The episode of Charles Murray’s treatment at Middlebury College, as described in the Weekly Standard by Jenna Lifhits, has been a long time coming and, therefore, predictable:
Some professors in attendance gave “tacit and explicit support” to the strategy, one source reported, and admitted that they had not read Murray’s work.
“When asked by students and other faculty members whether they had ever read Charles Murray’s work, the organizers bristled at the notion that they should be asked to read a work before condemning it,” a source close to the meetings told TWS. “‘You mean you want me to read The Bell Curve?'”
When I was studying English at the University of Rhode Island, one of my literature professors mentioned The Bell Curve multiple times, as being “all about” racism and the inferiority of black people. So I did what anybody with more than a full course load and a job to help cover the cost of college would do: I bought the book and read it.
The next time the professor referred to the book, I noted that I had read the book and didn’t recall the statement that he was proclaiming to be the whole point of the book. Declining to answer, he noted that he didn’t have his copy of the book handy, so I handed him mine, at which point he noted to the class that all of their books should have such thorough underlining and marginal notes. Ultimately, he said the statement under question was in a footnote somewhere, and he couldn’t find it on the spot.
And this was a professor whom I liked and with whom I had a good rapport.
It’s not just in academia that liberals have been stoking the flames of fascism. In 2009, I objected to the local news media’s celebration of a large group (mainly of young Rhode Islanders) turning out to mock and “counter protest” the repellent Phelps Family road show when it came to Providence:
The Westboro Baptist Church crew is certainly deserving of jeers, but there’s an aftertaste of mocking the infirm to this episode, and a belch of moral preening in making it the stuff of newspaper celebration. … Promoting such displays of force against minority viewpoints is a precarious principle, even when that minority contributes nothing to the public debate.
As I expected at the time, people responded by asking if I wanted to defend the likes of the people whom I was defending. My perspective is that I wasn’t really defending them as critiquing the behavior of people whom I would join in condemning the group. I fear that we’re seeing my fears borne out.