A note on Mark Steyn

Mark Steyn features in a couple of the links which will appear soon in a 14th Anniversary post for this blog, but I’m not waiting for February 19th to post this bit.

This Just In!
A Cockwomble Reaches for The Hockey Stick

Steyn could use your help defending himself, and the First Amendment, against both Michael “Hokeystick” Mann and Cary “Crazy” Katz.

Punitive lawfare is a preferred weapon of the anti-freedom-of-speech elite, and Steyn is at the forefront of these fights because he wouldn’t abase himself.  Under the US justice system, the process has become the punishment.

The Mann case has dragged on for 8 years.  Katz, who definitively lost a suit he initiated against Steyn (and refuses to pay up), is a very rich guy who… well you’d have to read about what an evil looter he is, and we don’t have space here.

Support Mark Steyn.  Buy a book, a mug, a t-shirt, a CD, or, better yet join The Mark Steyn Club.

His fight is your fight.

Dr. Jordan Peterson

The video clip below is about 5 minutes of a longer interview I recommend to you. It’s a segment discussing the difference between scientific truth and religious truth. On the way it touches on the balancing of order and chaos, moral action, Darwin, heroism, the meaning of music and the fundamental idea of Western Civilization.

This snippet is just one bit of evidence that University of Toronto Psychology professor Dr. Jordan Peterson has long been devoted to understanding the meaning of being by investigating the nature of truth. He is a man Diogenes the Cynic would have been happy to find.

Dr. Peterson has posted a huge volume of work (hundreds of hours of audio/video – television programs, interviews, and lectures going back many years); 90% of it is apolitical. I highly recommend browsing through it: Peterson is intelligent, articulate and very, very interesting. He was pretty much unknown up until the time politics became interested in him.

Those segments of his work which touch on politics do so when he discusses the relationship of good and evil to truth and lie; or references philosophies like those of Jacques Derrida, whose postmodernist theories provide a basis for the SJW political attack on Western Civilization. Here is an example:

Peterson’s thoughtful concerns about this threat should be taken very seriously.

Peterson has become an internet celebrity because of videos he recently posted challenging a Canadian law which compels certain forms of speech. This attracted virulent and gratuitous defamation from the usual leftist suspects. Among other similarities to Mark Steyn’s travails, the Star Chamber of the Ontario Human Rights Commission looms.

I hold Mark Steyn in the highest regard, not least because of his forthright defense of free speech. Steyn is joined in that defense by Peterson. In some ways Peterson is Sir Thomas More to Mark Steyn’s Martin Luther. If you’re in the mood for more Peterson, here’s a Mark Steyn interview involving the hornet’s nest Peterson inadvertently kicked. Pronoun Trouble ~50 minutes.

Since that interview the City of New York and the State of California have passed pronoun laws similar to Canada’s.

The most consequential American free-speech case in half-a-century

That is not hyperbole.

A few of those few who visit The Other Club may do so because we talk a lot about free speech. As the post title suggests, some are doing much more than that.

Consider joining the Mark Steyn Club.

 

The climate for free speech

Last Tuesday Mark Steyn appeared before Senator Ted Cruz’s sub-committee on Space, Science and Competitiveness. The topic was climate change.

Steyn’s observations are well worth your time to read, and don’t neglect the videos. I particularly enjoyed watching Senator Ed “Marquis” Markey being reminded he isn’t, in fact, nobility.

While you are at Steyn’s site, visit the Steyn Store. Christmas is almost upon us, and Mark’s suit/countersuit with Dr. Micheal “Fraudpants” Mann drags on expensively. Gift certificates are available.

Laurence Jarvik has more from the hearing here. Also recommended for comment on GOP attendance at the hearing and a clip of Steyn defending free speech.

What a piece of work is Mann

Highly recommended: Mark Steyn’s “A Disgrace to the Profession“, to anyone interested in the genesis of Michael Mann’s Hokey Stick. Steyn’s book is not an attack on the idea of AGW, it’s an exposé of, arguably, the biggest scientific fraud since Piltdown; and, indisputably, the most consequential.

