Star Chamber

The mock show trial of Mark Steyn and Maclean’s magazine began today in front of the British Columbia Human Rights Commission. You should read the live blog link below, because it is worth knowing how far “hate speech” legislation, and its fellow traveler “hate crime” statutes, can be used to undermine Western Democratic values. I’d say the existence of such laws is a disqualifier for that title.

Unfortunately, it’s only a matter of degree for any present day “Western Democracy,” but – once again – we can learn much from our northern neighbor. The aftermath of the result of this tribunal, widely expected to result in a “conviction,” will tell us much about the condition of democracy in Canada.

You will have trouble believing the verdict will go that way, but if it does not it will be the first. As you read about the proceedings, you will come to understand why.

Follow the proceedings here.

The British Columbia Human Rights Commission is an extra-judicial body in which the traditional norms of evidence are disregarded and in which the State provides the money for the plaintiff. A plaintiff is anyone who can fill out form LHOR-72JP9D, or equivalent. The state also pays the “judges,” who would be at least even further underemployed if not for the existence of free-ride plaintiffs.

The defendant has to pony up on his own. This can be a challenge, given the limited options available to the defence:

Under Section 7.1, he [the defence lawyer] continues, innocent intent is not a defence, nor is truth, nor is fair comment or the public interest, nor is good faith or responsible journalism.Or in other words, there is no defence.

Unsurprisingly, the defence does not consider this an equitable situation. The astounding part is that Canada has, ’til now, so considered it.

Pay attention at 2:46 PM (2nd half of the live blog) for a truly bizarre evidentiary ruling. If there were any principle involved – IF – then ALL the material mentioned would be admissible, or NONE of it would be. These petty bureaucrats presume to rule on freedom of speech in Canada, and have gotten away with it.

Perhaps this “free speech” stuff is only an American concept, as Mr. Steacy, AKA Jadewarr, and CHRC agent provocateur, has informed us.

The BCHRC’s decision will be a watershed, one way or another. Appearing live in Vancouver until at least week’s end.

In Ontario, we have another story of blatant disregard for human rights. Which human right is not in question for the Ontario Human Rights Commission. They already know who’s aggrieved.

Human Rights in Canada

A story to watch. It says a lot about Canada’s McCain-Feingold-on-steroids speech suppression laws.

In this instance, it’s the Alberta Human Rights Wallaby Court* Star Chamber Commission.
*TOC refers to these tribunals as Wallaby Courts because calling them Kangaroo Courts grants too much respect.

My visit to a kangaroo court

Today at 2 p.m. I will appear before an Alberta “human rights officer” for an interrogation. I am being interrogated for the political crime of publishing the Danish cartoons in the Western Standard nearly two years ago.

As a lawyer, I’ve been in different courts and tribunals, but I’ve never experienced a kangaroo court first-hand. I will have a more comprehensive report later today. In the meantime, I leave you with three documents:

1. The hand-scrawled complaint filed against the magazine by a radical, Saudi-trained imam who has publicly called for sharia law to be imposed in Canada;

2. My response to that complaint; and

3. A look at those cartoons again.

As they say in Virginia, sic semper tyrannis!

RTWT and check out the links mentioned. It gives you a chance to review those murderous cartoons, too.

Good Luck, Mr. Levant. We’ll look for updates.


The bizarre spectacle of various “Human Rights” Commissions in Canada taking up a Canadian Islamic Congress complaint against Maclean’s magazine and Mark Steyn continues. The CIC is on a crusade to prevent any discussion of Islam they don’t like. The post immediately below, Human Rights in Canada, demonstrates that they won’t even accept quoting high level Imams as legitimate speech.

TOC has also commented here, here, and here. If this is the first you’ve heard about this you might want to skim those in order. Alternately, a nice summary can be found under this mild mannered headline: Complaints against Maclean’s raise censorship concerns. I say mild mannered because “Human Rights” Commissions in Canada are as good an example of Liberal Fascism as Jonah Goldberg could ever imagine.

It’s worth reading the whole thing, but I reproduce the intro here because it struck me as interesting. I fear it displays a mind-set which already accepts significant thought restrictions. We’re just debating the appropriate degree and the appropriate censors.

HUMAN RIGHTS complaints against Maclean’s magazine, for running an excerpt of conservative columnist Mark Steyn’s bestselling book America Alone, have raised alarms about the rise in government sponsored censorship in Canada — especially against Christians.

