Steyn at CPAC 2008
December 8, 1959 |
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Occupation||Author and Commentator|
Mark Steyn (born December 8, 1959) is a Canadian-born writer, conservative-leaning political commentator, and cultural critic. He has written five books, including America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It, a New York Times bestseller. He is published in newspapers and magazines, and appears on shows such as those of Rush Limbaugh, Hugh Hewitt, and Sean Hannity.
Life and career 
Steyn was born in Toronto. He was baptized a Catholic and later confirmed in the Anglican Church; he has stated that "the last Jewish female in my line was one of my paternal great-grandmothers" and that "both my grandmothers were Catholic". Steyn's great-aunt was artist Stella Steyn.
Steyn was educated at the King Edward's School, Birmingham, in the United Kingdom, and still speaks with an English accent. This is the same school that author J. R. R. Tolkien attended and where Steyn was assigned a Greek dictionary that had also been used by Tolkien. He left school in 1978 at 18 and worked as a disc-jockey before becoming musical theatre critic at the newly established The Independent in 1986. He was appointed film critic for The Spectator in 1992. After writing predominantly about the arts, Steyn's focus shifted to political commentary and moved to the conservative broadsheet The Daily Telegraph (which stopped carrying his column in 2006).
He has written for a wide range of publications, including the Jerusalem Post, The Orange County Register, Chicago Sun-Times, National Review, The New York Sun, The Australian, Maclean's, The Irish Times, National Post, The Atlantic Monthly, Western Standard and New Criterion.
Steyn's books include Broadway Babies Say Goodnight: Musicals Then and Now (a history of the musical theatre) and America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, a New York Times bestseller. He has also published collections of his columns and his celebrity obituaries and profiles from The Atlantic.
Steyn is a visiting professor at Hillsdale College. As of 2010, Steyn was no longer the back page columnist for the print edition of National Review, conservative writer James Lileks assuming that space in the print edition. Steyn's back page column for National Review, "Happy Warrior", resumed with the March 21, 2011 issue.
Criticism of media 
Steyn frequently criticizes the institutional media.
In a May 2004 column Steyn commented that editors were encouraging anti-Bush sentiments after The Daily Mirror and the Boston Globe had published faked pictures, originating from American and Hungarian pornographic websites, of British and American soldiers supposedly sexually abusing Iraqis. Steyn argues that media only wanted to show images to westerners "that will shame and demoralize them."
In a July 2005 column for National Review, Steyn criticized Andrew Jaspan, then the editor of The Age, an Australian newspaper. Jaspan was offended by Douglas Wood, an Australian kidnapped and held hostage in Iraq, who after his rescue referred to his captors as "arseholes." Jaspan claimed that "the issue is really largely, speaking as I understand it, he was treated well there. He says he was fed every day, and as such to turn around and use that kind of language I think is just insensitive." Steyn argued that there is nothing at all wrong with insensitivity toward murderous captors, and that it was Jaspan, not Wood, who suffered from Stockholm syndrome. He said further, "A blindfolded Mr. Wood had to listen to his captors murder two of his colleagues a few inches away, but how crude and boorish would one have to be to hold that against one's hosts?"
Conrad Black trial 
Steyn wrote articles and maintained a blog for Maclean's covering the 2007 business fraud trial of his friend Conrad Black in Chicago, from the point of view of one who was never convinced Black committed any crime. Doing this, he later wrote, "cost me my gig at the [Chicago] Sun-Times" and "took me away from more lucrative duties such as book promotion". Steyn expressed dismay at "the procedural advantages the prosecution enjoys—the inducements it's able to dangle in order to turn witnesses that, if offered by the defence, would be regarded as the suborning of perjury; or the confiscation of assets intended to prevent an accused person from being able to mount a defence; or the piling on of multiple charges which virtually guarantees that a jury will seek to demonstrate its balanced judgment by convicting on something. All that speaks very poorly for the federal justice system."
After Black's conviction, Steyn published a long essay in Maclean's about the case, strongly criticizing Black's defense team.
