Lights Out on Libertywww.whathecrap.com
Author and Columnist
Mark Steyn’s column appears in the New York Sun, theWashington Times, Philadelphia’s Evening Bulletin, and theOrange County Register. In addition, he writes for The New Criterion, Maclean’s in Canada, the Jerusalem Post, The Australian, and Hawke’s Bay Today in New Zealand. The author of National Review’s Happy Warrior column, he also blogs on National Review Online and appears weekly on the Hugh Hewitt Radio Show. He is the author of several books, most recently America Alone: The End of The World as We Know It. Born in Toronto, Mr. Steyn lives with his family in New Hampshire.
The following is adapted from a lecture delivered at Hillsdale College on March 13, 2008, while Mr. Steyn was in residence as a Eugene C. Pulliam Visiting Fellow in Journalism.
ON AUGUST 3, 1914, on the eve of the First World War, British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey stood at the window of his office in the summer dusk and observed, “The lamps are going out all over Europe.” Today, the lights are going out on liberty all over the Western world, but in a more subtle and profound way.
Much of the West is far too comfortable with state regulation of speech and expression, which puts freedom itself at risk. Let me cite some examples: The response of the European Union Commissioner for Justice, Freedom, and Security to the crisis over the Danish cartoons that sparked Muslim violence was to propose that newspapers exercise “prudence” on certain controversial subjects involving religions beginning with the letter “I.” At the end of her life, the Italian writer Oriana Fallaci—after writing of the contradiction between Islam and the Western tradition of liberty—was being sued in France, Italy, Switzerland, and most other European jurisdictions by groups who believed her opinions were not merely offensive, but criminal. In France, author Michel Houellebecq was sued by Muslim and other “anti-racist groups” who believed the opinions of a fictional character in one of his novels were likewise criminal.
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