HH: I want to begin with Mark Steyn, who has managed to leave the British Columbia courthouse wherein the British Columbia Human Rights tribunal is meeting to try him. He’s in the dock. He’s across the street from the courthouse. Mr. Steyn, welcome, how goes the affairs up there?
MS: Well, I’m glad to be able to shake off the fellows from the British Columbia Sheriff’s department. It’s very bizarre to me. They said they’d had, they’d been following me around everywhere in the building I go because they say there are security concerns. And it’s not clear whether it’s the security concern is that someone will try to kill me, or whether it’s me who’s the security concern.
HH: Well, I have been following Maclean’s live blogging by Andrew Coyne and your dispatches. It sounds like an extended version of theater of the absurd.
MS: Well, it is, actually. I was thinking of that today. They have the Royal Coat of Arms behind the judges, you know, symbolizing the 800 years of common law legal tradition that this court is supposed to be heir to. But in fact, every principle of that tradition has been inverted. I think they ought to have the Coat of Arms on a pivot, and swing it around so that the crown’s pointing downwards, because every basic principle of common law, the due process, the admissibility of evidence, the presumption of innocence, every single thing is inverted and turned on its head. It’s more…I had no idea, actually, quote how ludicrous it was until I sat through these geniuses, and listened to their legal deliberations.
HH: I just saw that Andrew Coyne pointed out that one of the prosecutors, or one of the complainants is attempting to introduce postings at Freerepublic.com as evidence of something or other.
MS: Yes, which is bizarre to me, because the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal has no jurisdiction over the internet, period. But even so, being a British Columbia court, it’s supposed to only have jurisdiction over British Columbia. And the fact is that the witnesses, the people who said how much damage and hurt and pain and distress they’d received from my piece, for two days, it was this fellow called Kurrum Awan, who was flown in from Ontario, and the evidence of all the distress this has caused the British Columbia Muslim community, was posts from California-based Free Republic, and from the Brussels Journal, which is in Brussels, Belgium. And the last time I checked, British Columbia wasn’t a member of the European Union. So I don’t quite know what this…but all those kind of jurisdictional matters are all tossed out the window, because it’s a politically correct kangaroo court, and they make the rules up as they go along.
HH: How long does the kangaroo court keep jumping?
MS: Well, I’m hopeful they’ll bounce off tomorrow, and we will have closing arguments, and they will retire to make their deliberations. And this is a bit like, we’re in the situation, Maclean’s and I are in the situation where we’re like the guys in the Mel Brooks show, The Producers. We’re hoping for an almighty flop. We want to lose, and we want the other guys to win, so that we can then get appeal to a higher court, and eventually up to the Supreme Court of Canada, and get free speech restored, and get Canadians’ ancient liberties restored, the ones that have been eroded by these kangaroos over the last couple of decades.
HH: Well, keep writing. In the meantime, it is certainly at least amusing, though certainly inconvenient for you. Mark Steyn, even in your windowless, quiet and very dank courtroom, you must have heard that Barack Obama has seized the Democratic nomination. But I don’t know if you heard his…
MS: Well, I don’t know whether seized is the word. It’s been a kind of slow-motion seizure, and I don’t think in history, you can, there’s been anything like this as a kind of technical victory on points in slow motion. It’s an amazing sight.
HH: If you listen to Barack, as he seizes in slow motion the nomination, it is really an important moment in history. Let’s listen to Barack Obama the night he went over the top.
BO: I face this challenge with profound humility and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith, in the capacity of the American people, because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick, and good jobs for the jobless. This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow, and our planet began to heal. This was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation, and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth. This was the moment, this was the time when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves.
HH: Mark Steyn?
MS: (laughing) Well, I think he’s flown the coop there.
MS: I loved that line about this will be the moment when the rising oceans begin to subside (laughing)
MS: You know, you mentioned this windowless basement I’m in.