Steyn believes that what he describes as "Eurabia" — a future where the European continent is dominated by Islam — is an imminent reality that cannot be reversed. "Every Continental under the age of 40 — make that 60, if not 75 — is all but guaranteed to end his days living in an Islamified Europe." "Native populations on the continent are aging and fading and being supplanted remorselessly by a young Muslim demographic."
Why did Bosnia collapse into the worst slaughter in Europe since the second World War? In the thirty years before the meltdown, Bosnian Serbs had declined from 43 percent to 31 percent of the population, while Bosnian Muslims had increased from 26 percent to 44 percent. In a democratic age, you can't buck demography — except through civil war. The Serbs figured that out, as other Continentals will in the years ahead: if you cannot outbreed the enemy, cull 'em. The problem that Europe faces is that Bosnia's demographic profile is now the model for the entire continent.
When some left-wing critics claimed Steyn was advocating genocide in this passage, he wrote:
My book isn't about what I want to happen but what I think will happen. Given Fascism, Communism and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, it's not hard to foresee that the neo-nationalist resurgence already under way in parts of Europe will at some point take a violent form. ... I think any descent into neo-Fascism will be ineffectual and therefore merely a temporary blip in the remorseless transformation of the Continent.
Criticism of multiculturalism 
Steyn has commented on divisions between the Western world and the Islamic World. He criticizes the tolerance of what he calls "Islamic cultural intolerance." Steyn argues that multiculturalism only requires feeling good about other cultures and is "fundamentally a fraud ... subliminally accepted on that basis." In Jewish World Review, Steyn argues "Multiculturalism means that the worst attributes of Muslim culture — the subjugation of women — combine with the worst attributes of Western culture — licence and self-gratification." He states, "I am not a racist, only a culturist. I believe Western culture — rule of law, universal suffrage — is preferable to Arab culture."
Support of Iraq invasion 
Steyn was an early proponent of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In 2007 he reiterated his support while attacking Democrat John Murtha, stating that his plan for military action in Iraq was designed "to deny the president the possibility of victory while making sure Democrats don't have to share the blame for the defeat. ... [Murtha] doesn't support them in the mission, but he'd like them to continue failing at it for a couple more years".
America Alone 
Steyn's work America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It (ISBN 0-89526-078-6) is a New York Times bestselling nonfiction book published in 2006. It deals with the global war on terror and wider issues of demographics in Muslim and non-Muslim populations. It has been widely praised by conservative commentators, and recommended by George W. Bush. The paperback edition (ISBN 1596985275), released in April 2008 with a new introduction, was labeled "Soon to Be Banned in Canada", alluding to a possible result that Steyn then anticipated from the Canadian Islamic Congress human rights complaint against Maclean's Magazine.
Response to America Alone 
In an essay about America Alone, Christopher Hitchens wrote that "Mark Steyn believes that demography is destiny, and he makes an immensely convincing case," then went on to detail many points at which he disagrees with Steyn. For instance, Hitchens believes that Steyn errs by "considering European Muslim populations as one. Islam is as fissile as any other religion, and considerable friction exists among immigrant Muslim groups in many European countries. Moreover, many Muslims actually have come to Europe for the advertised purposes; seeking asylum and to build a better life." Nevertheless, Hitchens expressed strong agreement with some of Steyn's points, calling the book "admirably tough-minded."
The left-wing British publication the New Statesman criticized "gaping holes of logic and fact in [Steyn's] argument." The publication compared Steyn's warning about an Islamic takeover of Europe to past racial fear-mongering about Chinese overtaking white Americans and wrote Steyn had a history of promoting "invented conspiracies like the Protocols of the Elders of Mohammed."
After America 
In 2011, Steyn published After America: Get Ready for Armageddon, a followup to America Alone. In it, he argues that the United States is now on the same trajectory towards decline and fall as the rest of the West, but that its decline will be more sudden and less pleasant than that seen in Europe. While America Alone concentrated on demography and the rise of Islamofascism, After America concentrates on Federal debt and the growth of government and bureaucracy.
After America peaked at number 4 on the New York Times' non-fiction bestseller list.
