College campuses have historically been known as places of study and open inquiry. They’ve been known as safe spaces for free speech and a free flow of ideas. Lecturers and guest speakers are the norm. It’s also normal for there to be a peaceful protest or two. However, when students and professors rise up to actively silence others, that’s when we should take notice.
This is exactly what happened at the recent lecture series of Dr. Janice Fiamengo. Originally she was to give talks both on the problems within gender studies and the myth of rape culture. The first took place at Queen’s University, and the second was set to be held at the University of Ottawa.
Opposition was expected, but these people never cease to amaze. I personally watched as campus feminists ran Janice Fiamengo’s name through the dirt online. I watched as they geared up for war. I read message after message stating that they felt that the very questioning of gender studies and rape culture put them in danger.
They called Dr. Fiamengo a bigot, a racist, and a misogynist. These are pretty heavy claims, and not ones that you would usually attach to the image of a tenured professor. From what I’ve seen, she is the complete opposite. She is a well-spoken, respectable woman who is deeply concerned with the current state of not just men, but also women and campus culture. She questions the ideology behind feminist thought and asks if these things are really healthy.
I wish that I could report that her talks went off without a hitch, but even that is wishful thinking. At Queen’s University feminist organizations tried to shut down the campus men’s issues club, after hearing that they were booking the event. They argued that the club was promoting rape culture and hate speech. This, of course, failed, and the lecture went as planned. However, in the following days student newspapers cited a possible link between an assault on feminist activist Danielle D’Entremont and the lecture on men’s rights.
It only got worse as the Revolutionary Student Movement successfully shut down Dr. Fiamengo’s talk at the University of Ottawa. The students forced the lecture out of its original location, but protesters followed. They chanted, sang songs, blew horns, and pulled a fire alarm. The talk was officially done when they could not calm protesters in the room that were beating on desks and singing loudly as Janice Fiamengo began speaking.
What has become of campus culture when we allow this to happen? When you let a group of people silence others, you send a message. You are saying that some ideas are allowed to be questioned, but others are off-limits. You are making it clear that we can not express certain thoughts.
Janice Fiamengo was not silenced because her ideas are inherently destructive. She was silenced because she is questioning an ideology. Feminism is their religion and we are not allowed to question it. They are telling us that they simply do not want differing ideas on campus. They want their ideals to remain unquestioned and unopposed.
This is the current state of higher education. As these people actively promote bias and bully the masses into compliance, they are hindering critical thinking and squashing free speech. When they enforce political correctness, they take control of the dialogue.
This is what Janice Fiamengo was speaking out against. When we become so easily offended that we can not even discuss important issues any more, we stifle innovation and destroy the great intellectual pursuits that colleges were once famous for.
This is how intellectualism dies. It dies with the expansion of social justice warrior safe spaces. It dies as they expand to encompass all and engulf every campus. It dies as screaming drowns out words of reason, and indoctrination replaces independent thought. It dies as we allow some people to be silenced and place others beyond reproach. This is what feminism looks like.