The Corner – Steynophobia, by Stanley Kurtz (I closed the window without doing all the links. Sorry.)
Late yesterday I stumbled across an article about a “human rights complaint” filed by the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) against Maclean’s, Canada’s most widely-read news magazine, for running a “flagrantly Islamophobic” excerpt from Mark Steyn’s book, America Alone. At least two Canadian Human Rights Commissions have agreed to hear these complaints. Only then did I find Steyn’s too-easily-missed late-night post from Wednesday on the controversy.
This is a big deal. The blogosphere has so far largely missed it, but this attack on Mark Steyn is very much our business. There may be an impulse to dismiss this assault on Steyn, on the assumption that it will fail, that Steyn is a big boy and can take care of himself, and that in any case this is crazy Canada, where political correctness rules, rather than the land of the free. That would be a mistake. The Canadian Islamic Congress’s war on Mark Steyn and Maclean’s is an attack on all of us. I’ll say more in a moment about how a Canadian case can reach into America, but let’s first take a look at the goings on up north.
The complaints against Maclean’s for publishing an excerpt from America Alone have been filed by several Canadian law students and by Faisal Joseph, a former crown attorney. Maclean’s published a total of 27 letters over two issues in response to Steyn’s piece–more responses than any Maclean’s cover story received over the past year. Yet when the law student’s demanded a longer response, Maclean’s was willing to consider it. The students then insisted that Maclean’s run a five-page article, written by an author of their choice, with no editing by the magazine. They also demanded that the reply to Steyn be a cover story, with art controlled by them, rather than the magazine. At this point, Editor-in-Chief Kenneth Whyte showed them the door, saying he would rather let Maclean’s go bankrupt than permit someone outside of operations dictate the magazine’s content.
The tiff over the excerpt from America Alone is only the tip of the iceberg. The Canadian Islamic Congress has actually accused several Canadian news outlets of Islamophobia. CIC issued a report entitled “Maclean’s Magazine: A Case Study of Media-Propogated Islamophobia,” in which at least 18 articles were said to show anti-Muslim bias. Canada’s National Post has been similarly attacked. Here, journalist Andrew Coyne explains how he was accused of endangering Muslims merely for having penned the phrase: “…the massive backlash against innocent Muslims that failed to materialize…”…
Connect the dots and you will see that the attack on Mark Steyn in Canada is part and parcel of a world-wide assault on free speech that has already reached well into America. This is our battle. It is essential that there be widespread public condemnation of the attack on Mark Steyn. Not only does this “human rights” complaint have to fail, it has to fail miserably and with embarrassment. Otherwise, whatever the formal result, the chilling effect will be one more victory for the forces trying to destroy our rights.
He’s right, the blogosphere, though it’s taken note of it, hasn’t reacted with much more than an “Oh look”, which just means that this sort of behaviour is expected. So of course the Left thinks that this government-executed contravening of his free speech is a great idea. And of course has a Hillary-Clinton-”vast-right-wing-conspiracy” moment in the process:
The excerpt from Mark Steyn’s America Alone that ran in Maclean’s last year is far more blatantly racist than I figured it would be when I began reading it. I knew Steyn was a bigot, with a 1920s obsession with demographic decline. (Cf. Tom Buchanan in Gatsby, who can’t stop talking about Rise of the Colored Empires, “by this man Goddard.”) But I imagined Steyn was more adroit in his use of code words and deniability feints. No! “Just look at the development within Europe, where the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes” is merely the most spectacular example of – not code words. I’m not completely shocked that Steyn would write with such frank bigotry, or that Regnery would publish it. I’m somewhat surprised that an establishment organ like Maclean’s would run it.
To which Mark Steyn responds in The Corner:
Hello, Mr Henley? Anybody home in there? Those are quotation marks, because they’re someone else’s words – not the blatant racism of the racist douchebag Steyn but of a prominent Scandinavian imam. It’s tempting to say to Jim Henley, “Douchebag, douche thyself”, and leave it at that. However, in an attempt to divine his thinking on the subject, I’d like to ask him this:
What is it precisely about this statement that makes it “blatantly racist”? That a Euro-Muslim imam uttered the words? Or that an “Anglo American” (if I can be said to count as such) was culturally insensitive enough to reveal the mullah’s words to a wider audience? Is the problem Krekar’s “frank bigotry”, or “Anglo Americans” boorish enough to let the cat out the bag?
Or, if that’s too much for him, perhaps he could at least issue a clarification.
So, now his post looks like this:
The excerpt from Mark Steyn’s America Alone that ran in Maclean’s last year is far more blatantly racist than I figured it would be when I began reading it. I knew Steyn was a bigot, with a 1920s obsession with demographic decline. (Cf. Tom Buchanan in Gatsby, who can’t stop talking about Rise of the Colored Empires, “by this man Goddard.”) But I imagined Steyn was more adroit in his use of code words and deniability feints. No!
“Just look at the development within Europe, where the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes” is merely the most spectacular example of – not code words.I’m not completely shocked that Steyn would write with such frank bigotry, or that Regnery would publish it. I’m somewhat surprised that an establishment organ like Maclean’s would run it.
So Steyn’s a douchebag for saying what he said, but he didn’t say it, but even so he’s still a douchebag. Maybe, rather than merely striking-through the douchebag-proving one, this dude can find another quote, then?
But the comments are amusing.
But moving on, though the douchebag hasn’t actually been silenced, yet…
John and Jonah are exactly right about how important it is to defend Mark vigorously, and I’d add that Stanley could not be more right on the close connection between the calculated attacks on Mark and the wave of “libel tourism” — by which prominent Saudis, upset at reports linking the Kingdom to terror funding, have made a practice of finding friendly forums (like Great Britain) in which to file libel suits that, though they would be frivolous under American law, are frighteningly valid under the laws of other countries which (a) lack both a First Amendment and free-expression values, and (b) are slaves to political correctness. The suits intimidate not only journalists and scholars but the publishers and benefactors who would otherwise promote their work — and the public is ill-served because the we don’t get the free flow of information on which good public policy depends.
“Ill-served” my ass. It’s a bit more serious than that, no?
Cleanthes’ comment that the page was down (it isn’t, but it’s probably muchos busy) made me go back over to check. 629 comments, now closed, with a follow-up post.
The last bunch are just hilarious. You’d think after 600 or so the lefties would fly in to get his back, but no, again, it didn’t happen. So, I’m working backwards, and really, they’re hysterical. I’d start quoting but I’ll never finish… I hope he doesn’t end up taking the site down… Think anyone’s archived it? Maybe I should. There. Ahhh, Paparazzi. Although even it was nearly overloaded by this page…