The phrase “the rise in government sponsored censorship” seems peculiar for two reasons.

First, if rights of free speech were not already gutted in Canada there would not be the possibility of a “rise in” censorship simply because someone tells an HRC their feelings have been hurt. Just because the government hasn’t exercised its role as Grand Inquisitor so much as it could have doesn’t mean Canadians are suddenly experiencing a reduction in freedom of speech. They have exactly as much now as they did right after the “Human Rights” Commissions were established. The existence and powers of the Human Rights Commissions ipso facto demonstrates that provision 2.b) of Charter of Rights and Freedoms:

“2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

is a hollow promise when matched against the thought crime provisions in sections 318 and 319 of Canada’s Criminal Code, and section 13 of the Human Rights Act.

Second, what entity other than government can apply censorship? By any other entity it’s a boycott, not censorship. Perhaps this gentle description, implying other institutions may censor and objecting to a rise in the use of a totalitarian power which ought not to be tolerated in the first place, is a result of a polite society. Perhaps it results from not wanting to attract Touquemada’s attention.

I would make less of this, but other parts of this article seem to share the assumptions I see in the intro. For example,

Catholic and social conservative activist John Pacheco shares Benson’s concerns. “Mark Steyn is probably most popular conservative commentator in the world. If he can be attacked, it does not bode well for freedom of speech for Canadians.”

I’m sorry, but the “not boding well” part is way past. It’s done boding. Unless and until freedom “of thought, belief, opinion and expression” is seen to actually be a fundamental right it will simply be a matter of how much freedom of speech Parliament thinks is good for you. Abolishing the HRC’s would not end the problem.

H/T five feet of fury

cold civil war

This sentence is perhaps the best summary of what is so very peculiar about the statist mind.

It seems a mite inconsistent to entrust government to manage your health care and education and to dictate what you can and can’t toss in the trash, but then to fret over them waging war on your behalf.

That’s from Mark Steyn, currently under attack in Canada based on laws intended to protect human rights – so long as freedom of speech is not counted among them.

Read the whole thing here.


Free speech vs Islamism update

I provide some excerpts from several sources. Please RTWTs at the links provided.

First, by the Editors at National Review Online, Free Steyn:

On December 4, the Canadian Islamic Congress announced that it had filed a complaint with three of Canada’s “human rights commissions” over an October 2006 article that Steyn had published in Maclean’s, Canada’s leading news weekly. “This article completely misrepresents Canadian Muslims’ values, their community, and their religion,” said Faisal Joseph, an attorney representing the complainants, in a press release. “We feel that it is imperative to challenge Maclean’s biased portrayal of Muslims in order to protect Canadian multiculturalism and tolerance.”

The article in question was adapted from Steyn’s recent book America Alone, which argues that Western society may be irrevocably altered — and not for the better — by unassimilated Muslim immigration. It’s no surprise that this thesis is controversial, probably in part because Steyn makes his points so well. But the real threat to tolerance here is the CIC, which would have the state impose penalties on those whose writings it disagrees with.

If you haven’t yet purchased your autographed copy of America Alone, you can do so here. The least you should do is read the MacLeans’ article that has the Canadian Islamic Congress’ panties in a knot. Titled The future belongs to Islam, it makes such hateful statements as this:

On the Continent and elsewhere in the West, native populations are aging and fading and being supplanted remorselessly by a young Muslim demographic. Time for the obligatory “of courses”: of course, not all Muslims are terrorists — though enough are hot for jihad to provide an impressive support network of mosques from Vienna to Stockholm to Toronto to Seattle. Of course, not all Muslims support terrorists — though enough of them share their basic objectives (the wish to live under Islamic law in Europe and North America) to function wittingly or otherwise as the “good cop” end of an Islamic good cop/bad cop routine. But, at the very minimum, this fast-moving demographic transformation provides a huge comfort zone for the jihad to move around in. And in a more profound way it rationalizes what would otherwise be the nuttiness of the terrorists’ demands. An IRA man blows up a pub in defiance of democratic reality — because he knows that at the ballot box the Ulster Loyalists win the elections and the Irish Republicans lose. When a European jihadist blows something up, that’s not in defiance of democratic reality but merely a portent of democratic reality to come. He’s jumping the gun, but in every respect things are moving his way.You may vaguely remember seeing some flaming cars on the evening news toward the end of 2005. Something going on in France, apparently. Something to do with — what’s the word? — “youths.” When I pointed out the media’s strange reluctance to use the M-word vis-à-vis the rioting “youths,” I received a ton of emails arguing there’s no Islamist component, they’re not the madrasa crowd, they may be Muslim but they’re secular and Westernized and into drugs and rap and meaningless sex with no emotional commitment, and rioting and looting and torching and trashing, just like any normal healthy Western teenagers. These guys have economic concerns, it’s the lack of jobs, it’s conditions peculiar to France, etc. As one correspondent wrote, “You right-wing shit-for-brains think everything’s about jihad.”

