Adam Falk, President of Williams College, Joins the Fight Against Free Speech
I won't keep you in suspense any longer: John Derbyshire's unpardonable offense is to have opinions about race that differ from those certified by the examining board of politically correct attitudes. Those opinions mandate, for example, that it is OK to say "Black Lives Matter," but not "White Lives Matter," or even "All Lives Matter," which is held to be racist (yes, really). It's OK to say that you believe in genetics, but you must never, ever ask questions like: "Is intelligence or social behavior heritable?" That, too, is held to be deeply racist, just as asking questions like "Do men, in general, display greater aptitude for math than women?" is impermissible. (And note well: you can't even ask the questions, let alone answer them in the wrong way.)
John Derbyshire inadvertently burned his bridges with the politically correct establishment back in 2012 when he published an article expressing some of his thoughts on the realities of race in contemporary America. You can read his offending column here and learn a bit more about his views from an interview he conducted with Gawker here. I wrote about the affair at the time in this column. In the course of that column, I quote the inimitable Mark Steyn on the issue of free speech. "The Left,” Mark notes:
is pretty clear about its objectives on everything from climate change to immigration to gay marriage: Rather than win the debate, they’d just as soon shut it down. They’ve had great success in shrinking the bounds of public discourse, and rendering whole areas of public policy all but undiscussable. In such a climate, my default position is that I’d rather put up with whatever racist/sexist/homophobic/Islamophobic/whateverphobic excess everybody’s got the vapors about this week than accept ever tighter constraints on “acceptable” opinion.
Exactly. I am proud to have published many articles by John Derbyshire at The New Criterion, and will continue to do so. By his disreputable actions yesterday, Adam Falk has indisputably joined the ranks of the neo-McCarthyites who, basking in the conviction of their own virtue, present themselves as staunch defenders of free speech just so long as there is no cost to do so. As soon as anyone with a challenging opinion shows himself, their native intolerance rises up and they start babbling like a character out of Ring Lardner: "Shut up, he explained."