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Hail and Farewell to 2005: Part Two ... Mark Steyn
Steyn Online ^ | 1 Jan 2006 | Mark Steyn

Posted on 01/01/2006 11:04:48 AM PST by Rummyfan


Here's the second part of how it seemed at the time - from hurricanes in New Orleans to riots in France, bombs in London to bombs from Hollywood. You can find my take on the first six months here.

JULY Throughout the weekend’s events Dave Gilmour and co were too busy Rocking Against Bush to spare a few moments to Boogie Against Bureaucracy or Caterwaul Against Corruption or Ululate Against Usurpation. Instead, Madonna urged the people to “start a revolution”. Like Africa hasn’t had enough of those these last 40 years..? The tragedy of Live8 is that its message was as cobwebbed as its repertoire. Don’t get me wrong. I love old rockers – not for the songs, which are awful, but their business affairs, which so totally rock... These faux revolutionaries are capitalists red in tooth and claw.The system that enriched them could enrich Africa. But capitalism’s the one cause the poseurs never speak up for. The rockers demand we give our f--kin’ money to African dictators to manage, while they give their f--kin’ money to Winthrop Stimson Putnam & Roberts to manage. Which of those models makes more sense? The Daily Telegraph, July 5th

[Douglas Wood] then went on to describe his captors as “a--holes”, or, if you prefer, “assh---s”.The Age’s editor didn’t care for this brusque mean-spirited judgmentalism. As Mr Jaspan told Australia’s ABC network, “I was, I have to say, shocked by Douglas Wood’s use of the a---hole word, if I can put it like that, which I just thought was coarse and very ill-thought through and I think demeans the man and is one of the reasons why people are slightly sceptical of his motives and everything else. The issue really is largely, speaking as I understand it, he was treated well there. He says he was fed every day, and as such to turn around and use that kind of language I think is just insensitive.”And heaven forbid we’re insensitive about “insurgents”. True, a blindfolded Mr Wood had to listen to his captors murder two of his colleagues a few inches away, but how crude and boorish would one have to be to hold that against one’s hosts? The liberation of Douglas Wood is surely a first: He didn’t get Stockholm Syndrome, but everyone back home did. National Review, July 7th

The post-9/11 world is not primarily a war between civilizations – the west vs Islam – but a war within one civilization – ours. It’s a long existential struggle between those who believe western values – or, to be more precise, the values of the English-speaking world – are one of the great blessings of this world and those “counter-tribalists” (in John O’Sullivan’s phrase) who believe those values are the source of most of the world’s ills. The latter are a relatively small group but their numbers are bolstered by legions so immersed in the sappy therapeutic culture of the age that they’ve been persuaded that the best way to “celebrate diversity” is to abase oneself before moral relativism and non-judgmentalism. The Islamists are merely the lucky beneficiaries of this syndrome. It’s hard to fight a war in a culture that recoils from the very concept of an opposing side: There are no enemies, just friends whose grievances we haven’t yet accommodated. The Spectator, July 9th

The London bombers were, to the naked eye, assimilated – they ate fish’n’chips, played cricket, sported appalling leisurewear. They’d adopted so many trees we couldn’t see they lacked the big overarching forest – the essence of identity, of allegiance. As I’ve said before, you can’t assimilate with a nullity – which is what multiculturalism is. So, if Islamist extremism is the genie you’re trying to put back in the bottle, it doesn’t help to have smashed the bottle...Consider the Bishop of Lichfield, who at Evensong, on the night of the bombings, was at pains to assure his congregants, “Just as the IRA has nothing to do with Christianity, so this kind of terror has nothing to do with any of the world faiths.” It’s not so much the explicit fatuousness of the assertion so much as the broader message it conveys: we’re the defeatist wimps; bomb us and we’ll apologise to you. That’s why in Britain the Anglican Church is in a death-spiral and Islam is the fastest-growing religion. There’s no market for a faith that has no faith in itself. And as the church goes so goes the state: why introduce identity cards for a nation with no identity? The Daily Telegraph, July 19th

There’s a lot more of the world that lives under sharia than there was, say, 30 years ago: Pakistan adopted it in 1977, Iran in 1979, Sudan in 1984… Fifty years ago, Nigeria lived under English Common Law; now, half of it’s in the grip of Islamic law. So, as a political project, radical Islam has made some headway, and continues to do so almost every day of the week: since the beginning of the year, for example, some ten per cent of southern Thailand’s Buddhist population have abandoned their homes – a far bigger disruption than the tsunami, yet all but unreported in the western press. The Spectator, July 30th

Here’s another story you may have missed this week:

Iran will resume uranium enrichment if the European Union does not recognize its right to do so, two Iranian nuclear negotiators said in an interview published Tuesday.

Got that? If you don’t let us go nuclear, we’ll go nuclear. Negotiate that, John Kerry. The Chicago Sun-Times, July 17th

Last week, in two rulings, the Supreme Court decided that (a) displays of the Ten Commandments on government property are constitutional and (b) displays of the Ten Commandments on government property are unconstitutional. Don’t worry, all nine judges aren’t that wacky, just the deciding vote in both 5-4 decisions. For once that belonged not to Sandra Day O’ Connor, but to Stephen Breyer, who nixed the Ten Commandments in Kentucky but gave ‘em the thumbs up in Texas. His grounds for doing so were that the Texas Commandments had been there 40 years and were thus part of “a broader moral and historical message reflective of a cultural heritage”, whereas the Kentucky Commandments were newer and “a more contemporary state effort to focus attention upon a religious text is certainly likely to prove divisive”. Really? Not as “certainly likely” to prove divisive as approving the display of some Commandments monuments but not others, so that the only way to be sure yours is constitutional is to sue over it. For one thing, Justice Breyer didn’t identify the year in which he believes the Commandments ceased to be constitutional. 1968? 1973? Maybe a sliding scale? If you put up the Commandments before 1965, you can have all Ten; between 1966 and 1979, you can have six firm Commandments plus a couple of strong recommendations; from 1980 to 1991, it’s two Commandments and half a dozen lifestyle tips? The Chicago Sun-Times, July 3rd

