Something is very wrong with Canadian campuses these days. Left-wing students and outside agitators get away with shouting down speakers they disagree with, smashing windows to prevent lecturers they don't want to hear, even chaining themselves to a stage and screaming "racist, racist, racist" at the University of Waterloo to prevent Christie Blatchford from talking about her new book. Student unions routinely decertify pro-life clubs, and administrators frequently cater to the demands of a handful of vocal socialist anarchists."Diverse ideas"? That's rich. For some time now, the only type of "diversity" the P.C. tyrants have been prepared to accept is a diversity of ethnic/cultural/national origin--the superficial "diversity" of a Benetton ad. "Diverse ideas" are about as acceptable--and thus about as scarce--as a vegetarian at an all-u-can-eat ribfest (or a humanities professor who's avowedly pro-America and pro-Israel). These days, "free speech" is available only to those who robotically spout the same politically correct crap that all the other politically correct robots spout. (One could argue that P.C. allows for genuine "diversity" in the sense that its "free speech" rules are compatible with the "free speech" rules of Islamic law, but that type of "diversity" amounts to a form of civilizational suicide.)
But when right-of-centre student groups attempt to protest the censorship they face, or demonstrate against leftist speakers and those they believe are hateful, they are met with threats of lawsuits or expulsion by administrators or student unions.
The most recent example of this double-standard came Monday, when the Carleton University Student Association (CUSA) banned a pro-life club from operating on campus or even using campus meeting rooms. The CUSA said Carleton Lifeline could regain its official status -- if it renounced pro-life beliefs.
We doubt CUSA would ask campus Marxists to renounce socialism, or require Muslim groups to convert to Judaism, yet they are demanding the equivalent backflip from pro-lifers.
In just the past five years, students or administrators at Lakehead University, the University of British Columbia-Okanagan, the University of Calgary, Newfoundland's Memorial University and Toronto's York University have either severely restricted or banned pro-life activities. Typically, they have made the bogus claim that calling for an end to abortion amounts to prejudice against women and therefore can be banned as hate speech.
Meanwhile, administrators at York University have threatened to sue Jewish groups that announced plans to protest an on-campus address by British MP George Galloway, a high-profile apologist for terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. The university maintained the campus was private property and insisted it would take action against any member of the public who protested Mr. Galloway's speech. It even urged protesters not to use public spaces near campus for demonstrations because it "might provoke others to disturb the peace."
This is the same York University, of course, that annually witnesses an anti-Semitic hatefest known as Israeli Apartheid week, and which has been accused in the past of providing insufficient protection of its Jewish students from threats and intimidation by supporters of the Palestinian cause.
The reason for all this is ideological bias: Definitions of free speech, equality and political rights all have been reworked to show favouritism to those espousing leftist ideology. It's a sad development for institutions that are supposed to be bastions of free inquiry into controversial and diverse ideas.
Or, to quote the witty words of Kate McMillan, a blogger who has had her own run ins with the censorious: "The opposite of diversity is university."
Update: Meanwhile, ghastly George Galloway speaks to his peeps on campuses across the land.
Update: Ghastly George sings a reggae selection from The Harder They Come:
Get up in the morning shakin' our fists, sir,
So the Jew'll lose to all out resistance.
Oh, oh, in Palestine.
In '48 we all up and pack-ah,
Now we all are gonna call it a 'naqba'.
Oh, oh, it's Palestine.
Jews stole my land,
It was a conspiracy.
All I got to show for it is my big key.
Oh, oh, it's Palestine.
George Galloway, reclaim what's been stolen.
So the Jew'll all go back home to Poland.
Oh, oh, it's Palestine...
Update: Melanie Phillips (in a FrontPage magazine interview) nails it:
Over many years, I wrote about a number of controversial issues which appeared to be all different from each other — ‘child-centered’ education theory, the consequences of divorce and lone parenthood, immigration, multiculturalism, minority rights, man-made global warming, the war in Iraq, Israel and the origin of the universe. Because they were all so disparate, it took me some time to realize that they had a couple of big things in common. They were fundamentally anti-west (yes, even the militant atheists who were after all gunning for the core beliefs of western civilization). And they were all issues on which, in the progressive circles that controlled public discourse, only one point of view was permitted. All dissent was mocked, vilified, and treated as totally beyond the pale. But since that dissent very often consisted of stating the facts in the face of ideology, prejudice or even – as with the deranged and obsessional hysteria against Israel – genocidal bigotry, reason itself along with the defense of life and liberty seemed to be turning into truths that dared not speak their name.
Please don’t mistake me – I’m not saying that there aren’t legitimate differences of opinion on such issues. But what I’m talking about goes beyond genuine disagreement. I’m talking about the sheer impossibility of bringing facts and evidence to the table, as it were, because the ‘progressives‘ hold that there simply cannot be any alternative to their ‘received truth’. They are in short impervious to reason, so that those who try to inject some evidence or alternative ways of thinking into the debate are demonized as evil or insane. These ideologies rest very often upon distortions, fabrications and lies, and yet intimidate opposition into silence. And that’s very frightening. It’s a totalitarian mindset.