Why is the woke mob so scared?

Feb 26, 2021 by

by Douglas Murray, UnHerd:

Whenever a person is “cancelled” or “no-platformed”, a public battle is inevitably waged. On one side, there are those who uphold the value of free speech; on the other, those who insist free speech depends on what is being said, or believe the whole debate is some kind of smokescreen for smuggling extremist ideas into society. What goes unnoticed, however, is that there is a pattern to these eruptions.

The recent cancellation of Professor Gregory Clark at the University of Glasgow is a case in point. Yesterday, it was reported that Clark — a professor of economics at the University of California and visiting professor at the London School of Economics — was last week unable to give a lecture in Glasgow because of its title: “For Whom the Bell Curve Tolls: A Lineage of 400,000 Individuals 1750-2020 Shows Genetics Determines Most Social Outcomes”. The reference to John Donne’s poem, later appropriated by Ernest Hemingway, was not the problem. The allusion to the work of Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein clearly was.

The Bell Curve, a 1994 book by Murray and Herrnstein, remains one of the most controversial pieces of analysis in the modern era. Though its critics tend not to have read the work, they insist that it not only argues for but positively rejoices in the idea that intelligence is largely determined by a person’s race. It is a misunderstanding that has rumbled on for over a quarter of a century, and every discussion of the book usually ends in acrimony. And so when Professor Clark hinted at the work in his lecture’s title, the university asked him to change it.

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