For four years, Democrats drove around with bumper stickers mocking ever more stridently the “selected President”. Yet, pace Justice Stevens, the Dems’ faith in the selection process – in judges as the true parliament of this great Republic - restored itself within weeks, at least when it comes to selecting gay marriage, abortion, affirmative action, etc. In the words of leading Democratic thinker Nancy Pelosi, “It is a decision of the Supreme Court …so this is almost as if God has spoken.” She was talking about “eminent domain” not Bush v Gore, but you can’t have it both ways: it can’t be the Word of God one day and merely “Bush’s daddy’s pals” the next. The Chicago Sun-Times, July 24th

AUGUST The United States that so confidently nuked two Japanese cities is as lost to us as the old pre-mushroom cloud Nagasaki. In what circumstances would Washington nuke an enemy today? Were we to re-run World War Two, advisors to the President would counsel against the poor optics of dropping the big one, problems keeping allies on board, media storm, Congressional inquiries, UN resolutions, NGOs making a flap, etc. And chances are the Administration would opt to slug it out town for town in a conventional invasion costing a million casualties… Consider the broader lesson of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: an enemy folds when he knows he’s finished. In Iraq, despite the swift fall of the Saddamites, it’s not entirely clear the enemy did know. The Irish Times, August 1st

The bombers are, so to speak, able to hide in plain sight a Britain where clerics freely incite violence; and where The Guardian hires a trainee reporter knowing he’s a member of a radical Islamist group banned in other European countries; and where the BBC cannot bring itself to drop its preferred euphemism of “militants”, even as suicide bombers advance from the Zionist Entity to the Corporation’s own Tube station at Shepherd’s Bush. “Why do they hate us?” was never the right question. “Why do they despise us?” is a better one. The Daily Telegraph, August 2nd

Responding to Islamist terrorism in Britain and elsewhere, Germany is considering introducing a Muslim public holiday. As Mathias Dopfner, chief executive of Axel Springer, put it, “A substantial fraction of Germany’s government — and, if polls are to be believed, the German people — believe that creating an official state Muslim holiday will somehow spare us from the wrath of fanatical Islamists.”Great. At least the 1930s appeasers did it on their own time. But, in recasting appeasement as yet another paid day off, the new proposal cunningly manages to combine the worst instincts of the old Europe and the new. The Daily Telegraph, August 9th

The problem with the Salman Rushdie affair – the prototype example of the Islamists claiming global jurisdiction for their psychoses – was that the resistance was left to a bunch of largely humourless self-important literati who made it all into a dreary business about the “need” for “transgressive” “artists” to “challenge”… zzzzzzz… losing will to type… Instead we should have resisted with a gleeful mocking campaign against Islamoparanoia. Every day of the week you can find some bonkers story from the Muslim world. Here’s The Sunday Age in Melbourne reporting on July 31st on Werribee Islamic College:

The imam told the students that the Jews were putting poison in the bananas and they should not eat them.

You don’t have to be bananas to teach in an Islamic school but it helps. That’s a college, by the way, that receives funds from Australian taxpayers of around $3 million a year. For three million bucks they can’t hire a catering guy who can find them Jew-free bananas? The Spectator, August 13th

Nary a day goes by without a dozen e-mails from aggrieved lefties claiming that I’ve “lied” about what Ambassador Joseph C Wilson IV found on his famous mission when he flew into Niamey and spent a couple of days sipping mint tea with former bigshots from the regime of retired strongman Major Wanke. (I’ve suggested “Wankegate” as a name for the “scandal” to The New York Times, but they’re oddly unenthusiastic.) National Review, August 18th

Ever since America’s all-adult, all-volunteer army went into Iraq, the anti-war crowd have made a sustained effort to characterize them as “children”. If a 13-year old wants to have an abortion, that’s her decision and her parents shouldn’t get a look-in. If a 21-year old wants to drop to the Oval Office shagpile and chow down on Bill Clinton, she’s a grown woman and free to do what she wants. But, if a 22- or 25- or 37-year old is serving his country overseas, he’s a wee “child” who isn’t really old enough to know what he’s doing.I get many e-mails from soldiers in Iraq, and they sound a lot more grown-up than most Ivy League professors and certainly than Maureen Dowd, who writes like she’s auditioning for a minor supporting role in "Sex And The City". The Spectator, August 20th

Despite the current investigations into his brother, his son, his son’s best friend, his predecessor’s cousin, his former chief of staff, his procurement officer and the executive director of the UN’s biggest ever programme, the Secretary-General insists he remains committed to staying on and tackling the important work of “reforming” the UN.Unfortunately, his Executive Co-Ordinator for United Nations Reform has also had to resign. The Daily Telegraph, August 16th

What the naysayers cite as the main drawback of Iraq – it’s not a real country, just a phony-baloney jurisdiction cobbled together to suit the administrative convenience of the British Colonial Office, never gonna work, bound to fall apart – is, in fact, its big advantage: if you want to start an experiment in Middle Eastern liberty, where better than a nation split three ways where no one group can easily dominate the other two..?If you’d been asked in 2003 to devise an ideal constitution for Iraq’s very non-ideal circumstances, it would look something like this: a highly decentralized federation that accepts the reality that Iraq is a Muslim nation but which reserves political power for elected legislators – and divides the oil revenue fairly. The Chicago Sun-Times, August 28th

