News & Politics

Middlebury College Cancels Lecture on 'Totalitarianism' by Conservative Intellectual

Member of European Parliament (MEP) Ryszard Legutko holds a press conference at European Parliament headquarters in Strasbourg, France on 20.01.2016 (Wiktor Dabkowski/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)

Ryszard Legutko, a Polish intellectual and a member of the European Parliament, was scheduled to give a lecture on totalitarianism at Middlebury College in Vermont. Despite protests from the usual suspects, the school gave its OK for the lecture to go forward.

But just hours before the lecture was scheduled to begin, the school provost canceled Legutko’s appearance.

Washington Free Beacon:

But in the days leading up to the speech, some Middlebury students and professors wrote an open letter demanding the university rescind its sponsorship. The liberal activists took issue with Legutko’s pointed critiques of multiculturalism, feminism, and homosexuality, calling them “homophobic, racist, xenophobic, [and] misogynistic.”

“Inquiry, equity, and agency cannot be fostered in the same space that accepts and even elevates homophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic discourse,” they demand. “Bigotry of any kind should not be considered a form of inquiry.”

The chairmen of both departments denied the activists requests, defending the event on grounds of academic freedom. But hours before the event was scheduled, Middlebury Provost Jeff Cason and Vice President for Student Affairs Baishakhi Taylor sent a campus-wide email indicating the lecture was canceled.

“In the interest of ensuring the safety of students, faculty, staff, and community members, the lecture by Ryszard Legutko scheduled for later today will not take place,” the email read. “This decision was not taken lightly. It was based on an assessment of our ability to respond effectively to potential security and safety risks for both the lecture and the event students had planned in response.”

Originally, the university tried to move the event to a different space. “However, it became clear with the increased number of participants that we didn’t have the staff capacity to adequately ensure everyone’s safety,” the email read.

Legutko has written some controversial things about minorities, gays, feminists, and other liberal groups in the past.

In his book– “Why I am Intolerant?”– he describes minority groups “homosexuals, Africans, feminists” as “fashionable cultures” and their actions as “tyrannical”, comments which have led to significant criticism.] He has also referenced Pride as, “aggressive, anti-Christian and shocking” as well as an “unnecessary, destructive experiment.” Similarly, he has argued that homophobia is, “a totally fictitious problem, it doesn’t not exist anywhere” and goes on to claim that, “Christians are the group that have been most discriminated against.”

Well…everyone is entitled to their opinion — except, perhaps on the campus of Middlebury College.

Legutko was a member of the anti-Communist resistance in Poland, which probably wins him no friends among the leftists at Middlebury. But he knows a thing or two about totalitarianism that the sheltered snowflakes in Vermont could never imagine. How they could have benefited from that practical wisdom.

It’s true that “Inquiry, equity, and agency cannot be fostered in the same space that accepts and even elevates homophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic discourse.” But is what Legutko wrote anti-gay, “xenophobic,” or anti-woman? Of course not. Disagreeing with blacks, feminists, and other liberals is not tantamount to espousing hate. It’s called “a difference of opinion” and the snowflakes better get used to it or they will go through life desperately unhappy.

And probably unemployed.