All jihad is local, but all "Islamophobia" is global. So, if a Muslim of Afghan origin shoots up a gay nightclub in Florida and kills 49 people, that's just one crazed loner and no broader lessons can be discerned from his act. On the other hand, if a white guy shoots up two mosques in New Zealand and kills 50 people, that indicts us all, and we need to impose worldwide restraints on free speech to make sure it doesn't happen again. I'm ecumenical enough to mourn the dead in both gay clubs and mosques, but I wonder why we are so conditioned to accept Islamic terror as (in the famous words of London mayor Sadiq Khan) "part and parcel of living in a big city" that it is only the exceptions to the rule that prompt industrial-scale moral preening from politicians and media. [UPDATE: Utrecht isn't that big a city - 350,000 - but it's today's designated "part and parcel".]
The Christchurch killer published the usual bonkers manifesto before livestreaming his mass murder on Facebook. Brenton Tarrant purports to be an environmentalist - indeed, a self-described "eco-fascist" - who admires Communist China (notwithstanding, presumably, its indifference to environmentalism). He wants to massacre Muslims in order to save the planet:
The environment is being destroyed by over population, we Europeans are one of the groups that are not over populating the world. The invaders are the ones over populating the world. Kill the invaders, kill the overpopulation and by so doing save the environment.
Does he mean this? Or is it a giant blood-drenched leg-pull?
No matter. For the the politicians stampeding to the nearest camera to dust off their tropes, what counts is that, if you're American, Donald Trump pulled the trigger; and, if you're British or European and you're not prepared to say that Google-Twitter-Facebook should silence anybody to the right of Trevor Noah, then you're part of the problem. Here's the rather less homicidal environmentalist Catherine McKenna, Canada's Climate Change Minister, getting it pitch-perfect in two steps. First, visit a mosque (although obviously not to kill everyone to "save the environment", like Mr Tarrant); second, blame those whose exhibitionism isn't as gung ho as yours:
I spoke to parents at Ottawa Main Mosque today whose kids are too scared to pray & go to school. In Canada.
Meanwhile Andrew Scheer has to be called out before he can call out Islamophobia.
For non-Canadians, Mr Scheer is the Conservative Opposition Leader. But the point is you can call him out and, as Maxime Bernier noted of his former colleague, like many jelly-spined Tories he will instantly squeal, "No, wait, hold that last seat on the bandwagon for me." Even more disturbingly, the broadcaster Charles Adler denounced the Governor General for not "calling out" Islamophobia.
The Governor General of Canada is the Queen's vicereine. As the old joke has it, she is obligated to speak in governor-generalities - as, indeed, Her Majesty is. That is what is expected of an apolitical monarch. So, when there is an act of mass murder, the Crown and its viceroys express shock and sympathy and revulsion - and leave the politics to the likes of Ms McKenna and the hapless Scheer.
I would be interested to know why Mr Adler thinks it is in the national interest to lend the imprimatur of the Crown and the state to as specious and opportunistically deployed a conceit as "Islamophobia". One of our Antipodean Steyn Club members, Kate Smyth, drew my attention to a fine example of that: After the Islamic terror attack in Melbourne four months ago, Muslim community leaders refused to meet with Aussie Prime Minister Scott Morrison because of all the systemic Islamophobia. After the Christchurch attack, the same Muslim community leaders are demanding a meeting with Morrison because of all the, er, systemic Islamophobia. To say Terror Attack A is something to do with Islam is totally Islamophobic; to refuse to say Terror Attack B is Islamophobic is even more totally Islamophobic.
Were the Queen or the Governor General to pull an Andrew Scheer and sign on to this somewhat selective view of the world's travails, it would necessarily imply that "Islamophobia" is now beyond and above politics, and in that sense beyond criticism. The use of "Islamophobia" in the Melbourne attack is, in fact, its standard deployment: it is an all-purpose card played to shut down any debate.
Not, of course, that there's much debate as it is. And there's likely to be even less in the future. Facebook, which is unable to devise algorithms preventing a depraved psychopath livestreaming mass slaughter on its platform, is busy fine-tuning its controls to expel the most anodyne dissenters from the social-justice pieties. Less speech inevitably means more violence - because, if you can't talk about anything, what's left but to shoot up the joint?
