Chris Wattie, National Post (Canada), Dec. 22, 2006
A Canadian university yesterday cancelled a debate on racial diversity between the head of its black studies program and a American “racial nationalist,” for fear that the topic would be too controversial.
But the cancellation of the debate has raised concerns about academic freedom, with the executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers arguing that it sends the wrong message to call off the debate at Dalhousie University next month between Professor David Divine and Jared Taylor, of American Renaissance magazine, on the topic of “Racial Diversity: North America’s Strength or Weakness?”
“The way you deal with speech some may find objectionable or even abhorrent is not with silence,” said James Turk. “It’s with more speech—with criticism and debate.
Instead, Professor Divine will deliver a lecture on the topic by himself, the statement said.
Mr. Taylor, who describes himself as a “race realist,” said he was shocked by the university’s about-face on the debate and said it showed “academic cowardice.”
“I’m absolutely astounded by this,” he said in an interview from his Virginia office. “In effect, he’s ejected me from the debate and taken the floor for himself … They’ve turned a debate into a monologue.”
Prof. Divine was not available for comment yesterday and it was not clear who decided to cancel the debate.
“Never mind academic freedom alone…how about the ability to engage in ANY public discussion of racial issues without the obligatory “Hate Group” denouncement by the SPLC! How tedious is that riff by now? How can any issue ever be honestly debated when, for all intents and purposes, one side is always considered “right” and the other essentially “wrong” before the contest ever begins?”
“Being a former (and reformed) “Canadian psuedo-liberal”, this is no surprise. Free speech is absolutely intolerated in Canada; as such, I reside in the States, never to return to the north. Unfortunately, there seem to be a lot of admiration for “Canadian values” such as these in the US currently, and seem to be gaining steam. Fortunately, we still have some forums like this here. Lets fight for them.”
“……………The reason why more debate is needed here is because diversity is a political issue. People raise it all the time. There is hardly a major state, city, or county government, or a university or Fortune 500 company that doesn’t have an “Office of Diversity.” The whole validity of this diversity nonsense isn’t even questioned. It has been foisted on Western society (not, note, any other part of the world) as a fait accompli – as something that must be accepted as an absolute good, despite all experience to the contrary. I think it’s fair to say that if a government has a policy on an issue, and is spending money advocating that position, then it’s up for legitimate debate.”
“The way you deal with speech some may find objectionable or even abhorrent is not with silence,” said James Turk. “It’s with more speech — with criticism and debate.”
Why yes, it can also be called civil discourse; we used to learn that in high school or earlier.
A university, of all institutions, doesn’t get it. and they can’t see their own stunning hypocrisy!?