I'm starting the week guest-hosting for Rush, live from 12 noon to 3pm Eastern, which I regard as a welcome short tea break from Mann vs Steyn trial preparation. I was hoping this would be an American jurisprudential landmark - the first legal defense entirely funded by sales of the accused's Christmas disco CD - but it looks like we may have to rely on other products, too. Don't forget, personally autographed books are only available direct from SteynOnline. I'm not sure if this counts as what they call on Broadway a "money review", but James in Britain has certainly been reading his Steyn:
I find America Alone and After America two of the most shocking books I've ever read, but also two of the most difficult books I've read. If I didn't enjoy your humour so much, I'd ask you to keep the humour and the analysis apart! For me it is very difficult to switch my mind from hilarity to grasping a novel political/economic idea. I recommend your books widely, but I warn people that the combination of humour and politics requires surprising amounts of concentration.
I'm probably not one of your typical fans - I'm a 50 year old, metropolitan, liberal gay activist. However, I suppose I'm not the typical gay activist -- I'm proud to count EDL's Tommy Robinson as one of my good friends. I'd like to draw your attention to this new book. The book outlines the evidence that the Muslim grooming gangs in Britain have been known about for 25 years, and nothing's been done about them (until the EDL appeared).
Today I was thinking about W.T. Stead and his 19th century expose of child prostitution in London (as you probably know, he was sent to prison for exposing the trade). The problem with the grooming gangs in Britain appears to be even worse than the 19th century problems which W.T. Stead publicised. In his day the age of consent was 12 (not 16) and the child prostitutes earned money (the victims of the grooming gangs are more like sex slaves, as their pimps keep the money). Moreover, it didn't take an investigative journalist over 20 years to get the trade exposed and get something done. If political correctness had existed in the 19th century, those girl prostitutes would never have been saved.
Best wishes for your trial(s)
One of the most disturbing aspects of a rapidly evolving multicultural society is that, when it comes to women's rights, all the biens pensants have, consciously or otherwise, accepted the idea of a two-tier sisterhood. As Brian Lilley and I discussed recently, re the dead girls at the bottom of the Rideau Canal in Kingston, Ontario, the social workers the girls went to see in Montreal downplayed their case for fear of seeming culturally insensitive to Islam. As I wearily said on Brian's show for the umpteenth time, if you're born female in certain families in the west, feminists will insist on your right to live your life to your fullest potential - but, if you're born female into certain other families, you get genitally mutilated, shoved into a body-bag and an arranged marriage and (if you're really unlucky) tossed off the balcony or in the canal, and feminists will turn a blind eye in the cause of celebrating diversity. But the British grooming epidemic takes it to the next level: Even if you're not born into a "culturally diverse" community, you can be conscripted into it - and the British state and all right-thinking people have been trained to look the other way.
Speaking of British decline, Matt Stichnoth writes:
I came across this series of maps of Europe the other day, and was reminded again of that hypothetical young English girl of yours, the one who witnessed Queen Victoria's funeral procession at the height of the Empire, and the country that girl ended up growing up in. Click sequentially on the 100-year links on left side of screen, bottom to top, from 1 AD to 2000 AD.
So for the past two millennia, Europe has consistently re-made itself over every three generations or so, again and again, and yet Obama and his pals seem to think that, at last, Europe's borders are finally fixed and that we all live in a world in which countries are all interdependent. Baloney. Europe's borders aren't permanently fixed. They never will be. And Kerry's complaint that Russia is merely behaving "in 19th century fashion" is short-sighted and delusional. The people in the White House are fools. This is not going to end well.
Just for the record that "hypothetical young English girl" was, in fact, an actual young English boy - the historian Arnold Toynbee - hoisted up on his uncle's shoulders for Queen Victoria's magnificent Diamond Jubilee parade in 1897. But your point is well taken: Permanence is always an illusion - and the idea that Europe's borders can be permanently settled is as absurd as the notion that the climate can be permanently settled.
Or, indeed, the science:
One trial that is probably very much in your mind when you wrote "The Gag Order Heard Round the World" and others about your legal affairs, is that of Conrad Black, which you so expertly covered. The extraterritoriality of one of the judge's decisions, and the theft and gutting of Hollinger Int. through legal means, was truly impressive, in a very negative sense.
