There's a definite chill in the air and this cold front comes to us from Canada, where author Mark Steyn finds himself in trouble for speaking his mind.

Steyn is a brilliant writer and many of us have been amused (he is often hilarious) and enriched by his commentaries upon our culture in general and, in particular, what awaits us if we don't face up to terrorism. He's written a book on that very subject, America Alone, and this book is a bestseller in America and number one in Canada - and it's also

We're all on notice that Big Brother is watching.

the number one reason he's being summoned for "hate crimes."

Steyn, by the way, is a passionate friend of Israel, and no, he is not Jewish.

Two "human rights" panels, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission, have him on trial for his alleged claim that Islam does not square with Western ideals. Whatever the outcome, we're all on notice that Big Brother is watching. The word "tribunal" itself reeks of an Orwellian nightmare and Soviet gulagism.

From my own days in Montreal, I remember singing these words from Canada's national anthem: "O' Canada, Glorious and Free."

Those words may have to be expunged.

But is Steyn alone? Can't happen here in the US? Well it has been happening here.

Conservative, pro-Western and pro Israel commentators like Robert Spencer (Religion of Peace? his latest), Daniel Pipes and David Horowitz consistently get shouted down from campus to campus. Some get physically roughed up and require bodyguards and double security when they dare to deliver a message that displeases peace-loving professors and students.

Some, like Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, are being sued in British courts. Ehrenfeld wrote the book Funding Evil: How Terrorism Is Financed - And How To Stop It, and though the book was not published in the UK, it's still being taken up by the courts over there for defamation. Ehrenfeld refuses to recognize British jurisdiction and is fighting back through America's court system.

If Canada is on the verge of being "glorious and free" no more, "America Alone" (as Steyn has it) is being asked to remember that it is still the "land of the free" and "home of the brave." That's Steyn's thesis in a nutshell. He's counting on America to save the world from a campaign of tyranny being waged against words spoken and words written.

Bangladeshi novelist Taslima Nasrin is another writer in jeopardy, and on the run somewhere in Europe, after her words provoked riots among jihadists. Recent reports had it that she was rewriting a novel for fear of her life, but according to a late posting on her web site, "Come what may, I will never be silenced."

This, then, is war, but it is not a war of words - it is a war against words.

Israel's... leaders... whimsically define the word "insult" to isolate dissent from "right-wing" Israelis.

Israel has its own laws and tribunals for those who "insult public officials." Israel's political and cultural leaders, who whimsically define the word "insult" to isolate dissent from "right-wing" Israelis, may wish to consult Hatikvah for the stanza that summons the people "to be a free nation in our own homeland."

All this - Steyn's Canadian fatwa and the attempts to muzzle all freedom of expression - is not quite the same as the short life of Theo Van Gogh after he produced the documentary Submission. Nor is it quite the same as the fate of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who scripted that film and was forced to escape the Netherlands. She has since moved to the United States, where, of course, she travels with bodyguards.

Not quite the same, but close enough to remind us that Mark Steyn is Not Alone.

Jack Engelhard's latest novel, the newsroom thriller The Bathsheba Deadline, is now ready in paperback and available from and other outlets. Engelhard wrote the international bestselling novel Indecent Proposal, which was translated into more than 22 languages and turned into a Paramount motion picture starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore.