Programming notes: In these final days we have a few pre-election extras for you, including a Clubland Q&A tomorrow, a special Sunday Tucker and, if you're desperate for something non-election oriented, a new Tale for Our Time. Details below.
~The real election issue, as it has been for two decades, is that western civilization is sliding off the cliff very fast, and most of the inheritors of that civilization aren't even aware of it. As noted in yesterday's Laura's Links, the French are butching up on some of this stuff, at least by comparison with the rest of the west. (Yes, yes, I know, damning with faint praise: Best gay bar in Riyadh and all that...). Having given the world postmodernism and its ever uglier progeny, France has somehow managed to wind up with an education minister who denounces intersectionality and Islamo-leftism. In reaction to the recent decapitation of a school teacher, M Macron himself has said that people have the right to draw and publish Mohammed cartoons.
Islam is not inclined to take that talk lying down. So the latest member of Local 437 of the Amalgamated Union of Lone Wolves launched the Rampage du Jour this morning at Notre Dame Basilica in Nice, less than half a mile from the scene of the 2016 Bastille Day bloodbath. Today's Islamofanatic beheaded an elderly lady at the font and then a sacristan, fatally stabbed a second woman and wounded others before being taken down by the gendarmes. As he was arrested, he yelled ...oh, go on, take a wild guess. Two hours later another would-be Allahu Akbutcher started threatening the same-old-same-old on the streets of Avignon, a 150 miles or so west. The coppers shot him dead.
Fourteen years ago, the late Christopher Hitchens asked Tony Blair if the thesis of my book America Alone was part of "the European conversation". The Prime Minister replied that it was part of "the subterranean conversation" - ie, you could mutter it sotto voce PM to PM, but it was unspeakable in public. In the last few weeks, Emmanuel Macron and his colleagues have made it a little less subterranean. Good for him.
~The Big Tech hearings in Congress with the three woke billionaires were a big nothing. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg has done a zillion of these, and what's come of it? Testifying to parliament is like testifying at trial or in a deposition: the more you do it, the easier it gets. Believe me, I know. If this is the best you got, the woketators will win.
What we witnessed yesterday seemed more like a passing of the torch - from the quaint old world of "laws" and "legislatures" and "constitutional rights" to the new world of total algorithmic control. Zuckerberg and the Google guy and the mentally deranged homeless dude were not in the least bit discombobulated by the senatorial huffing and puffing.
~The new thought-police do not stop when you get off the computer. In my battleground state of New Hampshire, signs for all parties and none are part of the way of life. Indeed, come the big cleanup on the day after election, Republicans and Democrats will often agree to collect each others' signs and drop them back home.
Or at least that's the way we used to do things. Dave Streit paid $2,600 to place a billboard atop 169 Main Street in Nashua, down south by the Massachusetts border. You can see the sign in the picture above: It says "Trump Country".
But you can no longer see the sign on the building. There were "complaints" and so Outfront Media took down the billboard.
The short story of my years in America is that things that used to be universally admired decayed into fringe enthusiasms - to the point where freedom of speech is now regarded as just some weird right-wing fetish, like Nascar and the Confederate flag. But what's happened on Twitter, Facebook and Nashua's Main Street is cutting to the chase: competitive multi-party elections are now just some right-wing thing.
The good news is the woke totalitarians have a fight on their hand: A company in Manchester, NH gave Mr Streit's Nashua-banished billboard half-a-dozen sites for free, and in a bigger town. But take note: The one-party state is being built on social media, but it's already spreading beyond.
~One reason why I'm reasonably kinda sorta semi-confident about Tuesday is, as I've observed before, the total lack of enthusiasm on the Biden side. For example, the stars of left-wing cable - Rachel Maddow et al - have derived no ratings fillip from the present contest: In particular, the "youthful" demographic (25 to 54) is nowhere to be found. By contrast, my friend Tucker Carlson is now the most-watched show in the history of cable news. He was second (in all TV, broadcast and cable) only to the World Series on Tuesday evening.
That's not just because I wasn't on the show that night. Instead, Tucker had a fairly dense hour-long conversation with a fellow nobody had ever heard of twenty minutes beforehand - Tony Bobulinski - on his dealings with the Biden Crime Syndicate. There was a lot of financial jargon and a bunch of foreign names, neither of which has ever guaranteed boffo ratings. Yet Tucker pulled a spectacular seven-and-a-half million viewers. That's about twelve per cent of the entire 2016 Trump vote - to watch a forensic analysis of a rather abstruse topic. That's amazing, and suggests that Republican voters are engaged in a way that the Dems cannot match.
On last night's Tucker, alas, there was no blockbuster Bobulinski, just the same old Steyn. Click below to watch:
On Sunday evening there will be a special edition of "Tucker Carlson Tonight" that I shall be honored to be a part of. It starts at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific, and I hope you'll tune in. On Monday morning I'll be on "Fox & Friends".
Tomorrow, Friday, I'll be conducting a pre-election edition of our Clubland Q&A, taking questions from Mark Steyn Club members live around the planet. That will be at 4pm North American Eastern/8pm GMT.
If you're sick of the election, do join me this evening for a brand new Tale for Our Time.
~We opened The Mark Steyn Club three-and-a-half years ago, and I'm thrilled by all those SteynOnline supporters across the globe - from Fargo to Fiji, Vancouver to Vanuatu, Surrey to the Solomon Islands - who've signed up to be a part of it. My only regret is that we didn't launch it eighteen years ago, but better late than never. You can find more information about the Club here - and, if you've a pal who might be partial to this sort of thing, don't forget our special Gift Membership.
Oh, and if you're a Welshman or Victorian seriously chafing under house arrest without end, there's no better way to cock a snook at the lockdown than by booking a berth on our Covid-delayed Third Annual Steyn Cruise sailing the Med next autumn - and with the Trump-pardoned Conrad Black, Michele Bachmann, John O'Sullivan and Douglas Murray among our shipmates. We'll be attempting some seaboard versions of The Mark Steyn Show, Tales for Our Time, our Sunday Poem and other favorite features. If you're minded to give it a go, don't leave it too late: as with most travel and accommodations, the price is more favorable the earlier you book - and, if the lockdown ever does gets lifted, why use your newfound freedom of movement just to visit the county fair or see X-Men 47 at the reopened multiplex when you can bestride the world like a cruising collossus?