Charles Murray And Freedom Of Speech In Vermont
By Bob Small
I’m not sure where to start, as much of the following is interconnected: Middlebury College, Charles Murray, Scott Norman Rosenthal, the First Amendment, The Bell Curve, and pro-Palestinian poetry.
Scott Norman Rosenthal is an expatriate Philadelphian now living in Vermont. (“Expatriate” sounds better than “exiled”). We’ve been friends for 40 years. A disability rights activist, Scott’s pro-Palestinian poetry has gotten him attacked on the streets of Philadelphia and accused of being “a self-hating Jew”.
This is one of the dozen or so e-mailed articles he has been writing and sending me on an almost daily basis. In it, he regrets his participation in the March 2, 2017, attack on Charles Murray at Middlebury College to prevent Murray from speaking. (Regretting what he has done is not something Scott does often.)
“Simply labeling what you criticize as hate speech doesn’t give an excuse to violently suppress dissenting voices.”
Vermont seems to have occasional acts of violence, but probably no more than Philadelphia.
Though I was familiar with The Bell Curve, I knew very little about Charles Murray. An easier read than The Bell Curve is “Thomas Jefferson Goes East” in the National Review.
Here are some other opinions on the 2017 Middlebury incident. (It should be pointed out that Murrary spoke there in other years without any violent incidents.)
The Bill of Rights says “Congress shall make no law…..or abridging the Freedom of Speech”.
My feeling is that we should never prevent speech, no matter how much we disagree with the speaker and his or her ideas. Rather, we should attend the talk and challenge the speaker during the Question-and-Answer portion of the event. Charles Murray is a rather complicated individual whose conclusions are sometimes correct (i.e., that the welfare state does not eliminate poverty), but whose solutions — well, that’s where we part company.
I was going to shoehorn into this article more information on Charles Murray and his relationship with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), but realized that that is too broad a topic. So I will discuss it in a future post.