I'm a little overwhelmed by your generosity in the wake of Judge Weisberg's ruling in the Mann vs Steyn case. Readers from not only America but also Canada, Ireland, Norway, India and Australia, among others, have swung by the SteynOnline store to help prop up my unsought sojourn in the DC Superior Court by buying my book on free speech and various other products. However, Neil McNeill in Toronto writes:
The battle with Mann is critical to so many people. Let little guys like me support your fight. If I buy $100.00 worth of mugs, you only have the profit with which to pay lawyers. If you pass the hat, all of the $100.00 is available.
You have given me so much pleasure over the years. Let me and you get full legal bang for my buck.
Neil McNeill Toronto
Neil has a point, and we're considering various options. In the meantime, a couple of readers suggested we bring back our SteynOnline gift certificate, which we usually only offer during the Christmas season. So one way to help out is to buy a gift certificate for yourself (starting at $25 and going up from there). If you want to give us the "full legal bang for the buck" (as Neil puts it), that's great. If you want to redeem part of it for a book and let SteynOnline have the rest, that's also fine. If you want to hold on to it and load up with Christmas presents this December, that works, too. The gift certificates have no expiration date, so if, in ten years' time, Neil has a sudden burning desire for $100 worth of SteynOnline mugs, he'll still be able to load up.
The gift certificates are available online here, or US and Canadian customers can make a telephone purchase by calling 1-866-799-4500 toll free from 8am to 3pm Eastern time on weekdays. We also take checks (or cheques) drawn on US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and British banks, and in euros. Please make them payable to SteynOnline and mail to Box 30, Woodsville, NH 03785. Anyone purchasing a SteynOnline gift certificate will receive by way of thanks one of our SteynOnline "Liberty Stick" souvenirs (details here), in which we reclaim the poor blameless hockey stick from its unfortunate association with Dr Mann.
As to the case itself, my former National Review colleague John Derbyshire weighs in on this week's edition of Radio Derb (about 22 minutes into the show). It's a bit of a mixed review for yours truly, but I did enjoy his sign-off music in my honor (from Jim Croce). And this bit from Derb is absolutely right (scroll down to Segment 7):
In October of that year Dr. Mann filed a lawsuit with the Civil Division of the Washington, D.C. courts alleging, quote, "libel and intentional infliction of emotional distress," end quote, by Steyn and the other parties. That was fifteen months ago. Those fifteen months have been spent in procedural wrangling, not over the gravamen of the case itself, but over whether the case should proceed to actual arguments over the gravamen. There have been motions, counter-motions, appeals, counter-appeals … Our courts can't hear any case now without a few years of lawyers' preliminary jostling over whether the case should be heard, whether the case that the case should be heard, should be heard, and so ad infinitum.
Indeed. As I noted yesterday, the lawyerization of American life has galloped far ahead of anything in other countries within the Common Law tradition. My old boss Conrad Black, who spent the last decade on the receiving end of the US justice system, wraps it up this way:
The US has 5 percent of the world's population, 25 percent of the world's incarcerated people, and 50 percent of the world's lawyers, who invoice almost 10 percent of US GDP (around $1.4 trillion annually).
I regret having been put in the position of having to add to that ten per cent of GDP. But I promise that the financial support of readers will not be wasted, and that Dr Mann's Big Tobacco lawyers will rue the day they dragged me into a DC courtroom, and allowed their highly problematic client to take the witness stand.
(*Headline courtesy of that Jim Croce lyric.)