Sunday, June 3, 2012

Mark Steyn Explains the Decline

I am a big fan of Mark Steyn – the Canadian-born, British-educated, American-residenced commentator, and regularly published in all three (as well as in Australia).  He is immensely readable and entertaining, and I have described him as a cross between Dave Barry and George Will.  His recent best-selling books are America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It and After America: Get Ready for Armageddon, and I highly recommend them.

But to cut to the chase, Steyn’s contribution yesterday (the National Review Online titles it ‘Twilight of the West’) is one of his delights.  I have no particular commentary other than to pass it along, with some delicious little tidbits:
Quebec university students, who pay the lowest tuition rates in North America, are currently striking over a proposed increase of $1,625.  Spread out over seven years.  Or about 232 bucks per annum.  Or about the cost of one fair-trade macchiato a week.  Which has, since the strike, been reduced further, to a couple of sips: If you’re wondering how guys who don’t do any work can withdraw their labor, well, “strike” is a euphemism for riot. . . .
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.
The bit in between adolescence and retirement is your working life, and it’s been getting shorter and shorter. Which is unfortunate, as it has to pay for everything else. . . . Staying ever longer in “school” (I use the term loosely) leads to ever later workplace entry, and ever later (if at all) family formation.  Which means that our generation is running up debt that will have to be repaid by our shrunken progeny.
Read the whole thing.


  1. Pithy and timely, as always. Simply explaining that one cannot strike if one isn't working should open a few eyes. Unfortunately, as is universally the case, those who need to hear this are loathe to listen.

    1. This falls into the same category as those who demand a tax rebate when they never paid any taxes.


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