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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Self-censorship is not the answer

Although the article that I’m about to discuss is hardly news anymore, with the increasing awareness of the Canadian HRC’s shenanigans, it’s as relevant if not more than it was when it was released. The article appeared in the March 18, 2009 edition of Saint Mary’s University’s student newspaper The Journal. Professor Mark Mercer writes a column in the paper oddly titled “The Cranky Professor”. Apparently having an opinion is considered cranky these days – who knew? I have to admit even as a student of SMU, that Mercer’s words are the only ones in the entire paper that doesn’t make me want to vomit. The rest of the typical, far left, anti-Harper garbage riddling Canadian universities, but that’s a whole different topic.

As a brief summary of the background behind Mercer’s article “Making Saint Mary’s a safe place for discussion and debate”, the pro-life speaker Jose Ruba was personally invited by a student group to come and talk. As expected, a large pro-choice student group stormed in and disrupted the discussion, closing the door of what could have been excellent university debate with a respected man. Mark mercer points out how badly the fiasco was handled. Again to summarize, the security at SMU could not handle the mob of angry hippies yelling at the invitee standing perplexed at the front of the lecture room, and also failed to get any sort of back up. The normal thing to do would be to call the police right away and let them handle the situation – cops are the kryptonite of far-left activists after all. When the police finally arrived, the school makes the Jose Ruba and the students that were listening to him move. Somehow giving the protesters what they wanted (to a lesser degree of course, God only knows what they would have liked to do to Ruba) while punishing those involved in the lecture at the same time doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, or Mercer for that matter. Mercer outlines what the school should have done in the first place and what they should do in the future, which is great. What isn’t great is the high probability of the school not heeding a word he says. The point here anyway is to highlight professors that aren’t sheep in the herd and to expose the degradation of free speech in Canadian universities.

As far as I know, the school also failed to invite Jose Ruba back for a secured presentation and didn’t issue a public apology. Instead, the school declared victory over the protesters by moving it. They sure showed those pesky protesters who’s boss! The public letter also conveniently forgot to condemn the disruption or warn against future disruptions. After all, according to the world of academia, a supposed “balance” is more important than silly things like civil rights. If civil discussion is now equated to yelling, screaming, cursing, and angrily chanting, then I have no hope for the future of Canadian universities. As Mr. Mercer puts it:

We have to insist that the university and all university groups, not engage in self-censorship. We must not fear protests or human rights complains. We have to ensure that Saint Mary’s not give in to bullies who would threatened to bring before a human rights commission.

It appears that the message of Ezra Levant and other champions of recent civil rights is popping up just about anywhere common-sense and morality is. It’s an issue that transcends groups and parties with a common theme: Today’s “human rights” organizations are feared no matter where you go, and rightly so. It’s bad enough that SMU failed horribly with this matter, If the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission got involved, it would be quite the story, to say the least.

[Cross-posted at The Right Coast]

Posted by Dane Richard on June 21, 2009 in Freedom of expression | Permalink


This is getting so pervasive that I live for the day when some flaming poop nutbag screams out "Protest!" that in response the ranking policeman says, "Get out the machine guns..."

These people hijack our civil discourses because we let them. If they understand that they risk serious punishment or worse for trying, they'll be less likely to pull this kind of flash-mob nonsense.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-22 6:45:00 AM

... water cannons.. and then shop vacs

Posted by: 416 | 2009-06-22 7:24:12 AM

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