The Maniacal Mind of Mark Steyn
By Jonathon Van Maren
Few writers have the breadth and scope of Canadian-born commentator Mark Steyn. He calls himself “The One-Man Global Content Provider,” and he is easily one of the most popular and prolific conservative polemicists writing today, producing everything from obituaries and Broadway reviews to tomes on Islam and demography. His work has been reviewed by the likes of Christopher Hitchens and renowned British novelist Martin Amis. Amis, whom Steyn wrote very critically of in his book America Alone, provides one of the most accurate descriptions of Steyn’s writing: “Mark Steyn is an oddity. His thoughts and themes are sane and serious—but he writes like a maniac.”
And so he does—on the rise of Islam in the West, on liberty-stifling Big Government, on the decline of masculinity, on plunging birthrates. And he also happens to be very anti-abortion—and his comments on the matter are, as usual, witty and incisive.
I had the opportunity of interviewing Steyn a couple years back when I did freelance work for The Jewish Independent. Steyn was coming into town to speak at the Hillel gala, and a few of us were going to have lunch with him a day or so prior to the event. As I asked him questions for my Independent article, I decided to throw in a question about abortion, just out of curiosity.
“Why does anyone think Europe needs huge numbers of Muslim immigrants?” Steyn replied, “Supposedly to keep their welfare state in business, because they are the children that Europeans couldn’t be bothered to have themselves. One third of German women are childless. If you just take your average, dopey Western feminist at a university campus in North America today, and she’s concerned about patriarchy, [she thinks that by] forming a pro-life club you’re forcing your backwards, patriarchal views on her. If she thinks you’re the big, stern, dominating patriarch, she ought to wait twenty or thirty years in the average Canadian city. She’ll be figuring out what the people in Amsterdam and Brussels and Malmo and Paris are beginning to figure out right now—that there’s a whole, far more motivated breed of patriarch that’s going to be walking around those cities. That’s what the dopey, clap-trapped, cobwebbed 1960’s feminist doesn’t get—that abortion is an indulgence and the indulgence only works for a generation or two before a bunch of other people take over and rebuild the future you weren’t interested in building for yourselves.”
And suddenly, abortion is put in context. It’s not simply killing—although it certainly is that. It’s cultural suicide. It’s emblematic of the bloody, narcissistic tailspin of the West at twilight. It is, as Mark Steyn refers to it elsewhere, Big Government’s back alley.
“The back alley is back, and supersized,” he writes, “When the pro-choice rally ends and Cameron Diaz, Ashley Judd and the other celebrities d’un certain age return to Hollywood, and the upper-middle-class women with the one designer baby go back to their suburbs, a woman’s ‘right to choose’ means that, day in, day out, the blessings of this ‘right’ fall disproportionately on all the identity groups the upscale liberals profess to care about—poor women, black women, Hispanic women, undocumented women, and other denizens of Big Government’s back alley.”
But does the touching and suffocating compassion of Big Government and its enforcers encompass pre-born human beings with its long tentacles? Unfortunately no, as Kermit Gosnell, the butcher of Philadelphia, and so many others have proven. An indication of moral bankruptcy, Steyn notes: “One solitary act of mass infanticide by a mentally-ill loner calls into question the constitutional right to guns, but a sustained conveyer belt of infanticide by an entire cadre of cold-blooded killers apparently has no implications for the constitutional right to abortion.”
Thugs and bullies kill babies, or “fetuses” if you prefer, because they cannot fight back or make noise—at least not noise unmuffled by the body of his or her mother. And ideological thugs and bullies, desperate to maintain their right to frivolously frolic away the future with sterile sex hammer down on any who publicly disagree with their feticide free-for-all. Think of what happened last year, when Komen, an organization dedicated to fighting breast cancer, decided briefly to pull their paltry donation to abortion giant Planned Parenthood. Komen was soon brought grovelling back into line by Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards and her fellow hench-womyn.
“Ms. Richards’ business is an upscale progressives’ ideological protection racket,” Steyn noted wryly, “for whom the ‘poor women’s’ abortion mill is a mere pretext. The Komen Foundation will not be the last to learn that you can ‘race for the cure,’ but you can’t hide. Celebrate conformity—or else.”
Abortion, as any literate human being can tell you, kills a human being. Abortion, as any moral human being can tell you, is a human rights violation. And abortion, as Mark Steyn tells us, is a cultural indulgence that can’t last more than a few generations. Abortion is a symbol of everything that threatens the West, from plunging birthrates to skyrocketing self-absorption to the slow rise of Big Government’s Brave New World.
For as Mark Steyn wrote, “When the state has the ability to know everything except the difference between right and wrong, it won’t end well.”