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Hey welcome along to another video edition of Mark's Mailbox where I try to mop up some of the questions I didn't get to when we did our live audio edition around the planet a couple of days ago. These are all questions from Mark Steyn Club members and our first comes intriguingly pseudonymously from a lady who bills herself as "Lass from the Dominion of Canada". All the loveliest lasses are from the dominion of Canada and the loveliest lasses in the Dominion of Canada - in my personal experience, people can differ on these things - are in the province of Quebec and the loveliest lasses in the province of Quebec are in the GaspĂ© or the Beauce. That's a bit of personal observation. For any Americans south of the border, if you're one of these Hollywood perverts or from PBS or NPR, don't just climb into your car and head for the border with your bathrobe flapping open. We don't want any of that. I understand that PBS for the 200 dollar pledge on pledge drive week, they're offering a free Charlie Rose bathrobe - cord not included. We don't want any of that, we don't want any of that I was just saying Lass. Where was I? Lasses.... This Lass from the Dominion of Canada writes:
In your opinion, what underlies the ethno-masochism of the Western World's immigration policies? Deathly fear of social ostracism for not holding the same opinions as the elites? A sense of spiritual fulfillment that used to be satisfied by religion? Cultural exhaustion with attendant self-loathing? An honest belief it will create a better Western World?
I think almost all of those except possibly that last one are true, Lassie. But I would also add something else about this. I think liberals so called liberal policies in general are designed not for whatever they're ostensibly about but to make you feel good about yourself. That's why the fact that poverty programs do nothing for poverty doesn't matter. The point about favoring them is to make you feel like a better person. And I think that's also true when it comes to something as existential as immigration. I think there's a large condescension factor in modern liberalism. There's always been to a certain extent among highly developed western elites a condescension factor and it's just a question of who you condescend to. In Europe in the old days people were imperialists and they believed in the white man's burden. And so they took up the white man's burden and went out around the world to condescend to the natives and they didn't like natives who weren't comfortable with being condescended to. If you look at British colonial office correspondence, during the Palestine mandate in the 1920s they disliked the Jews because the Jews were pushy and self-reliant and didn't need condescending British colonial civil servants telling them how to run things. But they preferred the Arabs because the Arabs were quite happy to be condescended to by fellows from London. And I think there's an element of that now in our post-imperial age instead of going to Africa and condescending to the natives they like to bring the natives here and condescend to them in the western world that makes them feel good about themselves and I don't think you can actually underestimate that aspect of it. That there is a neo-colonial condescension in the whole idea of ...we don't go to their countries and colonize them and try to make them better anymore instead we just say there's no point to that. Why don't you all just come here? And they do that as long obviously they don't immigrate to the neighborhoods where the elites live in. And it's fascinating to me. Two years ago when I did the Munk Debates in Toronto I was up against Simon Schama the big BBC telly historian and Simon, at one point sort of revealing how, you know, how much he knew about the splendid chaps these muslims said something like he had a delightful relationship with his muslim news agent and he sounded exactly like the sort of person who sixty years ago in India would be talking about what a delightful chap the muslim bear on his tiger hunt was. All that's changed is that the condescension has been repatriated and brought home and I think that's actually what's underlying a lot of it but in the end the important thing to remember is that as I said these policies are not designed for the people on the receiving end so much of modern liberalism is just designed it's not about the thing it's just designed to make you feel good about yourself. That applies to climate change, that applies to poverty programs, that applies to almost all these things.
Gregory Hartlett writes:
Should the USA be asking the UK and France to hand over their nuclear weapons? Is there any chance they will (certainly the French will be too arrogant to do so).
So what does two more nuclear armed Muslim states---now in Europe-- bode for the future?
