It seems that Mark Steyn is still weighing his words. Or is he? At this point, it’s hard to tell. Today at The Corner, he draws on British Lefty attacks on himself as “one response” to my contention that in pointing to “Islamism” and not to Islam for the explanation of sundry incursions of jihad and sharia into the West, Western thinkers (Mark included) are in effect shielding Islam from urgently needed scrutiny and analysis.
Actually, that’s not exactly how Mark puts it. He invokes British Lefty attacks as a reponse not to my argument but to what he calls my portrayal of him as a—and here he strings together a slew of words adding up to a personal attack (on himself).
This is a pity because it may lead readers to imagine an ad hominem attack where there is none. There is, instead, an attempt at a discussion. What I have highlighted in Marks’ recent column, along with similar examples from Charles Krauthammer and Frank Gaffney, I find in virtually all public discourse—a rhetorical leap away from Islam to the comfort zone of “Islamism,” “Islamofascism,” “hyper-Islam,” and the like, when it comes to critical assessments of jihad violence or sharia repression.
Mark writes: “Corroded by political correctness, public discourse cannot even find a language with which to discuss the rise of Islam in the western world.” I would say on the contrary the language is there--if only we would use it.