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Derb On Mark Steyn Vs. Jason Steorts
The Steyn-Steorts dust-up is certainly entertaining. Knowing that Jason Steorts can read Chinese, I commend to his reflection one of Confucius’ pithier injunctions—the first one here, although Confucius omitted to include editors in his list.
I admire Mark Steyn as a fluent, witty, and enviably prolific writer with a well-stocked mind. I said as much once in a flattering review. My personal acquaintance with him has been very slight; but such as it was, I found him very likeable.
Mark was also, if memory serves, the only National Review Online regular to point out, at the time of the kerfuffle over my “Talk” column last year, that for a conservative magazine to drop a contributor at the behest of the Guardian and other leftwing outlets only feeds the beast. I’ve never had the opportunity to thank him, so I’ll take it here: Thanks, guy.
Mark’s larger social and geopolitical commentary is, though, fatally weakened by his having no interest in science and by his lack of acquaintance with important data sets. I said this, as inoffensively as I could, in the aforementioned review.
This makes it rather easy to tweak Mark for naivety. I haven’t always been able to resist the temptation.
My dream commenter on the follies and absurdities of our public discourse would have the entertainment value of Mark Steyn joined to the empirically-grounded insights of Steve Sailer. (Not that Steve can’t be entertaining, but he’s not up at Mark’s level. Hardly anybody is.)
Until Steve and Mark can come to some collaborative arrangement, I’m stuck with reading Mark for entertainment, Steve for insight.