STATISM FOR ME, STATISM FOR THEE
Mark Steyn, writing in Maclean's, is tickled to see lefties like Star columnist Haroon Siddiqui offended by Quebec's proposed niqab ban on grounds the state has no business curtailing in such personal freedoms, considering they have no problem with the state curtailing various other freedoms -- notably in matters of free speech. The only difference between this brand of statism and the kind they support every day, Steyn argues, plausibly, is that they don't happen to like the result this time around. That's fair enough. But if this really is "in the grand tradition of Canadian statism," and if statism is bad, then we're forced to ask: Why does Steyn not oppose the niqab ban? Isn't he just performing a reverse Siddiqui?Upon reading the above, I retrieved my hard copy of the magazine and reread the piece in question. (The link is not yet available.) In fact, nowhere in it does Steyn come out in favour of the ban. Here's how he, you should pardon the expression, wraps things up:
At a certain level, the niqab wars are pathetic. They're proxy battles for the real issues--on immigration, assimilation, and much else. But the niqab is blazingly vivid in a way that the big abstact nouns never are. And, whatever anglophone progressives may think, Jean Charest's heavy-handed opportunism is in the grand tradition of Canadian statism."Heavy-handed opportunism"--does that really sound to you, Mr. Selley, as though Steyn is onside with the thing? Or have you rather missed the entire point, that being that
In Canada, it's the state's business when you get your hip operation, not yours: if the state has jurisdiction over your hip, why shouldn't it also have jurisdiction over which garments the hip can be sheathed in?You see, Chris, the column is a critique of statism and the idiocy of those, like the odious Harpoon, who want the state to control stuff they don't like--like "Islamophobic" speech--and who don't understand that, once that genie is out of the bottle, it is beyond their means to control. As such, I believe you owe Steyn an apology.
Update: Linky now available.