Am I being unfair to Steyn?

Carl Simpson suggests I may be overdoing my criticisms of Mark Steyn. He writes:

Dear Larry,

While I understand your point about Steynís vagueness as regards his origins and current abode, which is exacerbated to a degree by his simultaneous publication in newspapers in Canada, the UK, and the U.S., Iíve read his articles enough to know that he was originally from the UK, moved to Canada, and subsequently to New Hampshire. Heís even commented about how safe from crime he feels in his new home here in the U.S., as most of his neighbors are the type of rough-and-ready Americans who would quickly ďventilateĒ anyone trying to carry out some sort of crime against himself or his family.

I think heís a very gifted writer, with a great talent for clever turns of phrase that are often devastating to the prevailing leftist groupthink. His great weakness is that heís all-too-often manifestly unserious about serious subjects like the Muslim takeover of Europe. However, like Peggy Noonan, there is at least some hope that the scales are beginning to fall from his eyes.



Dear Carl,

I know I put myself in the wrong in some peopleís eyes when I criticize him. Many think heís a uniquely valuable writer for conservatives. While I have gotten much enjoyment from his writings on subjects for which his comic and satirical talents are uniquely suited, particularly that pompous vacancy John Kerry, I continue to believe that Steynís writings on important subjects, like Islam, are not of real value. However, Iím not absolutely certain that Iím right about this, since it may be that heís reaching a large audience in the only way they can be reached with his mocking of the liberal approach toward Islam, and so he may be slowly awakening people from their liberal slumber. However, I, unlike many of the people who adore Steyn, actually do him the honor of reading him critically and carefully, and over and over Iíve seen how he SEEMS to be issuing a call to arms, when in fact heís engaging in empty, titilating gestures.

This to me is the essence of neoconservatism. The essence of neoconservatism is that it SEEMS conservative, but is actually liberal. Thus it fools people into thinking that they are a part of a vital conservative movement, while itís actually accommodating them to liberalism. Thatís my fundamental take on Steyn, and Iím going to stay with it until Iím persuaded that Iím wrong.


Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 10, 2005 01:48 AM | Send

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