Thursday, Dr. Charles Murray of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) was set to give a speech at Middlebury College in Vermont. The AEI scholar was met with extraordinary resistance, as hundreds of protesters arrived, carrying signs and chanting things like: “Racist, sexist, anti-gay, Charles Murray, go away!” and “Your message is hatred. We cannot tolerate it.”
Murray is the author of the controversial 1994 book, The Bell Curve, which, in part, examines correlation between race and IQ.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, after approximately 20 minutes of continued protest, Murray was escorted to another location where he sat down with Professor Allison Stanger. Murray and Stanger’s interview was then live-streamed.
Inside Higher Ed reports that when Murray tried to leave the campus, things got violent:
According to Middlebury officials after Murray and a professor [Stanger] who interviewed him for the livestream attempted to leave the location in a car, some in the protest surrounded the car, jumped on it, pounded on it and tried to prevent the car from leaving campus.
According to Bill Burger, vice president for communications and marketing at Middlebury:
“During this confrontation outside McCullough, one of the demonstrators pulled Prof. Stanger’s hair and twisted her neck…She was attended to at Porter Hospital later and (on Friday) is wearing a neck brace.”
This is a disturbing incident for multiple reasons. Middlebury College students who don’t agree with Dr. Charles Murray’s ideas had multiple avenues by which they could have opposed him.
They could have engaged him after his lecture with their own ideas regarding his work; or they could have extended an invitation to a speaker whose scholarly work is antipodal to Murray’s. Unfortunately, instead of responding to Murray’s lecture with a counter argument, they resorted to silencing him, and then violently attacking him, as well as the professor who interviewed the controversial speaker.
This is fascistic behavior.
Bad ideas should be countered with better ideas in a free and open environment. Silencing one’s opposition does nothing to promote intellectual development and understanding, nor does it help defeat what one believes is a bad or incorrect philosophy. Instead, such behavior promotes homogeneous thinking, which, by its unopposed and untested nature, is unhealthy and unstable.
Moreover, silencing speech through violence is a move perfected by tyrants across time and geography, and is truly deplorable. This is an act that must be called out for what it is–fascistic, despotic, corrosive, intellectually cancerous, and morally evil.
The protesters at Middlebury College, specifically those who engaged in violent behavior, should be ashamed.