John Hawkins: In your opinion, why is it that Europe has become so much more secular than the United States, where Christianity is still strong? Mark Steyn: The short answer is separation of church and state - and I use that phrase as it was intended to be used: The founders’ distaste for "establishment of religion" simply means that they didn't want President Washington also serving as head of the Church Of America and the Archbishop of Virginia sitting in the Unites States Senate - as to this day the Queen is Supreme Governor of the Church Of England and the Archbishop of York sits in the House Of Lords. Most European countries either had de jure state churches, like England, or de facto ones, like Catholic Italy. One consequence of that is the lack of portability of faith: in America, when the Episcopalians and Congregationalists go all post-Christian and relativist, people find another church; in Britain, when Christians give up on the Church of England, they tend to give up on religion altogether. So the dynamism of American faith exemplifies the virtues of the broader society: the US has a free market in religion, Europe had cosseted overregulated monopolies and cartels. The other salient point is that obviously Europe does have a religion: radical secularism. The era of the state church has been replaced by an age in which the state itself is the church. European progressives still don't get this: they think the idea of a religion telling you how to live your life is primitive, but the government regulating every aspect of it is somehow advanced and enlightened.He also has words about he no longer writes for The National Post, and what bloggers he likes. Nice going, Kate.
John Hawkins: Why did you stop writing for the National Post and is there any bad blood there? Mark Steyn: I stopped because they fired the Editor and Deputy Editor and various other folks I liked – like the Marketing lady. I’m all in favour of firing people, but not if the guys you replace them with aren’t as good. So I left. The National Post was one of the great adventures of my journalistic life, not just because it was a conservative venture in a liberal country, but because it brought a tremendous brio and humor to a torpid newspaper culture. There seemed no point in sticking with the paper on its slide toward smugly conventional Trudeaupian mediocrity. Today the paper still has some great individual voices - Robert Fulford, George Jonas, Andrew Coyne - but it has no coherent identity, and the reality of an over-regulated media environment in a one-party state means that the current owners have compelling reasons to remain Liberal Party courtiers. Conrad Black, the paper’s founder, was a very rare exception to that rule.Being a better paper the Edward Greenspon Globe and Mail is indeed damnation with faint praise. No joke, I made a Globe telemarketer choke on her croissant by telling her the paper was too left for me to even consider. Obviously [sitting up straight now, and pounding the table], she had no idea who she was talking to.