In the wake of the March 19 mass murder in Christchurch, New Zealand, many leftists are making moves to shut down free speech. The NZ government has blocked websites such as Zerohedge, Liveleak, Voat, Dissenter, 4Chan, and 8Chan, and is banning Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) which people can use to skirt many web censors by making their computer appear as if it were located in another country.
And on the private level, it appears as if leftists are using the tragic event as a pretext for shutting down dissent and debate.
On March 21, The Blaze’s Sarah Taylor reported that Whitcoulls, one of NZ’s largest bookstore chains, has decided to stop selling University of Toronto Psychology Professor Jordan Peterson’s bestselling self-help book, “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos”.
The bookstore issued a letter about the decision, which reads, in part:
Unfortunately 12 Rules for Life if currently unavailable, which is a decision that Whitcoulls has made in light of some extremely disturbing material being circulated prior (to), during, and after the Christchurch attacks.
And the controversy seems to stem from the fact that in February, Dr. Peterson allowed a man wearing a “Proud Islamophobe” t-shirt to pose in a photo with him. Dislike of Islam is a difficult subject, especially in NZ, at this time, so, despite the fact that Dr. Peterson espouses non-aggression in his philosophy, perhaps the folks behind the bookstore chain would rather not promote his work.
But, one might argue, Whitcoulls carries “Mein Kampf” by Adolf Hitler. It carries Marx’s poorly written, anti-Jewish (even though he was of Jewish lineage), pro-patriarchy “Communist Manifesto”. Why cull Peterson’s self-help work and not those openly political revolutionary texts?
Whitcoulls has an answer to that, saying:
As a business which takes our responsibilities to our communities very seriously, we believe it would be wrong to support the author at this time.
Okay. Got it. Those socialist authors mentioned above are long dead and can’t make any money off their work (and as proud socialists, why would they want to, right?). Dr. Peterson is alive and well, and one could understand how a business person or group might not want to sell something while imagining that the profits could go towards someone they think embraces damaging or “hateful” ideas (he doesn’t, by the way).
But, Twhitcoulls – sorry, Whitcoulls – has been, and still is, selling books by people such as former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who not only pushed an unconstitutional US military invasion of another nation (Iraq), she told “60 Minutes” reporter Leslie Stahl that the military operations and the embargo that preceded it, acts by the US government that, as Stahl noted, took the lives of half a million innocent children, were “worth it”.
Whitcoulls also sells the new propaganda piece from former Obama National Intelligence Director James Clapper, a man who, when Senator Ron Wyden asked him under oath “Does the NSA collect any type of data, at all, on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” said, “No.” When Senator Wyden, who seemed to know that the NSA did precisely that, raised a brow and asked in response, “It does not?” Clapper dug the hole even deeper and said, “Not wittingly.”
But deciding what books to carry is the prerogative of the bookstore bosses. And if New Zealanders believe they are being hypocritical, they can make market decisions accordingly. Sure, the Whitcoulls team might be showing a terrible leftist bias, but they own the store and aren’t taking tax money to fund it.
It’s quite a different story for the University of Cambridge, which, as Robby Soave reports for Reason, on Wednesday canceled Peterson’s visiting fellowship to its Divinity School on the grounds that he wasn’t “inclusive” enough.
[Cambridge] is an inclusive environment and we expect all our staff and visitors to uphold our principles,’ a Cambridge spokesperson told The Guardian. ‘There is no place here for anyone who cannot.’
Which certainly seems ironic. Don’t include the ideas of a man because, well, you don’t think he’s inclusive.
And, of course, if Cambridge were like Whitcoulls, all one could do is express his disagreement and turn away, choosing to do something else with his or her money than support the university.
But Cambridge is not like the private bookstore.
It’s the recipient of oodles of UK government cash, which means it’s taxing lots of people with lots of beliefs – people who might like to hear Jordan Peterson talk about why he stood up to Canada’s speech law C-16, and why he opposes Marxism, Nazism, Fascism, and other forms of political collectivism.
In fact, in a 2005 statement acknowledging and defending the boatloads of taxpayer cash Cambridge receives, then Vice-Chancellor Alison Fettes Richard offered words that ring quite hollow now that Cambridge has turned its back on Classical Liberal Dr. Peterson:
Like all universities, Cambridge cherishes freedom of thought and expression and gives this freedom pre-eminence among its core values 1. Like all universities, Cambridge receives financial support from society. The freedom we are granted and the support we receive bring with them obligations to society, squarely recognized in the University's mission statement, which begins: ‘The mission of the University of Cambridge is to contribute to society...’
Lovely, empty words, but illuminating, nonetheless.
The reason they are educational is because we can take from this the understanding of the fact that anything that is receiving taxpayer money cannot cater to every member, cannot “contribute” to every person being forced to pay.
This is a myth, and thanks to the way Cambridge is treating Jordan Peterson, we can see it as such.
It’s too bad so many leftists are willing to continue operating in their fantasy world where “inclusiveness” is up to them, and they’ll force taxpayers to be included regardless of whether they’re upset.
A little lesson in the market for books, and the non-market in education that predominates the west as it slides onwards towards fascistic collectivism, the kind of thing against which Dr. Peterson warns.