Intellectual freedom in Canada: Political science profs nervous about coming here ...
Kevin Libin reported yesterday in Canada's National Post (August 23, 2008) that
A group of U. S. professors launched a campaign this week protesting plans by a prominent political science organization to hold its annual conference in Toronto next year, claiming that Canada's restrictions on certain forms of speech puts controversial academics at risk of being prosecuted.Go here for the rest.
Bradley Watson, professor of American and Western political thought at Pennsylvania's St. Vincent College, said he will present a petition calling for the American Political Science Association (APSA) to re-evaluate its selection of Toronto for its 2009 conference at this year's annual meeting, taking place over the Labour Day weekend in Boston.
His protest has garnered support from dozens of professors across the United States, including prominent scholars such as Princeton University legal philosopher Robert P. George and Harvard University's Harvey Mansfield.
"Our belief is that the APSA should choose its sites carefully, with particular regard for questions of freedom of speech and conscience," Mr. Watson told the National Post by e-mail. "We therefore believe Canada to be a problematic destination."
I am told that journalists who broke the silence here, like David Warren, helped the profs make up their minds. And the profs are very right to be concerned.
As I have pointed out here, the "Human Rights" Commissions make themselves judges of a clergyman's advice to the faithful and a late-nite comic's jokes. They would not hesitate to go after a visiting prof. And all that is required is for someone, somewhere in Canada to feel offended and decide to lay a complaint.
What prof, I ask you, who has ever been of any consequence has not offended someone somewhere? And if you are a prof, is this how you want to be remembered?: "She was a sweet, quiet little lady who presented the party line impeccably and was very careful to stay out of trouble"? Or "I can't imagine him doubting that the current authorities are always right"?
Kathy "Five Feet of Fury" Shaidle comments,
Toronto taxpayers especially may want to make a VERY big stink about this -- after all, those precious tourist dollars are now at risk.You can find his e-mail address here.
I'd also invite you to join me in thanking Dr. Watson for his inspirational stand in favour of free speech."
A quick primer if you are a prof (or anyone) who is new to the issues and struggling to make up your mind:
1. Liberal fascism is nanny state fascism. Expect to see failed nannies, not failed generals harassing, bossing, and bullying, exhausting people's life savings and wrecking their health.
2. Currently in Canada, media and artsies have been too nervous to say much. So it is best to rely on blogs like Ezra Levant (charged), Free Mark Steyn, Deborah Gyapong, and Kathy "Five Feet of Fury" Shaidle for information (as well as those to whom they link). And of course, to Kevin Libin and Jonathan Kay (charged) of the Post, Calgary radio host Rob Breakenridge, and the CBC's Rex Murphy. (Many able free speech warriors have doubtless slipped my mind, and I will try to remember them next time.) This will link you to the many posts here at the Post-Darwinist on intellectual freedom in Canada.
3. Why don't Canada's artsies speak up? Many are supported by and co-dependent with liberal fascist government. They are interested in keeping and extending their grants and they display little interest in the problems of writers and artists who make a living by their work, not arts welfare. Their idea of risky speech appears to mostly be creative obscenity, and they are irrelevant to a battle for intellectual freedom.
4. Why can't we all be instant experts on this issue? As a Canadian, I am very grateful to those Americans who have spoken up, assome of Prof. Watson's colleagues are doing. However, if your knowledge of Canada is limited to three hours of Canadian Studies in Grade Seven twenty-eight years ago, be cautious about jumping to conclusions. Liberal fascism got started here not with Confederation in 1867 but with "Trudeaumania" in 1967. Pierre Trudeau was a charismatic elitist who started the ball rolling fast toward the nanny state that justifiably concerns the political science profs today. After Trudeau's death, his biographer revealed that he had been a Catholic fascist in his youth in Quebec - something that had been kept well hidden from his adoring public in his lifetime.
5. Don't think it isn't happening in the States. It is happening, but mainly on university campuses where your future leaders are formed - and where their political allegiances develop. The most important way you can help us is by fighting fascism (including its leftist varieties) where you are.