"See you in court"
Here's the opening of Mark Steyn's speech at the Fraser Institute in Vancouver on the subject of the hate speech charges brought against him by British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal for criticizing Islam. It's a Gangbusters type curtain raiser, but the longer we read the more apparent it is that the speech is less about radical Islam than something else.
I’m honoured to be here. The only other invitation I’ve had from Vancouver is from the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal which begins its case against my “hate speech” next Monday. I confess until this case came about I’d always assumed Canada had freedom of speech. I was south of the border, and you may remember that business from last year when Senator Larry Craig had his unfortunate run-in with the undercover cop in the Minneapolis Airport men’s room. I was amazed to read this story in the newspaper a few months ago, announcing that his lawyer had filed a brief arguing that the hand gestures Senator Craig supposedly made under the bathroom stall divider were constitutionally protected free speech under the First Amendment. What a great country. In Canada, according to the Canadian Islamic Congress, “freedom of speech” doesn’t extend to my books and newspaper columns. But in America Senator Craig’s men’s room semaphore is covered by the First Amendment. From now on, instead of writing about radical Islam, I’m only going to hit on imams in bathrooms.
This is my first ever speech in Vancouver. And, amazingly enough, it’s also my last ever speech in Vancouver. So it’s kind of a two-for-one night. It’s like when they say “Direct from Broadway. Limited engagement.” This is a very limited engagement. The reason for that is, next Monday, the excerpt from my bestselling hate crime, America Alone, that Maclean’s made the mistake of publishing, next Monday that book excerpt goes on trial at the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. As some of you know, the Canadian Islamic Congress has accused me and Maclean’s of “flagrant Islamophobia”. And the trial begins Monday morning at the Robson Square courthouse – 9 o’clock Monday morning. Go to Robson Square and look for the old lady by the guillotine doing her knitting, you can’t miss it. She’s knitting a nice “The World Needs More Canada” sweater out of discarded copies of Magna Carta. It’s a very moving sight. It would have, of course, be wholly improper of me to comment on a case before the courts, but hey, that’s the kinda guy I am.
But what "kinda guy" is modern Western multiculturalism, that proud creation of "progressive" thought? It is, in the last analysis, the principal ally of every fascist unicultural force there is. Steyn soon warms to the point that what is at issue isn't what Islam is; because Islam will be what it will be. What is at issue in the hate speech proceedings is what the West wants to be.
What we’re up against is not primarily defined by what’s going on in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those are still essentially military campaigns and we’re good at those. ... it might be truer to say that this is a Cold Civil War – by which I mean a war within the west. The real war is a domestic war: the key terrain is not the Sunni Triangle but every major city within the western world. ...
Even if there were no battles in Iraq and Afghanistan, even if no one was flying planes into tall buildings in New York, even if no one were blowing up trains and buses and nightclubs in Madrid and London and Bali, even without all that, we would still be in danger of losing this thing – without a shot being fired.
Steyn's insight -- that the War on Terror is essentially the consequence of a Western disease that manifests itself in the newly found power of medieval madmen -- is the key point. All September 11, Iraq, Afghanistan have done is focus attention on a silent struggle that has been going on within Western culture for last hundred years. It is the ideational counterpart of violent struggles of the 20th century. The men who we remember on Memorial Day only buried the physical corpus of totalitarianism. It remains for us, in the twenty first century, to lay its ghost to rest.
Can we do it without restarting the violence of the last hundred years? Perhaps. But can we do it without a mental and legal struggle. Definitely not. And so Mark Steyn continues in defiance of the thought police. Because that's the kind of guy he is.
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