Richard Dawkins Event in Berkeley Canceled Due To His “Abusive,” “Hurtful” Words
UC Berkeley in California is strongly associated with free speech. Its leftist students made international headlines back in the mid-1960s with their insistence that the university administration lift its ban of on-campus political activities, and acknowledge the students’ right to free speech and academic freedom.
Fifty years later, most universities are dominated by staff and faculty that incline towards the same politics as the protestors. There are a small number of sensible voices, such as U. of Toronto Professor Jordan Peterson, who are calling for an end to the overemphasis on racial, gender and sexual identity politics. Identity politics is at odds with the idea of a common human nature, and its pursuit weakens social cohesion and civic responsibility. It also disregards whether something is actually true or false.
The reason that the left isn’t interested in the academic pursuit of truth, free speech, social cohesion or civic responsibility, as Dr Peterson rightly observes in a talk at Harvard, is that they are neo-Marxist and have no interest in such Western values.
Marxism, Cultural Marxism, and intersectionality are actually opposed to free speech and academic freedom. They are on the right side of history, and see their mission as enacting social justice. Many professors are now reporting their fear of speaking on controversial subjects.
This is not the first time in 2017 that Berkeley has demonstrated the intolerance of its campus towards speakers to whom radicals on campus take offence.
But this time, it is interesting insofar as the speaker is Dr. Richard Dawkins, one of the world’s most famous atheists and erstwhile friend of many on the political left. I tend to agree with Terry Eagleton who, in his review of Dawkins’ The God Delusion, observed that,
“Dawkins, who is as obsessed with the mechanics of Creation as his Creationist opponents, understands nothing of the traditional doctrines (about the nature of God). Nor does he understand that because God is transcendent of us (which is another way of saying that he did not have to bring us about), he is free of any neurotic need for us and wants simply to be allowed to love us. Dawkins’s God, by contrast, is Satanic. Satan (‘accuser’ in Hebrew) is the misrecognition of God as Big Daddy and punitive judge, and Dawkins’s God is precisely such a repulsive superego.” (my italics)
While Dawkins’ ignorance of theological matters may be embarrassing to many of his fellow scientists, it is irrelevant to the case in point. In this instance, he wasn’t even speaking on the topic of religion at Berkeley. He had been invited to speak on the topic of his latest book, The Beauty of Science.
This problem is not going away. Identity group politics is at odds with the common good, and incommensurate with the freedoms that universities have been given safe spaces to cultivate.
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