Thank you for your kind and unkind remarks about my performance of Ted Nugent's "Cat Scratch Fever". We'll publish some of the comments in our Mailbox over the next few days, but I'm humbled to find that Ted himself seems to like it:
Precious is as adorable does! The great Czar of commonsense Mark Steyn nails the soulfullness of my classic song! God I love this shit! Worth listening to all the way. Killer band! Killer arrangement! Killer attitude!
Ted is too kind, but it is a great song to sing. Apropos some of the matters discussed below, this is another great Nugent line:
Islam is the religion of peace & I'm a gay pirate playing harpsicord in a Lawrence Welk coverband!
I was just thinking there are worse ways to end up, when I realized he didn't mean it as a compliment.
~During this last week on the airwaves promoting The [Un]documented Mark Steyn, I was asked by several interviewers about the travails of Bill Maher, following his lively exchange with the Islamophiliac Ben Affleck. Mr Maher asserted that Islam is "the only religion that acts like the Mafia" and that Muslims "will f**king kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture, or write the wrong book". As a result, students at Berkeley now wish to get him banned from their campus:
Too many students are marginalized by his remarks and if the University were to bring this individual as a commencement speaker they would not be supporting these historically marginalized communities.
Are Muslims really all that "marginalized"? Every time I switch on the telly, some Muslim is beheading a woman in Oklahoma or London, running over a soldier in Quebec, shooting a soldier in Ottawa, hatcheting a policeman in New York, kidnapping schoolgirls in Nigeria, decapitating journalists in Syria, or mass-murdering his way across western Iraq to Baghdad. We should all be so "marginalized". Nevertheless, the daily additions to this vast mountain of corpses distress the sensitive types of Berkeley's "marginalized communities" not a whit, only Bill Maher's insensitivity in pointing it out.
That a famously leftie campus can no longer tolerate even a fellow man of the left says a lot about the parlous state of freedom of expression in the west. In The Wall Street Journal, John O'Sullivan's Saturday essay provides a brisk overview of the last quarter-century, from Rushdie to now:
Sensitive intellectuals discovered that, in a multicultural world, respect for the Other meant understanding his traditions too, and these often were, well, sterner than ours. Freedom of speech was only one value to be set against…ahem, several other values. Fear, cowardice and rationalization spread outward... Both the U.S. and the European Union have entered into a dialogue in recent years with the 56 states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which is seeking an international law prohibiting blasphemy. In 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the OIC that, while the First Amendment prevented the U.S. from prohibiting speech, the administration might still "use some old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming so that people don't feel they have the support to do what we abhor."
Hmm. John is kind enough to mention my own upcoming trial of the century. (If you'd like to support my pushback against climate mullah Michael E Mann, I hope you'll consider swinging by the Steyn store for a SteynOnline gift certificate, our exclusive range of Steyn vs the Stick trial merchandise, or perhaps a personally autographed copy of The [Un]documented Mark Steyn.) At any rate, it is striking to me that, aside from my own case, almost all the examples cited by John O'Sullivan crop up in my new book, whether via my correspondence with Salman Rushdie, or the song I wrote in tribute to the Nigerian Miss World riots, "My Sharia Amour". Phrases like "marginalized communities" and "safe space" are weaselly euphemisms for ideological enforcement: If you dissent from the state ideology on Islam, climate change, transgendered rights, you must be made a non-person. Even if you're Bill Maher. As I write in my book:
Free speech and a dynamic, innovative society are intimately connected: a culture that can't bear a dissenting word on race or religion or gender fluidity or carbon offsets is a society that will cease to innovate, and then stagnate, and then decline, very fast... The "safe space" is where cultures go to die.
~Following the aforementioned hatchet attack on an NYPD officer by a "recent Muslim convert", this morning a District of Columbia policeman was attacked by a man with an axe. Perhaps we should now require licenses for axes and hatchets, or extend the jurisdiction of the TSA to sidewalks. As Vincent Cooper notes at The Commentator, "Islam is changing the west":
Over in Canada after the latest atrocity, military personnel have been requested "to restrict movement in uniform as much as possible." That request came from Rear Admiral John Newton, Commander of Maritime Forces Atlantic.
So the Canadian military's response to Islamist aggression in Canada is to instruct military personnel to take off their uniforms. Is that defending our Western way of life? How is it "not being intimidated" when you are afraid to walk your own streets in your country's uniform?
If Prime Minister Harper meant what he said about "not being intimidated", was this not precisely the time to insist that Canadian values be respected by all citizens? As the Canadian journalist Mark Steyn commented:
"If we have to have dress codes on the streets of free societies, I'd rather see more men like Corporal Cirillo (the murdered Canadian soldier) in the uniform of the Argyll & Southerland Highlanders --- and fewer women in head-to-toe black body bags.-- I'm tired of being told that we have to change to accommodate them."
Our response to the provocations of Islam is to surrender freedom of speech and freedom of movement. We are losing the habits of liberty.
One final thought on "marginalization": as margins go, this one extends ever further across the page. Daniel Greenfield pokes around in that poll showing "one in seven young British adults" has "warm feelings" about the Islamic State head-hackers, and concludes that perhaps "80 per cent of London Muslims support ISIS". The new Caliphate will never need to defeat Britain; instead, remorselessly, day by day, it's swallowing Britain.
~I'll be back on radio and TV next week, starting on Monday with Dennis Miller and Glenn Beck. As for The [Un]documented Mark Steyn, you can buy it right now from all major US retailers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million, and all major Canadian ones, too, including Indigo-Chapters, Amazon and McNally-Robinson. It's also in eBook - via Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iBooks. And, wherever you are on the planet, you can pick up an autographed copy at the SteynOnline bookstore. We're currently the Number One political humor bestseller in America, and making a modest appearance in the New York Times list at Number Eighteen.