Using the words of scientists who strongly believe AGW is true and of those who are more skeptical, it lays out a convincing case that there are differences of opinion among scientists on AGW, if not so much about Michael Mann.

If you (mistakenly) conflate Mann’s agenda with the discipline of climate science, you will like the book still less than even Mann’s “allies” like him. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read it: If you are concerned about erosion of public support for “doing something” about AGW, you should read it so you can help climate science regain a modicum of respectability. As long as Mann is left to hijack the discussion, threaten the careers of distinguished scientists and subvert the peer review process, it is unlikely reasonable people will find any common ground on the topic.

Mann has been able to force the entire discipline of climate science into a corner where failure to defend his work is equated with failure to defend, in Mann’s words, “the cause.” A strange way for a scientist to think. If there is a single principle that distinguishes science from religion it is that scientific theories are falsifiable. Mann is pushing the religion of Mann, not the science of climate study.

The damage to science itself is profound. The damage to freedom of speech is, perhaps, even worse – which is how Steyn got involved in a lawsuit. And came to write this book. The First Amendment is as much subject to Mann’s attack as is the scientific method.

I consider myself well informed on the AGW debate, but I learned quite a bit from this book. You probably will too. This book does not deny AGW, it denies Michael Mann’s devious, unprincipled, ad-hominem attacks on those who dare ask a single question.

We’re being asked to restructure the world economy because of a drawing based on misrepresentation, willful hyperbole and astounding arrogance. You should read “A Disgrace to the Profession” in order to understand what that means, whatever your position on AGW. You should buy “A Disgrace to the Profession” (also at Amazon) because doing so helps defend free speech. Even if Mann were right, it is long past time his bullying lawfare was stopped.

"A Disgrace to the Profession"

You could make many worse decisions about how to use your resources to defend free speech, promote open scientific inquiry and oppose the petty fascists in the White House and EPA, than by buying copies of Mark Steyn’s latest book and giving them to the warm mongers with whose acquaintance you may be afflicted.

A review by Professor Judith Curry.

“A Disgrace To The Profession” is also available at Amazon, but buying an autographed copy directly from Steyn better helps him defray the costs of Michael Mann’s lawfare.

Speech impediments

Bosch Fawstin’s winning cartoon

The First Amendment is a staple topic of this blog. I highly recommend ‘reading the whole thing’ for all the following:

“Stay Quiet and You’ll Be Okay”
-Mark Steyn

The Washington Post offered the celebrated headline “Event Organizer Offers No Apology After Thwarted Attack In Texas”, while the Associated Press went with “Pamela Geller says she has no regrets about Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest that ended in 2 deaths”. The media “narrative” of the last week is that some Zionist temptress was walking down the street in Garland in a too short skirt and hoisted it to reveal her Mohammed thong – oops, my apologies, her Prophet Mohammed thong (PBUH) – and thereby inflamed two otherwise law-abiding ISIS supporters peacefully minding their own business.

It’ll be a long time before you see “Washington Post Offers No Apology for Attacking Target of Thwarted Attack” or “AP Says It Has No Regrets After Blaming The Victim”. The respectable class in the American media share the same goal as the Islamic fanatics: They want to silence Pam Geller. To be sure, they have a mild disagreement about the means to that end – although even then you get the feeling, as with Garry Trudeau and those dozens of PEN novelists’ reaction to Charlie Hebdo, that the “narrative” wouldn’t change very much if the jihad boys had got luckier and Pam, Geert Wilders, Robert Spencer and a dozen others were all piled up in the Garland morgue…

“Stay quiet and you’ll be okay:” Those were Mohammed Atta’s words to his passengers on 9/11. And they’re what all the nice respectable types are telling us now.

The First — and a Half — Amendment
-Victor Davis Hanson

If a Christian cake decorator does not wish to use his skills to celebrate gay marriage — an innovation that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama opposed until very recently — on a wedding cake, then he is rendered a homophobe who must be punished for not using his artistic talents in the correct way.Note that we are not talking about nondiscrimination concerning fundamental civil rights such as voting, finding housing, using public facilities, or purchasing standard merchandise. Meanwhile, are we really prepared to force gay bakers to decorate Christian wedding cakes with slogans that they find offensive or homophobic? Or to insist that an Orthodox Jewish baker must prepare a cake for a Palestinian wedding featuring a map of the Middle East without Israel? Or to require a black-owned catering company to cook ribs for a KKK group? Instead, radical gays demand the exclusive right to force an artist — and a cake decorator is an artist of sorts — to express himself in ways that they deem correct.

