The lamps are going out…By Mark Steyn. The most excellent, Mark Steyn.

The lamps are going out

By Mark Steyn

It’s an honor to be here, with so many people I greatly admire, including Rachel Ehrenfeld, and my comrade-in-arms from our struggle up north, Ezra Levant. I feel like giving a version of the Churchill speech in Fulton, Missouri, about how a Maple Curtain has descended across the forty-ninth parallel. It’s not quite that bad—yet—but if you do see a couple of guys bust into the Princeton Club in red coats on a dog sled, it’s the Royal Canadian Mounted Police snatch team, so just let Ezra and me know and we can get a two-minute head start down Fifth Avenue.

I’d like to start with a bit of good news/bad news for me personally. As some of you are aware, the Canadian Islamic Congress complained about an excerpt from my book America Alone published in Maclean’s magazine. They took the complaint to three of these cockamamie “human rights” commissions they have in Canada. So I was facing three trials: before the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, and the Ontario Human Rights Commission. In civilized justice systems, double jeopardy is a no-no, but triple jeopardy is apparently fine and dandy. Yesterday, the Ontario Human Rights Commission announced belatedly that they’d decided not to hear the case. Since it emerged that they were considering hauling into court not just me but Canada’s best-selling news weekly over an excerpt from a book that was a number-one bestseller in Canada, they’ve had the worst four months’ publicity in their existence. So they decided, in effect, they’d had enough and to quit while they were behind. That’s the good news. The bad news is they decided to issue a verdict anyway. They declared my article and my magazine to be “racist” and “Islamophobic,” and “strongly condemned” it. Over the years, I’ve written in newspapers and magazines in dozens of countries and have attracted my share of legal problems. But yesterday was a first for me. The Ontario Human Rights Commission, having concluded they couldn’t withstand the heat of a trial, decided to cut to the chase and give us a drive-thru conviction anyway. If I’m charged with holding up a liquor store, I enjoy the right to the presumption of innocence and to defend myself in court. But when it comes to so-called Islamophobia—a word which was only invented a few years ago and which enjoys no legal definition—all the centuries-old safeguards of English Common Law go out the window.

On the radio yesterday, I was asked why I was bothering to defend myself. I live in the United States; nobody’s going to extradite me; why not just write off Canada? Here’s my self-interested answer: I make my living as an author. If I go to my American publisher to pitch a book, she’ll listen to my précis and then figure, “Well, we won’t be able to sell it in Canada, so there goes ten percent of the North American market. And we won’t be able to license a British edition, because some bigshot Saudi prince will sue in a London court. And we won’t be able to sell French and German translation rights because it runs afoul of European Union xenophobia legislation.” And pretty soon your little book is looking a lot less commercially viable. So it’s easy to say write off Canada, Britain, Europe, Australia, but at the end of the day there’ll be a lot of American authors affected by this and a lot of American books that will go unpublished here in America.

As I said, that’s my self-interested answer as to why I’m fighting this thing, but here’s my high-falutin’ one. When my children are my age, I want Western civilization still to be in business. I think the idea that America can survive as a lonely beacon of light in a dark planet is absurd. To accept these thuggish assaults on free speech in the rest of the West is to make inevitable a world in which one day they will be under assault here. We’re part of a global economy, signatories to global agreements, global distribution networks, members of transnational bodies. The notion that freedom can be undermined in every other part of the West without having an impact here in the United States is preposterous. My book is about to be published in France, and, if some French Muslim lobby group wants to do the same as the Canadian Islamic Congress, I’ll defend it in a French court in my lousy Québécois-accented French (which I believe is a capital offense in the Fifth Republic). And I’ll do that in every Western jurisdiction where bullies who can’t withstand free, honest, open debate decide instead to use the legal system to shut the debate down. The President often says about Iraq that we’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here. Same with me and the legal jihadists: I’m going to fight them over there because otherwise we’re going to be fighting them over here, and sooner than you think.

Go to New Criterion to order this article in its entirety



Posted in Temp. 9 Comments »

9 Responses to “The lamps are going out…By Mark Steyn. The most excellent, Mark Steyn.”

  1. Rebecca H Says:

    Thank God for Mark Steyn’s vision and courage. And we should all be backing him up.

  2. tizona Says:

    Completely agree Rebecca. I fault myself for not bringing, grabbing or stealing anything and everything he writes.

  3. Angus Dei Says:

    Yeah, the problem with the idea of killing all the lawyers is that there are so many I like now. LOL!

    Steyn is pretty much at the top of the list.

  4. SwampWoman Says:

    It is ridiculous that he should be fighting this fight alone. Every author, indeed, everybody that believes in free speech should be standing there beside him.

  5. yojimbo Says:


    He’s a conservative so those normal rules do not apply. NOW should have been kissing George Bush’s feet for what he did and is doing for women in Afghanistan and Iraq but they are not.

  6. tizona Says:

    9/11 Truth Footnote:

    I have NO IDEA, what you speak of, none. Believe you trace to the NYC area, with ‘your’ Congress Blog. What you type MAY be SPAM, in that case it MAY be deleted, but I found something of interest in you bringing up, Kurosawa.

    Akira Kurosawa, Filmmaker

    Born: 23 March 1910
    Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
    Died: 6 September 1998
    Best Known As: Legendary Japanese movie director
    Akira Kurosawa was an unsuccessful painter who turned to making movies in Japan in the late 1930s. He got the attention of the rest of the world in 1951, with Rashomon, his first of many films to star Toshiro Mifune. Several of Kurosawa’s samurai films have been turned into westerns, including Seven Samurai and Yojimbo, and George Lucas has said that his film Star Wars was inspired by Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress. By the end of his career Kurosawa had come to be regarded as one of Japan’s greatest directors.

  7. Angus Dei Says:

    Our Man Flint. Coburn was hilariously brilliant.

    Oh, don’t go to the congress check website under 9/11’s monicker.

    Spam, spam, spam, spam, and spam.

  8. tizona Says:

    True dat, Sir Angus

    As soon as Yojimbo sees his name in “lights”, 9/11 Truth will be as it is now, history.

    Wake up out there, Yojimbo. Enjoy your 15 minutes. 🙂

  9. yojimbo Says:

    “They’re goin to put me in the movies, they’re gonna make a big star out of me!”

    That was not the impetus behind my moniker however. Never watched any of those movies, never understood them. I think they came out just after all of the Swedish films that were so “deep” and “perspective laden”(gag). So when the Hollywood crowd started talking about how this guy was just doing his version of Hamlet or Henry the whatever I just checked out. Mifune did do a western here with some American actor that was pretty good. Can’t remember the name of it.

    There, that just about exhausts my 15 minutes.:)

Well, SAY something...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: