Ghost Ship

June 26, 2007

Here’s an improved link to all of Johann Hari’s soon-to-be-classic New Republic piece on the Naitonal Review cruise. Sounds like the kind of voyage that would make one long for an outbreak of salmonella, just to improve the level of conversation:

I encounter other ghosts of conservatism past wandering the ship as well. From the pool, I see John O’Sullivan, former adviser to Margaret Thatcher and former editor of National Review. And, one morning on the deck, I discover Kenneth Starr, looking like he has stepped out of a long-forgotten 1990s newsreel. His face is round and unlined, like that of an immense, contented baby. As I stare at it, all my repressed bewilderment rises, and I ask: Mr. Starr, do you feel ashamed that, while Osama bin Laden was plotting to murder nearly 3,000 American citizens, you brought the government to a standstill over a few consensual blow-jobs?

He smiles through his teeth and says, in his soft, somnambulant voice, “I am entirely at rest with the process. The House of Representatives worked its will, the Senate worked its will, the chief justice of the United States presided. The constitutional process worked admirably.” It’s an oddly meek defense, and, the more I challenge him, the more legalistic he becomes, each answer a variation on, “It wasn’t my fault.”

Several days later, the nautical counter-revolution has docked in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where passengers will clamber overboard into a nation they want to wall off behind a 1,000-mile fence. One expresses horror at my intention to find a local street kid to show me around, exclaiming, “Do you want to die?” D’Souza summarizes the prevailing sentiment by unveiling what he modestly calls “D’Souza’s law of immigration”: An immigrant’s quality is “proportional to the distance traveled to get to the United States.” In other words: Asians trump Latinos.

After wandering Puerto Vallarta without bodily harm, I return for dinner with my special National Review guest: Kate O’Beirne. She’s an impossibly tall blonde with the voice of a 1930s screwball star and the arguments of an 1890s Victorian patriarch. She inveighs against feminism and “women who make the world worse” in quick quips. She is sitting among adoring fans with her husband, Jim, who quickly announces that he is Donald Rumsfeld’s personnel director. “People keep asking what I’m doing here, with him being fired and all,” he says. “But the cruise has been arranged for a long time.”

The familiar routine of the dinners–getting-to-know-you chit-chat, followed by raging right-wing echo chamber–is accelerating. Tonight, there is explicit praise for a fascist dictator before the entrée has arrived. I drop the news that there are moves in Germany to have Rumsfeld extradited to face war crimes charges. A red-faced man who looks like an egg with a moustache glued on grumbles, “If the Germans think they can take responsibility for the world, I don’t care about German courts. Bomb them.” I begin to cite the Pinochet precedent, and O’Beirne snaps, “Treating Don Rumsfeld like Pinochet is disgusting.” Egg Man pounds his fist on the table: “Treating Pinochet like that is disgusting. Pinochet is a hero. He saved Chile.” “Exactly,” adds O’Beirne’s husband. “And he privatized Social Security.”

The table nods solemnly before marching onward to Topic A: the billion-strong swarm of Muslims who are poised to take over the world. The idea that Europe is being “taken over” is the unifying theme of this cruise. Some people go on singles’ cruises, some on ballroom-dancing cruises. This is the Muslims Are Coming cruise. Everyone thinks it. Everyone knows it. And the man most responsible for this insight is sitting only a few tables down: Mark Steyn. He is wearing sunglasses on top of his head and a bright shirt. Steyn’s thesis in his new book, America Alone, is simple: The “European races”–i.e., white people–“are too self-absorbed to breed,” but the Muslims are multiplying quickly. The inevitable result will be “large-scale evacuation operations circa 2015” as Europe is ceded to Al Qaeda and “Greater France remorselessly evolve[s] into Greater Bosnia.” He offers a light smearing of dubious demographic figures–he needs to turn 20 million European Muslims into more than 150 million in nine years, which is a lot of humping–to “prove” his case.

But facts, figures, and doubt are not on the itinerary of this cruise. With one or two exceptions, the passengers discuss “the Muslims” as a homogenous, sharia-seeking block–already with near-total control of Europe. Over the week, I am asked nine times–I counted–when I am fleeing Europe’s encroaching Muslim population for the safety of the United States.

Where’s an uncharted coral reef when you need one? This bunch would make a great cast for an update of Gilligan’s Island. Call it The Land That Time Forgot, and book it in the time slot for that awful Fox News answer to The Daily Show.   

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One Response to “Ghost Ship”

  1. gavin immerson Says:

    Fun gaming for substance abusers:
    Direct your own re-make of “Ship of Fools” with a cast of current luminaries(Hint, George{Kid Shalleen}Bush as the ball player.


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