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Mark Steyn and Free Speech

Monday, March 13, 2006  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

While I was away on vacation, Great Britain’s Sunday Telegraph and Spectator magazine dropped Mark Steyn from their contributors’ list. From the March 9 column by the Guardian’s Lionel Shriver:

Lastly, let me rue the passing of Mark Steyn’s syndication in Britain, for his column has now been dropped by both the Sunday Telegraph and the Spectator. I don’t know the inside story, so I can’t be certain that the jettisoning of this notoriously conservative Canadian constitutes political self-censorship.

Thus my indignation is solely on account of my own entertainment. Fair enough, few Guardian readers would share his hard-right views. I don’t always agree with him either, but I love Mark Steyn. Even though I write them, I cannot bear most columns, which when light-hearted usually err on the trivial, and when serious usually err on the po-faced. But however you may deplore his opinions, Steyn is funny. How often do you read comment pages and laugh aloud? He writes about big issues with tremendous energy, and he has a sensibility now more pertinent to British politics than ever: a refined sense of the absurd.

Mark Steyn isn’t “notoriously conservative.” He’s notoriously talented. I am also certain his readership at the paper and magazine were very high as Steyn is one of the most linked to writers at work in the world today.

So why drop a popular and talented scribe? I’ll ask him on Thursday, but my guess is that Steyn is a victim of the pc police worried about offending any or all of the groups that Steyn regularly offens because he does not sugarcoat problems or ignore absurdities.

The answer to such self-censorship is for other ediotrs to pick up Steyn’s work and to demand more of it. Read all of his output at SteynOnline, and encourage your local ediotr to pick up Steyn’s columns.

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