Pre-Emptive Strikes

My book isn't out for a month and yet the far right is already attacking it. I find that a good sign. They're worried. In an astonishingly dishonest passage, Mark Steyn, who has not read the book, purloins a couple of sentences to imply that I represent Western weakness against Jihadism. Money quote:

If you're a Muslim, the video [of two Western journalists mouthing fealty to Islam] confirms the central truth Osama and the mullahs have been peddling - that the West is weak, that there's nothing - no core, no bedrock - nothing it's not willing to trade. In his new book The Conservative Soul, attempting to reconcile his sexual temperament and his alleged political one, Time magazine's gay Tory Andrew Sullivan enthuses, "By letting go, we become. By giving up, we gain. And we learn how to live - now, which is the only time that matters." That's almost a literal restatement of Faust's bargain with the devil:

"When to the moment I shall say
'Linger awhile! so fair thou art!'
Then mayst thou fetter me straightway
Then to the abyss will I depart!"

Actually, the passage he quotes is from a gloss on the Martha and Mary story in Luke's Gospel (pages 206 - 209 in the book). It's about Jesus' admonition of Martha to stop fussing in the kitchen, worrying about a future meal, and his urging her to be with him now in the manner of her sister, Mary. It is in a theological section about some core concepts in Christianity and has nothing whatever to do with the fight against Islamism. The book as a whole, moreover, is a full-throated defense of the free, skeptical West against its enslaved, fundamentalist foes. Steyn doesn't know that because he hasn't read the book and I'm guessing he grabbed that quote from Derb - but what does Steyn care if the context disproves his smear? To go further and interpret a Gospel reading as a Faustian pact with the Devil is hackery beneath even Steyn's usual standards. Memo to Steyn: attack the book's contents if you want. But read it first, will you?

(Pre-ordering is available now. It's out in four weeks.)