SEPTEMBER Congressman Billy Tauzin once said of his state, “One half of Louisiana is under water and the other half is under indictment.” Last week, four-fifths of New Orleans was under water and the other four-fifths should be under indictment – which is the kind of arithmetic the state’s deeply entrenched kleptocrat political culture will have no trouble making add up. The Daily Telegraph, September 6th

One thing that became clear two or three months after “the day that everything changed” is that nothing changed – that huge swathes of the political culture in America remain committed to a bargain that stiffs the people at every level, a system of lavish funding of pseudo-action. You could have done as the anti-war left want and re-allocated every dollar spent in Iraq to Louisiana. Or you could have done as some of the rest of us want and re-allocated every buck spent on, say, subsidizing Ted Turner’s and Sam Donaldson’s play-farming activities. But, in either case, I’ll bet Louisiana’s kleptocrat public service would have pocketed the dough and carried on as usual – and, come the big day, the state would still have flopped out and New Orleans’ foul-mouthed mayor would still be ranting about why it was all everybody’s else fault. The Chicago Sun-Times, September 4th

I’ll leave it to future generations of historians to settle the precise moment at which Hurricane Katrina finally completed its transformation into a Kansas-type twister, and swept up the massed ranks of the world’s press to deposit them on the wilder shores of the Land of Oz. But for a couple of weeks now they’ve been there frolicking and gamboling as happy Media Munchkins, singing and dancing “Ding Dong, The Bush Is Dead”… Let me dispel [their] illusions: There will be no political consequences from Hurricane Katrina. The Daily Telegraph , September 13th

Consider Cindy Sheehan’s message: that neither Iraq nor Afghanistan nor (as she told a rally in Berkeley) America itself is worth the death of her son. Suppose that were true. Suppose the broader point is correct – that the first direct attack on the American mainland in two centuries is not worth a military campaign with an historically low rate of casualties. A superpower of 300 million that will bear any burden or pay any price as long as the death rate stays below four figures won’t be a superpower or any other kind of functioning polity for long. National Review, September 1st

Only a tiny minority of Muslims want to be suicide bombers and only a slightly larger minority want actively to provide support networks for suicide bombers, but big majorities of Muslims support almost all the terrorists’ strategic goals: for example, according to a recent poll, over 60% of British Muslims want to live under sharia in the United Kingdom. That’s a “moderate” westernized Muslim: he wants stoning for adultery to be introduced in Liverpool, but he’s a “moderate” because it’s not such a priority that he’s prepared to fly a plane into a skyscraper. The Chicago Sun-Times , September 11th

I said Red Eye was state-of-the-art, and it is. It’s expert in all the right ways and its observation of domestic air travel is spot on. But expertise and observation only goes so far. Who is this terrorist? Who’s he working for? Why does he want to kill the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security? The film doesn’t tell us - as a matter of policy. He’s a terrorist on a plane, but it would never occur to Hollywood that lifting that set-up brings with it an obligation to make him real in some way. In the end, he’s just Cillian Murphy’s cheekbones and blazing eyes. Red Eye is the best Hollywood can do: a nifty flick about nothing. The Spectator, September 3rd

Four years on, plans for the Flight 93 National Memorial have now been revealed. The winning design, chosen from 1,011 entries, will be built in that pasture in Pennsylvania where those heroes died. The memorial is called “The Crescent of Embrace”.That sounds like a fabulous winning entry - in a competition to create a note-perfect parody of effete multicultural responses to terrorism. The Irish Times, September 12th

I’d have been quite content for the John Roberts confirmation hearings to go on for another six months, couple of years, half a decade, until the last registered Democrat on the planet expired in embarrassment at the sheer maudlin drivel of it all...New York’s senior Senator, Chuck Schumer, began with some observations about Judge Roberts’ “troubling” record on “the issue of civil rights”. Ah-ha! “Many of us consider racism the nation’s poison,” he said sternly. And then he dropped the big one: twenty-five years ago Roberts had inappropriately used the word “amigos” in a memo.I yield to no-one in my disdain for Senator Schumer, but at that moment my heart went out to him. If I’d been President, I’d have declared his mouth a Federal Disaster Area and allocated $200 billion so FEMA could parachute in a reconstruction team to restore his tongue to its previous level of toxicity... With enemies like Chuck, who needs amigos? The Chicago Sun-Times, September 18th

American politics seems to have dwindled down to a choice between a big government party and a big permanently-out-of-government party...To be sure, [the Democrats] have many institutional advantages: if you watch the TV news, you’d still think Cindy Sheehan was an emblematic bereaved army mom, rather than a pitiful crackpot calling for Bush to pull his troops out of “occupied New Orleans”. Her Million-Moan March washed up in Washington on Thursday to besiege the White House. As the Associated Press put it, “Sheehan, Supporters Descend On The Capital.” There were 29 supporters. Can two-and-a-half dozen people “descend” on any capital city bigger than the South Sandwich Islands’? Surely her media boosters were cringing with embarrassment at their own impotence. Since its star columnist Maureen Dowd got the hots for Mrs Sheehan’s “moral authority”, The New York Times has run some 70 stories on Cindy - and every story they ran attracted another 0.4142857 of a supporter to her march on the capital. The Chicago Sun-Times, September 25th

