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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Mark Steyn on the shooting today in Illinois, the idiocy of House Democrats who aren’t serious about national security, and the problems with the established church in England.

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HH: Joined now by Columnist to the World, Mark Steyn. Mark, you know, twenty years ago, this sort of thing is unimaginable. But I can’t even say they surprise anymore.

MS: No, and what you always want to know when you hear these things is whether in effect there’s a ripple in the bandwagon, and that it’s the television coverage of the last one that got the guy started on planning this one. I mean, the fact of the matter is that this is a society with a lot of people, with a lot of irrational grievances that they wish to take out on innocents. And what matters is how you resist them at the point at which they start to do that. Nowhere can be safe, and I certainly disagree strongly with the move in recent years to make college campuses gun-free zones, because what that tends to suggest is that it’s the easiest place to go if you do want to kill a bunch of people.

HH: We don’t know if he killed himself or he was shot by peace officers or an armed citizen. We will report that as we go on. But I do want to point out, you mentioned the last time, that would of course have been Virginia Tech in the spring…

MS: That’s right.

HH: And NBC showed the awful film that the killer there sent to their studios. Do you suppose if such a film exists today, that some network can be imposed upon to show it again, despite the obvious problem of copycats?

MS: Yes, I think they probably would show it again. I know you felt very strongly that NBC shouldn’t have shown it…

HH: Yup.

MS: And I agree with you, because I think it’s kind of massacre porn, really. And it speaks very poorly for NBC. There’s really nothing to be gained, I think, from seeing these videos. In a sense, you’re rewarding, you’re rewarding the killer. They’re equivalent to the kind of absurd martyrdom videos that these idiots make before they go and blow themselves up in the name of the jihad. I do think that what matters here is understanding that you have to be able to spot these things if they’re coming, and unfortunately, we’re so hedged in with various restrictions on that, the people can be, in effect, as weird as they want to be, and it’s still not possible to remove them from the classroom, or remove them from the campus, or remove them for treatment. As I said, what matters is that the minute this thing starts, that you respond and you take the guy out as quickly as possible. And one hears good stories and bad stories about these things. There was a marvelous episode, I think it was at the, whatever it’s called, the Law College of the Appalachians, or something in West Virginia, where the guy was pinned down by two students who happened to have firearms on them…

HH: Yup.

MS: …who held the guy down until the police arrived.

HH: Yup.

MS: And I think that is the best kind of response. And this idea, the sort of moral fatuousness of proclaiming yourself a gun-free zone, I think actually increases the risk to students, and at some point, this being America, someone will launch a class action lawsuit on behalf of students endangered by these policies.

HH: I hope so. That would be one I could actually support. Speaking of moral vacuity, I want to cover two stories with you. Of course, the action by the House today, not to take up the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act reauthorization. House Republicans walked out, I’ll be covering this a little bit later. Inconceivable, Mark Steyn, but happening that Democrats would willingly blind the United States to threats to score political points.

MS: Yes, and this is a very useful program. You know, the telecommunications intercept is the most important way of tracking what terrorists are doing, and what terrorist contacts are doing around the world. And the Democrats have a specious objection to it in the grounds that sometimes what are being used are cell telephones that happen to have U.S. area codes. Now you can have a telephone that has a 212 number, and it’s got nothing to do physically with New York anymore. You can have a 202 number, and it’s got nothing to do with Washington, D.C. anymore. I call my friend John O’Sullivan on his Washington number, and he picked it up as he was driving through France on his way to a wedding in Provence. You know, that 202 number will ring out anywhere on the planet, and John O’Sullivan knows that, and al Qaeda know that, and so it’s absurd, in effect, for the Democrats to claim the Constitutional protections of the U.S. Constitution, and extend it to cell telephones that can be used anywhere on the planet.

HH: It is, it’s insane. But they know that, Mark Steyn. They just don’t care that they’re empowering terrorists.

MS: Yes, and I think what is, I think what is ridiculous is that under this FISA thing, as the Democrats see it, if they happen, if U.S. intelligence happened to pick up that one of these guys was planning a bomb attack in Paris, as the Democrats have it right at the moment, U.S. intelligence would be able to notify the French government. But if these guys were planning a bomb attack on a U.S. target, the U.S. intelligence would be able to do nothing with that information. That is absurd, and it gets to the central problem that these guys are posers on the war. They’re complete moral posers, and are fundamentally unserious. Our enemies know that, and our enemies are laughing at the Democrats.

HH: Now let’s talk about a third kind of fundamental unseriousness. When I last spoke to you, I left the studio and got on a plane and went to England. I’m back, it was a wonderful trip, but I got there in time to see the Archbishop of Canterbury declare that Sharia law should be accommodated in large part by the laws of Great Britain. The firestorm that followed was good to see, but how can the Church of England have fallen into such a state, Mark Steyn, to be led by someone like this?

MS: Well, you know, this man is supposedly the head, worldwide head of the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion, in many ways, is a healthy Church, if you look at, say, Nigeria. There are more Anglicans at Church in Nigeria every Sunday morning than there are in the U.S. and Canada and Britain combined. And the Nigerians, who…Nigerian Anglicans who live on the hard face of Sharia, where it has become the law in certain provinces in Nigeria, understand that Sharia is, in fact, incompatible with a pluralist society. So they understand, because they live with it, what an idiot the Archbishop of Canterbury is. And I think this in fact goes beyond defeatism. This is the kind of guy who actually is…his solution to the problem is to preemptively surrender. There’s a term, I think, it was the Times of London used some years back, to refer to post-Christian Churches, and I think as led by someone like the Archbishop of Canterbury, you actually see that in effect, the Anglicans are becoming a post-Christian Church.

HH: Well, one of the reactions that was most amazing when this hailstorm, firestorm of criticism hit him, his staff reported that he was quite chippy. And evidently, you can’t force even a completely irresponsible Archbishop from office.

MS: Well, the only person who has the power to fire him is the Queen. There’s no separation of Church and state in Britain. And one of the reasons I’m in favor of separation of Church and state is because the Church, or Christianity, has thrived in a free market in the United States. The established Church in England, in part because it’s fallen into the hands of buffoons like Rowan Williams, who is basically this sort of weird, Welsh druid who’s been promoted way beyond his abilities, that the established Church in the United Kingdom and in Continental Europe has fallen, because there is no free market in Churches. And I think if there is going to be a future for Christianity in Britain at all, it will come, it will not come from an established Church like this.

HH: Well, one good bit of news to close with. I went over to the Oxford Union on Sunday night, the 75th anniversary plus a day of the King And Country Resolution…

MS: Right.

HH: And I was informed by the vice president of the society that they had indeed voted to defend Queen and country 75 years later. So at least that’s a bit of good news. But I must say, Mark, and you lived there a lot longer than I’ve ever visited there, there’s a lot wrong with Great Britain right now.

MS: Yes, I said a while back that I thought Britain was in danger of turning into Somalia with chip shops, that it’s a country that I think has been hollowed out by Islamism in many ways. What is particularly tragic about Britain is it’s a country that didn’t fall for any of the other great evils of the 20th Century, for fascism or communism. It’s a country that has probably contributed more in terms of its ideas to civilization in the world. That’s why there are over fifty English speaking countries, that is why English common law can be found all over the world, English ideas, Westminster parliamentary system. The dominant powers in every corner of the world, the United States, South Africa, Australia, India, descended from Britain. And the death of Britain, the sort of suicide of Britain, is a tragedy to watch.

HH: Mark Steyn, always bracing,, America.

End of interview.


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