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Mark Steyn: Twilight of the West
National Review Online ^ | June 2, 2012 | Mark Steyn

Posted on 06/02/2012 10:32:15 AM PDT by neverdem

The Eurovision Song Contest doesn’t get a lot of attention in the United States, but on the Continent it’s long been seen as the perfect Euro-metaphor. Years before the euro came along, it was the prototype pan-European institution, and predicated on the same assumptions. Eurovision took the national cultures that produced Mozart, Vivaldi, and Debussy, and in return gave us “Boom-Bang-a-Bang” (winner, 1969), “Ding-Ding-a-Dong” (winner, 1975), and “Diggi-Loo-Diggi-Ley” (winner, 1984). The euro took the mark, the lira, and the franc, and merged them to create the “Boom-Bang-a-Bang” of currencies.

How will it all end? One recalls the 1990 Eurovision finals in Zagreb: “Yugoslavia is very much like an orchestra,” cooed the hostess, Helga Vlahović. “The string section and the wood section all sit together.” Shortly thereafter, the wood section began ethnically cleansing the dressing rooms, while the string section rampaged through the brass section pillaging their instruments and severing their genitals. Indeed, the charming Miss Vlahović herself was forced into a sudden career shift and spent the next few years as Croatian TV’s head of “war information” programming...

--snip--

I was sad to learn that Helga Vlahović died a few weeks ago, but her central metaphor all those years ago wasn’t wrong. Any functioning society is like an orchestra. When the parts don’t fit together, it’s always the other fellow who’s out of tune. So the Greeks will blame the Germans, and vice versa. But the developed world is all playing the same recessional. In the world after Western prosperity, we will work till we’re older and we will start younger — and we will despise those who thought they could defy not just the rules of economic gravity but the basic human life cycle.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: marksteyn; steyn
"We won't get fooled again"! - The Who

Well, they got fooled again!

1 posted on 06/02/2012 10:32:20 AM PDT by neverdem
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To: JLS

Ping


2 posted on 06/02/2012 10:34:10 AM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem

Beautiful Steyn piece. Yes, the world will be different. But work keeps you young—that may be the upside.


3 posted on 06/02/2012 10:49:45 AM PDT by firebrand
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To: neverdem

We are doomed.....


4 posted on 06/02/2012 10:51:19 AM PDT by Rummyfan (Iraq: it's not about Iraq anymore, it's about the USA!)
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To: neverdem
As usual, Mark Steyn speaks the truth and hits the target.

American morons who were stupid enough to think they could defy not just the rules of economic gravity but the basic human life cycle, and truth and reality as well, are going to be singing a different tune and beating a different drum when they get what they've been demanding--or stupid enough to vote for--and reality comes crashing down!

5 posted on 06/02/2012 11:09:58 AM PDT by Savage Beast (Long may our land be bright with freedom's holy light.)
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To: neverdem

My Mother is still working at 72, as a Director of Nursing. She is well covered for her retirement, but enjoys the vitality of work. A customer of mine was laid off and fought off depression, not because she couldn’t afford to retire, but because she didn’t WANT TO! She’s 76.


6 posted on 06/02/2012 11:11:24 AM PDT by avenir (I'm pessimistic about man, but I'm optimistic about GOD!)
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To: self

ping


7 posted on 06/02/2012 11:28:25 AM PDT by PetroniusMaximus
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To: Rummyfan

I agree.


8 posted on 06/02/2012 12:31:13 PM PDT by MachIV
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To: neverdem
The Eurovision Song Contest doesn’t get a lot of attention in the United States,

Of course not. Why should it?

...but on the Continent it’s long been seen as the perfect Euro-metaphor.

Wrong. It's generally regarded as a laughable freak show. Steyn should stop constructing such silly strawmen. But then, his target audience doesn't know the difference... (Emperor Steyn is quite without clothes at times.)

9 posted on 06/02/2012 1:30:02 PM PDT by Moltke (Always retaliate first.)
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To: Moltke

So, getting past all that, is the actual meat of the column true or not?


10 posted on 06/02/2012 1:32:24 PM PDT by John W (Viva Cristo Rey!)
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To: neverdem

BTTT


11 posted on 06/02/2012 1:48:22 PM PDT by spodefly (This is my tag line. There are many like it, but this one is mine.)
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To: John W
What "meat" exactly? I'll take a guess and say perhaps this would have been a better excerpt (I replied to the top statment before reading the whole column):

Look around you. The late-20th-century Western lifestyle isn’t going to be around much longer. In a few years’ time, our children will look at old TV commercials showing retirees dancing, golfing, cruising away their sixties and seventies, and wonder what alternative universe that came from. In turn, their children will be amazed to discover that in the early 21st century the Western world thought it entirely normal that vast swathes of the citizenry should while away their youth enjoying what, a mere hundred years earlier, would have been the leisurely varsity of the younger son of a Mitteleuropean Grand Duke.

I say with no ill will that this is Steyn riding his demographics hobby horse again. It sounds plausible. But then, there have always been some significant ups and downs in populations (not only in Europe but elsewhere as well). True, some cultures vanish in the mist of time. But others persevere against all perceived odds. My guess: Those that rose to the top and are currently on (or close to) the top will do OK in the long run.

