This coming Tuesday, June 4th, I'll be returning to Ottawa to testify to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. Last time I was there, a decade back, it was to trash Canada's ghastly and shameful "hate speech" law, Section 13 - after which, I'm glad to say, Section 13 got repealed by Parliament.
But there are no permanent victories, and thus, the battles of the late oughts being long forgotten, today's Liberal-controlled House is minded to exhume Section 13 and restore it to hideous life. So here we go again. Joining me on Tuesday morning - 8.45am - will be Lindsay Shepherd and my old comrade from the Southam dailies and The National Post, John Robson.
Since my previous appearance, they've moved the committee out of the Houses of Parliament and into the Wellington Building just across the street and a block down. I do hope the move didn't occasion them to do that thing that insecure wanker US senators like Ed Markey apparently require and build themselves some ludicrous podium halfway to the heavens thereby reducing the citizenry before them to irrelevant specks far below. If so, there may be words: In the people's house, the people's legislators should be on the same level as the people.
The hearing is open to the public, so I hope to see at least a few of our Ottawa readers there. For anyone else, I believe you can watch it live on ParlVU and/or CPAC. We'll link to those on the big day.
~Back when it was last announced that I was to appear before the Justice Committee, the then "blogosphere" was agog with anticipation. Now "Social Media" has all but completed its task of homogenizing the Internet into a dreary conformity, and the group of independent Canadian writers that played an indispensable role in the repeal of Section 13 have mostly abandoned their blogs - from Deborah Gyapong to Kathy Shaidle. Even Mindy Alter, my favorite online song parodist, seems to have cut back to a more manageable post per quarter. (That said, please welcome back to the ranks Laura Rosen Cohen at her spanking new blogsite.) We would not have won without the rambunctious decentralized organic Internet of the early 21st century. It will be a tougher battle this time.
I have gotten so used to dialing up the old urls and seeing a cobwebbed entry from 2017 and moss and lichen creeping over the archives that, the last time I looked in on The Camp of the Saints and found nothing happening, I assumed that Bob Belvedere was simply the latest blogger to hang up his quill. I came across Bob because he was the nearest to a kindred spirit in cyber-space - like me he was big on civilizational collapse and good music. Along with the also vanished Pundette, he played a huge part in our Sinatra centenary celebrations.
So, what with the ever shrinking ranks of bloggers, I figured Bob had been fighting vainly the old ennui long enough and decided to surrender to it. Instead, it turns out he has had an annus horribilis - ending, in his account thereof, with some grim medical prognostications. Quite reasonably enough, he has decided to prioritize the book he's working on. You don't have to have undergone the terrible year Bob's had to start thinking about the most valuable use of one's remaining time, but he has been a courageous voice on the Internet, both in defense of the west and in the important and related cause of small musical pleasures. If you have a moment, do head over and read his piece, and send him your best, as we all do over here.
~Speaking of Lindsay Shepherd, with whom I'll be appearing in Ottawa, she was a guest on The Mark Steyn Show last year - and her story confirms how the forces of "tolerance" and "diversity" are determined to usher in a world of intolerance and ruthless conformity. It required extraordinary strength of will on Lindsay's part to resist that:
~As we close out our Mark Steyn Club second-birthday celebrations, we thank all of you - re-subscribers and new members - for your kind comments about the club. Michael from Chicago:
Thank you for the wonderful content!
Thank you, Michael. Lots more to come in our third season. Lawrence from Georgia writes:
I love Mr. Steyn and the Club -- would love to see more poems, and I think Kipling's The Stranger would be a perfect piece for Mark to tackle.
We'll have a new poem for you next weekend, Lawrence - and The Stranger is certainly worthy of consideration for a future slot.
Sometimes there's so much "wonderful content" that it takes our members a long time to get around to it. Down Under, Rob Mort has been one of our New South Wales members for two years, but only when we introduced our new Netflix-style tile-format Tales for Our Time home page did Rob get around to clicking the button for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Tragedy of the Korosko, which we first broadcast in May 2017. Rob writes:
I finally had an opportunity to begin listening to your reading of the Arthur Conan Doyle book this afternoon and i just wanted to tell you how blown away I was at having the opportunity to immerse myself on a journey up the Nile in a turtle-bottomed boat. And the reason why it's so much more redolent and interesting to me is because of the tales and life of the man my father named me after.
The chap Rob's family knew as "Uncle Bob" left Sydney for London in 1857 and wound up in the 42nd Highlanders, later the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment). He was a big part of a famous engagement in the Sudanese war, the Battle of Kirbekan on February 10th 1885, when British troops stormed a hilltop redoubt and routed the Mahdists. General Earle, Lieutenant-Colonel Eyre and "Uncle Bob" - Lieutenant-Colonel Bob Coveney - all died in the battle and are buried together on the heights.
In other words, listening to The Tragedy of the Korosko Rob found himself suddenly reliving the family stories he'd known as a child and hearing in the likes of Colonel Cochrane distant echoes of his own "Uncle Bob". Rob sent along a lot of interesting family memorabilia from the Mahdist War, which deserve a separate post as an addendum to our Tale for Our Time that we'll get to over the summer. But, along the way, Uncle Bob captureed a Mahdist's rifle, and here's Rob with it a century and a third on, halfway across the planet in Australia:
In an age where "educators" and others - including the thought-police demanding the return of Section 13 - are determined to blow up anything that connects us to the past and leave us bobbing around unmoored in the shallows of the present, a personal connection to the great sweep of history is ever more important. I'm glad Rob found a little bit of his own family story in The Tragedy of the Korosko, and I urge our younger readers to pay attention whenever some grampa or great-aunt opens up a personal perspective on some dim corner of the past.
We don't (yet() issue Mahdist rifles with every Mark Steyn Club membership, but we do have other kinds of fun along the way, with radio serials, video poems, live planet-wide Q&As, and much more. I appreciate the Club is not to everyone's taste, but, if you're minded to give it a go, either for a full year or a three-month experimental period, we'd love to have you. You can find more details on The Mark Steyn Club here - and, if you've a loved one who'd like something a little different for a birthday or anniversary, don't forget our special Gift Membership.