Actually, I don’t think everything’s about jihad. But I do think, as I said, that a good 90 per cent of everything’s about demography. Take that media characterization of those French rioters: “youths.” What’s the salient point about youths? They’re youthful. Very few octogenarians want to go torching Renaults every night. It’s not easy lobbing a Molotov cocktail into a police station and then hobbling back with your walker across the street before the searing heat of the explosion melts your hip replacement. Civil disobedience is a young man’s game.

There’s much more in the article and you should read it. I said that already, but it definitely bears repeating. Steyn’s book, from which it is adapted, is even more worth reading.

Meanwhile, Michael Savage, for whose self-absorbed ranting I have little use, at least operates under a legal system better suited to self-defense – and to free speech. He does have a right to say what he has said. The Council on American-Islamic Relations has a perfect right to mount a boycott of his radio show. This kerfuffle is described sympathetically, amazingly, in the San Francisco Gate.

Savage vs. CAIR: The battle over free speech

Savage’s controversial commentary tends to elicit a censorious response. It wasn’t long ago that Savage’s remarks on illegal immigrants drew the ire of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors, which, it seems, is always on the lookout for avenues of politically-correct behavior control. Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval introduced a resolution twice this year condemning Savage for “hate speech,” a meaningless yet ominous gesture which disregards the concept of free speech. The resolution failed the first time around thanks to the lone dissent of the now-ousted Supervisor Ed Jew, who, in contrast to Sandoval’s identity-politics-steeped perspective, stuck with upholding the First Amendment. But in October, the resolution passed, providing a menacing example of government interference, albeit symbolically, in the free speech rights of its citizenry.Economic punishment is another weapon in the hands of those opposed to Savage’s provocative methodology and the Council on American-Islamic Relations is the latest to jump on the boycott bandwagon. CAIR is a Washington, D.C., nonprofit organization that touts itself as “America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group.” As such, CAIR expressed concern over a number of statements made by Savage on his Oct. 29 program that the group felt were anti-Muslim in nature. In response, CAIR, along with the newly formed Hate Hurts America Community and Interfaith Coalition, has attempted to mount a boycott aimed at advertisers on Savage’s show. According to a Dec. 3 CAIR press release, a growing list of companies, including AutoZone, Citrix, TrustedID, JC Penney, OfficeMax, Wal-Mart, and AT&T, have joined the boycott.

But rather than taking CAIR’s boycott lying down, Savage is fighting back, in court. Represented by his lawyer, Daniel A. Horowitz, Savage is suing CAIR primarily for copyright infringement. According to the text of the lawsuit, which is posted at Savage’s Web site, CAIR “misappropriated” his work by posting the four-minute segment in question at its Web site and including it in outreach and fundraising efforts. Taking it a step further, the lawsuit accuses CAIR of misrepresenting itself as a “civil rights organization” and of “advocating a specific political agenda that is directly opposed to the existence of a free society.” While the copyright infringement charges against CAIR may or may not pan out, the broader implications could end up holding the most weight.

Please note the companies who have joined the boycott against Savage. You may mount your own, if you wish. Perhaps against them.

I admit I was briefly conflicted about WalMart, because they are often the target of “hateful” propaganda from union socialists, and I’ve gone out of my way to patronize them because of it. However, as long as they’re against free speech, they might as well suffer from it.

God speed, Mark Steyn. Good luck, Michael Savage.

Update: 7:45PM. Forgot this one.

Censorship In The Name Of ‘Human Rights’

…human rights commissions are the perfect instrument for the CIC. The CIC doesn’t even have to hire a lawyer: Once the complaint has been accepted by the commissions, taxpayers’ dollars and government lawyers are used to pursue the matter. Maclean’s, on the other hand, will have to hire its own lawyers with its own money. Rules of court don’t apply. Normal rules of evidence don’t apply. The commissions are not neutral; they’re filled with activists, many of whom aren’t even lawyers and do not understand the free-speech safeguards contained in our constitution.

