The Corner

The march of the maniac

I feel a bit bad for the British novelist Martin Amis. I was really rather rude about him on the very first page of America Alone – various cheap jokes at his expense – but, despite this, he gave me a decent notice in The Times of London. It seems to have been the final straw as far as his leftie confreres are concerned. In a review of his post-9/11 anthology in The Guardian, Christopher Tayler writes:

But the most depressing piece in the book opens with the following sentence: “Mark Steyn is an oddity: his thoughts and themes are sane and serious – but he writes like a maniac.”

Well, it depressed me a bit, too, since I’d always thought I was a passable prose stylist. But it turns out it’s the first part that depresses Christopher Tayler – the fact that Amis finds my thoughts and themes “sane and serious”. Indeed, he does. He’s raised the demographic issues on TV, in speeches, and with Tony Blair – and good for him. Conventional complacency comes from Anthony Burn, who thinks most of my book “fits the usual far-right playbook outlined by his compatriots such as Ann Coulter and Jonah Goldberg”. I’m not sure which of us ought to be more offended by the comparisons, but Ann, Jonah and I will settle it on the VRWC’s annual nude mud-wrestling night.

Anyway, Mr Burn poo-poos my demographic thesis by pointing out that “history contradicts Mr Steyn at every turn” – by which he means that religion is not immutable, that “not every child born into a Catholic family remains Catholic”. True. But will it also prove the case for Islam? In Britain and Europe the younger generation are more fiercely Muslim than their parents and grandparents. Thirty-six per cent of Muslims between the ages of 16 and 24 believe those who convert to another religion should be punished by death. That’s not 36 per cent of young Muslims in Yemen or Pakistan but 36 per cent of young Muslims in the United Kingdom. They may eventually wind up as indifferent to their faith as most nominal Anglicans, but by then Britain will have been utterly transformed.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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