Phi Beta Cons

Protecting Wolfe

Sometimes Alan Wolfe embarrasses himself when he writes an article that anybody can read, such as his recent screed in The New Republic against Russell Kirk. Apparently he can embarrass himself when he opens his mouth as well. But why should Boston College go to extraordinary lengths to protect him? Check out this Boston Globe article:

It was a debate so noisy and rancorous the school decided it should be silenced.
When Boston College professor Alan Wolfe and conservative author Dinesh D’Souza agreed to go head to head at BC in April, a vigorous exchange of ideas seemed likely. In January, Wolfe wrote a scathing review in The New York Times of D’Souza’s latest book “The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11,” calling D’Souza “a childish thinker.”
The college received permission from both participants to videotape the debate for the school’s website. But the college never posted it, saying the debate was too contentious and confusing, and recently announced it has no plans to air the video.
Now, the schools’ decision is drawing charges of censorship from some students.
“This is an affront to open dialogue and everything a university should stand for,” said Brad Easterbrooks, outgoing vice president of the BC College Republicans and a cosponsor of the debate.
Easterbrooks said Wolfe fared badly in the debate, and he accused the college of shielding the tape to protect Wolfe from embarrassment. At one point, D’Souza told the audience of roughly 200 people that he was “being criticized by a guy who doesn’t know a thing about Islam,” Easterbrooks said.
Wolfe denied that D’Souza got the best of him, and said the debate degenerated into a shouting match. “It turned ugly,” he said. “I don’t think much enlightenment took place.”

Hat tip: CHE.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.


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