Christian Kerr interviews "provocative Canadian commentator Mark Steyn" in the weekend edition of The Australian about all the fun stuff - the death of free speech, the rise of identity politics, the west's civilizational death wish and contempt for its own inheritance:
Free speech is at the heart of Steyn's message. He is surprised that the controversial section 18c of our Racial Discrimination Act is still standing when his own country successfully repealed the equivalent parts of its Human Rights Act in 2013.
"Free peoples are losing the habit of free speech," he says. "They're taught, not really just at university but in fact from kindergarten, that there is a correct view of certain subjects and that incorrect views are distressing. The last two generations raised in the Western world, they don't do that thing, the apocryphal Voltaire line, 'I disagree with what you say but I'll fight to the death for you to.' They'll fight to the death for you not to be allowed to say it."
The consequences can be disturbing. "People can actually lose the spirit of liberty and once you've lost that there are not a lot of easy paths back," he cautions.
Indeed. It is remarkable how easily vast numbers of people now accept that truth is subordinate to the needs of ideological conformity - as we saw in Europe on New Year's Eve, when politicians, police and press colluded to cover up mass sexual assault - and, as their cover-up unraveled, millions of self-described progressives and feminists indignantly insisted that the cover-up had been the correct call.
In the end, the official lies will cost you your world:
He points to Africa. "People now have cell phones," Steyn says... "They can see in real time their cousin who got on a boat from Libya and wound up in Italy and walked over to Sweden. They're seeing in real time the kind of life their cousin is living. What percentage of North Africa has to decide 'We'd quite like to move to Europe' for there to be no Europe?"
As for western self-loathing:
Then Steyn the joker takes over, riffing off the old story about Cromwell's portrait painter and the wart to illustrate the folly of the feelings of guilt that rack the bien-pensants of the West...
"That's the craziness here. It's Cromwell to the nth degree. 'Don't paint me warts and all. Just paint my warts and if I don't have enough warts, add a few to my face. The more warts the better.'"
You can read the full interview here.
~In response to yesterday's piece on the historically unprecedented demographic transformation of the west, reader Roy Koczela writes:
If I did not know all kinds of Catholic families who have 8 kids, only to see 6 of them grow up, go to public schools, watch pop movies, and convert to lefto-abortism, this would be a greater concern. As it is, it just means that Australia, in 50 years, may be a society where the church their parents didn't go to is a mosque, rather than the church their great-great grandparents didn't go to being Episcopalian. And that's if the fertility discrepancy continues, which given the above, I don't see why it would.
I will do absolutely nothing to empower the cultural left under any circumstances. They are a long-term threat. Brandon Eich and Memories Pizza et al. were harbingers of the future.
With respect, this is a classic example of a phenomenon I was discussing on the radio here on Friday night, reprising my old line that the assumption of permanence is the illusion of every age. Post-Christian western secularism was designed to seduce Christian westerners. It does not have the same effect on others - which is why the children and grandchildren of assimilated first-generation Muslim immigrants of the Sixties and Seventies are now lining up in their thousands to fight for the Islamic State. As I said to Chris Kenny on Sky News yesterday, there are more "British" Muslims (that's to say, Muslims born in Leeds and Bradford and Birmingham and Luton) enlisted as warriors of ISIS than serving as soldiers of the Queen.
It's a mistake to compare the mosque with the church: The primary appeal of Islam is not the promise of the hereafter but as a global political identity in the here and now. In Yorkshire as in Yemen, Molenbeek as in Mazar-i-Sharif, there is no evidence that "pop movies" will lure them away from Islamic supremacism.
As for Brandon Eich and Memories Pizza, the western left and Islamic totalitarianism support each other because both believe in punishing apostasy. In essence, Mr Eich and the pizza guys breached the laws of "progressive" Sharia. But their cautionary tales are not "harbingers of the future", merely harbingers of the transitional phase before the real future. The left does not chastise homophobic imams or bakhlava patissiers who refuse to cater gay weddings - because it knows the end result would be very different. Still, they're performing a useful service in getting us used to the show trials of heretics: When the bigshot imams take over, you'll barely notice the difference.
~How's the ol' seductiveness of crappy pop songs and bang-bang movies doing in the Buckeye State? Today's headline:
Cops kill man after machete attack at Ohio deli
Oh, my! What could that possibly be about?
Police identified the suspected attacker as Mohamed Barry, 30...
Ah. As usual, law enforcement are baffled. There are eight million stories in the naked city and this one is as random as lottery numbers:
"There was no rhyme or reason as to who he was going after," said Columbus police Sgt. Rich Weiner.
Police said the man walked into the restaurant, had a conversation with an employee and then left. He returned about a half hour later. That's when police said he approached a man and a woman who were sitting just inside the door at a booth and started the attack.
As for rhyme and reason:
The restaurant was started by Hany Baransi, an Israeli who moved to the United States more than three decades ago.
Hmm. But don't worry, he's not one of those strident settlement-building Palestine-oppressing Israeli-apartheid types, no sir:
He says his establishment has a community reputation for its multiculturalism ...known for its embrace of both Israeli, Jewish and Arab Muslim culture.
Inside the restaurant, guests are greeted by two things near the entrance: A small Israeli flag and a Arabic phrase of greeting: it read "Ahlan Wa Shalan" which roughly translates to "You are my family, take it easy."
Apparently Mohammed Barry didn't like discovering he was a member of an Israeli family.
~We'll post some video and audio of my Aussie media appearances as it comes our way. On Friday I had a grand time with Chris Kenny, Miranda Devine and Tim Blair on Sky News, and, just as I was setting off for the studio, especially enjoyed the way the trailer made me look and sound so scary.
The tour proper kicks off on Valensteyn's Day in Perth. It's sold out, but, as I said to Chris, there's a couple of seats left for my debut appearance in Cloncurry, because I'm competing with the Bananarama tribute band across the seat or something...
10 Feb 2016 2:20:45pm
"My question is to Mark Steyn. You have, by your own admission, given Michael E Mann's graph outlining the warming trend over the last century, I quote, "two minutes thought". Do you expect intelligent observers of the so-called "debate" to take your word over a Nobel Prize winning scientist like Michael E Mann?"
- David Akenson
Oh, dear. Poor Mr Akenson appears to have given Michael E Mann's "Nobel Prize" a mere two minutes' thought. Do you expect intelligent observers of the so-called "debate" to take the word of a pushover who seriously believes Michael E Mann has a Nobel Prize?
As for "two minutes' thought", actually I've edited an entire book on the subject. It was a Number One Climatological Bestseller on Amazon last year. If David Akenson shoots us an email with his shipping address, I'll be happy to send him a complimentary copy.
~Unlike Mann, I am not a self-conferred Nobel Laureate. But, back in the Senior Dominion (as we used to say) Laura Rosen Cohen notes some boosterish award to "honour Ontarians that makes us great":
Who dares me to nominate @MarkSteynOnline?