Mark Steyn is one of the smartest commentators around today, and Glenn had the opportunity to chat with him about his new book on radio today. Mark believes the battleground needs to be in culture, arguing liberals focus their efforts there while conservatives only care about an election every other November and are surprised nothing changes.
Below is a rough transcript of the interview
GLENN: My opinion there are probably two people that come really right off the top of my head that I think have been some of the most courageous people when it comes to the fight against radicalized Islam that have been mainstream for a long time early on. And that is Michelle Malkin and Mark Steyn. They've been very clear, unafraid and have really been persecuted for their viewpoint. If I'm not mistaken, mark, his Canadian citizenship was prosecuted for hate speech because he spoke out years ago about radicalized Islam and he said, warning this is a real problem. Now, in his own country, we are all Canadians today. Now, in his own country, two people were shot. Canadian parliament is meeting now and at least their prime minister has come out and said, this is terrorism. None of this, mumbo, jumbo and political correct crap that is coming out of the mouth of our politicians. They're somewhat clear that this is Muslim -- I don't want to say extremism. This is Islamic psychopaths that have done this. And Mark Steyn is with us today. He has the book, The Undocumented. Mark Steyn. Don't say you weren't warned. How accurate is that, don't say you weren't warned, Mark?
MARK: Yeah, that's sadly true. It doesn't give me any pleasure. I know the Canadian parliament really well. At the time of the hate speech stuff that you mentioned just now, I testified there to the House of Commons in that block where that barbarian was rampaging down yesterday morning and where, thank God, he was taken out by the sergeant of arms, who is basically a ceremonial figure. It's what a military man or a retired police officer does in the years before he goes off to enjoy his pension. And thank God that that brave guy realized that his ceremonial role had turned real and took down that savage yesterday because otherwise there would have been a lot more dead people.
GLENN: So, Mark, there's two things here. They're doing a moment of silence now in Ottawa. There's live coverage everywhere. Canada is somewhat in a state of shock. I have to say we were all going numb to some of this stuff which is a really bad sign. But there's two things that come to mind. There's two paths. We're at a fork for Canada right now. They could go the Patriot Act way and beat their chest and start to, you know, go unfortunately some of the ways that we went. Or they could just sober up, wake up, get rid of political correctness and actually start dealing with the issues. Which way do they go?
MARK: I hope they don't go the Patriot Act way. I love America, but I'm tired of the big national security state, which is why Capitol city-wise I preferred in recent years to wander around Ottawa rather than Washington, D.C. where they get into the -- an obscure office of the department of paperwork. You have to go through 45 minutes of background checks and show your Social Security number.
We have a kind of 40-car motorcade culture, where we seal off our ruling class from the people they rule. We have absurd regulations like the -- just the head of Thanksgiving, I talk about this in the book, the absurd kind of things. The consistency of pumpkin pie you take home for Auntie Mabel at Thanksgiving. If it's like dry and tasteless like the Nevada desert, you can take it on the plane. But if it's moist and succulent, it counts as a liquid. And a jihadist could weaponize your pumpkin pie.
And instead of going down that kind of big security state route, I think we need to be honest. We need to recognize we're up against an ideology. We're not fighting pumpkin pies. We're not fighting gel. We're not fighting shoes. We're up against an ideology, and we need to drive a stake through that ideology. So I don't want to go the Patriot Act route.
GLENN: But do you think they have the courage to do that? Look what they did to you.
MARK: Yes, but to be fair to the Canadian parliament, they had a lot of these hate speech laws -- I mean, if you look at Canada as like a particularly insane American college campus, that's how it was for hate speech laws.
And the great thing about my case is that, God bless them, the Canadian parliament understood that the hate speech laws had gone too far, and they repealed them. And it was a difficult process, and a lot of those fellows weren't on board with it because they think it means you're in favor of hate and you don't like the people, but eventually that went through the House of Commons and the Senate, and it got royal assent, and that law was repealed. And I think that's the sign that Canada has opened up and recognized reality.
When I look at the dishonesty about what Major Hasan did at Fort Hood. When I listen to the president yesterday using phrases like "senseless violence" -- I mean, he always sounds so sedated when he's asked to react to something like this. And you keep thinking, come on, man, a bit of righteous indignation wouldn't -- you could at least look as if you're kind of upset or angry about what's going on. But he could never do it.
And that kind of sedated attitude to these events, most obviously when the poor fellow had his head chopped off by ISIS, and Obama gives his usual listless performance and then goes back to the vineyard country club about 20 minutes later, at some point, you have to -- if you're not getting angry about this, about the world we're building for our children, where somehow we're expected to put up with a little bit of low-level beheading every now and then, or some guy is going to run you over in his car because he's gone freelance jihad -- I don't want my kids living in that world. And I think we shouldn't be changing the way we live to accommodate lunatics.
GLENN: So what are we headed for? We have kids now in Australia. Kids leaving to go join ISIS. We had two girls from Colorado that went to join jihad. Where are we headed?
MARK: You know, I think it's like -- I think that's what's so disturbing about a lot of what has been in the news recently. The fellows who did this thing in Ottawa and San Jon Sarish (phonetic) there, where people who were born in Canada and converted to Islam. The fellow in Moore, Oklahoma, who beheaded a woman was a recent convert. The fellows that hacked drummer Rigby to death in the streets of London were Nigerian Christians who converted to Islam.
So it is almost -- I think we're at the stage -- and they're not converting because they suddenly saw on the road to Damascus, and they've come -- and they've undergone some kind of spiritual divine transformation.