Without free speech, the United States becomes just another two-bit society of sycophants, opportunists, and toadies who warp expression for their own careerist and political agendas. How odd that we of the 21st century lack the vision and courage of our 18th-century Founders, who warned us of exactly what we are now becoming.

How Liberals Ruined College
-Kirsten Powers

The belief that free speech rights don’t include the right to speak offensively is now firmly entrenched on campuses and enforced by repressive speech or harassment codes. Campus censors don’t generally riot in response to presumptively offensive speech, but they do steal newspapers containing articles they don’t like, vandalize displays they find offensive, and disrupt speeches they’d rather not hear. They insist that hate speech isn’t free speech and that people who indulge in it should be punished. No one should be surprised when a professor at an elite university calls for the arrest of ‘Sam Bacile’ [who made the YouTube video The Innocence of Muslims] while simultaneously claiming to value the First Amendment…”On today’s campuses, left-leaning administrators, professors, and students are working overtime in their campaign of silencing dissent, and their unofficial tactics of ostracizing, smearing, and humiliation are highly effective. But what is even more chilling—and more far reaching—is the official power they abuse to ensure the silencing of views they don’t like. They’ve invented a labyrinth of anti-free speech tools that include “speech codes,” “free speech zones,” censorship, investigations by campus “diversity and tolerance offices,” and denial of due process. They craft “anti-harassment policies” and “anti-violence policies” that are speech codes in disguise.

Sadly, it hardly ends there. These excerpts touch only three of the more egregious offenders. Other enemies of the First Amendment are left unmentioned. For example, radical feminists, CAGW ‘settled science’ zombies and the IRS.

The Orwell Project

From Mark Steyn, a must read on Free Speech: The Sound of Silence

If you don’t believe in free speech for those you hate, you don’t believe in free speech at all…

[R]ight now the leftie sexual identity groups are happy to make common cause with the Islamocrazies because they’re both about shutting people up…

[I]f 300 years of free speech can be rolled back in the interest of “enhancing public safety”, why not property rights, due process, freedom of association, freedom of religion or even (gasp!) sexual liberty?

Of course, we’re already there. Property rights are violated daily by TSA strip-searchers, and by EPA regulators: Due process is already disappearing on American college campuses, and your local police routinely seize property from those who have committed no crime: “Forced association” is a key element of Obamacare, and free association has been declared verboten by the IRS: Religious freedom is suffering verbal blitzkrieg from our president who claims murder of identified religious groups – in the name of Allah – is “random:” Sexual liberty is being redefined as “affirmative consent” by the same twisted ideologues who enabled and protect the Rotherham child-rapists in the name of “community cohesion.”

You can identify the statists easily. They’re the ones trying to make words mean exactly the opposite of what they actually mean: “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” -George Orwell, 1984

 

The deep slumber of a decided opinion

Time to wake up.

Mark Steyn has put more on the line more to protect the fundamental principle of free speech than any other living writer. In Canada, his long battle over an article published in Maclean’s magazine greatly increased Canadians’ freedom by contributing to the repeal of Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Now, Mr. Steyn is going to court in the United States, having been sued by warmist poster-child Dr. Michael Mann, over an article Steyn wrote in National Review. Dr. Mann created the debunked “hockey stick” (see also), and was one recipient of the “hide the decline” email in the Climategate email scandal.

Forbes had this to say about Dr. Mann:

Mann’s career is dependent on taxpayer handouts. He draws his salary from a public university, Penn State. He solicits government grant money to carry out special research projects. Government officials, who are accountable to voters for how they spend the tax money they collect, occasionally follow up on taxpayer concerns that government funding recipients appear to be misusing government funds. This, apparently, makes Mann furious.

Steyn’s legal expenses are, naturally, large. You could help defray them and score some of Steyn’s writings at the same time. However you may feel about prevaricating climate ‘scientists’ who decline to share their methods, or account for their expenditures, it’s your freedom of speech, too.

“Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.”
-John Milton

“…there ought to exist the fullest liberty of professing and discussing, as a matter of ethical conviction, any doctrine, however immoral it may be considered.”
-John Stuart Mill

Now you’re all a bunch of girls named Francois

The title of this post is taken from an interview Ann Coulter gave to the Globe and Mail, a Toronto newspaper that in better times fancied itself Canada’s Wall Street Journal, but which has devolved into a politically correct version of the New York Times.

A more complete quote is:

She also took a swipe at Canadians, saying this country has lost its edge.“You guys used to be so cool. You were smokers. You had epic hockey fights. We had half our comedians from Canada. Now you’re all a bunch of girls named Francois.”

I mention this interview because TOC has written a fair bit in the past about Canada’s “hate” speech laws, notably involving Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn.

Coulter was in Ottawa to give a speech at the University of Zero, as she now refers to the institution whose Provost, one Francois Houle, did his best to incite a riot. He succeeded and the speech was canceled.

Mark Steyn had this to say:

Freedom of speech is in grave peril in Canada. In the Coulter fracas, almost all the major societal institutions behaved poorly:1) François Houle symbolizes a decadent academy that is the very antithesis of honest enquiry and intellectual debate that the university is supposed to represent.

2) The Ottawa Police have declared that there is no equality before the law. If you belong to certain groups, they’ll stand by as the mob shuts you down.

3) The dinosaur media are vast lumbering eunuchs too cowed by political correctness to do even elementary research. Fatima Al Dhaher, the poor wee thing traumatized by Ann Coulter’s camel joke, turns out to be a Jew-hater who wants to eliminate the State of Israel. But that’s too complicated for the media to fit into their Sesame Street narratives.

Between them, the media, the law and the education system are actively shriveling Canada’s liberties. It doesn’t lead anywhere good: Ghost of a Flea’s title – “Fascist Canada” – is no exaggeration. If you say, “Oh, c’mon, if you’re not a troublemaker like Coulter or Levant or Guy Earle or Douglas McCue, Canada’s very pleasant”, well, so were large parts of Mussolini’s Italy and Franco’s Spain. But they were not free, and few pre-Trudeau Canadians would have entertained trading ancient liberties for soft totalitarianism euphemized as “diversity”.

The saddest aspect of this sad day is the number of people who’ve sent e-mails denouncing the Ottawa bullies but ending with the words “If you print this, please don’t mention my name.” Don’t you realize that that’s part of the problem? In a sane world, it would be François Houle and Fatima Al Dhaher and Susan Cole who would be ashamed to have their names mentioned. But they’re not. They’re proud to nail their colours to the masts of state censorship, Israeli eliminationism, and mob violence – while your support for free speech and other traditional liberties can only be expressed sotto voce and anonymously. That right there tells you how much of Canada you’ve already lost.

But read the whole thing.

Coulter herself got a good column out of it:

Since arriving in Canada, I’ve been accused of thought crimes, threatened with criminal prosecution for speeches I hadn’t yet given and denounced on the floor of the Parliament (which was nice because that one was on my “bucket list”).Posters advertising my speech have been officially banned, while posters denouncing me are plastered all over the University of Ottawa campus. Elected officials have been prohibited from attending my speeches. Also, the local clothing stores are fresh out of brown shirts.

Welcome to Canada!

The provost of the University of Ottawa, average student IQ: 0, wrote to me – widely disseminating his letter to at least a half-dozen intermediaries before it reached me – in advance of my visit to recommend that I familiarize myself with Canada’s criminal laws regarding hate speech.

This marks the first time I’ve ever gotten hate mail for something I might do in the future.

Apparently, Canadian law forbids “promoting hatred against any identifiable group,” which the provost, Francois A. Houle, advised me, “would not only be considered inappropriate, but could in fact lead to criminal charges.”

I was given no specific examples of what words and phrases I couldn’t use, but I take it I’m not supposed to say, “F— you, Francois.”

Again, RTWT.

Kathy Shaidle has a series of great posts with lots more info, here‘s a place to start.