Steyn on Culture
So, just as President Obama is giving a big speech on cyber-security, the jihackists of the Islamic State manage to take over the Twitter and YouTube accounts of the Pentagon's Central Command. The juxtaposition would be too cheap and heavy-handed for any discerning playwright or novelist, but these days reality is less fussy: It's Mohammed's world, we just live in it.
Hacking into the Pentagon's social media accounts isn't the same as hacking into the Pentagon's classified databases. But as a thumb in the eye to the Great Satan it has a certain style.
And it's not irrelevant to the central question facing the still freeish world after the 17 dead in Paris last week.
There are those of us who think the issue is Islam - not all of Islam or at any rate not all Muslims, but a strain of Islam, and the one that's making all the running in the Muslim world today.
And there are those who say pay no attention to all the fellows howling "Allahu Akbar" and hooting about avenging the Prophet: There's no Islam to see here.
The latter group includes almost everyone who matters in the running of the western world. And so, in lieu of addressing the ideological challenge, they're offering us a security solution: oh, sure, occasionally someone will get through and there'll be some dead journalists or Jews or coffee-shop patrons or soldiers strolling through London streets, but they won't get through that often - because of our superior technology and intelligence gathering and surveillance techniques. As I wrote back in August:
Indeed, if you look at post-Paris policy posturing, that's all they're talking about:
And what did all these grandees decide? Well, like the lads of the cyber-caliphate, they're all about the Internet - that's to say, "while safeguarding that it remains, in scrupulous observance of fundamental freedoms , a forum for free expression", they're going to lean on Internet providers "to create the conditions of a swift reporting of material that aims to incite hatred and terror and the condition of its removing".
Ah. So to honor the memory of all those cartoonists who died for free speech they're going to police free speech ever more rigorously. This is already a culture in which a Yorkshireman can be arrested for posting a video of him dumping a Koran in the toilet, and in which the useless totalitarian twerps of the Scottish Police openly threaten the citizenry that they're under constant surveillance. What's more likely under the new security regime? That they'll be cracking down on ISIS recruiters and firebreathing imams? Or just creating makework schemes for Constable McPlod to chastise the multiculturally insensitive?
And don't think this approach is confined only to the EU:
"Violent extremism", eh? No need to get more specific than that, is there?
If this were likely to work, maybe it would be enough. But, as the Islamic State has just demonstrated rather drolly, the security state isn't that secure. And not just the Chinese and the Russians but the Norks and the new caliphate are getting rather good at poking holes in it.
January 12, 2015
America's federal-motorcade hooker-culture is depraved
A superpower unmatched at everything - except winning
The courage of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and the cowardice of Brandeis University
Here are two jokes one can no longer tell on American TV...
From two years ago, here's Mark's first thoughts on the Kermit Gosnell case
He who controls the language shapes the debate: In the same week the Associated Press announced that it would no longer describe illegal immigrants as "illegal immigrants," the star columnist of The New York Times fretted that the Supreme Court seemed to have misplaced the style book on another fashionable minority. "I am worried," wrote Maureen Dowd, "about how the justices can properly debate same-sex marriage when some don't even seem to realize that most Americans use the word 'gay' now instead of 'homosexual'..."
To modify Lord Acton, power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, but aldermanic power corrupts all der more manically. Proco "Joe" Moreno is Alderman of the First Ward of Chicago, and last week, in a city with an Aurora-size body count every weekend, his priority was to take the municipal tire-iron to the owners of a chain of fast-food restaurants. "Because of this man's ignorance," said Alderman Moreno, "I will now be denying Chick-fil-A's permit to open a restaurant in the First Ward." "This man's ignorance"? You mean, of the City of Chicago permit process? Zoning regulations? Health and safety ordinances? No, Alderman Moreno means "this man's ignorance" of the approved position on same-sex marriage.
Media types like to talk about "the narrative": News is just another form of storytelling, and certain plot lines grab you more than others. The easiest narrative of all is anything involving young people. "I believe that children are our future," as the late Whitney Houston once asserted. And, even if Whitney hadn't believed it, it would still, as a point of fact, be true. Any media narrative involving young people presupposes that they are the forces of progress, wresting the world from the grasping clutches of mean, vengeful old men and making it a better place...
Unlike the government of the United States, I can't claim any hands-on experience with Colombian hookers. But I was impressed by the rates charged by Miss Dania Suarez, and even more impressed by the U.S. Secret Service's response to them...
