April 02, 2010

When Harvard President Larry Summers dared to imply men are better at math and science than women, his students almost fainted, literally. Nancy Hopkins, a biology student at the school, stumbled outside claiming, if she stayed, “€œI would’ve either blacked out or thrown up.”€ Summers didn”€™t even say men are better at math by the way. He simply posed the question. Nonetheless, his words were deemed “€œbeyond the pale of legitimate discourse”€ and he was forced to resign. One of his peers, Steven Pinker, summed up the whole event perfectly, “€œGood grief,”€ he told reporters, “€œShouldn’t everything be within the pale of legitimate discourse, as long as it is presented with some degree of rigor? That’s the difference between a university and a madrasah.”

Nowhere is this conversion to madrasah more apparent than in Canadian Universities, especially the one in the nation’s capital, Ottawa.

Ann Coulter was bold enough to go there recently and “€œspew hate speech,”€ as the Left likes to say. She was met with hundreds of protesters peeing in their pants and dozens of security guards and police ready to control the flow. Coulter was forced to cancel the talk and, for a laugh, charged the school with a hate crime. What were these students so afraid of? Words? As Thomas Jefferson said, “€œThere is not a truth existing which I fear or would wish unknown to the whole world.”€ Have any of these apoplectic assholes read a word of Ann Coulter’s books? I have. Guilty reads like a pleasant romp through the salon of a smart, aristocrat who has been involved in politics for generations. There’s no “€œhate”€ in there. It’s tame. It reads like one of Stossel’s Give Me a Break rants. Of course, like all book burners, Canadian academics don”€™t read and prefer to jump up and down screaming about non-existent evil than doing their homework.

Even before Ann Coulter arrived, she was getting hassled by the school. Francois A. Houle, the provost of Ottawa University tried to discourage her from coming to his school by listing everything Canada considers a hate crime, including almost every word that has ever left her face. Her response? “€œFuck you, Francois.”€

When I heard about all this PC hysteria, I rolled my eyes so far back into my head, I saw my brain, and it was furious. I”€™m from Ottawa and attended the school. So did my brother. Back in 2005, he was asked by some administrators if he had any ideas for a guest speaker to come to the school. They had just paid $20,000 for Ralph Nader to come and tell them to wear seat belts and were considering a much bigger payout to Michael Moore.

“Schools are supposed to be a place where ideas are hashed out. As the bully from The Simpsons said to Bart, ‘If nobody’s getting mad, are you really being bad?’”

Instead, my brother suggested Jared Taylor, a self-proclaimed “€œracial realist”€ who thinks spending money to promote multiculturalism is pointless. My brother doesn”€™t agree with everything Jared has to say and, as a race mixer, I have problems with his notions of racial purity. But nobody could deny he”€™d make a fascinating guest for the school. Beyond their generous speaking fund, Ottawa University spends millions promoting diversity at the school. The Ontario Public Interest Research Group gets $98,403 per semester and The International House gets $52,893. That means, after four years of study, my brother and his 32,000 fellow students will have donated $1,210,368 to diversity. Guess what. It’s not working. Ottawa U has so many different religious student groups they recently had to put a cap on it. Imagine the outcry when the Left-handed Northern Shiite Students had to unite with the Red-Haired Northern Shiites into one Northern Shiite group. The portion of my brother’s tuition spent on diversity was actually being spent of fragmentation. Who better to talk at this school than an expert on this very problem? Besides, his fee was a plane ticket. That’s it.

Ottawa schools don”€™t mind controversy if it’s anti-Western. At Ottawa U’s neighboring school, Carleton University, the President of the European Muslim Network, Tariq Ramadan, recently did a sold-out dinner speech about a new progressive extremist Islam where they may be willing to embrace feminist concepts like—get this—a moratorium on stoning women to death. That’s right. He suggested taking a break from murdering women for infidelity. The academics in the room put their hands together for this giant leap for Muslim kind. If he had suggested a moratorium on multiculturalism however, they would have stoned him to death.

When our Alma Mater first heard the talk was about diversity, they jumped up and down and giggled like schoolgirls. Then someone from the student council Googled Taylor and told on us. He also told my brother and I he respects Taylor’s right to talk, but we have to respect a student’s right to do everything in his power to prevent the talk, including “€œgetting physical.”€ He refused to see the irony of this threat. I was reminded of Kathleen Dixon. She was the director at Ohio’s Bowling Green State University who was asked to comment on a professor who was fired for daring to suggest a course that questioned political correctness. “€œWe forbid any course that says we restrict free speech,”€ she said proudly. I swear to God I”€™m not making that up.

All of this sounds a helluva lot more like a madrasah to me. Schools are supposed to be a place where ideas are hashed out. If you want to get into free speech, you”€™re going to have to go near subjects that make you uncomfortable. As the bully from The Simpsons said to Bart, “€œIf nobody’s getting mad, are you really being bad?”€ Academia is meant to take place close to the sun, where the wax on Icarus”€™ wings is just starting to melt. Not on the ground with all the other dodos. They”€™re extinct.

(It should be noted that Columbia University seems to be bucking this trend and soaring above the PC clouds with guests ranging from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Geert Wilders. This is thanks to a ballsy president who is so obsessed with free speech, he teaches a class in it.)  

In the end, Ottawa University used that tried and true Canadian tactic of dragging their feet and sandbagging us with bureaucratic bullshit in the hopes we”€™d give up. First they said it had to be a debate but when we set that up, they added a $1,500 security fee. Every time we met a condition, they came up with another one. Eventually we told Francois to fuck off and the debate happened at Halifax’s Dalhousie University, where Jared creamed his opponent and was then assaulted by protesters. He charged the students with assault but the police dragged their feet and sandbagged him until he gave up.

Coulter’s trouble at Ottawa U is indicative of a much more serious problem: Schools have gone from a place where “€œlegitimate discourse is presented with some degree of rigor”€ to a fascist temple of anti-hatred that hates fascism and does not tolerate intolerance.


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