Mark Steyn, a nationally-rec­og­nized jour­nalist and prominent con­ser­v­ative figure, brought a standing-room-only audience to its feet mul­tiple times during his speech con­cerning America’s descent into big gov­ernment Tuesday night at the George Roche Sports Complex.

“People can change…and big gov­ernment can force people to change quicker than you think,” Steyn said.

He argued that the American legacy of small gov­ernment does not render the nation invul­nerable to the spread of European-style statist rule.

“We have to get serious about the nature and view of gov­ernment that many, and quite pos­sibly a majority, of American’s now hold,” he said.

He spoke to an audience con­sisting of CAA attendees and stu­dents. They fre­quently showed their approval of his message, both through laughter and applause. Ref­er­encing Beyonce, Rutherford B. Hayes, and pole dancers, Steyn weaved a lurid inter­mixture of humor and political analysis.

Steyn ref­er­enced sta­tistics on gov­ernment spending as a per­centage of GDP, arguing that they show America has caught up, if not exceeded, many European coun­tries in terms of gov­ernment size. He went on to assert that despite America’s unprece­dented spending, we have little to show for it.

“[Obama] is the only man in history to spend $6 trillion he does not have,” Steyn said. “Not only that, but he managed to spend $6 trillion and leave no trace. Do you know how impressive that is?”

Steyn said that systems of big-gov­ernment that may be at least par­tially func­tional in a smaller nation do not scale well to America’s needs. He said that instead of car­rying out the pur­ported intention of serving the needs of the people, a large system of gov­ernment becomes obsessed with per­pet­u­ating itself:

“Gov­ernment edu­cation funding is about gov­ernment, not edu­cation,” he said. “Gov­ernment health care is about gov­ernment, not health. Gov­ernment gun control is about gov­ernment, not guns.”

Though Steyn acknowl­edged the severity of the sit­u­ation, he urged his audience not merely to wait for some­thing to change. Rather, he said, “tend to your state … and demon­strate the virtues of respon­sible gov­ernment at the city level.”

He asked the crowd to prove him wrong and show that America can indeed recover from its descent towards a statist style of gov­ernment. Despite this opti­mistic call for action, in the post-Q&A session he again reminded the crowd of the scope of the chal­lenge they face.

“We have looted the future to bribe the present,” Steyn said, “and at the bottom of the cliff the future is waiting for what we owe it.”

  • russ in nc

    In his book “After America” Mr Steyn notes almost in passing that at the end America no longer has 50 stars on Old Glory.

  • Barbara Smith

    sorry i missed this!

  • Bryan Johnson

    Good reporting, as far as it goes, but you didn’t fill the tease: What did Steyn say to the guy in the red plaid shirt, and why does he have such a problem with that par­ticular fabric? I live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and I have lots of red plaid shirts. Shoot, I even have a red plaid *hat*! It’s cold up here, and that’s darned good fabric. Mark Steyn will have to pry my red plaid from my cold… wait… sorry, got a little con­fused there.

  • Bubbah

    Mark Steyn is a national embar­rassment in Canada.

    He’s also a delu­sional, paranoid con­spiracy the­orist who claims com­mu­nists are secretly taking over America using the blacks (Obama etc) and the Jews (Soros etc.) .… these rightwingers really should get a new schtick, their current one is pretty stale.

    He also subs for the racist pro­pa­gandist Rush Lim­baugh occas­sionally.. need I say more.

  • Marcia Whitaker

    Amer­icans, not American’s. Proves his point about edu­cation.

  • Al Sheeber

    Where is the url?

  • America’s eco­nomic ascen­dency is approaching its ter­minus, and more fore­bod­ingly, its ter­mi­nation. Those too stupid to learn from history are doomed to replicate it again and again, and yet again.

  • I can’t quite get my mind around a “standing-room-only audience” getting to its feet. I mean, aren’t they already there?

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