Hundreds of students at Middlebury College in Vermont stopped Charles Murray from speaking yesterday by shouting until the political scientist was forced to leave and broadcast his talk via the internet. According to the students, it is wrong to allow a platform for “hate speech” such as his. (Left-wing outfits such as the Southern Poverty Law Center have outrageously branded Murray a “white supremacist” for his book The Bell Curve.)
The video below will disturb anyone who believes in free expression and the mission of the university:
The president of the college even went so far as to speak to the crowd before Murray took the podium, and to politely beseech the students to let the AEI scholar be heard. They didn’t listen. Instead, they shouted Murray down, even after every concession was made to appease the mob — including a denunciation of Donald Trump by the student introducing Murray.
But the students turned their back as Murray took the stage, and then recited in unison a pre-written creed against his right to speak, concluding with various chants about white supremacy and hatred. The scene was akin to one from a dystopian movie.
Astonishingly, his opponents take pride in their use of fear tactics:
You should be scared, you racist SOB. All white supremacists should be terrified. https://t.co/BKs29M9Qa3
— Susan of Texas (@SusanofTexas) March 3, 2017
Of course, anyone who has actually heard Murray speak knows that he is a kind, gracious, and fiercely intellectual man. For his critics to scream, “Your message is hatred, we will not tolerate it!” is not only creepy and anti-academic, but wildly inappropriate to the object of their vitriol.
Unlike provocateurs such as Milo Yiannopoulos, Murray’s record shows that he is an exemplary figure to lead dialogues such as the one that Middlebury’s AEI chapter wanted to start. Instead, the students overruled even their own school’s president to stop that conversation from ever happening, thereby perpetuating their ignorance as to what Murray actually believes. Their loss.
UPDATE: As Michael Strain noted on the Corner, Murray himself wrote an informative account of the whole incident, wherein he described how it went trying to film the lecture and then exit the premises:
I started to give an abbreviated version of my standard Coming Apart lecture, speaking into the camera. Then there was the sound of shouting outside, followed by loud banging on the wall of the building. Professor Stanger and I were equipped with lavalier microphones, which are highly directional. The cameraman-cum-sound-technician indicated that we could continue to speak and the noise from outside would not drown us out. Then a fire alarm went off, which was harder to compete with. And so it went through the lecture and during my back and forth conversation with Professor Stanger — a conversation so interesting that minutes sometimes went by while I debated some point with her and completely forgot about the din. But the din never stopped.
We finished around 6:45 and prepared to leave the building to attend a campus dinner with a dozen students and some faculty members. Allison, Bill, and I (by this point I saw both of them as dear friends and still do) were accompanied by two large and capable security guards. (As I write, I still don’t have their names. My gratitude to them is profound.) We walked out the door and into the middle of a mob. I have read that they numbered about twenty. It seemed like a lot more than that to me, maybe fifty or so, but I was not in a position to get a good count. I registered that several of them were wearing ski masks. That was disquieting.