And the punishments that these commissions can order are bizarre. Besides fines to the government and payments to complainants, defendants can be forced to “apologize” for having unacceptable political or religious opinions.

An apology might not sound onerous, yet it is far more troubling than a fine. Ordering a person — or a magazine — to say or publish words that they don’t believe is an Orwellian act of thought control. The editor of Maclean’s, Ken Whyte, maintains his magazine is fair. But human rights commissions have the power to order him to publish a confession that he’s a bigot — or, as in one Ontario case, even order someone to study Islam. Even convicted murderers cannot be “ordered” to apologize.

The Mark Steyn Free Enterprise Defense Fund

Mohamed Elmasry, President of the Canadian Islamic Congress, and Professor at Kitchener’s University of Waterloo [my wife’s alma mater], was defending his turf today, “I don’t want the public to think that this is really an Islamic issue or an immigrant issue,” he said, “it is a teenager issue.”

Mr. Elmasry was referring to this story out of Mississauga, Ontario:

A 16-year-old girl is in critical condition after being choked by a man believed to be her father, apparently after a dispute with her family over her refusal to wear the hijab, the Islamic headscarf worn by some Muslim women.

Mr. Elmasry has at last explained the huge increase in dress-code related North American filicide committed across ethno-religious boundaries. Teenage females are maddening and a good few more of them should be strangled if they don’t wear headscarves. What is Western civilization coming to?

Well, it may be coming to the conclusion that Mr. Elmasry is full of it. This murder undeniably originated in the odious, and all too frequent misogyny of a certain segment of Muslim “manhood.”

Aqsa Parvez died today in Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. Her father has now been charged with murder, and his son with obstruction. These “men” did this in the name of honor and Islam. Most North Americans will wonder where the honor lies in killing a daughter because she would not wear a scarf.

Admittedly, there is a stark simplicity to this philosophy. If females don’t do what males tell them to do they should be severely punished. They’ve made you look bad. Your daughter gets gang raped? 200 lashes: On her back. She won’t wear what you tell her to? She should be strangled. She might someday enjoy fornication? Clitorectomy. She dared to teach gradeschools? Execution in a Kabul soccer stadium.

When he’s not blaming the victim, Mr. Elmasry is busy claiming to be one. Not long ago he sued The Western Standard magazine over the publication of some Danish cartoons. Now his Canadian Islamic Congress is suing McLean’s magazine over an excerpt from Mark Steyn’s book America Alone (order a copy here, and have Mark sign it). These suits result from a simpering grievance culture fostered by the bureaucratization of speech under the aegis of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. The London Free Press describes this suit and the kangaroo wallaby court that is the CHRC (emphasis mine):

The problem can be traced to the overweening powers of Canada’s human rights tribunals. Alan Borovoy, general counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, underlined the danger last year after the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada filed a human rights complaint against the Western Standard for republishing a set of Danish cartoons that many Muslims found offensive. In an article in the Calgary Herald, Borovoy wrote: “During the years when my colleagues and I were labouring to create (human rights) commissions, we never imagined that they might ultimately be used against freedom of speech.”

Quite a failure of the imagination, that.

Borovoy recalled that the restrictions on speech in the codes were intended to apply only to communications that fostered discrimination on such bases as employment or housing. Instead, human rights tribunals have adopted such expansive interpretations of these speech restrictions that a newspaper or magazine could get into trouble for publishing even a truthful article about conflict in the Middle East, Bosnia, Rwanda or elsewhere that is likely to expose at least one of the parties to contempt.

Canada’s power-grabbing human rights commissioners evidently have scant regard for the freedoms they suppress or for the original understanding of the codes they are supposed to uphold. Otherwise, the British Columbia tribunal and the Canadian and Ontario human rights commissions would have promptly dismissed the CIC’s complaints against Maclean’s as entirely without merit.

Mark Steyn is one of the best cultural and political writers in the world today. I guess it is not too surprising that he has run afoul of Canada’s toned down rage boy. Here are some other reactions to the suit:

Suing for silence
We, in the West, do not legislate for the Dar al-Islam (the Muslim realm). On the contrary, we endure the fallout from countries in which, because the right to free speech is not secure, opposition to authority must be expressed through violence.