Canadian Islamic Congress human rights complaint 
In 2007, a complaint was filed with the Ontario Human Rights Commission related to an article "The Future Belongs to Islam", written by Mark Steyn, published in Maclean's magazine. The complainants alleged that the article and the refusal of Maclean's to provide space for a rebuttal violated their human rights. The complainants also claimed that the article was one of twenty-two (22) Maclean's articles, many written by Steyn, about Muslims. Further complaints were filed with the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission refused in April 2008 to proceed, saying it lacked jurisdiction to deal with magazine content. However, the Commission stated that it, "strongly condemns the Islamophobic portrayal of Muslims ... Media has a responsibility to engage in fair and unbiased journalism." Critics of the Commission claimed that Maclean's and Steyn had been found guilty without a hearing. John Martin of The Province wrote, "There was no hearing, no evidence presented and no opportunity to offer a defence — just a pronouncement of wrongdoing." The OHRC defended its right to comment by stating, "Like racial profiling and other types of discrimination, ascribing the behaviour of individuals to a group damages everyone in that group. We have always spoken out on such issues. Maclean's and its writers are free to express their opinions. The OHRC is mandated to express what it sees as unfair and harmful comment or conduct that may lead to discrimination."
Steyn subsequently criticized the Commission, commenting that "Even though they (the OHRC) don't have the guts to hear the case, they might as well find us guilty. Ingenious!"
Soon afterwards, the head of the Canadian Human Rights Commission issued a public letter to the editor of Maclean's magazine. In it, Jennifer Lynch said, "Mr. Steyn would have us believe that words, however hateful, should be give free reign [sic]. History has shown us that hateful words sometimes lead to hurtful actions that undermine freedom and have led to unspeakable crimes. That is why Canada and most other democracies have enacted legislation to place reasonable limits on the expression of hatred." The National Post subsequently defended Steyn and sharply criticized Lynch, stating that Lynch has "no clear understanding of free speech or the value of protecting it" and that "No human right is more basic than freedom of expression, not even the "right" to live one's life free from offence by remarks about one's ethnicity, gender, culture or orientation."
The federal Canadian Human Rights Commission dismissed the Canadian Islamic Congress' complaint against Maclean's in June 2008. The CHRC's ruling said of the article that, "the writing is polemical, colourful and emphatic, and was obviously calculated to excite discussion and even offend certain readers, Muslim and non-Muslim alike." However, the Commission ruled that overall, "the views expressed in the Steyn article, when considered as a whole and in context, are not of an extreme nature, as defined by the Supreme Court."
Steyn later wrote a lengthy reflection of his turmoil with the commissions and the tribunals. The reflection appears as the introduction to The Tyranny of Nice, a book authored by Kathy Shaidle and Pete Vere on Canada's human rights commissions. In it, Steyn writes:
I've learned a lot of lessons during my time in the crosshairs of the [Canadian human rights investigator Jennifer] Lynch mob. Although the feistier columnists have spoken out on this issue, the broad mass of Canadian media seems generally indifferent to a power grab that explicitly threatens to reduce them to a maple-flavoured variant of Pravda. One boneheaded "journalism professor" even attempted to intervene in the British Columbia trial on the side of the censors. As some leftie website put it, "Defending freedom of speech for jerks means defending jerks." Well, yes. But, in this case, not defending the jerks means not defending freedom of speech for yourself. It's not a left/right thing; it's a free/unfree thing. But an alarming proportion of the Dominion's "media workers" seem relatively relaxed about playing the role of eunuchs to the Trudeaupian sultans.
Critical reception 
Steyn's writing draws supporters and detractors for both content and style. Martin Amis, who was harshly criticized in America Alone yet nevertheless gave it a positive review, says of his style: "Mark Steyn is an oddity: his thoughts and themes are sane and serious—but he writes like a maniac."  His style was described by Robert Fulford as "bring[ing] to public affairs the dark comedy developed in the Theatre of the Absurd." Longtime editor and admirer Fulford also wrote, "Steyn, a self-styled 'right-wing bastard,' violates everyone's sense of good taste." According to Simon Mann, Steyn "gives succour to the maxim the pen is mightier than the sword, though he is not averse to employing the former to advocate use of the latter."