(VIDEO) "'Celebrate diversity' â€” the great bumper sticker â€” actually means 'celebrate stultifying homogeneity,'" Canadian best-selling author and columnist Mark Steyn told The Daily Caller. In an exclusive interview this week with TheDC's Ginni Thomas, Steyn railed against liberal "diversity"-speak and the lack of tolerance for traditional values...
Our lesson for today comes from George and Ira Gershwin: "They all laughed at Christopher Columbus When he said the world was round They all laughed when Edison recorded sound They all laughed at Wilbur and his brother When they said that man could fly They told Marconi wireless was a phony..." Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers sang it in the film "Shall We Dance?" (1937) Seventy-five years on, the president revived it to tap-dance around his rising gas prices and falling approval numbers. Delivering his big speech on energy at Prince George's Community College, he insisted the American economy will be going gangbusters again just as soon as we start running it on algae and windmills. He noted that, as with Wilbur and his brother, there were those inclined to titter...
I'm writing this from Australia, so, if I'm not quite up to speed on recent events in the United States, bear with me – the telegraph updates are a bit slow here in the bush. As I understand it, Sandra Fluke is a young coed who attends Georgetown Law and recently testified before Congress. Oh, wait, no. Update: It wasn't a congressional hearing; the Democrats just got it up to look like one, like summer stock, with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid doing the show right here in the barn and providing a cardboard set for the world premiere of "Miss Fluke Goes To Washington," with full supporting cast led by Chuck Schumer strolling in through the French windows in tennis whites and drawling, "Anyone for bull****?"
Have you seen the official White House version of what the New York Times headline writers call "A Responsible Budget"? My favorite bit is Chart 5-1 on Page 58 of their 500-page appendix on "Analytical Perspectives." This is entitled "Publicly Held Debt Under 2013 Budget Policy Projections." It's a straight line going straight up before disappearing off the top right hand corner of the graph in the year 2084 and continuing northeast straight through your eye socket, out the back of your skull and zooming up to rendezvous with Newt's space colony on the moon circa 2100...
Announcing his support for Commissar Sebelius' edicts on contraception, sterilization, and pharmacological abortion, that noted theologian the Most Reverend Al Sharpton explained: "If we are going to have a separation of church and state, we're going to have a separation of church and state." Thanks for clarifying that. The church model the young American state wished to separate from was that of the British monarch, who remains to this day Supreme Governor of the Church of England. This convenient arrangement dates from the 1534 Act of Supremacy. The title of the law gives you the general upshot, but, just in case you're a bit slow on the uptake, the text proclaims "the King's Majesty justly and rightfully is and ought to be the supreme head of the Church of England." That's to say, the sovereign is "the only supreme head on earth of the Church" and he shall enjoy "all honors, dignities, pre-eminences, jurisdictions, privileges, authorities, immunities, profits and commodities to the said dignity," not to mention His Majesty "shall have full power and authority from time to time to visit, repress, redress, record, order, correct, restrain and amend all such errors, heresies, abuses, offenses, contempts and enormities, whatsoever they be." Welcome to Obamacare.
This has less to do with any utilitarian benefit a condomless janitor at a Catholic school might derive from Obamacare, and more to do with the liberal muscle of Big Tolerance enforcing one-size-fits-all diversity. The bigger the Big Government, the smaller everything else...
For our Dutch readers...
VIDEO: Italy's Costa Concordia disaster has Mark Steyn mulling the "women and children first!" idea with Michael Coren on The Arena.
Abe Greenwald of Commentary magazine tweets: "Is there any chance that Mark Steyn won't use the Italian captain fleeing the sinking ship as the lead metaphor in a column on EU collapse?" Oh, dear. You've got to get up early in the morning to beat me to civilizational-collapse metaphors. Been there, done that.
When Christians take the Christ out of Christmas
Christmas in America is a season of time-honored traditions â€“ the sacred performance of the annual ACLU lawsuit over the presence of an insufficiently secular "holiday" tree; the ritual provocations of the atheist displays licensed by pitifully appeasing municipalities to sit between the menorah and the giant Frosty the Snowman; the familiar strains of every hack columnist's "war on Christmas" column rolling off the keyboard as easily as Richard Clayderman playing "Winter Wonderland"... This ...
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