Programming note: Tonight, Thursday, I'll be checking in with Tucker Carlson, live across America at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific. If you're in the vicinity of the receiving apparatus, I hope you'll dial us up.
~As you know, guest-hosting America's Number One radio show last Friday, I promised that Rush would be back on Monday for a full week of authentic full-strength all-American-as-apple-pie Excellence in Broadcasting. Instead, it was Guest-Host Monday, Guest-Host Tuesday, Guest-Host Wednesday, and a barrage of emails and tweets and whatnot from aggrieved listeners berating me for false promises. Well, in mitigation, Rush was only supposed to be out one day - for a family wedding - but returning from the festivities he was stricken by some dreaded lurgy and lost his voice. Today, Thursday, he decided to return to the airwaves, but with a back-up plan:
I'm having to use my voice actually from the back of my throat rather than my normal breathing diaphragmatically which is how we trained specialists do it. So if you notice â€” you probably won't because of all the compression that we put on the audio signal here. But I still have some congestion in the throat. Mark Steyn is standing by to take over in case I lose the voice during the course of the program today.
As you'll have heard on Tuesday, I'm a bit under par on that front myself. But I have to say that, at 12.06pm Eastern, Rush's voice sounded very croaky and tentative, and I was figuring he'd only last twenty minutes or so. Yet, remarkably, the more fired up he got over Robert Mueller and Omarosa and John Brennan, the stronger his voice got. So the stand-by guest-host was not required, and I had the pleasure of a close-up minute-by-minute three-hour masterclass in what's kept Rush at Number One for three decades. I'm honored to be a small part of the EIB team, but there's nothing like the real deal, and, in every respect except his sore throat, he was at the top of his game today. It's great to have him back - and don't miss him tomorrow.
~On Monday I noted the decision of the University of Cambridge to remove the bust of its late chancellor, Field Marshal Smuts, for the usual tedious reason that he's not fully 100 per cent compliant with the pieties of August 2018. On Tuesday I returned to the subject of statuary-toppling on our Clubland Q&A. As I've said before, in our time we boast continuously about our astonishing powers of "empathy", yet we lack even the empathy to imagine men and women in the context of their times rather than ours.
I'm with Blatch - the great Christie Blatchford, my esteemed colleague from the glory days of The National Post. She's had enough of it, and so have I - whether it's the toppling of Field Marshal Smuts in Cambridge, President McKinley in California, Sir John A Macdonald in Victoria. The urge to erase the past is totalitarian. Yet what Pol Pot did, by re-making the world and proclaiming Year Zero, is now the default setting of every social-justice nitwit. Here's what Christie says:
I don't know about anyone else, but I have a bad case of revisionist-history/apology fatigue. I am pretty much done.
The Langevin Block in Ottawa is gone, now cursed with the gormless title of The Office of the Prime Minister and the Privy Council. The Langevin Bridge in Calgary is gone, now the Reconciliation Bridge. Both were changed because the Langevin in question, Sir Hector-Louis Langevin, a Father of Confederation, was also a supporter of the residential school system.
At the time of the decision to rename the bridge, one of the Calgary city councillors in favour of it promised that the plaque that would be placed on the bridge some day (it still doesn't appear to be there) "won't be vilifying" Langevin.
Well, when the City of Victoria packed up the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald last weekend and replaced it with a plaque, said plaque explained that the removal was done to "show progress on the path of reconciliation" while "the City, the Nations and the wider community grapple with Macdonald's complex history as both the first Prime Minister of Canada and a leader of violence against Indigenous Peoples."
That's close enough to vilification for me.
Agreed, agreed, agreed. I'm sick of replacing something - "the Langevin Block", "the Langevin Bridge" - with nothing - "the Office of the Prime Minister and the Privy Council", "the Reconciliation Bridge". The latter is just fatuous pap, and the former is not a name but merely a description of what's taking place inside the building. But that's all we can do, because we can't even take the risk of re-naming the joint. Because today's hero-of-the-day - the first transgender nominee for Governor of Vermont, say - will inevitably be revealed in thirty years' time to have been unsound on intersexual Muslima cloning or whatever. Because getting "woke" is one thing, but staying "woke" and "woke"-to-the-minute is all but impossible:
'Queer Eye' Star Jonathan Van Ness Under Fire After Saying 'Not All Republicans Are Racist'
The "leaders of violence" are those engaged in a systematic assault on not just national history but our entire civilizational inheritance. And the wimp conservatives who string along with this are merely licensing the next provocation. In Canada, much of this drivel derives from fainthearted ninnies twenty years ago who meekly accepted charges of "cultural genocide" - which is exactly like genocide, except for the peripheral detail of not requiring any actual corpses. Here's me two decades ago:
Only a generation or two back, governments thought they were doing native children a favour by teaching them the English language and the principles of common law and the great sweep of imperial history, that by doing so they were bringing young Indians and Inuit 'within the circle of civilised conditions'. It's only 40 years ago, but that's one memory the government of Canada will never recover. No civilised society legislates retrospective- ly: if you pass a seat-belt law in 1990, you don't prosecute people who were driving without them in 1980. Likewise, we should not sue the past for non-compliance with the orthodoxies of the present.
But we did. So surrendering on "residential schools" led to the re-classification of Canada's first prime minister as "a leader of violence" by the City of Victoria. And, if Sir John is a leader of violence, how can the very city be named for the Queen who knighted him and sent a wreath to his funeral? Shouldn't Victoria be renamed Reconciliationville? Or, per the Langevin Block, "the City of the Office of the Mayor and the Municipal Council"?
And what about Casimir Gzowski, who laid Her Majesty's wreath upon the "leader of violence"'s coffin? Shouldn't his busts and memorials be removed, too? And Sir Casimir Gzowski Park in Toronto be renamed Transgender Bathroom Park?
And what about Sir Casimir's great-great-grandson, beloved Canadian radio host Peter Gzowski? Shouldn't he be removed from the CBC archives? Or at any rate shouldn't Gzowski College at Trent University and the Gzowski branch of Georgina public libraries be renamed just in case somebody is triggered by the thought that they might be named not after Peter but after the great-great-grandpa who had the effrontery to lay the queen of violence's wreath of violence on the leader of violence's grave of violence?
This is not an assault on historical figures; this is an assault on history itself - on the very idea that ancient societies have a past, or roots, or historical continuity, or anything other than the fashions of the moment.
I'm with Blatch: Enough. Even if you accept every slur hurled at McKinley, Macdonald, Smuts and whoever's next, the cure is worse than the disease. To demolish the past means to live in a dictatorship of the present tense. To hell with that.
~We have some special events planned as the second year of The Mark Steyn Club cranks into full gear, including the inaugural Mark Steyn Club Cruise, sailing with me and my special guests from Montreal to Boston at the height of the fall foliage season. (Those Steyn cruise cabins are selling fast, and pricing is better the earlier you book.) Club members also enjoy special member pricing on over forty products at the Steyn store, such as our My Sharia Amour gift pack. So, if you've been thinking about signing up, you can find more details about the Club here - and, if you've a chum who'd enjoy our audio fiction, video poetry and much more, don't forget our special Gift Membership.