Susan Catto in Time noted his interest in controversy, "Instead of shying away from the appearance of conflict, Steyn positively revels in it." Canadian journalist Steve Burgess wrote "Steyn wields his rhetorical rapier with genuine skill" and that national disasters tended to cause Steyn "to display his inner wingnut."
In 2009, Canadian journalist Paul Wells accused Steyn of dramatically exaggerating the rise of fascist political parties in Europe. Wells also accused Steyn of repeatedly "shrieking" about Islam in his political writings.
Mark Steyn was awarded the 2006 Eric Breindel Award for Excellence in Opinion Journalism for writing which "best reflects love of this country and its democratic institutions". The announcement quotes from Steyn's syndicated column for 26 June 2006, "Be Glad the Flag Is Worth Burning":
One of the big lessons of these last four years is that many, many beneficiaries of Western civilization loathe that civilization, and the media are generally inclined to blur the extent of that loathing.
In 2010, Steyn was presented the Sappho Award from the International Free Press Society in Copenhagen, Denmark for what was described as both "his ample contributions as a cultural critic" and "his success in influencing the debate on Islam, the disastrous ideology of multiculturalism and the crisis of the Western civilization."
See also 
- The Story of Miss Saigon (by Edward Behr and Steyn; 1991, ISBN 1-55970-124-2)
- Broadway Babies Say Goodnight: Musicals Then and Now (1997, ISBN 0-415-92286-0)
- The Face of the Tiger (2002, ISBN 0-9731570-0-3; collected columns)
- Mark Steyn From Head To Toe: An Anatomical Anthology (2004, ISBN 0-9731570-2-X; collected columns)
- America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It (2006, ISBN 0-89526-078-6)
- Mark Steyn's Passing Parade (2006, ISBN 0-9731570-1-1; collected obituaries)
- The Tyranny of Nice (2008, ISBN 978-0-9780490-1-0; introduction)
- A Song For The Season (2008, A Musical Calendar)
- Lights Out: Islam, Free Speech And The Twilight Of The West (2009) ISBN 0-9731570-5-4
- After America: Get Ready for Armageddon (2011) ISBN 1-59698-100-8
- Steyn, Mark (2 July 2009), Mark's bio, SteynOnline, retrieved 5 March 2011
- Russell Shorto (2008-06-29). "No Babies? - Declining Population in Europe". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-25.
- "SteynOnline", FAQs February 14, 2007. Accessed August 24, 2008
- "Happy Warrior — Espying the Jew". National Review Online. 2006-08-28. Retrieved 2010-10-03.
- "Mark Steyn on Hugh Hewitt's radio show on the 27th of August 2009". Retrieved 21 August 2010.
- "In depth With Mark Steyn". CSPAN. 2012-02-05. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
- Mann, Simon: "A critic proud to quote his critics" theage.com August 19, 2006. Retrieved June 11, 2008.
- "SteynOnline". "SteynOnline". Retrieved 2012-03-13.
- Michael Coren Show - CTS television November 2, 2010
- Visitor (2010-02-10). "Mark Steyn". Ricochet.com. Retrieved 2012-03-13.
- Gossett, Sherrie Bogus GI rape photos used as Arab propaganda WorldNetDaily, May 04 2004
- Papers Run Fake Abuse Photos, May 31, 2004
- Steyn, Mark Now's not the time for Bush to go soft Jewish World Review, May 17, 2004
- Steyn, Mark. "A Weird Stockholm Syndrome" (subscription required) National Review, July 18, 2005.
- Steyn, Mark. "Conrad Black Trial". Maclean's. (blog)
- Steyn, Mark (December 19, 2007). "Goodbye to Chicago". Maclean's. p. 3.
- Steyn, Mark (July 30, 2007). "The Black Trial: The human drama the jury didn't see". Maclean's.