12 posted on 06/02/2012 1:57:19 PM PDT by Moltke (Always retaliate first.)
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To: Moltke

This part was what caught my interest the most-—

That’s to say, the unsustainable “bubble” is not student debt or subprime mortgages or anything else. The bubble is us, and the assumptions of entitlement. Too many citizens of advanced Western democracies live a life they have not earned, and are not willing to earn.

Indeed, much of our present fiscal woe derives from two phases of human existence that are entirely the invention of the modern world. Once upon a time, you were a kid till you were 13 or so; then you worked; then you died. That bit between childhood and death has been chewed away at both ends.

We invented something called “adolescence” that now extends not merely through the teenage years but through a desultory half decade of Whatever Studies at Complacency U up till you’re 26 and no longer eligible for coverage on your parents’ health-insurance policy.

At the other end of the spectrum, we introduced something called “retirement” that, in the space of two generations, has led to the presumption that able-bodied citizens are entitled to spend the last couple of decades, or one-third of their adult lives, as a long holiday weekend.


13 posted on 06/02/2012 2:17:35 PM PDT by John W (Viva Cristo Rey!)
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To: TheOldLady; Rummyfan; Howlin; riley1992; Miss Marple; Dane; sinkspur; steve; kattracks; ...

Mark Steyn ping.

Freepmail me, if you want on or off the Mark Steyn ping list.

Thanks for the ping neverdem.


14 posted on 06/02/2012 2:41:52 PM PDT by JLS (How to turn a recession into a depression: elect a Dem president with a big majorities in Congress))
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To: Moltke
It's generally regarded as a laughable freak show.

Yes, unlike the high art of Dancing with the Starlets and Americans Idle (20,000+ posts on this forum.)

15 posted on 06/02/2012 2:53:17 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: Revolting cat!
Yes, unlike the high art of Dancing with the Starlets and Americans Idle.

I wish FR had a thumbs up button.

16 posted on 06/02/2012 3:00:00 PM PDT by Sirius Lee (Goode or Evil, that's the choice.)
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To: John W

Can’t argue with you (or Steyn) there! The entitlement culture is clearly unsustainable. So it will crash sooner or later. Politicians just weasel around to make sure it doesn’t happen during their term in office (making the coming crash just so much worse).


17 posted on 06/02/2012 5:09:42 PM PDT by Moltke (Always retaliate first.)
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To: Revolting cat!

The masses tend to gravitate to the bizarre for cheap thrills. Panem et circenses. And so it shall continue, in perpetuity. Amen.


18 posted on 06/02/2012 5:23:39 PM PDT by Moltke (Always retaliate first.)
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To: Moltke

“this is Steyn riding his demographics hobby horse again.”

Demographics isn’t a hobby horse. It’s pretty much just numbers.

Brings to mind one of the original Star Trek episodes from long ago. The Enterprise has taken on some kind of advanced alien robotic machine called “M-5”, which has the power to destroy the starship. Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy are debating what to do, and of course Spock suggests reason and logic. To which McCoy replies, “It’s a machine, Spock - you can’t argue with a machine!”

And that’s how it goes with demographics, too. Just numbers, as cold as a machine. You can’t really argue with ‘em...

Steyn - like Pat Buchanan - is right on this one. The West’s “numbers” are on the downside of the graph, while the “non-West’s” numbers are on the rise.

How would you suggest they be “turned around”?


19 posted on 06/02/2012 7:18:23 PM PDT by Road Glide
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To: prairiebreeze

marker


20 posted on 06/02/2012 8:24:23 PM PDT by prairiebreeze (Don't be afraid to see what you see. -- Ronald Reagan)
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To: Road Glide

We need another killer app.


21 posted on 06/02/2012 8:38:57 PM PDT by Mike Darancette (Ineptocracy; the Obama way.)
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To: neverdem; sickoflibs
In the world after Western prosperity, we will work till we’re older and we will start younger — and we will despise those who thought they could defy not just the rules of economic gravity but the basic human life cycle.

ping

22 posted on 06/02/2012 9:15:17 PM PDT by GOPJ ( "A Dog In Every Pot" - freeper ETL)
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To: Moltke
The masses tend to gravitate to the bizarre for cheap thrills. Panem et circenses. And so it shall continue, in perpetuity. Amen.
I read something about most of Rome being in the Coliseum being entertained when the Barbarians invaded the city.
23 posted on 06/02/2012 9:32:04 PM PDT by wjcsux ("In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." - George Orwell)
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To: Road Glide

I said hobby horse because Steyn certainly writes a lot on this topic.

But I agree - demographics are math/numbers. But what they’re not, is long term linear extrapolation. At least that is the opinion I’m trying to bring across. I beleive that at some point the current trend of Western birth decline will change again.

How will the current trend be turned around? - In the old fashioned way! ;-)


24 posted on 06/03/2012 9:27:52 AM PDT by Moltke (Always retaliate first.)
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To: neverdem

Coming soon to a country near you.


25 posted on 06/04/2012 10:20:45 AM PDT by Flashman_at_the_charge (Bill Maher is the de facto court-jester and fundraiser of the Obama regime.)
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