I make this hard point because it is necessary to understand. “Freedom of expression” did not develop in the West from purely idealistic motives. Nor is it necessarily a pretty thing. Like so much in civil society, we put up with it because the alternative is worse, and we’d rather cope with free speech, than with the free intimidation that results from its suppression.

And I make this point in light of the case that has been brought against Mark Steyn and Maclean’s magazine, before Human Rights Commissions for Canada, British Columbia, and Ontario, by the Canadian Islamic Congress, led by Mohamed Elmasry. The first two commissions have already agreed to hear the case, and thus rule on whether Mark Steyn had the right to express the opinions and beliefs in his bestselling book, America Alone, and specifically in the excerpt entitled, “The Future Belongs to Islam,” which ran in Maclean’s last year. According to the complaint, by expressing his opinions and beliefs, Mark Steyn “subjects Canadian Muslims to hatred and Islamophobia.”

So who’s fuelling the prejudice?
For grievance-mongers such as these, no insult is too small to whip up into a hate crime. This week’s example is supplied by the Canadian Islamic Congress, a grandly named lobby group that, for all I know, consists of six people and a website. They’re mad about a Mark Steyn piece called The Future Belongs to Islam that ran a year ago in Maclean’s. This week, they launched a bunch of human-rights complaints against the magazine for promoting hatred against Muslims. “This article completely misrepresents Canadian Muslims’ values, their community, and their religion,” said Faisal Joseph, a lawyer for the CIC. “I felt personally offended,” said complainant Naseem Mithoowani.

In case you haven’t guessed, I’m no fan of the CIC. Its chair, Mohamed Elmasry, once let slip that he thinks all Israeli adults are legitimate targets for terrorists. Nor is the CIC a fan of mine. It tracked my sins for years, and concluded The Globe and Mail scores high on the Islamophobia meter.

Where was the HCRC on Elmasry’s terrorist encouragement, EH?

The complaints against Maclean’s for publishing an excerpt from America Alone have been filed by several Canadian law students and by Faisal Joseph, a former crown attorney. Maclean’s published a total of 27 letters over two issues in response to Steyn’s piece–more responses than any Maclean’s cover story received over the past year. Yet when the law students demanded a longer response, Maclean’s was willing to consider it. The students then insisted that Maclean’s run a five-page article, written by an author of their choice, with no editing by the magazine. They also demanded that the reply to Steyn be a cover story, with art controlled by them, rather than the magazine. At this point, Editor-in-Chief Kenneth Whyte showed them the door, saying he would rather let Maclean’s go bankrupt than permit someone outside of operations dictate the magazine’s content.

Ugly as this affair may be, can we assume that Steyn and Maclean’s will ultimately emerge unscathed–and that America, at least, is safe from this sort of crazy Canadian multiculturalism? No we cannot. However they’re resolved, these high profile cases take a toll on all concerned. More important, they send a chill over smaller fish.

Americans need to recognize the pattern here, and we also need to realize that it has already invaded the United States. American readers depend on international outlets. We often read our Steyn in Canadian publications. So an attack on Steyn in Canada is an attack on America. And recall the ongoing battle over “libel tourism,” which resulted in attempts to use British law to pull Alms for Jihad from American library shelves. (Here’s the latest update on the libel tourism battle, and how it threatens free speech in America.) And take a look at this list of Muslim libel cases in America. (Be sure to read the end of that account for an understanding of how enervating and intimidating these cases can be–especially for targets less well-placed than Steyn or Maclean’s.)

Dead man writing

One of the critical differences between America and the rest of the west is that America has a First Amendment and the rest don’t. And a lot of them are far too comfortable with the notion that in free societies it is right and proper for the state to regulate speech. The response of the EU Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security to the Danish cartoons was to propose a press charter that would oblige newspapers to exercise “prudence” on, ah, certain controversial subjects. The response of Tony Blair’s ministry to the problems of “Londonistan” was to propose a sweeping law dramatically constraining free discussion of religion. At the end of her life, Oriana Fallaci was being sued in France, Italy, Switzerland and sundry other jurisdictions by groups who believed her opinions were not merely disagreeable but criminal. In France, Michel Houellebecq was sued by Muslim and other “anti-racist” groups who believed opinions held by a fictional character in one of his novels were not merely disagreeable but criminal.

Up north, the Canadian Islamic Congress announced the other day that at least two of Canada’s “Human Rights Commissions” – one federal, one provincial – had agreed to hear their complaints that their “human rights” had been breached by this “flagrantly Islamophobic” excerpt from my book, as published in the country’s bestselling news magazine, Maclean’s. Several readers and various Canadian media outlets have enquired what my defense to the charges is. Here’s my answer:

I can defend myself if I have to. But I shouldn’t have to.

