Steyn’s Bait & Tackle
Rising to Maclean’s blogger Mark Steyn’s bait is rarely a good idea. Steyn is a careerist and an ideologue and therefore isn’t nearly as interested in what his opponents are actually saying as he is in characterizing their views in such a way as to make their repudiation a badge of honour among his parishioners. Still, in order to keep the faithful passing the collection plate, he occasionally resorts to sophistry so outrageous I feel compelled to respond. Yesterday, his theme du jour was “class prejudice,” as in the prosecution is trying to play on the animosity of a blue-collar jury for what Steyn terms an “ermine collared” defendant. At the same time, he whinges in another post about all the deals the government has made with its various witnesses to get their testimony on the stand. He concludes with trademark sarcasm: “It’s like musical chairs. When all the deals have been handed out, the guy who hasn’t got one must be the criminal.”
Now, I don’t mean to get all Marxist on Steyn’s ass, but isn’t the reason the prosecution has to cut these deals precisely to mitigate the systematic advantages that protect the wealthy from the criminal justice system in the first place (i.e., they have better lawyers, they went to Yale with the judge’s cousin and Harvard law with the prosecutor’s brother, etc., etc.)? When Steyn uses the phrase “class prejudice,” it’s code for upsetting the status quo. Which, to continue the Latinate analogy, betrays the quid pro quo that puts a guy like Steyn in Black’s camp to begin with.