Monday, January 8, 2018

The Left’s Siege of Our Universities

David Horowitz’s latest book chronicles the Left’s transformation of academic institutions into doctrinal training centers.

The following article appeared in Frontpage Magazine on January 5th

In November, an incident regarding freedom of speech on campus took place at Ontario’s Wilfrid Laurier University that galvanized the attention of Canadians and of those with an interest in this subject beyond our borders. 
Lindsay Shepherd

A graduate student in the field of Communications, Lindsay Shepherd, used a short segment in class from a debate on TVOntario’s nightly issues show, The Agenda, to illustrate to her students how linguistic terminology can become contested terrain in the realm of ideas. The presenting issue was freedom of speech; the vehicle for debate was the use of transgender pronouns. The segment Shepherd showed – without either approval or condemnation - included forceful pushback against “compelled speech” by Jordan Peterson, a University of Toronto professor whose publicly avowed refusal to use constructed gender pronouns has in the past 18 months rocketed him, via a tsunami of vlogs and public appearances, from virtual obscurity outside the academy to continental celebrity.

In short order Shepherd was summoned to a meeting with her supervisor, her department head and the director of WLU’s Gendered and Sexual Violence and Support program. What happened at that meeting – more like a Star Chamber interrogation – would have fallen into the historical oubliette, except for the fact that Shepherd recorded it and shared it with the media.
Jordan Peterson

Ordinary Canadians who listened to this recording were stupefied at the overt intimidation and condemnation Shepherd was subjected to, including accusations of “transphobia,” a comparison of Peterson to Hitler and for good measure a sprinkling of demonizing “racism” and “white supremacist” to ensure the message took hold. All because she adopted a perspective of neutrality in presenting conflicting opinions to her class so that they could freely discuss the issue without her influence. This was an intolerable stance for her left-wing superiors.

The repercussions of this incident are still unfolding, and you can read a detailed account of it here. The most-used word by commentators writing about that fateful was “Orwellian.” And it was. In my own commentary on the affair, I ended with the suggestion that Canada establish “the Lindsay Shepherd Students’ Bill of Academic Rights.” I would like to say that the idea of such a bill was my own, but of course it isn’t. The timely reason it sprang to mind was that I had just finished reading Book VIII of David Horowitz’s Black Book of the American Left: The Left in the University, the newest release in Horowitz’s ten-book series of collected conservative writings. In this instalment, Horowitz chronicles his crusade to establish such a bill in law.

The common denominator of all the articles in this volume is the appalling comfort of the academic community with the travesty of scholarship exemplified in the Shepherd affair, where an attempt by a young and intellectually uncorrupted colleague to embody the spirit of actual scholarly research by presenting both sides of an argument on a question of principle was attacked as an evil impulse.

(Article continues HERE)

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