We posted here the other day about Mark Steyn’s legal harassment by Michael Mann, the wielder of the Hokum Hockey Stick.
I’m a little overwhelmed by your generosity in the wake of Judge Weisberg’s ruling in the Mann vs Steyn case. Readers from not only America but also Canada, Ireland, Norway, India and Australia, among others, have swung by the SteynOnline store to help prop up my unsought sojourn in the DC Superior Court by buying my book on free speech and various other products. However, Neil McNeill in Toronto writes:
The battle with Mann is critical to so many people. Let little guys like me support your fight. If I buy $100.00 worth of mugs, you only have the profit with which to pay lawyers. If you pass the hat, all of the $100.00 is available.
You have given me so much pleasure over the years. Let me and you get full legal bang for my buck.
Neil McNeill Toronto
Steyn has an answer (as when does he not?):
[A] couple of readers suggested we bring back our SteynOnline gift certificate, which we usually only offer during the Christmas season. So one way to help out is to buy a gift certificate for yourself (starting at $25 and going up from there). If you want to give us the “full legal bang for the buck” (as Neil puts it), that’s great. If you want to redeem part of it for a book and let SteynOnline have the rest, that’s also fine. If you want to hold on to it and load up with Christmas presents this December, that works, too. The gift certificates have no expiration date, so if, in ten years’ time, Neil has a sudden burning desire for $100 worth of SteynOnline mugs, he’ll still be able to load up.
The gift certificates are available online here, or US and Canadian customers can make a telephone purchase by calling 1-866-799-4500 toll free from 8am to 3pm Eastern time on weekdays. We also take checks (or cheques) drawn on US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and British banks, and in euros. Please make them payable to SteynOnline and mail to Box 30, Woodsville, NH 03785. Anyone purchasing a SteynOnline gift certificate will receive by way of thanks one of our SteynOnline “Liberty Stick” souvenirs, in which we reclaim the poor blameless hockey stick from its unfortunate association with Dr Mann.
You will be shocked to learn (ha!) that Steyn is not going gentle into that good night:
In a post at NATIONAL REVIEW’s website, I mocked Dr. Michael Mann, the celebrated global warm-monger, and his “hockey stick,” the most famous of all the late-Nineties global-warming climate models to which dull, uncooperative 21st-century reality has failed to live up. So he sued. We then filed an anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss.
SLAPP stands for “strategic lawsuit against public participation” — i.e., using legal action to cow an opponent into silence, and withdrawal from the public square.
In fairness to Dr. Mann, the two-year anti-SLAPP hearing is not entirely his fault. We are now having to start all over from scratch, with a brand new complaint, brand new motions to dismiss, and a brand new judge — all thanks to the original judge’s remarkable incompetence and careless management of her case. I’m an immigrant and I’m told that in America one shouldn’t criticize judges, but I’ve done so in England and Ireland, Canada and Australia, and I don’t really see why a third-rate judge should be any more immune from criticism than a third-rate plumber. At the risk of oversimplifying, I wonder if in a republic a society’s natural monarchical reverence doesn’t simply wind up getting transferred elsewhere — in this case to omniscient robed jurists. At any rate, it seems to me that a fear of offending judges is unbecoming in a free people. So screw that.
Dr. Mann has been brandishing his hockey stick out on the campaign trail against Republican candidates. In Virginia, he appeared in the Democrats’ attack ads against Ken Cuccinelli, and helped get Clinton’s bagman Terry McAuliffe elected governor. When his candidate Mark Herring also prevailed over the GOP in the attorney general’s race, Mann crowed and published tweets from his acolytes congratulating him on “two fresh notches on your hockey stick.” That would seem, definitively, to move the hockey stick into the realm of political speech explicitly protected by the First Amendment — and perhaps one day, two or three or five years down the line, a D.C. court will agree. But it’s not much of a First Amendment that requires a bazillion dollars in legal fees and a half-decade vow of silence to enjoy the security thereof — all while the plaintiff’s using his freedom of speech to knock off your political allies.
Free speech is about the right to thrash out ideas — on climate change, gay marriage, or anything else — in the public square, in bright sunlight. And you win a free-speech case by shining that sunlight on it, relentlessly. As we embark on our second year in the hell of the D.C. court system, that’s what I intend to do.
Steyn has all but split from National Review—over this and other issues. He’s on his own, even serving as his own lawyer. Readers of this site (hi mom!) will know we tolerate being wrong (leading by example every day!). What we do not tolerate is left-wing bullying—Liberal Fascism, as another NR writer put it. Mark Steyn, Caroline Glick, James Taranto, and Dennis Prager have been my wise elders in my reeducation as a conservative. I’ve even written an unabashed fan note to Steyn, offering to buy him a drink next time he ventures down I 93 into Boston (his assistant thought I might have a shot). I hope he’ll take a rain-check on that drink and accept a contribution in its stead. I’ll buy a $100 gift certificate now, and redeem it when he publishes his prison memoirs.