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Honourable Allies in the Culture Wars: Mark Steyn

Sep 28, 2010

It is easy to get discouraged in the many battles we face, and one can easily be tempted to think that he or she is alone in these wars. Indeed, one can become overwhelmed and feel quite alone in these struggles. But the truth is, there are many others who are standing up and fighting the good fight.

I often take comfort from rereading the books or re-watching the films of The Lord of the Rings. Frodo too felt alone, outnumbered, and rather hopeless. As Frodo once said, “I suppose I must go alone, if I am to do that and save the Shire. But I feel very small, and very uprooted, and well – desperate. The Enemy is so strong and terrible.”

But he was not alone: “‘And now,’ said Gandalf, turning back to Frodo, ‘the decision lies with you. But I will always help you.’ He laid his hand on Frodo’s shoulder. ‘I will help you bear this burden, as long as it is yours to bear. But we must do something, soon. The Enemy is moving’.”

And so it is in the real world. The battles are many, the opposition seems to have all the advantages, and our side seems so useless and asleep. But there are many who are seeking to make a difference. And sometimes they are doing such a good job, it is simply worth pointing them out.

Many can be mentioned here, but let me single out just one. Mark Steyn is a Canadian-born, American-based writer and commentator who has done much to defend our freedoms against the various assaults – be it Political Correctness, Big Brother Statism, or the radical Islamists.

He has written much in defence of the values we hold to, and is always worth reading. One of his most enduring works is his very important 2006 volume, America Alone. My review of this excellent book can be found here: billmuehlenberg.com/2007/02/02/a-review-of-america-alone-by-mark-steyn/

Steyn always has something worthwhile to say, and with a terrific writing style and fantastic sense of humour, he is never boring to read. And he has the courage of his convictions as well. For example, he was taken on by the Ontario Human Rights Commission in 2007 for his remarks about Islam.

But Steyn is not one to back down, and will always stand up for what is right, even if there is a cost to pay. His insights and clarity of thought are a welcome change in a world turned upside down. His biting political and social commentary is always a delight to read and ponder.

Indeed, his newest piece is the occasion of this article. There is so much intelligent commentary and incisive reflection found in this piece, that the best thing that I can do is use the remainder of this article to quote large slabs of his piece. Here then are some more words of wisdom from the indefatigable Mark Steyn.

His September 27 article is entitled “Bowing to Islam’s view of us”. As usual, he sees the threat of totalitarian Islamism as one of the most pressing concerns facing the free West today. And he sees the absolute weakness and inability of the West to see this danger as one of our biggest worries.

Says Steyn: “Too many people in the free world have internalized Islam’s view of them. A couple of years ago, I visited Guantanamo and subsequently wrote that, if I had to summon up Gitmo in a single image, it would be the brand-new copy of the Koran in each cell: To reassure incoming prisoners that the filthy infidels haven’t touched the sacred book with their unclean hands, the Korans are hung from the walls in pristine, sterilized surgical masks. It’s one thing for Muslims to regard infidels as unclean, but it’s hard to see why it’s in the interests of us infidels to string along with it and thereby validate their bigotry. What does that degree of prostration before their prejudices tell them about us? It’s a problem that Muslims think we’re unclean. It’s a far worse problem that we go along with it.

“Take this no-name pastor from an obscure church who was threatening to burn the Koran. He didn’t burn any buildings or women and children. He didn’t even burn a book. He hadn’t actually laid a finger on a Koran, and yet the mere suggestion that he might do so prompted the president of the United States to denounce him, and the secretary of state, and the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, various G7 leaders, and golly, even Angelina Jolie.

“President Obama has never said a word about honor killings of Muslim women. Secretary Clinton has never said a word about female genital mutilation. General Petraeus has never said a word about the rampant buggery of pre-pubescent boys by Pushtun men in Kandahar. But let an obscure man in Florida so much as raise the possibility that he might disrespect a book – an inanimate object – and the most powerful figures in the Western world feel they have to weigh in.

“Aside from all that, this obscure church’s website has been shut down, its insurance policy has been canceled, its mortgage has been called in by its bankers. Why? As Diana West wrote, why was it necessary or even seemly to make this pastor a non-person? Another one of Obama’s famous ‘teaching moments’? In this case teaching us that Islamic law now applies to all? Only a couple of weeks ago, the president, at his most condescendingly ineffectual, presumed to lecture his moronic subjects about the First Amendment rights of Imam Rauf. Where’s the condescending lecture on Pastor Jones’ First Amendment rights?

“When someone destroys a Bible, U.S. government officials don’t line up to attack him. President Obama bowed lower than a fawning maitre d’ before the King of Saudi Arabia, a man whose regime destroys Bibles as a matter of state policy, and a man whose depraved religious police forces schoolgirls fleeing from a burning building back into the flames to die because they’d committed the sin of trying to escape without wearing their head scarves. If you show a representation of Mohammed, European commissioners and foreign ministers line up to denounce you. If you show a representation of Jesus Christ immersed in your own urine, you get a government grant for producing a widely admired work of art. Likewise, if you write a play about Jesus having gay sex with Judas Iscariot.

“So just to clarify the ground rules, if you insult Christ, the media report the issue as freedom of expression: A healthy society has to have bold, brave, transgressive artists willing to question and challenge our assumptions, etc. But, if it’s Mohammed, the issue is no longer freedom of expression but the need for ‘respect’ and ‘sensitivity’ toward Islam, and all those bold brave transgressive artists don’t have a thing to say about it.”