I am, of course, wishing you well in your trial with that thug Mann. He is truly a fourth-rate scientist if he merits that word at all. Now science is kind to the honest and conscientious, and an unspectacular scientist (say Roentgen) can through luck and careful work make a great discovery. The Mann shows exactly how not to go about it.
Speaking of Roentgen and honesty, he employed an assistant who would make observations as Roentgen manipulated his apparatus. R. did not tell the assistant what he was doing, let alone what he expected to see, for fear of biasing the assistant. The assistant wrote that he often didn't know what the experiment was and what the results were until he read R's published papers.
It might be worthwhile emphasising the disagreements between the IPCC models and reality. That disagreement doesn't mean that "global warming" isn't happening - it means that we have no clue why whatever is happening is happening. Same if you call it "climate change", though IPCC is very clear that a warming is expected. This false understanding leads to bad policy decisions, as several years of cold winters in Great Britain show (lack of preparation and lack of energy have had tragic consequences there - I have seen a figure of several thousand deaths due to cold and lack of energy but have seen no verification of those figures). We had the same thing here in Newfoundland - a warm winter was expected, maintenance on oil-fired electricity generation plants had been deferred, stocks of propane were low. We would have been far better off if Nfld and Labrador Hydro and Nfld Power, and the provincial government, had known how little they knew.
I have purchased a few items from your store, and will be purchasing more. One is a gift certificate which will in due course be sent to the Mann. You are doing important work for science. Best of luck, for the sakes of all of us!
John K. C. Lewis
Department of Physics & Physical Oceanography
Memorial University of Newfoundland
Thank you for your kind words, and generous patronage of our bookstore. You make an important point that Britain's Met Office and many others should note: Don Rumsfeld was mocked for his little riff about the known unknowns (the things you know you don't know) and the unknown unknowns (the things you don't even know you don't know). But climate science and its acolytes assumed they and their models knew everything. And, as Professor Lewis points out, many people have died as a result.
Al Mclean has also been in Newfoundland, but just visiting:
Last summer I took my family on a trip to Newfoundland (for our first time). Due to some Newfie first lieutenant bouncing one of the two ferries off the rocks the day before we got there, we couldn't go to St. Johns and so rerouted our journey to the very northern tip of the 'rock' . So we ended up at L'Anse aux Meadows which is where the Vikings were camping out in the year 1000 for 10 years as they explored 'Vinland'. This worked well for us as I am half Icelandic and so it was a home coming of sorts. My son was feeling the Viking spirit within but was confused as he looked over the landscape and commented 'Dad, why were the Vikings so stupid as to live here?'.
You see, if you go there now, it's like being on the moon. There's nothing bigger than a blueberry bush hanging onto the rocks. However, when we went on the obligatory tour, we discovered that in the year 1000 things were different. The cove was surrounded by forests and the temperatures were 3-4 degrees warmer and the sea was one meter higher. So, far from being the moon, it was a strategic and clever campsite befit of 'Leif the Lucky'.
You can easily see the sea level issue as the 'shipyard' (where all the nails and marine hardware was dug up) is clearly a meter above where a sensible person would drag up a boat that needed fixing. I guess they figured the temperature out by the facts that trees and grapes were growing there then and that it's fairly common knowledge that it was warmer in the year 1000. (The trees are lying in the peat bog so there may even be tree rings there! But maybe not the right ones…) This information came from an official Parks Canada spokesman so that's comparable to getting the info first hand from Pliny the Elder, except more definitive. I'm sure there are all sorts of interesting archeological data out there that bears on 'climate science' but you never seem to hear about it. Vikings lived on Greenland during this time as well before it got cold again.
Anyways, I can't remember what I thought about climate change before this enlightening afternoon but until I see the 'hockey stick people' graph and explain this, I believe they are full of excrement. These variations are way beyond what is happening in the 2000s and so I can see why Mann would need to wallpaper a straight line right through this era. The year 1000 turns the hockey stick into a roller coaster which just wouldn't do.