MS: There’s no link with the outside world except a clock, which is stuck at 8:00. and that’s government bureaucracy for you. You know, in British Columbia, it claims to be able to eradicate hate, but it can’t get someone in to restart the clock. And it will be the same with the Barack Obama presidency. He can make the oceans (laughing)…
MS: …he can make the oceans subside, but will he be able to improve border security? I doubt it. And I think this kind of…you know, everybody gets the King Canute story wrong. King Canute didn’t think he had awesome powers. He took himself down to the seaside to show his advisors, his government, that he couldn’t make the waters recede. In this case, Obama has out-Canuted King Canute, because he thinks he can make the waters recede.
HH: Now Mark Steyn, I’m having an e-mail exchange with one of actually California’s better political reporters, William Bradley, who writes Newwestnotes.com. And I made the argument yesterday that Barack Obama is to the left of George McGovern, and he thinks that’s preposterous or ridiculous. And I pointed out five things, that they both favored immediate withdrawal from a war, but that this war featured an attack on America, and George’s war was in Southeast Asia, and they weren’t going to follow us home, that Obama favors climate change legislation that would reshape the American economy from top to bottom, and George just wanted the massive grant program that was the McGovern grants, George never declared for gay marriage, to my memory, or for partial birth abortion rights as Obama has. George didn’t attend a church with a radical pastor and have a radical priest pal to boot, or an indicted, corrupt neighbor and financier as a friend. And I don’t think I ever heard Mrs. McGovern at all, much less demanding radical change. So who’s to the left? McGovern or Obama?
MS: Well, I think Obama is to the left, certainly if you look at the life experience, what he did before running for president, compared to McGovern. McGovern, in a sense, was a product of his moment, and he shifted with the moment, whereas I think Obama has spent his entire adult life immersed in a very narrow sliver of American society. And this is where the quasi-revolutionary rhetoric becomes disturbing. When he says, you know, this is the moment when we begin to remake America, well sorry. I speak as an immigrant. I happen to be in Canada at the moment, but believe me, I can’t wait to get south of the border the way I feel right now. But speaking as an immigrant, I’m pretty happy with America, and I don’t want to remake it from top to toe. I think it’s been a great success story for the last two hundred and thirty years, and I think this kind of, you know, the idea that not until Obama came along have we even thought about beginning to heal the sick. I mean, I think this is nutso talk, this messianic drivel. When he talks about his profound humility, profound humility’s just a phrase in the speech.
HH: Let me ask you, there are three different Obama archetypes being brooded about. One, you know, he’s Chauncey Gardiner, the other, he’s Niccolo Machiavelli, and the third, he’s Vladimir Lenin. Which one is it?
MS: (laughing) Well, of those options, I would hope it’s the Chauncey Gardiner. And in fact, I think that’s what the mistake that was made in the first year when he was being mooted as a presidential candidate, is that we thought he was an empty suit. A lot of us carelessly assumed, we listened to this bland, vapid generalities, and we just thought he was an empty suit. In fact, the suit is bulging with Tony Rezko and the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and some of Mrs. Obama’s crazier pronouncements. You know, the suit is stuffed, and it was to his advantage, in a sense, to present himself as an empty suit.
HH: So the last question, before you go back to the dock, Mark Steyn, do you think six months from now, America will have continued its swoon for this lightweight from the left? Or will it right itself?
MS: Well, no, no, no. America hasn’t swooned for him. Democratic voters have massively, have rejected him in massive numbers these last three months. The media have swooned for him. And the question now is whether the media swoon is strong enough to drag him over the finish line. And I think that’s a very open question. I think it might well, the swoon might be universal enough to drag him across the finish line.
HH: Does there come a counterrevolution within the media? Are they obliged to push a little harder at this empty suit now, in this Rezko corruption, et cetera?
MS: No, I think they decided a long time ago they were in love with him. And despite all the evidence from Pennsylvania and Kentucky and a lot of other places, the Democratic Party voters were not in love with this guy. They persisted in these sort of Soviet-style magazine covers with the uptilted head, and looking into the sunlit uplands. And I think that will continue.
End of interview.