If you have a copy of Steyn’s book, buy another one. If you don’t have one, get it. And one to give away.

You can get a signed copy here. It is a highly entertaining and deadly serious book. Let’s give Mark a case of writer’s cramp, and Mr. Elmasry a hearty (right hand) middle finger.

**Update: 10:12AM 15-December

Mr. Elmasry isn’t the only Canadian who is giving evidence proving the theme of Mark Steyn’s America Alone is correct. Courtesy of the Detroit Examiner (emphasis mine):

Canadian Charged With Killing DaughterSelma Djukic, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations, called it a case of domestic abuse.

“This is a tragedy. This another woman that has succumbed to domestic violence and we need to look at what kind of services are available to families who are immigrants and who are trying to make it in the Canadian framework,” Djukic said.

Shahina Siddiqui, president of the Islamic Social Services Association, also called it a domestic violence issue.

“To say it was about her not wearing the hijab, I think that’s an oversimplification. All we’ve heard is from her peers saying that,” Siddiqui said. “Many of us who have teenagers or had teenagers know this is a very difficult time. Their hormones and emotions are raging and they are trying to assert their independence.”

OK, lets agree that it wasn’t about wearing the hijab and see where that takes us…

What do you know? We still find a teenage girl murdered by her father in the name of his “honor.” That’s the point, and no amount of prattle about “domestic abuse” alters the fact.

Commentary – Meghan Cox Gurdon: Uncommon death in the suburbsSeveral Canadian Islamic groups have had the decency to deplore the slaying, which seems to have been carried out with the collusion of Aqsa’s brothers. Yet in an exquisite demonstration of moral equivalence, Shahina Siddiqui, the Canadian-based executive director of the Islamic Social Services Association of the United States and Canada, said:

“The strangulation death of Ms. Parvez was the result of domestic violence, a problem that cuts across Canadian society and is blind to color or creed.”

Oh, no, it doesn’t, Ms. Siddiqui, not this type of domestic violence, nor this particular crime: This was Shariah-based justice meted out to a Muslim girl for defying her fundamentalist father.

In Islamic culture, honor resides in the male, and a woman’s honor is relevant only to the degree that it reflects back on her masculine custodians. A man who can’t control his daughter has been shamed, so the thinking goes. Better her death than his dishonor.

The attempt of Canadian Muslim activists to move the debate away from this central fact is precisely what you would expect to happen in a society which promotes multi-culturalism to the point of moral relativism. A society, that is, that has lost its confidence in Western values.

Unbearable offense

Read The Whole Thing. Mark Steyn: ‘No offense’ is no defense:

…East is east, and west is west, and in both we take offense at anything: Santas saying “Ho ho ho,” teddy bears called Mohammed. And yet the difference is very telling: The now-annual Santa lawsuits in the “war on Christmas” and the determination to abolish even such anodyne expressions of faith as the Pledge of Allegiance are assaults on the very possibility of a common culture. By contrast, the teddy bear rubbish is a crude demonstration of cultural muscle intended to cow and intimidate. When east meets west, when offended Muslims find themselves operating in Western nations, they discover that both techniques are useful: Some march in the streets, Khartoum-style, calling for the pope to be beheaded, others use the mechanisms of the West’s litigious, perpetual grievance culture to harass opponents into silence.

Best reason I’ve seen to visit Los Angeles in decades

“The Collapse of Europe Conference” at Pepperdine University.

Mark Steyn, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Dennis Prager, Hugh Hewitt, James Q. Wilson, Daniel Pipes, David Horowitz and more…

The program:

SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2007

Introduction: The Collapse of Europe
9:00 am – 9:15 am
Overview: Avi Davis, Senior Fellow, American Freedom Alliance

9:15 am – 10:00 am
Opening Plenary: The nature of the threat to Europe and its impact on the United States.
Keynote Speaker: Mark Steyn

10:00 am – 11:15 am
Panel Session: What has been the role of Islam and the EU bureaucracy in fostering collapse?
Moderator: Mark Steyn
Panelists: Greg Davis, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ibn Warraq, Philippe Karsenty