Gregory's referring to the fact that three of the big permanent five at the UN which is America Britain, France, Russia, China. Three of them are becoming semi muslim in their political character and however Vladimir Putin decides to deal with that issue in Russia what you see in France and the United Kingdom is the fact that Islam is now a major domestic consideration and that is having an impact on all kinds of aspects of public policy in the UK and in France. I made a joke about this in my book America Alone in the year 2006, I said it's perfectly understandable that Paris is relaxed about Iran becoming the world's second Islamic nuclear power after Pakistan. It's perfectly understandable that Paris is relaxed about Iran becoming on present demographic trends France is on course to become the third. And that's interesting to me it's one thing to worry about Iran going nuclear what's interesting to me is that you will have a de facto semi muslim nuclear power in France and in the United Kingdom soon, unless present immigration policy is changed.
Jack Shore writes:
Two major questions for Mark, one new and one, longstanding: One, Will the American deep state (FBI, DOJ, State, IRS) and Clinton emails and the Clinton foundation and Uranium One be properly investigated, either by the Senate, the House or the Inspector General within the DOJ, in our lifetime? Or will the US continue to be a badly-damaged democracy and never right these wrongs?
And two, his longtime question... Will the Left wake up to the global dangers of Islamic extremism/supremacism or will it take the detonation of a WMD to make a difference (my personal belief)?
I'll answer the second one first Jack cause it's easier. I don't even believe a nuclear, a dirty nuke or something more catastrophic - suitcase nuke or something more catastrophic would actually make a difference to the self loathing and morally equivalent rot in the heart of the political media class. I think if you look at the standard reaction to almost any atrocity now any provocation if you look at something like the business at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester the whole thing is something happens, then to use the joke that I've reprised from Tim Blair's website down in Australia- typical parodic guardian headline: Muslims fear repercussions from tomorrows train bomb - the first thing is always to worry about the hypothetical Muslim backlash. Let's say it wasn't just a bomb going off at an Ariana Grande concert. The first thing that would happen if it was a nuke going off somewhere in Manchester is that you would see Theresa May standing on the steps of Downing Street and insisting that this won't change us and then immediately you'd see people fretting about how whether there'd be a backlash against British muslims and then immediately there'd be plans to hold some stupid pop concert in which everybody stands around with candles and sings "Imagine" and there'd be #NuclearCraterIsLove and then there would be considered think pieces on the BBC and in all the newspapers about how if only we'd solve the Israeli Palestinian question, if only we hadn't gone into Afghanistan and Iraq, if only we hadn't toppled Colonel Gaddafi, if only we hadn't been so mean to all those ISIS fighters by taking away their caliphate - whatever it is - there'd be all the root cause stuff again . I think in a certain sense we are so hollowed out, our moral compass is now so off that even a nuke - I regret to say - I don't think would even change things. As to whether any of this stuff will ever be investigated in our lifetimes: you know the deep state stuff started as a joke. Then you look at these emails from people like Peter Strzok. the so called FBI crack counter intelligence who's emailing his paramour. I love the way on the TV everyone calls this mistress of his, his paramour I think it's an official position now within the federal government. There's an official paramour within the FBI and then there's a deputy paramour and then there's a deputy assistant paramour and a deputy assistant under paramour. You don't want to be the deputy assistant under paramour you got worn out a lot more easily. Anyway emailing his paramour back and forth about what they can do, how they're talking in the deputy director's office about what they can do to prevent the election result from going in a way they don't like, all the jokes about the deep state that everybody was making in the weeks around the inauguration turn out to be real. Trump made another point: when trump expressed his concerns about the intelligence community Chuck Schumer who is a very clever guy said, "if you're smart you don't want to get on the wrong side of the intelligence community because they've got six ways to Sunday to screw you over." And, everybody laughed at this sort of cynicism and it's not actually funny that you've got a permanent bureaucracy that has its own interests that are nothing to do with the people that a civil service is meant to be serving and the comfort level of so much of the media and the political class with the corruption of the permanent bureaucracy is deeply disturbing - not just at the Department of Justice, but as you mentioned the IRS because basically if you've got a corrupt justice department and a corrupt revenue agency you don't really need a lot else. That right there takes you into banana republic territory. So I would like some serious swamp draining on that because I don't mind whether a bureaucracy is right wing or left wing or whatever but if it's dirty and corrupt and it's political ideology determines who it serves, rather than the election results, you're in big trouble.