- Steyn, Mark, "She Said What She Thought", SteynOnline.com, December 2006, Archive copy at the Wayback Machine (Edited version published by theatlantic.com December 2006)
- Steyn, Mark: "The future belongs to Islam", Maclean's, October 20, 2006
- Steyn, Mark: America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It, Regnery Publishing, 2006
- Steyn, Mark: "A mass murderer-in-waiting writes", The Corner on National Review Online, February 19, 2007
- Steyn, Mark: It's the demography stupid The Wall Street Journal January 4, 2006
- Steyn, Mark: "Battered western syndrome ..."Jewish World Review, August 23, 2002
- Steyn, Mark "Why the Iraq war is turning into America's defeat", Chicago Sun-Times, February 18, 2007
- America Alone, back cover.
- Irwin Stelzer (March 12, 2007). "Reader of the Free World". The Weekly Standard.
- Hitchens, Christopher (Winter 2007). "Facing the Islamist Menace". City Journal 17 (1).
- Beplate, Justin. "Apocalypse now?". New Statesman. Retrieved 2012-03-13.
- Hartwell, Ray (2011-09-06). "BOOK REVIEW: 'After America'". Washington Times. Retrieved 2012-03-13.
- Schuessler, Jennifer. "Print & E-Books". The New York Times.
- Steyn, Mark (October 20, 2006). "The Future Belongs to Islam". Maclean's. Retrieved 2009-08-25.
- "Commission Statement Concerning Issues Raised by Complaints against Maclean's Magazine" (Press release). Ontario Human Rights Commission. April 9, 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-25.
Statement on Decision in Maclean's Cases, Ontario Human Rights Commission. April 9, 2008
- "Commission Issues Statement on Decision in Maclean's Cases" (Press release). Ontario Human Rights Commission. April 9, 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-25.
- Martin, John (May 9, 2008). "I'll take Mexican 'justice' ...". The Province. Retrieved 2009-08-25.
- Hall, Barbara (April 22, 2008). "Letter to the Editor published in Maclean's Magazine". Ontario Human Rights Commission.
- Brean, Joseph (April 9, 2008). "Rights body dismisses Maclean's case". National Post.
- Lynch, Jennifer (May 5, 2008). "Letter to the editor of Maclean's magazine". Canadian Human Rights Commission.
- "A bit late for introspection". National Post. June 19, 2008. Archived from the original on June 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-19.
- "Canadian Human Rights Commission dismisses complaint against Macleans". Canadian Press. June 28, 2008.[dead link]
- Shaidle, Kathy; Vere, Pete (2008). The Tyranny of Nice. Interim Publishing. p. 82. ISBN 0-9780490-1-2.
- Jonathon Tepperman (5 April 2008). "Martin Amis: I, Crackpot?". Newsweek Magazine. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
- Foran, Charles (April 6, 2008). "Amis tackles our Age of Horrorism". The Star (Toronto).
- Fulford, Robert "Mark Steyn, opinionmonger" robertfulford.com (Published by National Post, November 19, 2005)
- Catto, Susan: "Canada's Conrad Black Controversy" TIME, June 27, 2007
- Steve Burgess: "Mark Steyn's Latest Victims" Mediacheck, thetyee.ca April 24, 2007/
- Hari, Johann, Apocalypse Now, The New Statesman March 12, 2007
- Paul, Wells (19 June 2009). "The feeble ‘march’ of Euro-fascism: Paul Wells rips Mark Steyn; corrects fascist hyperbole". Maclean's. Retrieved 2011-03-17.
- Amazon Music, retrieved 2011-12-01
- "The Breindel Award Winners". New York Post. 8 June 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-07-16. Retrieved 2009-08-25.
- Mark Steyn (26 June 2005). "Be Glad the Flag Is Worth Burning". The Orange County Register. Retrieved 2009-08-25.
- "Eva Agnete Selsings tale til Mark Steyn". Tidsskriftet Sappho (in Danish). 2010-09-15. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Mark Steyn|
- Mark Steyn's web site
- C-SPAN Interviews with Mark Steyn
- Kathy Shaidle, The Kafkaesque Show Trial of Mark Steyn, 2008-06-11