Morning Breakout Sessions: The Rise of Islam
11:30 am – 12:45 pm
• Eurabia: Is Muslim domination of Europe inevitable?
Panelists: Greg Davis, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Daniel Pipes, Henryk Broder, Philippe Karsenty
• Demography, Immigration and the Welfare Dilemma.
Moderator: John Zigler
Panelists: Afshin Ellian, Mark Steyn, Claire Berlinski, Marc Cogen
• Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism as tools of political pressure.
Moderator: Larry Greenfield
Panelists: Dennis Prager, Leon de Winter, Douglas Murray, Phyllis Chesler
• Is Europe doomed to continued economic stagnation?
Moderator: Richard Mc Donald
Panelists: Sally McNamara, Robert Kaufman, Arnaud Dotézac, Brian Carney


1:45 pm – 2:45 pm
Afternoon Plenary: Civil Rights or Global Jihad? Are Muslims exploiting the democratic process to erode and destroy European democracy?
Keynote Speaker: Ayaan Hirsi Ali

2:45 pm – 4:00 pm
Panel Session :
Collapse of Confidence; To what extent have Europeans Given Up on Their Own Civilization?
Moderator : Hugh Hewitt
Panelists: Claire Berlinski, Leon de Winter, Daniel Pipes, James Q. Wilson


Afternoon Breakout Sessions: The Consequences for the United States
4:15 pm – 5:30pm
• Multiculturalism and its impact on democratic society.
Moderator: Lores Rizkalla
Panelists: Mark Steyn, Ibn Warraq, Sally McNamara, Douglas Murray
• The end of the European Enlightenment and the growth of a closed thought society.
Moderator: Avi Davis
Panelists: Leon de Winter, Henryk Broder, Philippe Karsenty, Afshin Ellian
• Europe’s post-Christian society and its mirror in the United States.
Moderator: Rabbi David Baron
Panelists: Claire Berlinski, Greg Davis, Phyllis Chesler
• Contending successfully with Muslim militancy through U.S. and European financial and legal processes.
Moderator: Larry Greenfield
Panelists: Arnaud Dotézac, Marc Cogen
• The political and moral fallout from a collapsing Europe.
Moderator: David Horowitz
Panelists: Robert Kaufman, James Q. Wilson, Brian Carney

5:30 pm – 6:00 pm:
Closing Plenary : What steps can be taken in the United States to address the problems of Europe?
Keynote Speaker: Hugh Hewitt

MONDAY, JUNE 11, 2007

9:00 am – 12 noon
Closed Door Roundtable: Advocacy and legal strategies for combating militant
Islam in Europe and the United States.

Wanna go? I do. Here’s where you can sign up.

H/T Gates of Vienna

"Let’s Roll!" An existential challenge.

Would it be reasonable to expect students at Virginia Tech to have rushed the psychotic murderer Cho Seung-Hui?

This question has generated numerous reactions typified by, “You’re dishonoring the memory of those who were killed by deigning to ask it.” Some have said that, “not having military training is not their fault.” This is true. Whether it is actually relevant is another question. I don’t think it’s the training they didn’t have. I think it’s the training they did have.

It is clear that far fewer people would have died in Virginia Tech classrooms had the reaction of some students been similar to Todd Beamer‘s and others on Flight 93. Not dying quietly has become the predisposition of every American airline passenger. The question about VT students’ reaction to similar shock is therefore worth asking. Is asking it an insult to the dead at Virginia Tech? I don’t think so.

There are reports that some students actually took effective defensive measures; they locked their classroom doors. The majority, however, seem to have been unprepared for the idea that evil might intersect their campus experience. To point this out is not to dishonor them, it is not their fault.

Unlike Virginia Tech professor Liviu Librescu, who died defending his students, the students themselves had mostly never seriously contemplated the problem of evil. They had been encouraged to suspend their own judgment (being non-judgmental is an absolute virtue), and to consider all cultural mores to be equivalent (multi-culturalism is an ultimate goal). They had probably never considered that this mantra excuses ritual incest and cannibalism, or that it equates video taping beheadings committed by religious “zealots” with civil objections to partial birth abortion. America goes to some trouble to ensure its public school graduates cannot think intelligently about ethics.

A survivor of both the holocaust and communism, Professor Librescu was less troubled by these faux-uncertainties. He knew that evil is omnipresent, and that failure to confront it has poor outcomes: Israeli professor killed in US attack. Librescu lived with a different world view than did most of the students who were murdered. This is a sad comment on how the rest of us have failed those students.

