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You can have free speech, as long as you don’t disagree with us!

23 Jan

More oppression and censorship at Carleton University.

Here’s the opening of a much-clicked-upon item in today’s National Post:

Only hours after students installed a “Free Speech Wall” at Carleton University to prove that campus free speech was alive and well, it was torn down by an activist who claimed the wall was an “act of violence,” against the gay community. “What we wanted to promote was competition of ideas, rather than ‘if I disagree with you I’ve got to censor you,’” said Ian CoKehyeng, founder of Carleton Students for Liberty, the creators of the wall.

Appalling, right? On the other hand, given the self-righteous mindset of modern campus activists, what do you expect? The story informs us that “the wall was really more of a 1.2 x 1.8 meter wooden plank wrapped in paper and equipped with felt markers.” It was the sort of thing that was easy for any human-rights huffer-and-puffer to blow down.

By contrast, take a look at the “free speech” chalk installation they’ve put up outside Olin Hall, on the campus of Bard College in upstate New York. I Tweeted a picture of it back in September (see below), when I was there for a conference. Like its made-of-straw Carleton University equivalent, the Bard free-speech installation was 99% chalk-full of left-wing cant. But there were some heterodox opinions as well. And the best part was that it was a veritable brick-house of indestructibility: It’s made of slate and steel. Should any “activist” want to destroy the thing because he didn’t like what someone said about gay marriage or whatever, he would have to borrow his parents’ car and then plow into it at ramming speed. And even then, I’m not sure which would come off worse.

A steel-and-slate free speech panel at Bard College in upstate New York

A steel-and-slate free speech panel at Bard College in upstate New YorkA steel-and-slate free speech panel at Bard College in upstate New York

Incidentally, the Post report also informs me that Carleton’s free-speech wall was ‘destroyed in an act of ‘forceful resistance,’ by seventh-year human rights student Arun Smith — who, ironically, ran for student government on a promise to make “every student voice heard.” Which brings me to another, cheaper, method of ensuring that this sort of thing doesn’t happen: Simply identify every liberal-arts major who hasn’t finished his degree in, say, six years, and throw them off campus — if they don’t have a good excuse for their procrastination.

I recall interviewing rioters back in 2002, when Montreal’s Concordia University was supposed to have hosted a speech by Benjamin Netanyahu. And I was shocked how many told me they were “film studies students” in their 6th or 7th year, or 5th year liberal arts students who were “still trying to figure out” their major. During my latter interviews, I saw many of these same folks idly hanging around the student-government offices, or cranking out propaganda as hangers-on at campus activist groups and the like. Going to class is too bourgeois for this crowd.

The term “heckler’s veto” describes folks who shut down debate by ignorantly drowning out speakers in public fora. In the realm of the written word, Arun Smith has performed the same classless stunt. While posturing as a champion of progressive values, he’s really just a symbol of academic sloth and a creepy totalitarian mindset that would censor opposing views rather than deal with them.

Free speech lessons from the three little pigs | Full Comment | National Post.

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Posted by on January 23, 2013 in Canada

 

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