The question is not whether Michaelle Jean and Jean-Daniel Lafond were once separatists and are now federalists. What a terribly unQuebecois way of looking at it. The new viceregal couple are pseudo-separatists and pseudo-revolutionaries and, as such, see no problem in also being pseudo-federalists and pseudo-monarchists… I n spring everyone from Paul Martin to Jack Layton to Belinda Stronach pounced on Stephen Harper for the gross disloyalty and irresponsibility of cosying up to Quebec separatists. But it’s perfectly okay to put a couple who’ve spent their entire adult lives cosying up to Quebec separatists – and terrorists – in Rideau Hall, as the personification of Canada’s constitutional identity.Which in a way they are. For what could better sum up our decayed Dominion than a faux-separatist turned faux-federalist? An ersatz-revolutionary and ersatz-monarchist celebrating her own personal diversity without believing, in any meaningful sense, in either the Republic of Quebec or the Dominion of Canada. In yoking so explicitly the nullities of contemporary separatism and federalism, Paul Martin has accidentally summed up the state of our country: the decisive dynamic of our politics these past several decades – Ottawa vs Quebec – is an utter fraud. The Western Standard, September 7th

The more I read the Iraqi document the more it seems a marvel of sophistication and, indeed, cunning. Even with the inspirational uplift, it’s a shorter and sharper read than the now deceased European Constitution, and, unlike M Giscard, the Baghdad boys understand that a constitution is about the division and limitation of powers. It’s true that an awful lot of states with fine-sounding constitutions don’t have constitutional government (China, for example), but, if that were the fate in store for Iraq, the proposed document would be full of a lot of meaningless boilerplate. Instead, in almost every clause, you can feel the tightly-argued bargains being struck… In fact, let me go further than the glass being seven-ninths full: I think it’s very difficult now for Iraq to wind up with an unhappy ending. Whatever the “neocons” got right or wrong, it’s not about the Americans any more, but the Iraqis, and they’re doing a pretty good job, even on the worst days, and one with great implications for Syria, Egypt and beyond. Amr Moussa is correct: the Iraqi constitution is a “recipe for chaos” – not for the Iraqis but for the Assads, Mubaraks and the rest of the old guard. The Spectator, September 3rd

Since China introduced its “one child” policy in 1978, the imbalance between the sexes has increased to the point where there are 119 boys for every 100 girls. The pioneer generation of that 20% male surplus is reaching manhood now. Unless China’s planning on becoming the first gay superpower since Sparta, what’s going to happen to those young men? As a general rule, large numbers of excitable lads who can’t get any action are useful for manning the nuttier outposts of the jihad but not for much else. National Review, September 29th

The Guardian is technically correct. At the moment, Europe is governed largely by politicians of “the right”. Jacques Chirac, for example, is in French terms a “conservative”. Granted, “conservative” is an elastic designation and, in the hands of the media, it’s usually shorthand for the side you’re not meant to like: thus, George W Bush is “conservative”, and so are unreconstructed Marxists on the Chinese Politburo and the more hardline Ayatollahs. But, even under those expansive rules of admission, I find it difficult to encompass President Chirac within the definition... You know those showers where the merest nudge of the dial turns the water from freezing to scalding? Mainstream European politics is the opposite of that. You can turn the dial all the way from “left” to “right” and it makes no difference. National Review, September 15th

As the Reuters headline put it: “Frenchman Lived With Dead Mother To Keep Pension”.That’s the perfect summation of Europe: welfare addiction over demographic reality. The Daily Telegraph, September 20th

OCTOBER How many times does this have to happen before the press seriously examines why so many of them get the big stories wrong in exactly the same way? After decades of boasting about “hiring diversity”, everybody in America’s newsrooms is now so remarkably diverse they all make exactly the same mistakes. Oughtn’t that to be just a teensy bit disquieting even to the most blinkered journalism professor? How appropriate that it should be Dan Rather, always late to yesterday’s conventional wisdom, to bless the media’s fraudulent coverage of Katrina. The Chicago Sun-Times, October 2nd

Bush, it seems ever more obvious, is the Third Wayer Clinton only pretended to be. The Slicker reckoned that, to be electable, a Democrat had to genuflect rhetorically to some kind of sensible soccer-mom-ish centre, and he was right, at least insofar as without him the Dems have been el stinko floppo three elections in a row. But Bush, for good or ill, believes in himself as the real Third Way deal: it’s a remarkable achievement to get damned day in day out as the new Hitler when 90% of the time you’re Tony Blair with a ranch. The Spectator, October 8th

It’s quite possible that the electorate will have a throw-the-bums-out attitude to the Republicans in 12 months’ time, but I’d say it’s almost completely unfeasible that they’ll be in a mood to throw the Dems in. There are not a lot of competitive Congressional districts and those that are are mostly in Democrat blue states that, if not yet red, are turning distinctly purple. The Dems’ big immoveable obstacle remains their inability to articulate a set of ideas that connects with the electorate. James Carville and Stanley Greenberg are said to be working on a Democrat version of Newt’s Contract with America, but Greenberg’s a pollster and Carville’s an attack dog. Whatever their charms, these aren’t the ideas guys. The Spectator, October 29th

Not all women exercise their right to choose equally: The abortion rate for black women is four times higher than that for white women... Ashley Judd and Cameron Diaz can jump up and down demanding their “right” to “choice” at the big rally in Washington, but in the less fashionable quartiers of the city they’re not the ones exercising that “choice”, such as it is. Bill Bennett explicitly rejected as “reprehensible” the hypothetical mass abortion of black babies, and the usual charlatans, race-baiters and shakedown artists jumped all over him. But the statistics suggest that that mass abortion of black babies is actually going on, and their community’s self-appointed spokespersons are largely silent. National Review, October 14th

