, this woman has claimed that a very angry John Bolton chased her down a hotel corridor in Russia ten years ago. Well, you know, the company that employed her is a sub-contractor, disputes that this happened, and says it's all nonsense. But for Voinovich to use this sort of bit of last minute rubbish as an excuse for not allowing...the one thing you expect even from a dissident Republican Senator, even from the weediest, wimpiest Republican Senator, is that they respect the right of the president to have his nominees in key positions. And you know, I'll give George Voinovich a personal promise. If I ever see him in a corridor in a hotel in Russia, I will chase him down there and berate him over this, because this is a problem peculiar to the Republicans. The Democrats do not have a faction of their own caucus that exist to basically sabotage their leader's agenda. It's purely a problem for the Republicans. And one accepts the Lincoln Chafee and the Olympia Snowes and all the other feeble Republicans who are basically just nominal Republicans. But this, Voinovich's act, goes far too far.
HH: And I watched the Lugar chairmanship yesterday, and then I read a description that he appeared to be a member of the Kerensky government, not quite sure what all the shouting was about. And it was accurate. He had no idea that Joe Biden, of all people...the people on that side of the table, Mark Steyn. I cringe for the Republic that these are senior Democrats.
MS: Well, you know, there are 300 million people in the United States, and it's actually a disgrace that in a legislature confined to one hundred people, that the United States political system has somehow managed to throw up this particular one hundred people. I mean, it's an embarrassment, I think, as I said earlier about Jim Jeffords. And what's terribly embarrassing to me is the way these fellows, who were worse than...you know, I studies the House of Lords for years, where you've got these kind of, what they call the backwoods peers. These 14th Earls and 23rd Marquises, who are basically there because their ancestor won a battle in the year 1227. And these were jokes in British politics, these bumbling fools in ermine. And yet, when you watch the way Republicans conduct their control of these Committees, they're worse than these 14th Earls and 17th Marquises. It's a pathetic spectacle.
HH: Very quickly, 30 seconds. John Sununu, Senator from your state, is said to be on the fence on the vote on abolishing the filibuster. Will we see him go south? Will that surprise you?
MS: I don't think so. Here's a guy who owes his Senatecy to the fact that he ran against another Republican Senator, precisely on those grounds, that he was unreliable, mercurial, and just eccentric in his support of the party. And John Sununu's case against Bob Smith was that he was a reliable Republican, and he has to be on this issue.
End of interview.
(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
Great interview! I loved reading every word that came from the mouths of these geniuses! Jeffords is an utter joke, and the conduct of the left and the media is so puerile as to almost strain credulity.
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