That's really the hockey stick's only contribution: It eliminates the "Medieval Warm Period", which was a complicating factor for those seeking to spread Big Climate alarmism. If you ask, "Hey, whatever happened to the MWP?", they'll say, ah, yes, there was a bit of it in Britain, and Europe, and Greenland, and Newfoundland, but there's not a lot of evidence of it in the southern hemisphere so it doesn't count as "global" warming. So it was eliminated as being too "Eurocentric", observed reality being less reliable than the Manniacs' weighted tree-rings.
But why go back a mere thousand years when you can take the long view:
Just a reminder. I'm certain that you've read Australian geologist Ian Plimer's 2009 book, Heaven and Earth: Global Warming and the Missing Science. Poor Michael Mann. He'd likely faint if he read Ian's Introduction, Chapter One, paragraph four: "Planet Earth is dynamic. It always changes and evolves. It is currently in an ice age that started 37 million years ago." Amen.
With regard to my oft-stated point that culture trumps politics, Andrew Jankowski writes from Chicago:
Great interview on the Brian Lilley show. Especially enjoyed your clear enunciation of an idea I have long shared: that, as you put it, "all good storytelling is conservative... because it is about the idea that there are consequences to the choices that you make." This is why one needn't be didactic to convey what are inescapably conservative views. For most of human history such insight was typically referred to simply as 'wisdom,' and it was once quite common to find that most of the best works of literature were written by conservative men – everyone from Johnson and Swift to Coleridge and Carlyle, and on through Eliot and Stevens.
Even the 'apolitical' Shakespeare, as he is often described, was fiercely loyal to his view of the intractable, and often unpleasant, facts of human existence. Hence I often think that Johnson's famous Preface to Shakespeare, where he elaborates the Bard's presentations of universal truths – the "just representations of general nature" – ought to be acknowledged to signify that, in fact, the great playwright was thoroughly conservative, though he was not didactic in the least. Talk about the recognition or presentation of the fact "that there are consequences to the choices that you make!"
It is still quite common to find that the best writers are conservative, at least on a very basic level, even if these are no longer the authors most visible. The question as I see it – and it deeply concerns me as an aspirant to that noble calling – is how to make such cultural enunciations of a kind of baseline conservatism more visible again, and more appreciated. I once believed it would be enough to produce great works once more (our era is a valley, culturally, not a peak – to put it gently), but then I realized that great works will go unread if the populace is educated in the school of resentment, unable, ultimately, to grasp, let alone appreciate great literature.
That last point is the subject of a minor Kingsley Amis novel I reread recently after a reader chanced to mention it. Russian Hide-And-Seek is set in a Britain cut off from its own inheritance after decades of Soviet occupation. Amis published it in 1980, and understood full well that the country he was writing about was not an alternative-history dystopia under foreign occupation but postwar Britain hollowed out from within.
Finally, a tip of the hat to the man who was a mainstay of Mark's Mailbox from Day One in 2002 and for virtually a decade afterwards: John Gross of Varennes, Quebec. John is a great coiner of phrases, and around the time of the 2008 New Hampshire primary he wrote to me distilling the then crop of candidates into one all-purpose stump speech:
My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you'll join with me as we try to change it.
And then one of those wacky Internet things happened, and people started reporting that then Senator Obama had said it at some campaign stop or other, and no matter how many times I said, no, it's a mischievous Quebecker's coinage, it kept getting attributed to Obama. Until, eventually, he more or less stole it, and demanded in his nomination speech that "we come together to remake this great nation". Our politics is, alas, beyond parody. At any rate, Mark's Mailbox is back, and I'm heartened to see that John Gross is, too, and still coining:
This "Crimea River" thing making the rounds originated with me ...in one of my comments at the American Thinker blog. Geez...Ann Coulter used it as her column headline, Johnson at Powerline ran a piece with "Crimea River" featured in the "Obama Songbook", and quite a few others followed suit . Love that stuff.
Good luck with that silly litigation thing. If you should lose, it would confirm to us all...that this nutty world is hopeless.
~Drop Steyn a line on his lawsuits or anything else at Mark's Mailbox.