Canada’s stupidest columnist confronted by Canada’s stupidest university students

Mark Steyn is one of the worst journalists (and I use that term very loosely) in the English-speaking world today. As luck would have it he is also quite successful.

Steyn propagated the myth that Muslim American children had foreknowledge of the September 2001 World Trade Center attack. He has continually insisted, in the face of all the evidence, that Osama Bin Laden is certainly dead and he expected “no widespread resentment at or resistance of the western military presence” in Iraq. Steyn believes in creationism/intelligent design.

Despite all this, Steyn has found a numerous editors and publishers willing to print his work. One of his latest books is America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It.

Maclean's, a Canadian magazine, published an excerpt of the book in October 2006.

Late last month, four Muslim students, represented by a lawyer from the Canadian Islamic Congress, ‘filed complaints with the federal, Ontario and British Columbia human rights commissions’, arguing that ‘the article subjects Canadian Muslims to hatred and contempt.’

Khurrum Awan, one of the students, said:

To say that we share the same basic goals as terrorists … if you look at the theme of the article in the context, it is putting that label on all of us and I felt personally victimized.
If you want to censor political speech, you do share one of the basic goals of Islamic fundementalists.

Don’t get me wrong, Steyn is remarkably thick. But his ignorance is rivalled by this attempt at censorship.

Firstly, free speech on political matters is absolute. It is not the responsibility of governments to decide what thoughts are and are not acceptable.

But secondly, by trying to punish Steyn for his article, it gives the appearance that his opinions have some basis in fact. They don’t. His thesis is littered with errors, poor reasoning and racism.

Johann Hari, in an excellent critique, outlines some of Steyn's stupidity:

To fulfil his headline predictions, Steyn needs to turn 20 million European Muslims into more than 200 million European Muslims - in just 13 years. Only Fallacci's rats could reproduce so rapidly.

…So after saying it is "grotesque" to count out "white" babies, he does just that. "White" is not a culture; it is a skin colour, and there Steyn is, relieved that more babies have his pigmentation than the brown and black varieties.

…he seems to actively agree with the Islamist critique of women's sexual freedom, claiming in passing that Islam provides women with "a refuge from the slatternly image of post-feminist Western womanhood.”

…Steyn's wider response to Islamism is to make democratic societies more like the one the Islamists want to build.

In order to oppose Steyn it is not necessary to censor him. He doesn’t have truth on his side so all you have to do is present the facts.

Stifling political freedom of speech is never warranted.

Sohail Raza, a representative of the Muslim Canadian Congress, agrees:
This is Canada, not Sudan, Egypt or Pakistan, where the press is stifled. There is absolute freedom of expression and people have an opportunity to voice their opinion.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would say that it would be a great help to at least mark certain things as fiction (like bibles) or opinion if like in this case there isn't any evidence to back claims, but I was just flipping through tv channels and saw people arguing points of a book clearly marked as fiction (The Da Vinci Code). One group complained that it made them look bad. It's FICTION! People don't seem to realize what censoring offensive material without a clear definition of "offensive" means.