Thus the revolution devours its own. It goes without saying that right-wing madmen like Donald Trump and Andrew Scheer are to blame for Christchurch, but did you know that, when you peel back the conspiracy and discover who's really pulling the Trump-Scheer strings, you find Islamophobic white supremacist Chelsea Clinton?
Muslim students have berated Chelsea Clinton at a vigil for the victims of the New Zealand mosques massacre, saying she is to blame for the attack...
'This right here is the result of a massacre stoked by people like you and the words that you put out into the world,' says Dweik, gesturing to the vigil for the 49 who were killed in Christchurch when a white nationalist shooter stormed two mosques.
'And I want you to know that and I want you to feel that deeply - 49 people died because of the rhetoric you put out there,' Dweik continues, jabbing her index finger toward Clinton as other students snap their fingers in apparent approval of her words.
Click below to watch:
All poor Chelsea was doing was trying to cut herself a piece of the grief-signaling action, and suddenly she finds herself in one big unsafe space:
According to NYU student Rose Asaf, who posted the video on Twitter, students at the vigil were angry about Clinton's accusation last month that Rep Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, used 'anti-Semitic language and tropes' while criticizing Israel...
Clinton was one of many who condemned Omar's remarks, writing in a tweet: 'We should expect all elected officials, regardless of party, and all public figures to not traffic in anti-Semitism.'
It's hate-filled Islamophobic statements like that that will get us all killed, Chelsea. Personally I blame Christchurch on Nancy Pelosi's recent House resolution condemning the Dreyfus Affair.
But I'm sure Chelsea's learned her lesson. How eager do you think she'll be to criticize Ilhan Omar's next outburst?
Things are changing faster than you think. The urge to change New Zealand's gun laws might be politely excused as a reflexive response to the means by which an appalling attack was carried out. But the demand throughout the west to restrict both private gun ownership and free speech are indicative of a more calculated clampdown, and of broader assumptions about control of the citizenry on all fronts. In the transition to the new assumptions, we are approaching a tipping point, in which the authorities of the state (as in the average British constabulary's Twitter feed) are ever more openly concerned to clamp down on you noticing what's happening rather than on what is actually happening.
Finally, an observation from Steyn Club member Steven Payne:
Does anybody know how many mosques there are in the city named Christchurch? Am I the only one who sees the irony there?
Like the old Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah joke about the "24-Hour Dry-Cleaners" shop, "Christchurch" is just the name. In my bleaker moments, I recall a memorable line from the opening scene in Daniel Silva's novel The Secret Servant, about the murder of an old Jew in the streets of multiculti Amsterdam. He dies in the shadow of the Zuiderkerk, a seventeenth-century church where Rembrandt worshiped and which Monet painted, but long since converted into a municipal information center - although the bell tower remains:
No one intervenedâ€” hardly surprising, thought Rosner, for intervention would have been intolerantâ€”and no one thought to comfort him as he lay dying. Only the bells spoke to him.
'A church without faithful,' they seemed to be saying, 'in a city without God.'
~We had a busy weekend at SteynOnline, starting with a rare Friday-night appearance by Mark with Tucker to hail the Great White Privileged Home of the Democrat diversity field: Bovine Beto. Our Saturday movie date wished Batman a happy eightieth birthday, and our St Patrick's Day song selection went the only way it could. If you were face down in emerald-hued beer all weekend, I hope you'll want to catch up with one or three of the foregoing as a new week begins.
If you enjoy the time you spend round these parts and you'd like to take it to the next level, there's always The Mark Steyn Club. Tomorrow, Tuesday, Mark will be hosting another Clubland Q&A, taking questions from Steyn Club members live around the planet at 4pm North American Eastern Time - that's 8pm Greenwich Mean Time.
If an hour in Steyn's company isn't enough, there's always a full week on the second annual Mark Steyn Cruise, which will be sailing from Vancouver through Alaska's beautiful Inside Passage this September with Dennis Miller, Michele Bachmann and more. We'd love to have you with us, but cabins are going very fast.
Mark will see you on the telly with Tucker tonight, live across America at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific.