On Wednesday’s episode of “The Andrew Klavan Show,” Klavan tells the story of how protesters at Boston College failed to shut down his speech. Video and partial transcript below:
Boston College, first of all gave these kids — these conservative kids are already under the gun, they’re already having a problem, and they gave them the runaround. They were always nice, kind of like Nurse Ratchet in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, always talking them in soft voice and meanwhile, they delayed, and they delayed, and they delayed. They wouldn’t sign the contract. They wouldn’t make it happen.
So the kids didn’t have enough time to actually advertise and promote my coming there. So they made it as difficult as they could. They were so petty, they wouldn’t even give us a microphone. They wouldn’t let them invite — like everybody else does this, they’re not supposed to invite people from off-campus — but most people do invite people from off-campus, and they made it explicit that they couldn’t invite people from off-campus. They wouldn’t let them record, they wouldn’t let them stream live, all of which other people do on the Boston College campus. But they specifically wouldn’t let them, the conservatives, the Republicans, do it.
Then when the contract came, there was a clause in the contract saying I couldn’t criticize Boston College, which is just gutless. If you aren’t going to stand up for free speech, if you’re against free speech, if you’re against people saying what they have to say and having new ideas and ideas that you don’t like — if that’s how small-minded you are, own up to it. Be a man. Stand up and say, “Yeah, we don’t like free speech. We only want you to hear our ideas because if you hear other ideas, you might disagree with us and then we’ll be exposed as the frauds we are.”
So stand up, at least say what you are. So before I get there, the newspaper, I think it’s called “The Heights,” runs this story: “Boston College Republicans to Host Speaker With History of Islamophobic Comments.” It was a genuinely, cleverly crafted story — crafted to be incendiary. It made it sound like everywhere I went, everyone was horrified by my Islamophobic ideas. All of the quotes, I believe — no, that’s not true — most of the quotes were from satire.
The things that I really satire when I talk about Islam is the Left giving Islam a privileged position of not being able to be criticized, right. Because you’ve heard me, you know I love the Catholic faith, I’m not a Catholic person, but you know I have a great respect and knowledge about the Catholic faith. But I’ve also wondered aloud whether maybe some of their sexual attitudes contributed to the scandal in the Catholic Church. I have also exactly done the same thing, wondering aloud, talking about the ideas that I worry in Islam may have contributed to the fact that Islam has been a part of every major conflict since 1978 except the Mexican drug war, which we’ll be talking about later on. So I’ve asked all these questions, I’ve made jokes about Islam because I make jokes about all these things, and anything that is irrational or evil to me seems to me absurd and funny.
So they they tag me as “Islamophobic,” which is also just, it’s a cowardly word. It is essentially delegitimizing any attempt to discuss the fact that Islam is at war with everybody on Earth — with Buddhists, with Jews, with other Muslims — and it has nothing to do with whether there are nice Muslims or whether Islam can reform. Of course, there are. Muslim people are no worse than any other people, it’s just you have to question these ideas. And if you can’t question ideas, why build a college in the first place? If you’re not going to talk about good ideas versus bad ideas.
So I go to give my speech, and this is why I say it was almost a parable, it was almost like it was a written thing. My speech was about how the Left uses narrative — because I’m a writer. I’ve made my living as a fiction writer for 30 years, and there aren’t very many people who can say that. I mean, there are more Major League Baseball players than people who have made their living writing fiction, so I feel they have a certain expertise on how stories work and how people use stories. And my whole speech was about how narrative is used to let your emotions carry you away, so you stop paying attention to facts and that makes you angry at the people across the aisle from you. It means that you’re so emotional, you can’t debate anything and then you get stupid because you can’t listen to other people. And while I’m making the speech, a virtual riot starts outside. Over a hundred people were outside.
Now I was, and I want to say thank you to the god-king, Jeremy Boreing, he sprung for two security guys who were … absolutely terrific. But the Boston College police showed up, too — about three of them were there when I arrived — and they were excellent, as well. I mean, they were just terrific and really on-point, and when this thing started, they were pounding on the walls, they were screaming. I could see these twisted, angry faces of these essentially children yelling, and they were chanting all these hateful things, that I was a hateful person and all this stuff, banging on the walls. I think at one point they climbed upstairs.
They were pounding on the ceiling. The police wanted to get rid of them; Boston College would not allow them to be removed. This is not free speech, by the way. It is not free speech to assault, essentially assault people — I’m not saying they physically assaulted anyone, saying that they made it impossible for us to speak, to break in and disrupt things like that, that is not free speech. That is an action and can be stopped and should be stopped at Boston College …
So as I’m giving this speech and I’m using the rioters as an example of what I’m saying. I’m saying, “Look, this is what I’m talking about. This is how they become these people. This is what they are turned into by the Left’s tactics.” As I’m making this speech, I can see the faces of the police and of my security guys getting kind of serious and a little wider than they were before, and at one point, they had told me how they were going to get me out. And finally, I answered all the questions. I wasn’t gonna leave until I was done, I wasn’t going to be chased out, I answered all the questions, and then the security guy said, look, we got to go.
At this point, I didn’t know this, but when I walked outside, there were a lot of police and they surrounded me. I felt like Reagan after he was shot. They ran me to the car. Look, I didn’t come anywhere near the rioters, but there’s no question if I had, they were so worked up that something bad could have happened. So the police were acting completely responsibly, doing completely the right thing. I got a police escort off the campus, and this is shameful. This is a shameful thing to do to children — to teach them that everything they disagree with is hate.
There’s no such thing as Islamophobia. There’s a lot of violence from the Islamic community. Some of it has been directed catastrophically at America. Some of it has been directed catastrophically at the West. There is nothing wrong with discussing the ideas that may lead to that and discussing why this is such a problem in the Islamic world. I hold no hostility against any Islamic person. But look, these are people who scream and yell at you if you say a man is not a woman. If you say any facts about reality, they lose their stuff because they’ve been taught to do this. Children are not born like this — they’re taught to do this in the same way I was taught to have civic civil conversations.
You know, I’m watching some of this stuff. I mean, they are being made stupid. They are. And these are, in a sense, privileged kids — I don’t know each individual kid’s background, but I know Boston College is not a cheap college, and only like a third — the top third of Americans go to college in the first place. So they’re already the elite. They’re not oppressed, they’ve never been oppressed and not having any problems, any real problems, unless they have some personal problem that has nothing to do with politics.
They have been turned into zombie instruments of the Left by people who don’t want them to hear other opinions, because once they hear other opinions, they’re going to realize that their Boston College professors have feet of clay and they’re teaching them things that really aren’t true.