Thursday, April 15, 2010

Selley Fumbles

Chris Selley, the National Post's "Full Pundit," tries (and fails) to pull a "gotcha" on Mark Steyn:
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.


Unknown said...

What I said is that Steyn doesn't oppose the ban, and he doesn't. Not in that column, and not in the previous one he wrote on the subject:

"[T]he Globe and Mail’s Margaret Wente redeemed her paper with a characteristically sharp column on the new 'two solitudes'—French and English Canada’s different view of Islam, which she argued mirrored broader Franco-Britannic approaches. She’s right. France thought nothing of banning the veil in its educational establishments, whereas in Britain a teenage girl who took her school to court for the right to wear the full-body 'jilbab' had as her lawyer none other than Cherie Booth, wife of then-prime minister Tony Blair.

On this one, I’m with the
'intolerant' Quebecers."

Anonymous said...

On this one, I’m with the
'intolerant' Quebecers."

So am I and pretty much everyone else who isn't directly in the Multi-Culti industry.

Traditional Muslims have no place in Canada (they must assimilate) and this is the beginning of letting them know it 'officially'. Let's have more of it before the minarets drown out my IPod.