The inimitable Mark Steyn — author of one of the great books of the new century, America Alone, and probably the most popular substitute host on the Rush Limbaugh radio show — likes to crunch numbers. In America Alone, he examined population statistics to show how Muslims are conquering Europe demographically, by the sheer differential between Muslim and non-Muslim fertility rates.
Lately, he’s been crunching some equally alarming numbers: namely, numbers describing the U.S. debt, and interest payments on that debt versus expenditures on our national defense. From his article, “Dependence Day,” in the current issue of The New Criterion,
According to the cbo’s [Congressional Budget Office] 2010 long-term budget outlook, by 2020 the U.S. government will be paying between 15 and 20 percent of its revenues in debt interest—whereas defense spending will be down to between 14 and 16 percent. America will be spending more on debt interest than China, Britain, France, Russia, Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, India, Italy, South Korea, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Spain, Turkey, and Israel spend on their militaries combined. The superpower will have advanced from a nation of aircraft carriers to a nation of debt carriers.
J-11 fighters (JianJi-11) is an advanced 4th-generation fighter in the People’s Liberation Army Air Force
What does that mean? In 2009, the United States spent about $665 billion on its military, the Chinese about $99 billion. If Beijing continues to buy American debt at the rate it has in recent years, then within a half-decade or so U.S. interest payments on that debt will be covering the entire cost of the Chinese military. This year, the Pentagon issued an alarming report to Congress on Beijing’s massive military build-up, including new missiles, upgraded bombers, and an aircraft-carrier R&D program intended to challenge American dominance in the Pacific. What the report didn’t mention is who’s paying for it. Answer: Mr. and Mrs. America.
Within the next five years, the People’s Liberation Army, which is the largest employer on the planet… will be entirely funded by U.S. taxpayers. When they take Taiwan, suburban families in Connecticut and small businesses in Idaho will have paid for it.
According to Steyn, however, the money is only a symptom; the real tragedy is the relative decline, in the global political mix, of the great cultural inheritance of the English-speaking world: the whole concept of ordered liberty and self-governance, and the legal-political systems that embody it. After reading Steyn’s article, I would go so far as to say that, as important as scientific and technological genius has been for the alleviation of human suffering, the genius of the English and American political worldview has perhaps been equally important for the aggregate prosperity and happiness of the human race. But,
We are coming to the end of a two-century Anglosphere dominance, and of a world whose order and prosperity many people think of as part of a broad, general trend but which, in fact, derive from a very particular cultural inheritance and may well not survive it.
F.A. Hayek, author of the classic The Road to Serfdom, wrote in 1944 that collectivism changes the character of a people — and that it specifically erodes the virtues at which the British happened to excel:
independence and self-reliance, individual initiative and local responsibility, the successful reliance on voluntary activity, noninterference with one’s neighbor and tolerance of the different and queer, respect for custom and tradition, and a healthy suspicion of power and authority.
After quoting Hayek, Steyn goes on to say:
Within little more than half a century, almost every item on the list had been abandoned, from “independence and self-reliance” (some 40 percent of Britons receive state handouts) to “a healthy suspicion of power and authority”—the reflex response now to almost any passing inconvenience is to demand the government “do something.” American exceptionalism would have to be awfully exceptional to suffer a similar expansion of government without a similar descent, in enough of the citizenry, into chronic dependency.
Steyn makes the case much better than I can; read the whole piece here.
As Steyn’s article makes so clear, it is critical to the survival not only of America — but also of the ideals that America offers to the world — that we defend American exceptionalism, which is under vigorous attack by the “elites” in our own country.
It is urgent that we choose leaders such as Allen West who believe deeply in American exceptionalism. Like Mark Steyn, Allen West understands that:
1) the national debt is a matter of national security;
2) American exceptionalism is real, and it is a good thing — not only for us, but for the world overall. For the good of everyone, we should fight to preserve it.
As you may recall, Allen West’s official campaign theme last fall was “Restoring American Exceptionalism.”
Allen West gets it.
hat tip: swvapatriot at RedState
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