Charles Murray finds Vermont’s Middlebury College a haven for censors, prudes and bigots
If you want to get away from your troubles – and I mean all of them: people with whom you disagree and who disagree with you; humour; laughter; joy; trust; truth; flirting; conversation; contract-free sex; stupidity; making mistakes; and the myriad other things that make human beings flawed wonderful – you can enrol to study at any number of American colleges. But the pick of them all is Vermont’s Middlebury College.
Last week an outsider rode through the college’s gates. Charles Murray, for it is he, famed for writing The Bell Curve (1994) and earning the New York Times-imposed title “The Most Dangerous Intellectual In America” was well set to challenge thinking, liven minds and quicken pulses. And then the college protectors shouted him down. Middlebury College students turned their backs on Murray and shouted until he was unable to be heard and left the stage.
This is selection of their chants:
“Racist, sexist, anti-gay, Charles Murray, go away.”
“Your message is hatred. We cannot tolerate it.”
“Charles Murray, go away. Middlebury says no way.”
“Who is the enemy? White supremacy.”
“Hey hey, ho ho. Charles Murray has got to go.”
Not for them the liberal tradition of shaking out the taboo in public, examining and critiquing everything and anything, including what many see as Murray’s pariah text. Not for them a drive to engage in the difficult with vigour and honestly. These knowing saviours, the college’s defenders of intolerance and bias, realise that their alma mater’s role in intellectual life is to reinforce opinions, champion conformism, accept only the acceptable and stigmatize those who hold contrary views. No need to debunk when you can defame.
These milk-fed, pasty-minded, well-off, bright-minded, elite, fragile heroes of censorship will defend their world view at the cost of all others. They hate and fear free speech, which they understand to be wrong and dangerous. They like freedom from speech. That is true freedom.