On Sept. 10, 2008 the Central Student Association at the University of Guelph passed a resolution in its executive meeting banning the newly formed pro-life group, Life Choice. The CSA claimed, among other reasons, that Life Choice at one of its functions had offended certain people with its strong pro-life stand. Life Choice fought for its rights over several of months and made it clear that it was not going to back down. Suddenly, with little fanfare, and minimal explanation, the CSA reversed its decision by allowing Life Choice full re-instatement in the following semester.
In December, pro-life students at the University of Calgary displayed an exhibit of the Genocide Awareness Project. Contrary to demands from the university administration, they displayed their graphic pictures facing outwards, so that people passing by could see the exhibit. Administrators threatened expulsion and criminal charges at the time and recently made good on those threats by sending police to protesters’ homes to press charges. Making matters worse, the Calgary Students’ Union formally revoked the club’s status to operate on campus.The club’s vice-president, Cameron Wilson, said, “It is an abuse of power when the body elected to protect us heaps further oppression upon us.”
At St. Mary’s University in Halifax on Feb. 5, 2009 Jose Ruba, a pro-life speaker with the Genocide Awareness Project, attempted to give a speech comparing abortion to the Holocaust. Part way through his speech, a shouting, angry mob of abortion supporters effectively shut down his presentation. The event had to be moved off campus where it could be completed. A student who had invited Ruba to the campus said, “I am appalled that the students would be so hateful and intolerant and am shocked that the university gave in to mob rule.”
Other incidents of attacks on free speech rights at Canadian universities could be cited as well, but these will suffice to demonstrate that something is rotten to the core in our academic institutions. For we are seeing not only student unions suppressing free speech rights, but also administrators of the universities joining in on the side of oppressors.
Historically, Canadians, if they are known for anything, are thought to be people who stand for tolerance and freedom of expression. Even if we don’t appreciate what the other guy says, our cult of civic politeness usually kicks in and we’ll say, “Well, I guess in a democracy he’s got as much right to express his opinions as I do.”
And universities have long been places where the most outrageous, avant-garde opinions and behaviour could be freely expressed without censure. But, something has changed and it has changed for the worse. It seems that the cult of political correctness that has been with us now for the last 15 years or so is bearing its first bitter fruit. Furthermore, a generation of young people has been brought up on the notion that there is no truth, everything is relative and therefore everyone is free to do whatever they please and nobody, but nobody, has the right to judge them in any way.
This insane cult of non-judgmentalism is now leading in the culture to such a degree that totalitarian behaviour for many appears like a reasonable alternative. And, if the rights of other people to free speech must be trampled on in order to keep them quiet, then so be it. Dr. Gene Edward Veith in his book, Modern Fascism: Liquidating the Judeo-Christian Worldview, points out that fascism at its core has a hatred for any kind of transcendent morality. This hatred for a morality that condemns the killing of the innocent or condemns people for illicit sexual practices has come to such a boil that shutting down the right of people to express their freely held opinion seems to some to be reasonable.
“Ridiculous,” you say. It couldn’t possibly happen today at Canadian universities. Totally out of the question; no student government would dare to clamp down on freedom of expression in such a blatant fascist way. But that is exactly what is happening on many campuses across the country. Politically correct speech is not being curbed, but speech supporting traditional morality is very much under attack.
Freedom of speech on campus is withering under the immorality of “might makes right.” Whether they recognize it or not, totalitarian-minded student unions and administrators on campuses are behaving like dangerous fascists. They must be exposed and publicly shamed now while their power is relatively small.
Life Choice at the U of Guelph stood up to the bullies and won. Pro-life groups everywhere will win the same battle in the same way.