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AMERICA ALONE: The End of the World As We Know It Paperback – April 7, 2008
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It's the end of the world as we know it...
Someday soon, you might wake up to the call to prayer from a muezzin. Europeans already are. And liberals will still tell you that "diversity is our strength"--while Talibanic enforcers cruise Greenwich Village burning books and barber shops, the Supreme Court decides sharia law doesn't violate the "separation of church and state," and the Hollywood Left decides to give up on gay rights in favor of the much safer charms of polygamy. If you think this can't happen, you haven't been paying attention, as the hilarious, provocative, and brilliant Mark Steyn--the most popular conservative columnist in the English-speaking world--shows to devastating effect. The future, as Steyn shows, belongs to the fecund and the confident. And the Islamists are both, while the West is looking ever more like the ruins of a civilization. But America can survive, prosper, and defend its freedom only if it continues to believe in itself, in the sturdier virtues of self-reliance (not government), in the centrality of family, and in the conviction that our country really is the world's last best hope. Mark Steyn's America Alone is laugh-out-loud funny--but it will also change the way you look at the world.
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Praise for America Alone
"Mark Steyn is a human sandblaster. This book provides a powerful, abrasive, high-velocity assault on encrusted layers of sugarcoating and whitewash over the threat of Islamic imperialism. Do we in the West have the will to prevail?" --Michelle Malkin, New York Times bestselling author of Unhinged
"Mark Steyn is the funniest writer now living. But don't be distracted by the brilliance of his jokes. They are the neon lights advertising a profound and sad insight: America is almost alone in resisting both the suicide of the West and the suicide bombing of radical Islamism." --John O'Sullivan, editor at large, National Review, and author of The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister
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Steyn says September 11, 2001, was not "the day everything changed," but the day that revealed how much had already changed. Islamic extremists are not fighting so that we can provide them with something. They are fighting to eliminate America and the West. We need to be shaken from our pre-occupation with elevating the secondary impulses (self-gratification) over the primary ones: national defense, self-reliance, family, and, most basic of all, reproductive activity.
Steyn offers a series of alternative responses to this global threat and rules all but "reforming Islam" unrealistic. His plan for reform places an emphasis on creating conditions which will increase the likelihood of Muslim reform including:
1. Supporting women's rights in the Muslim world.
2. Roll back ideological exports like Wahhabi, that radicalize Muslims.
3. Support economic and political liberty in the Muslim world.
4. End the Iranian Regime.
5. Strike militarily as needed.
"America Alone" will change the way you look at the world. Steyn argues we don't know who we are, we don't know the issues, and we still do not understand the nature of the enemy. We are the ones who are nuts. We have the better government, religion, and culture but our ideological insecurity is a weakness that becomes this particular enemy's strength. We must turn away from a culture that is suicidal. A suicide bomber is not a weak weapon against a culture intent on killing itself.
As Steyn notes near the end, the book isn't about Islam, or the decline of the West, or terrorism, or any of the simple, trite soundbites that have been attributed to it. It's an argument for WILL, for the West to grow a spine, to reacquire our civilizational confidence. Lord Kenneth Clark in his BBC series "Civilization: A Personal View" said (and I paraphrase) that one of the most important feature of a civilization, if not the most, was confidence. Confidence that it will still be around next year, that it is worthwhile planting crops now, so they could be harvested next season. Confidence that soldiers won't suddenly appear on the horizon and destroy your farm. Confidence that an apple seed planted in your backyard will provide fruit for your grandchildren. That if you paint a fresco, the wall its on will still be standing in a century. That if you write a book, the language you use will still be understood half a millennia in the future. And that if you hauled stone for the great cathedral which had been building since before your father was born, and which your baby son might live to see completed if, the good Lord willing, he lived to be an old man; your efforts would be valued by subsequent generations stretching forward toward some unimaginably distant futurity. And above all, the self-confidence that you are part of something grander than yourself, something with roots in the past, and a glorious future of achievement ahead of it.
When the Romans lost that self confidence, when they began doubting their own purpose, they began to die.
Europe is, as Steyn illustrates, dying now from the lack of confidence, leaving only the U.S. to stand against an ideology that wants all the world to live under its crushing weight.
It's a book everyone should read.
Overall this is a book well worth reading for the understanding of what what our values are, and why they are worth defending.
Good job, Mark. I'll be reading some more of your books soon.