The world’s largest country is dying and the only question is how violent its death throes are. Yesterday’s Russia was characterized by Churchill as a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Today’s has come unwrapped: it’s a crisis in a disaster inside a catastrophe. Most of the big international problems operate within certain geographic constraints: Africa has Aids, the Middle East has Islamists, North Korea has nukes. But Russia’s got the lot: an African-level Aids crisis and an Islamist separatist movement sitting on top of the biggest pile of nukes on the planet. The Spectator, October 22nd

As Gerald Ford liked to say, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have.” And that’s true. But there’s an intermediate stage: A government big enough to give you everything you want isn’t big enough to get you to give any of it back. That’s the position European governments find themselves in. Their citizens have become hooked on unaffordable levels of social programs which in the end will put those countries out of business. Just to get the Social Security debate in perspective, projected public pensions liabilities are expected to rise by 2040 to about 6.8% of GDP in the US. In Greece, the figure is 25% - ie, total societal collapse. So what? shrug the voters. Not my problem. I paid my taxes, I want my benefits. National Review, October 28th

I found myself behind a car in Vermont the other day which had a one-word bumper-sticker containing the injunction “CO-EXIST.” It’s one of those sentiments beloved of western progressives, one designed principally to flatter their sense of moral superiority. The “C” was the Islamic crescent, the “O” was the hippy peace sign, the “X” was the Star of David and the “T” was the Christian cross. Very nice, hard to argue with. But the reality is is that it’s the first of those symbols that has a problem with “co-existence”. Take the crescent out of the equation and you wouldn’t need a bumper sticker at all. Indeed, co-existence is what the Islamists are at war with – or, if you prefer, pluralism; the idea that different groups can rub along together within the same general neighbourhood. The Irish Times, October 3rd

Among the verboten items is one employee’s box of tissues, because it features a representation of Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet. And, as we know, Muslims regard pigs as “unclean”, even an anthropomorphized cartoon pig wearing a scarf and a bright colourful singlet. Councillor Mahbubur Rahman is in favour of the blanket pig crackdown. “It is a good thing, it is a tolerance and acceptance of their beliefs and understanding,” he said... And where’s the harm in that? As Pastor Niemoller said, first they came for Piglet and I did not speak out because I was not a Disney character and, if I was, I’m more of an Eeyore. And aren’t we all? When the Queen knights a Muslim “community leader” whose line on the Rushdie fatwa was that “death is perhaps too easy”, and when the Prime Minister has a Muslim “advisor” who’s a Holocaust denier and thinks the Iraq war was cooked up by a conspiracy of Freemasons and Jews, and when the Prime Minister’s wife leads the legal battle for a Talibanesque dress code in British schools, you don’t need a pig to know which side’s bringing home the bacon. The Daily Telegraph, October 4th

Why is George W Bush’s utterly unremarkable evangelical Christianity so self-evidently risible but complaints from British Muslims hung up over the 11th century are perfectly reasonable and something we should seek to accommodate..? No doubt the bien pensants will still be hooting at born-again Texans on the day the House of Lords gives a second reading to the Sharia bill. The Daily Telegraph, October 11th

After 9/11, I assumed the internal contradictions of the rainbow coalition would be made plain – that a cult of “tolerance” would in the end founder against a demographic so cheerfully upfront in their intolerance. Instead, Islamic “militants” have become the highest repository of multicultural pieties. So you’re nice about gays and Native Americans? Big deal. Anyone can be tolerant of fellows like that, but tolerance of intolerance gives an even more intense frisson of pleasure to the multiculti masochists. And so [in Russia and elsewhere] Islamists who murder non-Muslims in pursuit of explicitly Islamic goals are airbrushed into vague generic “rebel forces”. You can’t tell the players without a scorecard, and that’s just the way the western media intend to keep it. If you wake up one morning and switch on the TV to see the Empire State Building crumbling to dust, don’t be surprised if the announcer goes, “Insurging rebel militant forces today attacked key targets in New York. In other news, the President’s annual Ramadan banquet saw celebrities dancing into the small hours to Mullah Omar And His All-Girl Orchestra…” The Chicago Sun-Times, October 16th

In a globalized economy, the anti-glob mob and the eco-warriors want us to worry about First World capitalism imposing its ways on bucolic, pastoral, primitive Third World backwaters. But globalization cuts both ways, and the peculiarities of the backwaters can leap instantly to the First World - just because someone got on a plane. Indeed, when you look at it that way, the biggest globalization success story of recent years is not McDonald’s or Disney but Islamism: the Saudis took what was 80 years ago a severe but obscure and unimportant strain of Islam practiced by Bedouins in the middle of a desert miles from anywhere and successfully exported it to the heart of Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Leeds, Buffalo… It was a strictly local virus, but the bird flew the coop. And now, instead of the quaintly parochial terrorist movements of yore, we have the first globalized insurgency. The Daily Telegraph, October 25th