Ah, this one.
from Toby Pilling:
Should we all volunteer to sit on the board of governors of schools, to help combat the multi-culti indoctrination of our children?
Yes, you should Toby.
The absolutely worst structural defect in western societies is the post modern educational system I've often mentioned Lord Macaulay - his famous memorandum on Indian education - whatever it is now one hundred seventy years ago in which he basically said that the best thing you can do for children in the Indian subcontinent is give them the same benefits as every English school child has you teach them about the glories of Greece and Rome and of Shakespeare and of Mozart and all the rest of it and that did wonders for India to this day. That memo of lord Macaulay - you can imagine what would happen if people now decided we want the rest of the planet to have the benefits of a western education as taught in American and Canadian and English and European in public schools today - they would grow up just as self loathing and contemptuous of their inheritance and ignorant of their inheritance as ours is. The best thing you can do is go to your local school district meeting and run in school board elections, participate in them and if you don't like what the five, seven school board members are telling you from behind the table run for election themselves. It's the biggest structural defect in western societies and it's important, very important if necessary to be willing to pick an argument with your kid's kindergarten teacher over some of this stuff.
Andrew Lawton writes... my friend Andrew Lawton writes:
A man in London, Ontario is taking a local pub to the human rights commission over its decision to give women a 13 per cent discount to account for the [debunked] wage gap.
Should human rights commissions be ignored or is it, in your view, worthwhile to use them against those who typically use them?
And I guess Andrew's point here is at some point those of us who don't believe in human rights commissions - because these bureaucrats are too stupid to be micro regulating social relations. So the idea which is one of the bad things about identity politics eventually you have a society in which you need a huge government bureaucracy to mediate social relationships between the different identity groups and there's a lot of thought as to whether despised white men who were mainly on the receiving end of a lot of this identity politics nonsense should get in the game as this guy is. He's suing his pub because the pub gives women a thirteen percent discount because the pub landlord is deluded enough to think that represents the so called wage gap between men and women. I've got nothing against a publican giving the ladies a 13% discount on drinks. I think in a free society a publican should be entitled to offer free drinks to the ladies if he wants to, all those lovely lasses from the Dominion of Canada. But it is funny to me that the human rights commission eventually will become a microcosm of the internal contradictions of identity politics. We see this already there was a case - I think this was in Ottawa where a nice gay couple who ran a bed and breakfast were sued by some blind guy because they don't have dogs in their bed and breakfast because apparently gay men - I don't know why this is, are very prone to sinusitis or something caused by dogs. I don't know what it is, something like that and don't ask me why. I'm not big expert on gay sinusitis. I'm expert on many issues but gay sinusitis is not one of them. And this came up before the human rights commissions. It's a blind guy versus a gay guy, gay guy vs blind guy. And those cases are fascinating because if it's like gay guy vs me. blind guy vs me, you know I'm going to lose because I'm in the dead white male category. These internal conflicts of identity politics are much more interesting and the big one, the one I can't wait for is if someone wants to put up a gay bar next to the mosque. And that will be the ultimate human rights commission suit: gay guys vs muslims. There was a little thing over this - I think it was in Luton - where somebody was denied planning permission for some kind of "sauna" some kind of bathhouse because it was too near the local mosque. So we're going to get more of that and the internal contradictions of identity politics are fascinating to me and we should follow them.
T.F. Boggs writes:
Mark, you write much more affectionately about art, music, cinema that was created before 1950, is there any good stuff coming out in the 21st century? If so where?
