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Toothless Canada Borrows Crescent Fangs

Writer Mark Steyn, and the Canadian journal Maclean’s are poised to go up against a tag team made in multicultural heaven: Canada’s federal, Ontario and British Columbia human rights commissions, and the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC). The CIC was outraged … Read More

By / December 7, 2007

Writer Mark Steyn, and the Canadian journal Maclean’s are poised to go up against a tag team made in multicultural heaven: Canada’s federal, Ontario and British Columbia human rights commissions, and the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC). The CIC was outraged when Maclean’s published a piece titled “The Future Belongs To Islam,” an excerpt from Steyn’s America Alone, The End of the World as We Know It. They labeled Steyn’s work “flagrantly Islamophobic” and requested equal rebuttal space in the pages of Maclean’s. When the journal refused the CIC launched human rights complaints. The British Columbia hearing is scheduled for next June. The Canadian judiciary is traveling a ruinous course in entertaining this tantrum. If Western courts begin to outlaw the kind of uncomfortable critical analysis already verboten at universities, neutralization of public opinion is complete. Steyn is going to have his work cut out for him in British Columbia. Just a month or so back it was he himself who wrote about Muslims in Vancouver winning an exemption from a by-law that otherwise banned smoking in the city. Steyn quotes one Emad Yacoub who according to The Vancouver Sun said, “hookah lounges are essential for immigrants from hookah-smoking cultures, because it helps them deal with the depression common for newcomers and gives them places like they have at home.” How that differs from the experience and needs of cigarette smokers from say, Eastern Europe, isn’t clear, but the nature of the exception is. If British Columbia is making legal decisions in order to “[give Muslim immigrants] places like they have at home,” then silencing criticism of Islam is presumably the first order of business. And what of this criticism? This is from “The Future Belongs to Islam”:

In a few years, as millions of Muslim teenagers are entering their voting booths, some European countries will not be living formally under sharia, but — as much as parts of Nigeria, they will have reached an accommodation with their radicalized Islamic compatriots, who like many intolerant types are expert at exploiting the "tolerance" of pluralist societies.

So, is that “flagrant Islamophobia” or a tragically prescient summation of the predicament in which Steyn now finds himself (sooner than “in a few years” I may add)? In fact, this case is more than a potential misstep for Canadian lawmakers; it’s also an example of “tolerant” Europe’s ability to team up with “tolerant” Canada and “tolerantly” force Canadians to be more “tolerant.” The London Free Press reports that London lawyer Faisal Joseph is leading the complaint against Maclean's. If nothing else, one begins to see why Steyn titled his book America Alone. But, ultimately, this kind of legal leveling of opinion spells disaster for the U.S. too. In a recent response to the CIC charges, Steyn praises America for its First Amendment. It’s true, legislated speech codes may be hard to pass here, but then again they may not be necessary. A few years ago, in another life, I was involved in the writing of a social studies book for South Carolingian third graders. The text was to start with the native tribes of the region and go all the way to the present day. This covered, obviously, slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. One day, after we were well into the creation of the book I received, straight from the local education board, an alarming directive that would require us to go back and revisit a good deal of the work we’d already done. It turned out the word slave was not to be used anywhere in the text. Government sanctioned “tolerance” spreads by osmosis, and if Steyn and Maclean’s are silenced a few miles north of the state of Washington it won’t have far to travel. Soft and cuddly Canada is already the fetish destination of so many enthusiastic multiculturalists in the U.S. I can think of at least fifteen people who swore to me personally they were northbound in the event of Bush’ reelection. I doubt any of them made good on it, but if they did they better watch what they say. Recently I heard comedian George Carlin on a radio show dispensing his yawn-inducing brand of scorned hippie pop-nihilism. In talking about how the world had “jumped off the cliff” and was now in “freefall,” he said he was always on the lookout for censorship coming from the right, but had never expected the PC variety to overtake us from the left. Funny that Mr. Seven-Words-You-Can't-Say was blindsided, because quite a number of fussy right-wing thinkers saw it coming ages in advance. Allan Bloom wrote about it twenty years ago. Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz wrote about it decades earlier. This silliness moves so swiftly that Steyn’s ended up writing about his own troubles in real-time. (Note: The Cabal’s own Ali Eteraz has done an unimprovable job, over at comment is free, pointing out the counter-productivity of the CIC’s approach and its net effect on the West’s perception of Islam. He also takes Steyn to task.)

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