NOVEMBER “Mr Bush’s presidency is in deep trouble,” declared Alec Russell in this space yesterday. “It is worth recalling that even at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal Mr Clinton’s approval rating never dropped below 55 per cent, while Mr Bush’s is now at 40.” Is it really worth recalling? Mr Clinton’s approval rating stayed above 55 because he was careful not to do anything, at least on the non-pants-dropping aspects of his Presidency, of which the electorate might disapprove. The oral sex was pretty much the only position he took that wasn’t focus-grouped by Dick Morris beforehand – and, come to think of it, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was and that’s why he went ahead with it. (“Our polling suggests it would make you seem attractively flawed and human to susceptible soccer moms in swing states, Mr President.”) At any rate, above the waist, Mr Clinton governed, as he likes to say himself, as an “Eisenhower Republican” – ie, very non-confrontational. Much as I enjoyed chronicling their adventures at the time, the President’s distinguishing characteristics loomed paradoxically large over the era only because everything else he did was so small. Mr Bush, on the other hand, wants to re-make the Middle East, reform Social Security, legalise illegal immigrants, drill for oil in the Arctic wilderness, etc. Whatever the merits of these positions, they are – what’s the word? - confrontational... Posterity will decide whether Bush got that one right. By contrast, posterity will have a hard time recalling Bill Clinton at all, except as a novelty-act intermission between the Cold War and the new war. Would you rather be popular or would you rather be consequential? The Daily Telegraph, November 1st

According to its Office du Tourisme, the big event in Evreux this past weekend was supposed to be the annual fete de la pomme, du cidre et du fromage at the Place de la Mairie. Instead, in this charmingly smouldering cathedral town in Normandy, a shopping mall, a post office, two schools, upwards of 50 vehicles and, oh yes, the police station were destroyed by – what’s the word? – “youths”. Over at the Place de la Mairie, M le Maire himself, Jean-Louis Debré, seemed affronted by the very idea that un soupcon de carnage should be allowed to distract from the cheese-tasting. “A hundred people have smashed everything and strewn desolation,” he told reporters. “Well, they don’t form part of our universe.” Maybe not, but unfortunately you form part of theirs. The Daily Telegraph, November 8th

The notion that Texas neocon arrogance was responsible for frosting up transatlantic relations was always preposterous, even for someone as complacent and blinkered as John Kerry. If you had millions of seething unassimilated Muslim youths in lawless suburbs ringing every major city, would you be so eager to send your troops into an Arab country fighting alongside the Americans? For half a decade, French Arabs have been carrying on a low-level intifada against synagogues, kosher butchers, Jewish schools, etc. The concern of the political class has been to prevent the spread of these attacks to targets of more, ah, general interest. They seem to have lost that battle. Unlike America’s Europhiles, France’s Arab street correctly identified Chirac’s opposition to the Iraq war for what it was: a sign of weakness. The Chicago Sun-Times, November 6th

The Continent isn’t multicultural so much as bicultural. There are aging native populations, and young Muslim populations, and that’s it: “two solitudes”, as they say in my beloved Quebec. If there’s three, four or more cultures, you can all hold hands and sing “We Are The World”. But if there’s just two – you and the other – that’s generally more fractious. Bicultural societies are among the least stable in the world, especially once it’s no longer quite clear who’s the majority and who’s the minority – a situation that much of Europe is fast approaching, as you can see by visiting any French, Austrian, Belgian or Dutch maternity ward. The Daily Telegraph, November 15th

Let’s take that evasive media characterization of the rioters – “youths” – at face value. What is 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 Zimmer frame across the street before the searing heat of the explosion melts your hip replacement. Civil disobedience is a young man’s game. Now go back to that bland statistic you hear a lot these days – “about ten per cent of France’s population is Muslim”. Give or take a million here, a million there, that’s broadly correct - as far as it goes. But the population spread isn’t even. And when it comes to those living in France aged 20 and under, about 30% are said to be Muslim and in the major urban centres about 45%. If it came down to street-by-street fighting, as Michel Gurfinkiel, the editor of Valeurs Actuelles, points out, “the combatant ratio in any ethnic war may thus be one to one” – already, right now, in 2005... By 2010, more elderly white Catholic ethnic frogs will have croaked and more fit healthy Muslim youths will be hitting the streets. One day they’ll even be on the beach at St Trop, and if you and your infidel whore happen to be lying there wearing nothing but two coats of Ambre Solaire when they show up, you better hope that the BBC and CNN are right about there being no religio-ethno-cultural component to their “grievances”. The Spectator, November 12th

I was slightly surprised by the number of e-mails I’ve received in the last 48 hours from Britons aggrieved about the new mega-mosque. To be sure, it would be heartening if the Archbishop of Canterbury announced plans to mark the Olympics by constructing a 70,000-seat state-of-the-art Anglican cathedral, but what would you put in it? Even an all-star double-bill comprising joint Service of Apology to Saddam Hussein followed by Ordination of Multiple Gay Bishops in Long-Term Committed Relationships (Non-Practising or Otherwise, According to Taste) seems unlikely to fill the pews. Whatever one feels about it, the London Markaz will be a more accurate symbol of Britain in 2012 than Her Majesty the Queen pulling up next door with the Household Cavalry. The Daily Telegraph, November 29th

Even if one believed that the perfect society was one comprised eternally of first-generation immigrants, it’s simply unsustainable. The world is running short of emigrants to be our immigrants... And once the immigrants run out, it’ll be back to the old drawing board. And, given that their citizens will be worsening the already calamitous demographic distortion by using GRIN technologies to extend their lives into the 90s and beyond, the state will also find such technology too seductive to resist. In other words, just as abortion and low birth rates were advanced by the demand for women to enter the workforce in massive numbers, so genetic evolution will be advanced by the demand not just for men, women, immigrants but anything to enter the workforce and save the progressive social-democratic state from total collapse. The Western Standard, November 2nd

In the final round of last June’s [Iranian] presidential election, both candidates were eager to annihilate the Zionist Entity – Mr Ahmadinejad’s opponent, Hashemi Rafsanjani, having declared that Israel is “the most hideous occurrence in history” which the Muslim world “will vomit out from its midst” with “a single atomic bomb”. So wiping Israel off the map would appear to be one of those rare points of bipartisan consensus, as unexceptional as coming out in favor of motherhood and apple pie. National Review, November 11th