If you like songs, or if you like films, or if you like plays you don't just want to live in a museum - you don't want even if it's the most beautiful museum with the most glorious artifacts - you want to feel that you're in a living breathing art form. So you want to see a new movie, or hear a new song, or see a new play that is up there with the greats. Otherwise an art form dies. You give the year...art, music, cinema that was created before 1950 and I could certainly make the case that the best music was written before 1950, the best films were made before 1950 and I think you could fairly easily make that case. I will note that on my cat album by the way, let me see I think all but two songs on my cat album are actually written after 1950. I don't know what that means it may mean that in the generality of popular song peaked before 1950, but cat songs didn't peak until the 60's or 70's. I don't know I'm just throwing that out there. And I would say also that there's a natural life span for art forms when they have tremendous vigor and innovation and energy and at a certain point everybody knows everything and you can argue that people in a sense know too much and there's nowhere to go with it. It's exhausted. It's primal energy has dissipated and it no longer has what it had. I think that's true of a lot of things, 1950 it's only because we had mass media in the twentieth century so I think you could make the point that it would be fantastically to work in radio in the 20's and 30's with all the things we take now for granted like news or soap operas or sitcoms or even disc jockey shows are being invented and that similarly with TV it must be great to work in TV in the 1950's but if you look at say... it would be great to be the guy Jack Paar who comes up with the idea on the Tonight show in the 1950's come up with the idea of having a desk next to a sofa next to an orchestra. The guy who actually thought of that because normally as you've noticed in your own house you don't put the desk next to the sofa next to the orchestra, that's a very unusual layout. The guy who came up with that in the 50's was a genius . now when you watch whoever's doing the tonight show or the late show or whatever the hell they're still doing the same - 60 years on - nobody's actually had an idea how to refine that. So it's nothing to do with 1950 as a cut off point if you look at opera, I think opera died when Puccini did in whatever it was 1924. So yeah you can occasionally find an interesting opera written since 1924 but as a living, breathing art form - no. And, I think in a certain sense and in a sad sense. Poetry,,, when they insist on having these lousy poets obama whatever it was 2012... 2013 inauguration some lousy poet going on for half an hour, 40 minutes. you know we all know the greatest poetry has been written poetry is no longer so all art forms in a certain sense have their natural life. But I don't have a cut off date and in the stuff I like. I'm always pleasantly surprised if I hear a new song that I like, if I see a new film that I like, and I love enthusing about the new. I don't want to live in a museum, no matter how glorious a museum it is.
Should we take one more? Oh terry..we'll just take a quickie, Terry Quinn says:
First question: from Plum Duff - this was a story I read as one of our little audio adventures between christmas and new year - from plum duff, what ethnicity is Gareth?
Second question, Justice Robert Jackson said that the US Constitution is not a suicide pact. Looks like much of the US and western Europe has forgotten that. in your opinion does eastern europe (and Russia) have the spine to resist immolation?
I think it's always useful in that last one to have within your consciousness the memory of the three o'clock in the morning knock on the door when the secret police kick the door down and take away your cousin or the little old lady downstairs or whatever it is and right now in the western world two few of us remember what that's like. In eastern europe they remember very vividly what that was like because it only came to an end twenty-five years ago and that memory I think makes them more alert and less disposed to sleep walk into soft totalitarianism the way some of us are doing. I mean, you know, I think Robert Jackson was wrong. Right now the constitution does look like a suicide pact. You look at these absurd contortions to find in this piece of parchment justification for absolutely ludicrous things culminating in judges - I mean at some point the judge in California for example when the judge found the expressed will of the people to be unconstitutional on the same sex marriage referendum - that was actually a rather disturbing thing. I don't rule out a judge actually at some point declaring that the constitution is unconstitutional. That's how nutty these judges are.
Oh the other thing that Plum Duff story I read- what ethnicity is Gareth? He is supposed to be Welsh. Um my welsh is a bit unreliable and I could do all the... I should have gotten Tom Jones in to give it the full o look you boyo. I can't really do a Welsh accent for more than o look you boyo -um unless it's Shirley Bassey doing Diamonds Are Forever. I can do Shirley Bassey Welsh accent, but the rest ..but he was meant to be Welsh.
Thank you for all your letters. We shall do another audio edition live around the planet very shortly and another video one. And the way to participate in them is you can be a Mark Steyn Club member and enjoy my pitiful attempts at Welsh male accents too. We will see you next time.