Friday, April 25, 2008


I had a chuckle while browsing the bookshelves of a local Coles bookstore. Mark Steyn's America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It was shelved beside a book entitled Hot Air, which I found very appropriate. It likely wasn't intentionally shelved like that to mock Steyn, as the book Hot Air is about how Canada might deal with climate change and is co-written by Jeffrey Simpson. Of course Steyn is no more a fan of dealing with global warming than he is of Muslims, so he probably wouldn't find Hot Air appealing anyways.

The copy of America Alone on display was the new paperback edition, which features the note "Soon to be banned in Canada" on the cover, most certainly intended to appeal to Steyn's fanbase by portraying him as a potential martyr to so-called political correctness.(And which will no doubt lead some future readers to believe the book was banned in Canada when it was not.) It also has a new forward, which I thumbed through for a minute or so. Even doing that allowed me to spot a flawed argument of Steyn's, in which he discussed the 17 supposed Muslims currently on the Brussels city council. The problems with the commentary on this are obvious, starting with Steyn's implication that all these supposed Muslims share identical viewpoints and will vote as a monolithic block. One would think Steyn would have sufficient knowledge of history to recognise this is exactly the same sort of argument antisemites use regarding Jews, that they're all a hive mind in service of "the conspiracy." He's also assuming they're all Muslims because of their names, and apparently never considers the fact that if they anger the voters of Brussels they'll get voted out in the next election. And this is just one comment of Steyn's. I can only wonder how many other flawed ideas I'd find if I sat down and subjected America Alone to critical analysis.

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