I know what Bush believes: He thought Saddam should go in 2002 and today he’s glad he’s gone, as am I. I know what, say, Michael Moore believes: He wanted to leave Saddam in power in 2002, and today he thinks the “insurgents” are the Iraqi version of America’s Minutemen. But what do Rockefeller and Reid and Kerry believe deep down? That voting for the war seemed the politically expedient thing to do in 2002 but that they’ve since done the math and figured that pandering to the crowd is where the big bucks are? If Bush is the new Hitler, these small hollow men are the equivalent of those grubby little Nazis whose whining defence was, “I was only obeying orders. I didn’t really mean all that strutting tough-guy stuff.” And, before they huff, “How dare you question my patriotism?”, well, yes, I am questioning your patriotism – because you’re failing to meet the challenge of the times. Thanks to you, Iraq is a quagmire – not in the Sunni Triangle, where US armed forces are confident and effective, but on the home front, where soft-spined national legislators have turned the war into one almighty Linguini Triangle. The Chicago Sun-Times, November 20th

Taking your ball and going home is a seductive argument in a paradoxical superpower whose inclinations on the right have a strong isolationist streak and on the left a strong transnational streak – which is isolationism with a sappy face and biennial black-tie banquets in EU capitals. Transnationalism means poseur solutions – the Kyotification of foreign policy. The Daily Telegraph, November 22nd

DECEMBER Governor Dean’s bike-tunnel vision is not an isolated phenomenon. Everywhere you turn Democrats are linking arms and singing their new all-star fundraising anthem “We Aren’t The World”. John Kerry on the campaign trail: “We shouldn’t be opening firehouses in Baghdad and shutting them in the United States of America.” Al Sharpton at Rosa Parks’ funeral: “Where you have a nation respond looking for weapons in Iraq that are not there but can’t see a hurricane in Louisiana that is there.” I don’t even understand that last one: We should wait till the WMD are in Louisiana where we can see ‘em – or at least the crater they left? You can still glimpse the remnants of the internationalist left on their fading T-shirts – Fidel, Che, Mao, Allende, the Sandinistas. And admittedly today’s global celebrities are a tougher sell – Saddam, Mullah Omar, Kim Jong-Il, miscellaneous clitorectomy enthusiasts in West Africa, etc. But even so the left’s retreat to hicksville is impressive: the western progressive has ideologically downsized and relocated to a remodeled farmhouse outside Montpelier. National Review, December 19th

Senator Kerry drones that we need to “set benchmarks” for the “transfer of authority”. Actually, the Administration’s being doing that for two years – setting dates for the return of sovereignty, for electing a national assembly, for approving a constitution, etc, and meeting all of them. And all during those same two years Kerry and his fellow Democrats have huffed that these dates are far too premature, the Iraqis aren’t in a position to take over, hold an election, whatever. The Defeaticrats were against the benchmarks before they were for them. The Chicago Sun-Times, December 4th

For example, Dan Balz can publish a huge piece in The Washington Post which from its headline down – “Hillary Clinton Crafts Centrist Stance On War” – assumes that it’s perfectly natural to talk about the foreign policy and national security of one’s own country entirely in political terms. For Balz and for everyone he quotes in the piece, the point of a “policy on Iraq” is not to have a policy that impacts on Iraq in any real sense but to have a policy that advances domestic political fortunes. “Iraq” might as well be a board game you’re in the national play-offs of. National Review, December 31st

As the Canadian Press reported:

Montreal — Tens of thousands of people ignored frigid temperatures Saturday to lead a worldwide day of protest against global warming.

Is this the first sign of the “new ice age” the media warned us about last week? The story originated in Nature, the hitherto distinguished scientific periodical whose environmental coverage increasingly resembles that celebrated Sunday Sport scoop about the London double-decker bus found frozen in the deepest ice of the Antarctic. That, of course, is absurd – in reality, as the trained scientists at Nature would be the first to point out, the Clapham omnibus would be lucky to make it as far as Tulse Hill before being embedded in a glacier. The eco-doom-mongers were speculating on possible changes in thermohaline circulation in the Atlantic – or, as The Daily Mail put it, “Is Britain On The Brink Of A New Ice Age?” Europe could get so chilly that shivering Muslim rioters might burn the entire Peugeot fleet on the first night. Which would be good for the environment presumably. After that, they’d be reduced to huddling round the nearest fire-breathing imam for warmth. The Daily Telegraph, December 6th

Good news! On Thursday, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, who recently called for Israel to be wiped off the map, moderated his position. In a spirit of statesmanlike compromise, he now wants Israel wiped off the map of the Middle East and wiped on to the map of Europe. “Some European countries insist on saying that Hitler killed millions of innocent Jews in furnaces,” President Ahmadinejad told Iranian TV viewers. “Although we don’t accept this claim, if we suppose it is true,” he added sportingly, “why don’t they provide the Zionist regime with a piece of Europe..? You offer part of Europe and we will support it.” Big of you. It’s the perfect solution to the “Middle East peace process”: out of sight, out of mind. And given that President Ahmadinejad’s out of his mind, we’re already halfway there. The Chicago Sun-Times, December 11th

As you know, because the media parrot it incessantly, there were no links between al-Qa’eda and Saddam, because he’s a scrupulously secular Baathist and they’re fundamentalist Islamists. Good thing those pro-gay pro-feminist Eurolefties making common cause with honor-killing sodomite-beheaders don’t demand the same level of intellectual coherence from their own coalition as they do from the terrorists. National Review, December 19th

