Mark Steyn

By Leila Marie Lawler (articles ) | Nov 12, 2005

Mark Steyn as always cascades with mind-opening clarity on the situation in France and the world in this week’s Spectator.

Every point in his piece, It’s the demography, stupid , materializes what had been a vague ghost of an idea before he gets a hold of it.

He strips to the bone equally de Villepin’s mind-numbingly futile program, Islam and its fellow-travelers, and those who have no stake in the future because they have no children. (I take one exception – he characterizes as “a marvelous rebuke” a couple of paragraphs of mindless rant in the Guardian about the at least arguable position that unreflective U.S. support of Israel is the primary cause of global violence. I would like to see a rebuke, marvelous or otherwise; Maureen Lipman’s lame tirade wasn’t it.)

But listen to this:

I look on religion like gun ownership. That’s to say, New Hampshire has a high rate of firearms possession, which is why it has a low crime rate. You don’t have to own a gun and there are sissy Dartmouth College arms-are-for-hugging types who don’t. But they benefit from the fact that their crazy stump-toothed knuckle-dragging neighbours do. If you want to burgle a home in the Granite State, you’d have to be awfully certain it was the one-in-a-hundred we-are-the-world pantywaist’s pad and not some plaid-clad gun nut who’ll blow your head off before you lay a hand on his $70 TV. That’s the way it is with religion. A hyper-rationalist might dismiss the whole God thing as a lot of apple sauce, but his hyper-rationalism is a lot more vulnerable in a society without a strong Judaeo-Christian culture. American firearms owners have a popular slogan: ‘If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.’ Likewise, if you marginalise religion, only the marginalised will have religion. That’s why France’s impoverished Muslim ghettos display more cultural confidence than the wealthiest enclaves of the capital.

(It’s not often you get the frisson that comes from this sort of convergence of truths held so dear.)

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  • Posted by: - Nov. 13, 2005 11:22 PM ET USA

    Ignacio, Daniel Pipes argued in 1995 (before 9/11/01) that it was Western Nihilism fused with Radical Islam. (The Western Mind of Radical Islam)

  • Posted by: Ignacio177 - Nov. 13, 2005 1:44 PM ET USA

    There are some good articles in the ABC the right of center Spanish paper on this issue. the comments of Andres Glucksman a French Philosopher are provoking, he argues that it is not islam but nihilism that is the problem and that the rioters have just asemilated the worst of French Culture.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 12, 2005 8:28 PM ET USA

    Mark Steyn is what you get when PG Wodehouse and William Shakespeare are born Jewish, baptized Catholic and adult Churched Baptist. Or, as some of us pray every Sunday: "Thank God he doesn't work for the opposition".