I’m not at all getting tired of writing the above headline, or some variation thereof, about yet another Mark Steyn column. He simply tops himself over and over and over and over again, and it should be noted when he does it. Again.
Well, he did it here … again: Advice for the Loyal Opposition.
It’s an essay chock full of insight, snark, astonishingly clever writing, historical references — to the likes of Churchill and C.S. Lewis — and that constant stock-in-trade of Steynian writing: the exquisitely-turned phrase, and the clever bon mot.
You truly owe it to yourself to read the entire thing, but I’ve reproduced some of the highlights below. I might add that the passages reproduced below support various of our contentions in recent days. However, when Steyn says it, it’s likely been said as well as it possibly can be said.
Here’s a passage from Mark Steyn’s Advice for the Loyal Opposition:
“The object of Parliament,” observed Winston Churchill at election time in 1951, “is to substitute argument for fisticuffs.”
How’s that holding up after November 8th? The object of at least a proportion of those on the streets is to substitute fisticuffs for argument, and indeed for Parliament: The less self-aware even chant “This is what democracy looks like!” – by which they mean not the election but the post-election riots and looting and assaults. Some among these self-proclaimed champions of women and immigrants wish to substitute rape for argument, a cause of such broad appeal that the ideological enforcers at the monopoly social-media cartels breezily permitted the hashtag “Rape Melania” to “trend” on Twitter.
The object of the food-delivery company Grubhub, meanwhile, is to substitute unemployment for argument. The CEO, Matt Maloney, wrote to all his employees advising any Trump voters among them to take a hike:
Please reply to this email with your resignation because you have no place here.
Ha! What a wimp. Why fire your political opponents when you can fire at them? Substituting assassination for argument, Matt Hartigan:
Getting a sniper rife and perching myself where it counts. Find a bedroom in the whitehouse that suits you motherf**ker. I’ll find you.
Who’s Matt Hartigan? Some unemployable lippy slacktivist with a master’s in transgender and colonialism studies? No, he’s President and CEO of a cool high-tech cyber-security company called PacketSled. The sled has now decided to move on without its lead dog.
Here’s a gem:
Just a thought, but, if you keep insisting that half your fellow citizens are haters, maybe you’re the hater.
Ummm … Yep. That sounds like common sense.
Steyn follows that up with:
Speaking of counties, there are precisely 676 of them across this great republic that voted twice for Obama. Last Tuesday, one-third of them flipped and went for Trump. The condescendicrats’ view of America is tribal: These ghastly Trump types are not our kind of people, darling, and they never will be. But they were your kind of people in 2008 and 2012. So, by “broadening our appeal to racists”, Pete in fact means “reducing our appeal to hitherto non-racists”. Two-time Obama voters, offered a choice between the Devil and the deep-blue sea of celeb-led boutique liberalism, opted for Satan’s to-do list.
Gotta love the “deep blue sea” reference! Steyn is the undisputed master of taking long-existing bromides and applying them to today’s politics, in perfect bons mots like that.
There was this pairing — separated as it was by a couple of paragraphs. First:
John Oliver and Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah have sportingly decided, to judge from their ratings, to prioritize their politics over their comedy. But, whether or not “Love Trumps Hate”, condescension doesn’t trump anything. For a year-and-a-half they shoveled industrial-strength coastal sneering into the path of the Trump train on a scale that would have derailed any other candidate before he got to Iowa. Instead, Trump just bulldozed through it – and so easily that he won the White House for a fifth of what Hillary spent. If elite condescension failed to deny him the presidency, is it likely to be any more effective now that he is the president?
Followed several paragraphs later by:
Oh, and while we’re at at it, you might politely suggest to Messrs Oliver, Colbert and Noah that there’s never been a better time to embark on a mid-life career change and move into comedy. If the object is to win the next election, sneering is not a substitute for argument, or entertainment.
And, nearly finally, neatly confirming what we’ve said numerous times in these pages, Steyn writes:
The derision didn’t work, and it will continue not to work. I made the point to Howie that, because of political correctness and their hammerlock on the culture, the left hasn’t needed to argue – and so gradually they’ve lost the ability to argue. Thus: “Hater!” “Racist!” “Misogynist!” [Editor’s Note: Red emphasis added]
Those are just a few. There’s a lot more in Steyn’s piece. For example, his quote from C.S. Lewis is both belly laugh-out-loud hysterical, and lyrically, linguistically artistic. In it you’ll learn the wonderful word: pachydermatous. Furthermore, the Lewis quote contains this equally wonderful snippet:
The real objection to this sort of thing is that it is all a distraction from the issue. You waste on calling me a liar and hypocrite time you ought to have spent on refuting my position. Even if your main purpose was to gratify resentment, you have gone about it in the wrong way. Any man would much rather be called names than proved wrong.
… a point we’ve been making for a very long time. It’s not at all dismaying that C.S. Lewis made the point long before we did. Rather, it’s gratifying that superior intellects have been recognizing the emptiness of leftist “argument” for a very long time.
Again, do yourself a favor and read the whole column. It’s here.