And Steyn is spot-on to complain about “one-way multiculturalism”: “As I said in America Alone, multiculturalism seems to operate to the same even-handedness as the old Cold War joke in which the American tells the Soviet guy that ‘in my country everyone is free to criticize the President’, and the Soviet guy replies, ‘Same here. In my country everyone is free to criticize your President.’ Under one-way multiculturalism, the Muslim world is free to revere Islam and belittle the west’s inheritance, and, likewise, the western world is free to revere Islam and belittle the west’s inheritance. If one has to choose, on balance Islam’s loathing of other cultures seems psychologically less damaging than western liberals’ loathing of their own.

“It is a basic rule of life that if you reward bad behavior, you get more of it. Every time Muslims either commit violence or threaten it, we reward them by capitulating. Indeed, President Obama, Justice Breyer, General Petraeus, and all the rest are now telling Islam, you don’t have to kill anyone, you don’t even have to threaten to kill anyone. We’ll be your enforcers. We’ll demand that the most footling and insignificant of our own citizens submit to the universal jurisdiction of Islam. So Obama and Breyer are now the ‘good cop’ to the crazies’ ‘bad cop’. Ooh, no, you can’t say anything about Islam, because my friend here gets a little excitable, and you really don’t want to get him worked up. The same people who tell us ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ then turn around and tell us you have to be quiet, you have to shut up because otherwise these guys will go bananas and kill a bunch of people.”

I of course strongly encourage you to read his entire article. Indeed, read all of his articles and all of his books. He is one of the few voices of sanity left in a world gone completely bonkers. And if we don’t start reading people like Steyn, and spreading his message around, soon we will not have the luxury of reading such people at all.

www.jewishworldreview.com/0910/steyn092710.php3

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5 Responses to Honourable Allies in the Culture Wars: Mark Steyn

  • May I commend to you and your readers a little (unfortunately) read book written in the early 80’s by Gary North entitled ‘Backward Christian Soldiers’. He states the following:

    “It is time for Christians to stop giving Satan credit for more than he is worth. Christians must stop worrying about Satan’s power, and start working to undermine his kingdom.”

    North identifies seven factors leading up to the eventual fall of the Roman Empire, culminating in the ascencion to the throne of Constantine, who then formally recognised the Christian faith. These are:

    1. Excellent communications and transportation.
    2. Loss of faith in Greek and Roman religions.
    3. Loss of confidence in civil government.
    4. Economic disintegration and inflation.
    5. Increasing levels of government welfare for the citizenry.
    6. Sexual debauchery.
    7. Population stagnation of the upper classes due to abortion and infanticide.

    Does this ring any bells? If it doesn’t, it should! North then outlines the factors that enabled the early church to gain societal and governmental ascendancy under Constantine:

    (pp. 38-39, 40) “In 312, Constantine came to the throne. He declared Christianity as the lawful religion. The first Christian emperor of Rome had arrived. The persecutions ended. Christians were brought into the civil government. Constantine recognized the obvious: there was no other social force in Rome stable enough, honest enough, and productive enough to match the Christian church. The Empire could no longer do without these people. After almost 300 years, Christ had conquered Caesar. The power of Rome had crumbled before the kingdom of God. God, through the faithfulness of His people, had vanquished His enemies. The church had suffered. It had been reviled, ridiculed, beaten down. But over the years, Christians learned how to deal with adversity. They had learned to deal with reality. There was no Roman State to rely on for justice or protection.’ They had to rely on God, on themselves, and their church courts. They became a second government within the Empire. When the time was ripe, they were ready to exercise leadership. But what about today? Are Christians ready to exercise leadership in the high places of our world….”

    I am a recent convert to the particular theology named Christian Reconstruction. I am not at all pessimistic about the future, despite appearances. I am old enough to have seen the fall of the old Soviet Union. I anticipate the eventual fall of Islam (through peaceful means in terms of Gospel proclamation). Christ reigns right now! My main concern is that many segments of the Church, particularly the Western church, has long-since accepted the pessimistic of premillenial, pre-tribulationism a la Hal Lindsay and, more recently, Tim LaHaye and the Left
    Behind series.

    Bill, I have long been a fan of Mark Steyn and your blog. Would you please do me a personal favour and engage with some of the writings of Christian Reconstructionists such as North, Greg Bahnsen and, most particularly Rousas John Rushdoony?

    God bless!
    Steve Swartz

  • Thanks Steve

    I already have over the years and will undoubtedly do so again. But the issues involved are complex and not easily resolved in a short article. Nonetheless I will do more on these guys. I do have a library full of their writings after all.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Absolutely brilliant article by Steyn. One of his best.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria

  • Having read “America Alone”, it is interesting and refreshing to have such a politically incorrect viewpoint, with the statistics to back his arguments up. Steyn also writes with some humor, much of it edgy. I would encourage all to read it for a good take on the world situation – albeit from an American perspective by a Canadian.

    Lucky pastor Jones didn’t threaten to draw a cartoon! We have already seen how a religion of peace reacts to that.

    Keep at the good work Bill.

    Lawrie McNamara

  • …. about the rampant buggery of pre-pubescent boys by Pushtun men in Kandahar ….

    Shame on Mark Steyn for picking so unfairly on the Pushtun men of Kandahar.

    For, as one who has spent most of his adult lifetime traveling several hundred times into and, thank God, the same number of times departing from — and an aggregate 30-odd years in — every corner of the Islamic world, I am able to assure any interested in such matters that the buggery of sisters, goats and one another is as ordinary among North Africa’s Arabia’s and the Gulf’s little-boy buggering Mohammedans as is the as-often-as-not psychopathological hesperophobia that every-bit-as-effectively slides their cheese clear off their crackers!

    As does the incomparable Mr Steyn, you do Good Work, Sir.

    Brian Richard Allen
    L A – CA — And the Very Far Away

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