There’s no contradiction between a liking for western pop culture and a loathing of western civilization. Merely the latest in a long tradition, Mahmoud Khabou, the 20-year old unemployed son of Algerian immigrants in Clichy-sous-Bois, understands more clearly than the media that jihad is by no means incompatible with conventional forms of western delinquency. Asked by a reporter to name his heroes, he replied, “Osama bin Laden and Rodney King.” National Review, December 5th

The Iraq election’s over, the media did their best to ignore it, and, judging from the rippling torsos I saw every time I switched on the TV, the press seem to reckon that that gay cowboy movie was the big geopolitical event of the last week, if not of all time. Yes, yes, I know: they’re not, technically, cowboys, they’re gay shepherds, but even Hollywood isn’t crazy enough to think it can sell gay shepherds to the world. And the point is, even if I was in the mood for a story about two rugged insecure men who find themselves strangely attracted to each other in a dark transgressive relationship that breaks all the rules, who needs Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger when you’ve got Howard Dean and Abu Musad al-Zarqawi? Yee-haw! And, if that sounds unfair, pick almost any recent statement by a big-time Dem cowboy and tell me how exactly it would differ from the pep talks Zarqawi gives his dwindling band of head-hackers – Dean arguing that America can’t win in Iraq, Barbara Boxer demanding the troops begin withdrawing on December 15th, John Kerry accusing American soldiers of terrorizing Iraqi women and children, Jack Murtha declaring that the US Army is utterly broken. Pepper ‘em with a handful of “Praise be to Allahs” and any one of those statements could have been uttered by Zarqawi. The Chicago Sun-Times, December 18th

Syriana, a film in which the CIA subverts a Middle Eastern government. Pardon me, while I fall to the floor doubled up with laughter. If only the CIA were that good. The only government they seem the least bit capable of subverting is America’s. National Review, December 31st

If I were some bratty all-American moppet, I think I’d be feeling a bit oppressed by all this cultural imperialism. At school, you’re told it’s a wonderful multiculti world and have to sit through Swahili dirges for Kwanzaa and the other Ramadan-a-ding-dongs, and then you get to the mall and every multi-billion dollar kids’ franchise features English public schoolboys, and even when they’re disguised as Hobbits they still live on toasted crumpets and elderberry tea and such. I left the theatre wondering how long it would be before all three franchises meet up in Harry Potter And The Lord Of The Wardrobe. Given that the most successful grown-up series is also British, my choice for the new Bond would be Harry Potter, with Lucy as M and Bilbo as Q. Whatever happened to American pop culture? The Spectator, December 17th

Hollywood stars are forever complaining about the “crushing of dissent” in Bush’s America, by which they mean Tim Robbins having a photo-op at the Baseball Hall of Fame cancelled because he’s become an anti-war bore. But, thanks to the First Amendment, he can say anything he likes without the forces of the state coming round to grill him. It’s in Britain and Europe where dissent is being crushed. Following the murder of Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands, film directors and museum curators and all the other “brave” “transgressive” artists usually so eager to “challenge” society are voting for self-censorship: “I don’t want a knife in my chest,” explained Albert Ter Heerdt, announcing his decision to “postpone” a sequel to his hit multicultural comedy Shouf Shouf Habibi! But who needs to knife him when across Europe the authorities are so eager to criminalize him? No society with an eye to long-term survival should make opinion a subversive activity. The Daily Telegraph, December 13th

These days, whenever something goofy turns up on the news, chances are it involves some fellow called Mohammed. A plane flies into the World Trade Center? Mohammed Atta. A gunman shoots up the El Al counter at Los Angeles airport? Hesham Mohamed Hedayet. A sniper starts killing gas-station customers around Washington, DC? John Allen Muhammed. A guy fatally stabs a Dutch movie director? Mohammed Bouyeri. A terrorist slaughters dozens in Bali? Noordin Mohamed. A British subject from Hounslow, West London, self-detonates in a Tel Aviv bar? Asif Mohammed Hanif. A gang rapist preys on the women of Sydney? Mohammed Skaf. Maybe all these Mohammeds are victims of Australian white racists and American white racists and Dutch white racists and Israeli white racists and Balinese white racists and Beslan schoolgirl white racists. But the eagerness of the Aussie and British and Canadian and European media, week in, week out, to attribute each outbreak of an apparently universal phenomenon to strictly local factors is starting to look pathological. The Daily Telegraph, December 20th

Americans have responsibilities, Europeans have attitudes. Indeed, the EU has attitudes in inverse proportion to its ability to act on them. It’s able to strut and preen on the world stage secure in the knowl

TOPICS: News/Current Events
Part 2 of Mark Steyn's Year in Review.......
1 posted on 01/01/2006 11:04:52 AM PST by Rummyfan
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To: Rummyfan


2 posted on 01/01/2006 11:16:09 AM PST by rellimpank (Don't believe anything about firearms or explosives stated by the mass media---NRABenefactor)
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To: Rummyfan
Once you see it all in one place, it really hits home that Mark Steyn is a legitimate national treasure.


3 posted on 01/01/2006 12:16:23 PM PST by Lurker (You don't let a pack of wolves into the house just because they're related to the family dog.)
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To: Lurker
The One-Man Global Content Provider!
4 posted on 01/01/2006 12:21:53 PM PST by Rummyfan
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To: Rummyfan


5 posted on 01/01/2006 1:05:00 PM PST by Right_in_Virginia
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To: Rummyfan

bump for later

6 posted on 01/02/2006 10:56:08 AM PST by Eva
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To: Rummyfan

Bump to read later

7 posted on 01/04/2006 5:26:35 PM PST by hattend (There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.)
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