June 18, 2008


Banning Steyn: The road to hell is in Canada. (Jonah Goldberg, 6/17/08, National Review)

Mark Steyn, my friend, colleague, and arguably the most talented political writer working today, is on trial for thought crimes.

Steyn — a one-man media empire based in New Hampshire — was published a few years ago in Maclean’s. Now the magazine and its editors are in the dock before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal on the charge that they violated a provincial hate-speech law by running the work of a hate-monger, namely Mark Steyn. A similar prosecution is pending before the national version of this kangaroo court, the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Not that the facts are relevant to the charges, but here’s what happened. Maclean’s ran an excerpt from Steyn’s bestseller, America Alone.

The Canadian Islamic Congress took offense. It charged in its complaint that the magazine was “flagrantly Islamophobic” and “subjects Canadian Muslims to hatred and contempt.” It was particularly scandalized by Steyn’s argument that rising birthrates among Muslims in Europe will force non-Muslims there to come to “an accommodation with their radicalized Islamic compatriots.”

Note: Steyn’s article was published in 2006, before Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, supported that point earlier this year when he said that it is “unavoidable” that Britain will ultimately have to incorporate some elements of sharia into its law in the spirit of “constructive accommodation.”

You might think that if Steyn had been able to quote Williams or someone else who’d expressed that view, he and Maclean’s wouldn’t be in trouble. You’d be wrong. One of the council’s chief gripes with the article is that Steyn quoted an imam living in Norway who said that “the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes.” An accurate quotation is no defense when giving offense.

Indeed, it seems there is no escaping the charge of promoting “hate” in Canada at all. In 31 years, the national Human Rights Commission has never dismissed a case as unfounded.

People still seem to wrestle with the fact that multiculturalism requires censorship. This is the case because, contrary to perception, liberal tolerance isn't about taking all ideas seriously but about neutering them all, lest they be sources of tension within a system that seeks security at any cost.

Islam and phobias: Mark Steyn and the thought police (The Economist, 6/10/08)

One of [Maclean's] star attractions is Mark Steyn, a columnist who is a sparkling, often side-splittingly funny writer and, by his own admission, “a Zionist neocon Bush shill”. Some readers added “Islamophobe” after Maclean's published an alarmist screed by Mr Steyn in October 2006 predicting, among other things, that Europe was becoming a “Eurabia” overrun by Muslim hordes, intent on jihad and sharia.

The piece, an excerpt from Mr Steyn's book “America Alone: The End Of The World As We Know It”, was notable for its simplistic demographic projections—Yemen (population 22m) will outnumber Russia (141m) by mid-century, he wrote confidently—and for the reaction it generated. [...]

Much of Canada's press and many broadcasters are already noted for politically correct blandness. Some fear that the case can only make that worse. Mr Steyn and others hope it will prompt a narrower brief for the commissions, or even their abolition. As he put it in his blog, “I don't want to get off the hook. I want to take the hook and stick it up the collective butt of these thought police.”

How can it be alarmist in a country that almost adopted sharia recently?

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Posted by Orrin Judd at June 18, 2008 7:26 AM
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