What conversion means there is that they're joining the coolest gang on the planet. And if it's now not something to do with being born in Waziristan or Yemen or whatever, but a Quebec quire Catholic can suddenly decide he'd like to be one of the jihad boys, or some fellow in Oklahoma can suddenly decide, wow, this is the coolest gang to belong to, then I think that is actually far more dangerous than some fellow sitting in a cave in Afghanistan dreaming about destroying the great Satan because it's not a foreign war anymore. It's within us. They are us and we are them. And that's a very dark place to go.
GLENN: So what happens next? Let's talk about nuts and bolts. Let's talk about the sporting event that is politics and the election. Okay. So I want to know a couple things. What happens, in your opinion to this election? Does it -- and does it even matter? What happens to the presidential election? And would you want to be president of the United States with all the damage that has been done and the wreckage that has yet to be reconciled?
MARK: Well, that last one is a terrible -- we're approaching the stage where this president has outspent two and a third centuries of his -- he's run up more debt than two and a third centuries of presidents combined. And whoever succeeds him is going to have to be serious about the implications of that.
I've listened to you for years. And you're absolutely right that -- when the choice is between people who want to go off a cliff full-throttle and somebody else who says, no, let's go off the cliff in third gear, that doesn't make any difference to how you land when you're at the bottom. You're still dead.
And I would like a real choice, and I would like someone who is willing to move the meter. At the end of my book, I write about a couple of contemporary figures and a far more remote one. About Reagan, Thatcher, and William Wilberforce who was an obscure backbencher who got slavery abolished, which was a feature of life across the entire planet for all societies. And they didn't take a focus group. And they didn't run the numbers. They actually changed the way people thought. And they move -- they didn't move toward the center, as the consultants tell you to do, they moved the center toward them. And that's what I'm looking for. So that's what I'm looking for this November, and that's what I'm looking for in two November's time.
GLENN: Have you seen that? Have you seen William Wilber? Paging William Wilber for us. Paging William Wilber for us. To the campaign trail. Stat.
MARK: No, I have a great fear that the -- the smart guys in Washington would say, he's way too crazy. We don't want the money going to him.
GLENN: Right. So let me ask you this: First of all, you're a Canadian citizen.
MARK: Right. And I live in New Hampshire, and this is where my children are.
GLENN: All right. All right. This is all a beard. Okay. This New Hampshire thing is a beard. The Canadian thing is a beard. What's with the English accent, Mr. Canadian? You carpetbagger.
MARK: I love the people who is it's a phony accent. It's like hell to keep up.
GLENN: We meet you in the street at night and you're like, hey, how you doing?
PAT: You actually attended the same school as JRR Tolkien.
MARK: Yeah, that's right. I had his old Greek dictionary. I wasn't the same time as him. Because I would have told him, lay off all that troll stuff. It's not going to go anywhere. I had his old Greek dictionary, and I actually had an exchange of letters with him when I was 11 or 12 years old. The best selling authors I regret to say aren't always when you send them handwritten letters, and so I went to school --
GLENN: So funny, I just went through his handwritten letters. I have a library. And so we're collecting a lot of stuff. And I just went through some handwritten letters. One is explaining about Gandalf and why he named him Gandalf and everything. Some amazing stuff. I was going through these letters and some of them were just to fans who said, hey, I want to thank you for this. What he would write back to them. I had that very thought. Who does that now? Who has the time to write people back in hand, not typewritten. What did he write to you.
MARK: I know. Well, he wrote to me again about an obscure point in The Hobbit I had raised. And he wrote me a nice handwritten letter explaining that. And the idea. And as you say, who has the time to do that now? And these days people get annoyed if you, you know, if you email someone or you tweet someone and they don't instantly respond in five, six, seven seconds.
And the idea of someone painstakingly writing this out in hand. And putting it in an envelope. Putting a stamp on it and taking it to the post office to mail. It's like, he doesn't need me, and yet he did it for me.
GLENN: Do you still have the letter?
MARK: Yeah, I have it in the attic at my mum's house, but it's still there.
GLENN: Say it with me. Mom.
SPEAKER: It creeps across the border.
GLENN: Don't worry. Don't worry. We've got everything creeping across our borders. We don't seem to care anymore. It's very hard for me to watch a James Bond with my son because he's like, is she his mom? Why does he keep calling her mum? I'm like, I don't know. Mum sometimes means mom. Sometimes it means ma'am. I don't know. They're English.
MARK: Yes, it's like the queen you call, ma'am. Which rhymes with jam. And James Bond calls M halfway between -- he calls Judi Dench halfway between ma'am and mum. So she's like a maternal queenly figure.
Actually, in the book, there's a whole big chunk of stuff about James Bond, so you can get your full thing of Ian Fleming and ma'am/jam thing going there?
GLENN: Mark, I don't know why you're not on more. I thoroughly enjoy you. You're really truly one of the bravest men alive today because you will not shut up or sit down. I hope that continues. New book: The Undocumented. Mark Steyn. Don't say you weren't warned. Mark, thanks a lot.
MARK: Thanks a lot, Glenn. And I may yet cover have a Ramahanukwanzmas. As life goes on, I think it's actually one of the most profound statements of what has happened to us.
GLENN: You know, I have not heard Ramahanukwanzmas for a long time. I can't believe you even remember that. But we should pull that out for this Christmas.
MARK: We've got it all worked out.
GLENN: Thanks a lot. I appreciate it. God bless.