|"Humor with a dash of scathing|
by Marieke van der Vaart on April 5, 2012
Internationally-acclaimed writer and pundit Mark Steyn spoke at Hillsdale College April 4 on America's financial crisis and what he called the "Utopian Myopia" denial of the country's federal deficit.
"We have not just outspent America, we have outspent the entire planet," Steyn said.
Some 750 students, professors, and friends of the college attended the lecture in the George Roche Sports Complex Tuesday night.
Steyn spoke for 45 minutes to laughter, applause, and affirmative shouts.
His talk highlighted America's national debt and the entitlement thinking that contributed to it. Paul Moreno, associate professor of history, said the talk was beneficial for any student of United States history since 1945.
"Few make so clear the suicidal nature of the entitlement state, and nobody does it with such wit," Moreno said. "I loved it."
Students and professors both said his points paired humor with policy observations that were as funny as they were earnest.
"Steyn was, as usual, a stitch, and, as usual, what he had to say was serious," said Professor of History Paul Rahe. "As he pointed out, we cannot continue to live beyond our means. Either we get our act together (which will be painful) or we go down."
Steyn directed many of his barbs at current president Barack Obama, and his profligate spending. He said Obama justified government spending by using a language of rights.
"In our world, it's not a real human right unless someone else pays for it," Steyn said.
Students who attended the talk said his section on the slew of "awareness-raising" efforts was especially funny. Steyn criticized recent diaper-awareness days across the country, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) who put forward a Diaper Investment and Aid to Promote Economic Recovery Act last year.
"That ship has sailed," Steyn said. "That diaper has filled."
"At one point, I just lost it," senior Catherine Sims said. "I was laughing so hard, I couldn't breathe."
Sims also said she was impressed by Steyn's dynamic speaking style, as well as his references to literature and history.
"He was able to appeal to the mass of listeners while at the same time while citing people like [Johann Wolfgang] Goethe and [Edward] Gibbon.""