Regardless if you cheer, denounce or simply ignore the thoughts of self-described “race realist” Jared Taylor, the University of Alabama should be commended for its difficult decision to allow a student group to host a lecture by the provocative writer next week.
Far too many of the Capstone’s sister institutions of higher learning have yielded in recent years to demands that they shield the eyes and ears (and therefore minds) of their students from controversial speakers.
Alabamians have experience with this sort of thing, though, and we’ve learned that the best way to dispel racist thought is to drag it out into the light of day so all may see its true ugliness. (There’s a reason the Klan wore hoods and rallied at night, you know.)
But still, are their some topics that simply don’t fit within the ever shifting “window” of acceptable speech?
The answer is always … no.
While adults can, and in fact should, self-censor, we should never surrender to the censor who lives within us all in an attempt to decide what ideas are acceptable to be heard by another adult. To paraphrase Lincoln’s view of slavery — as I will not be censored, I will not be a censor.
Especially if the ideas are deemed by someone else to be “dangerous.”
Taylor’s particular niche with racist ideology is his claim that an undeniable and provable genetic difference exists between the races that makes some races “good” — whites and Asians — and makes others “bad” — namely blacks.
He believes that the strength of the West and the Far East doesn’t just come from their values and traditions, but also from within their bloodstream (and the same goes for their descendants in the United States). He manipulates all sorts of studies and spouts half-truths to say much more, but that’s his basic point.
So, should we censor such nonsense?
Of course not.
First, generally speaking, censorship robs an individual of the ideas that the censor, in all of their splendid paternalism, seems perfectly willing to possess themselves.
If someone reads or hears what Taylor is peddling, and judges it to be bogus, then what right have they to deny such an educational opportunity to someone else? Doing so also risks fostering a society that’s largely ignorant of its own ills, and therefore much less capable of defeating them.
Second, censoring Taylor’s speech robs the good guys of an opportunity to publicly refute his arguments and, equally important, to bring attention to the real cause of whatever angst led him and others down the road to such dark thoughts.
Some say that the traditions of Western Civilization are under assault. They sort of are, actually.
And some say that we need to preserve the values that built the United States. We do.
But those traditions and values have absolutely nothing to do with race. Zero. Nada.
The United States of America didn’t become the most prosperous, freest, strongest, most generous nation in history because of the pigmentation of anyone’s skin.
Our nation’s success has everything to do with our establishment and preservation of a constitutional democratic republic, our shared values and traditions, a respect for the rule of law, and the blessings of a free market and a free society.
In other words, we’re a great nation because we have a great culture.
And culture is colorblind.
So, come on down, Mr. Taylor. We’ve heard from far worse than you before, and our culture remains intact.