Saturday, March 11, 2017

Vintage Steyn on the Vine


In 2009, Cambridge University changed the name of its "Empire Ball" due to the usual PC objections.

Mark Steyn:
"Interesting that "anti-fascism" now means attacking the British Empire, which stood alone against fascism in that critical year between the fall of France and Germany's invasion of Russia.
Re: Cambridge University's de-imperialized "Empire Ball", many many readers write to insist I point out the most obvious fatuity in those "anti-fascist groups"' litany of evil - "the British Empire's association with slavery".

The British Empire's principal association with slavery is that it abolished it. Thanks to William Wilberforce and the brave men of the Royal Navy, an institution [slavery] that hitherto had been regarded by all cultures around the planet as as permanent a feature of life as the earth and sky was expunged from most of the globe."
Slavery expunged ...except in Islamist Africa and Communist Asia today.

Also from 2009, Mr. Steyn squeezes the Charmin:

"We all too often mistake the nature of those negotiations in Copenhagen," remarked professor Flannery. "We think of them as being concerned with some sort of environmental treaty. That is far from the case. The negotiations now ongoing toward the Copenhagen agreement are in effect diplomacy at the most profound global level. They deal with every aspect of our life and they will influence every aspect of our life, our economy, our society."

Hold that thought: "They deal with every aspect of our life." Did you know every aspect of your life was being negotiated at Copenhagen? But in a good way! So no need to worry. 

Two-ply bathroom tissue, according to Allen Hershkowitz of the Natural Resources Defense Council, "is the Hummer of the paper industry." Oh, and blame Canada, as that’s where most American two-ply comes from: this decadent Dominion is apparently the House of Saud of toilet paper. 

At their Monday night poker game in hell, I’ll bet Stalin, Hitler and Mao are kicking themselves: "'It’s about leaving a better planet to our children?' Why didn’t I think of that?" This is Two-Ply Totalitarianism—no jackboots, no goose steps, just soft and gentle all the way. Nevertheless, occasionally the mask drops and the totalitarian underpinnings become explicit. Take Elizabeth May’s latest promotional poster: "Your parents f*cked up the planet. It’s time to do something about it. Live Green. Vote Green." As Saskatchewan blogger Kate McMillan pointed out, the tactic of "convincing youth to reject their parents in favour of The Party" is a time-honoured tradition.".......

On Fort Hood:

Two joint terrorism task forces became aware almost a year ago that Major Hasan was in regular email contact with Anwar al-Awlaqi, the American-born but now Yemeni-based cleric who served as imam to three of the 9/11 hijackers and supports all-out holy war against the United States. But the expert analysts in the Pentagon determined that this lively correspondence was consistent with Major Hasan’s “research interests”, so there was no need to worry. That’s America: Technologically superior, money no object (not one but two “joint terrorism task forces” stumbled across him). Yet no action was taken.

On the other hand, who needs surveillance operations and intelligence budgets? Major Hasan was entirely upfront about who he was. He put it on his business card: “SOA.” As in “Soldier of Allah” – which seems a tad ungrateful to the American taxpayers who ponied up half a million bucks or thereabouts in elite medical school education to train him to be a Soldier of Uncle Sam. In a series of meetings during 2008, officials from both Walter Reed and the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences considered the question of whether then Captain Hasan was psychotic. But, according to at least one bigwig at Walter Reed, members of the policy committee wondered “how would it look if we kick out one of the few Muslim residents”. So he got promoted to Major and shipped to Fort Hood.

And 13 men and women and an unborn baby are dead.

Well, like they say, it’s easy to be wise after the event. I’m not so sure. These days, it’s easier to be even more stupid after the event. “Apparently he tried to contact al Qaeda,” mused MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. “That’s not a crime to call up al Qaeda, is it? Is it? I mean, where do you stop the guy?” Interesting question: Where do you draw the line?

The truth is we’re not prepared to draw a line even after he’s gone ahead and committed mass murder.

Ezra Levant, my comrade in a long battle to restore freedom of speech to Canada, likes to say that the Danish cartoons crisis may one day be seen as a more critical event than 9/11. Not, obviously, in the comparative death tolls but in what each revealed about the state of western civilization. After 9/11, we fought back, hit hard, rolled up the Afghan camps; after the cartoons, we weaseled and equivocated and appeased and signaled that we were willing to trade core western values for a quiet life. Watching the decadence and denial on display this last week, I think in years to come Fort Hood will be seen in a similar light. What happened is not a “tragedy” but a national scandal, already fading from view.".......

Mark Steyn today:

Bill Leak, the great cartoonist of The Australian, died of a heart attack in the early hours of Friday morning. He was 61.

Like Andrew Bolt, I feel not only terrible sadness at his premature death, but also anger and resentment. Bill Leak was not gunned down at his office, like the writers and artists of Charlie Hebdo, nor did a murderous Somali axman break into his home, as happened to Kurt Westergaard, one of the Danish Mohammed cartoonists, nor did he have his last public appearance shot up by a killer jihadist, as did the Swedish artist Lars Vilks. But, as much as any of those, Bill was a target of what he called (at right) "the Cartoonists Hit List" and the wider war on free expression that has rampaged across the west this last decade.

Last October, he woke up to find that, after a cartoon arising from a then current controversy on Aboriginal policy, he was to be investigated by the Australian state's thought-police. Indeed, the government's Race Discrimination Commissar, Tim Soutphommasane, was so anxious to haul Leak up on a charge of "racial stereotyping" that he was advertising for plaintiffs:
He urged anyone who was offended by it to lodge a complaint under the Racial Discrimination Act.
As Bill's mate Tim Blair observed:
This is extraordinary. The Human Rights Commission is now preparing to sit in judgment in a case clearly already decided by one of the HRC's most senior officials. As Homer Simpson once asked: 'Who made you Judge Judy and executioner?'
In the way of sleazy apparatchiks everywhere, Commissar Soutphommasane insisted that his verdict-first-trial-afterwards approach was all part of the vigorous public debate of a healthy democracy:
Cartoons will be subject to all matter of public debate. It's a healthy part of our democracy that we have that debate.
To which I responded:
Sorry. A legal action is not a "debate". Mr Leak is being "subject to" not debate but state thought-policing - because ideological enforcers like Soutphommasane find debate too tiresome and its results too unpredictable. Which is why he gets a third of a million a year from Australian taxpayers to prevent debate.
Gillian Triggs, the Chief Commissar of the Australian "Human Rights" Commission, complained that Bill had refused to send her a written response "justifying" his cartoon.

Good for him. As I wrote in The Australian, you don't get into a debate with someone whose opening bid is "You can't say that": It's not a dispute with someone who holds a different position, but with someone who denies your right to have a position at all...A man who is already living in hiding because murderous thugs don't like his cartoon has to be further tormented because hack bureaucrats and professional grievance-mongers don't like some other cartoon. As I said that night in Sydney, these are merely different points on the same continuum: The Islamic State and the Australian state are both in the shut-up business, and proud of it."

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