It wasn’t the students’ fault they did not respond appropriately to an existential threat. Most were applying what they’ve been taught. These teachings are exemplified by the pride Virginia Tech’s administrators took having a “gun free” campus, and by the indoctrinal moral relativism to which any public high school graduate is necessarily exposed. The ability to concretize “rushing this gunman and pummeling him comatose,” was frustrated by a subconscious question something like this: “The United States of America is responsible for a long series of atrocities – unprecedented in world history. The sane of the world hate us for it. Therefore, how can we be sure Cho Seung-Hui is not right to shoot us?”

This is the message of MoveOn, the Daily Kos, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, Harry Reid and the majority of teachers to whom these students’ education had been entrusted. It was, not coincidentally, the posthumous message of Cho Seung-Hui.

Most VT students weren’t ready to defend their own lives because they could not believe their lives were at risk. This evil could not be happening, and if it was, many of them couldn’t avoid the subconscious possibility that they deserved it.

Please read Mark Steyn on this same topic: Let’s be realistic about reality. An excerpt;

I’ve had some mail in recent days from people who claimed I’d insulted the dead of Virginia Tech. Obviously, I regret I didn’t show the exquisite taste and sensitivity of Sen. Obama and compare getting shot in the head to an Imus one-liner. Does he mean it? I doubt whether even he knows. When something savage and unexpected happens, it’s easiest to retreat to our tropes and bugbears or, in the senator’s case, a speech on the previous week’s “big news.” Perhaps I’m guilty of the same. But then Yale University, one of the most prestigious institutes of learning on the planet, announces that it’s no longer safe to expose twentysomething men and women to ”Henry V” unless you cry God for Harry, England and St. George while brandishing a bright pink and purple plastic sword from the local kindergarten. Except, of course, that the local kindergarten long since banned plastic swords under its own “zero tolerance” policy.

I think we have a problem in our culture not with “realistic weapons” but with being realistic about reality. After all, we already “fear guns,” at least in the hands of NRA members. Otherwise, why would we ban them from so many areas of life? Virginia Tech, remember, was a “gun-free zone,” formally and proudly designated as such by the college administration. Yet the killer kept his guns and ammo on the campus. It was a “gun-free zone” except for those belonging to the guy who wanted to kill everybody. Had the Second Amendment not been in effect repealed by VT, someone might have been able to do as two students did five years ago at the Appalachian Law School: When a would-be mass murderer showed up, they rushed for their vehicles, grabbed their guns and pinned him down until the cops arrived.

Creeping Islamism

Here is an old lefty criticizing a younger righty. There is also a response to the criticism. Both are civil and constructive, very unlike the rhetoric we get in the daily round of sound-bites from the second and third tier thinkers. The phrase “Classic Liberal” springs to mind.

Christopher Hitchens writes a thoughtful review of Mark Steyn’s America Alone (highly recommended).

This bit of Hitchen’s piece should be read aloud by those cabbies in Minnesota and especially by the Muslim American Society of Minnesota fatwa apologists.

…Steyn is much more definite about the cultural side of his argument, in other words, than about the counterterrorist dimension. If I wanted to sharpen both prongs of his thesis, I would also propose the following:

1. An end to one-way multiculturalism and to the cultural masochism that goes with it. The Koran does not mandate the wearing of veils or genital mutilation, and until recently only those who apostasized from Islam faced the threat of punishment by death. Now, though, all manner of antisocial practices find themselves validated in the name of religion, and mullahs have begun to issue threats even against non-Muslims for criticism of Islam. This creeping Islamism must cease at once, and those responsible must feel the full weight of the law. Meanwhile, we should insist on reciprocity at all times. We should not allow a single Saudi dollar to pay for propaganda within the U.S., for example, until Saudi Arabia also permits Jewish and Christian and secular practices. No Wahhabi-printed Korans anywhere in our prison system. No Salafist imams in our armed forces.

There are 7 more specific suggestions. If you read the whole thing, you’ll better understand Mark Steyn’s response:

Christopher Hitchens has a somewhat critical review of my book. I disagree with him strongly about a common “Euro-Muslim identity”. I think there is one, and that it transcends differences between German Turks and French Algerians, and that there are already signs that it’s more authentically pan-Continental than ersatz EU “Europeanness”. However, his criticisms in this and other matters are worth pondering.

TOC commentary on the Minneapolis Islamo-cabbie controversy can be found here
here and here, .