By Professor Doom
In the real world, it’s completely understood that everyone has a bias, and that applies to news sites. So, to get some idea of the big picture, I went to alternative sites to hear the worst about Hillary (some of it might even be true), and I went to “mainstream” sites to hear the worst about Trump (and, hey, some of it might even be true). But that’s the real world, higher education is supposed to be at least a little different, and not necessarily (just) in an Alice In Wonderland way, though that all too often is the case.
The whole point of a “university” is to have the intellectual universe in one place. I grant there are limitations to this; nobody seriously argues that 1 + 1 = 3 (at least not in math classes, although even then, at the risk of digressing, if you change what you mean by “+” you can do it. Anyway…). Still, when it comes to less objective topics, it’s supposed to be possible to have a reasonable discussion about the topic, both sides of it, on campus.
The “prevailing ideology” of mathematics is that 1 + 1 = 2 leads to the most useful calculations. I have a pretty open mind, and I’d like to think any scholar would. Even though I’m very, very, confident that 1 + 1 = 2 can lead to some good results, if someone wants to talk about how some useful calculations can come from “1 + 1 = 3” I don’t have a problem if he wants to come to campus and present his research and discuss his ideas.
More and more, however, “controversial” speakers are getting banned from campus. I understand that for safety reasons, you might have to do such a thing, though it’s regrettable. To be controversial, however, there must be (at least) two sides to the topic. What I find disturbing about this is it seems like only one side of the controversy seems to be allowed on campus, ever. I’ve covered many examples of conservative voices silenced on campus.
Again, one should expect that certain speakers, sometimes, should not be allowed, having faith in university admin to make such a regrettable decision when they feel that the risks outweigh the benefits of having the discussion.
So, let’s talk about the latest conservative speaker to be prevented from presenting his ideas on campus. Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is an outspoken critic of Black Lives Matter. He is, of course, black, because somehow any white who criticizes this movement is defined as RACIST…and I again find myself wanting to indulge in a digression.
I was recently called RACIST for agreeing with the CEO of Gallup that the official government unemployment numbers are a fiction, implying that I only questioned government numbers because Obama was in office. It’s annoying that we have so many people trained to shut down conversation about things they don’t like by shouting RACIST. In all honesty, the Left (i.e., the people most noted for the hue and cry of RACIST) are more responsible for Trump than any other group. No normal human being could take the endless vicious assaults he’s endured the last six months. A typical human can’t, but a Neanderthal (or, to use the more polite term, “alpha male”) can…something about the thick orange skin, perhaps. Instead of discussing real issues, the country was forced to discuss locker room talk…even as Russia was loading 40 million citizens into bunkers in preparation for a nuclear attack by the US.
Am I the only one who thinks we should ask more about what we’re doing to trigger this level of fear in Russia, and that such a question is far more relevant than what a couple of trash-talking guys said 11 years ago? I know I heard far worse in high school, many times…on election day it seems quite a few others went to the same kind of public schools I went to.
Anyway, the Sheriff has the only skin color allowed to criticize BLM, and due to quirks in the pro-BLM ideology, they can’t shut him up by screaming RACIST. Bottom line, reasons aren’t relevant, so you just shut him down anyway:
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke—a frequent Fox News guest and vociferous critic of the Black Lives Matter movement—was slated to give the keynote address at a symposium at the University of New Haven. But he was disinvited because administrators deemed him "potentially politically polarizing."
And so another chance to have discussion on a topic that’s caused more than a few riots is eliminated. Look, I respect that university administration has to make a decision to protect students, and so, on good faith, I might be able to overlook the “coincidental” removal of anyone who dares speak against the prevailing ideology.
The sheriff explains what he was told about why his voice was silenced:
On August 3, my assistant had a conversation with Mr. Malloy, who was extremely apologetic and embarrassed to have to rescind the offer. Apparently, the higher-ups did not want me to speak on campus due to my remarks about #BlackLivesMatter.
Now, the sheriff is a lawman…he certainly doesn’t want to cause a riot, does not want to see citizens, much less kids, injured. And so he quietly and respectfully goes away. Good for him, it takes character to simply walk away when you are wronged.
But then the university lies about their reasons for the disinvitation:
The University is aware that some people, including current students and alumni, are upset that Sheriff David Clarke’s invitation to speak at the Markle Symposium was rescinded. As an institution of higher learning, we fully support free speech and value the marketplace of ideas. Unfortunately, circumstances did not permit Sheriff Clarke’s attendance at this year’s symposium, and we respect the resulting divergent reactions among the University community.
Circumstances did not permit? The sheriff was quite willing to come, it’s not like there was a blizzard or anything. When called out on how the public excuse by UNH doesn’t quite pass the smell test, the Poo Bah doubles down:
But Kaplan said university officials did not “lie” about what happened, as Clarke has suggested, and did not cancel the appearance by Clarke, an African-American conservative, to be politically correct, as he has alleged.
“The irony is that I had never heard of Sheriff Clarke until this past Wednesday,” said Kaplan, who Clarke has repeatedly criticized for the way the issue has been handled, even though Kaplan had yet to speak publicly about it until Monday.
Now, the Poo Bah has nothing to do with education, so it’s quite possible that he’s telling the truth about him, personally, not knowing the sheriff. The cancellation could easily have come via the many cowardly deanlings that infest our campuses.
The Poo Bah honestly doesn’t know much about it, as the quotes I’ve taken above come from a phone interview:
“…in a telephone conversation with the New Haven Register as he drove from West Haven to his home in Branford to get ready for flights to India and later Malaysia on university business.”
I bet the gentle reader didn’t even know that the University of New Haven was such a big player in India and Malaysia that it had business there. UNH has around 7,000 customers each year, to put that in context. It’s reasonable to ask some questions there, as you can bet a $1,000,000 or more is being spent to send the Poo Bah and his entourage to the other side of the planet for something-or-other. It’s a private school, but it sure is weird just how often I see Poo Bahs flapping around the world on completely inscrutable missions.
Enough about the Poo Bah, he has nothing to do with education of the students. To the UNH’s credit, the university finally told the truth:
"…we decided not to finalize his arrangements to visit campus when it was determined his appearance could potentially become politically polarizing in light of the imminent presidential election."
I meander back to my point here: we should give admin good faith credit for cancelling a speaker that may cause harm to the students. But when the cancelled speakers consistently come from one side of the political spectrum, and the admin lies about their reasons for the “coincidental” cancellations, how much good faith should be given before asking some hard questions here?