June 16, 2008


Free Speech on Trial (Jacob Laksin, June 16, 2008, FrontPageMagazine.com)

Earlier this month, the columnist Mark Steyn went on trial for being mean. Steyn’s offense was to have published, in the fall of 2006, an excerpt from his book, America Alone, in the Canadian newsweekly Maclean’s. In it, Steyn advanced the provocative but by no means untenable argument that plunging birthrates in Europe would precipitate a demographic decline, forcing Continental countries to reach an “accommodation with their radicalized Islamic compatriots.” Europe’s future, Steyn suggested, “belongs to Islam.”

Islamic radicals, one might think, would be heartened by the backhanded vote of confidence. Instead, led by a group called the Canadian Islamic Congress, they elected to take offense. Had they limited their remonstration to an angrily worded letter to the editor or a rebuttal in another magazine, they would have been unobjectionably within their rights. But several of the group’s more aggrieved members decided to press things further. First, they demanded that Maclean’s publish an equal-length rejoinder to Steyn’s article – a crude attempt to dictate content no independent publication would accept. Failing to hijack the magazine’s pages, Steyn’s disgruntled detractors did the next best thing: they took the author and the publication to court.

The resulting case brings into bold relief the outsize power that political correctness and its more ardent executors wield in Canada. In the United States, a suit purporting to seek justice for a perceived slight involving nothing more than a difference of opinion would be laughed out the docket. But tolerance for legal frivolity seems to increase above the 49th parallel.

What makes the case sublime is the way it demonstrates the truth of Mr. Steyn's thesis: the craven Canadians truckle to their angry Muslims by trying to silence the guy who warns that this is where they're headed.

Zemanta Pixie

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 16, 2008 8:11 AM
Comments for this post are closed.