Early in February, the Michigan State University chapter of the Young Americans for Freedom (MSU-YAF) announced it had invited Jared Taylor to speak on campus about how diversity and multi-culturalism threaten our society. Mr. Taylor would hardly have been the first controversial speaker MSU-YAF has hosted. In the last year and a half, we have sponsored talks by Congressman Tom Tancredo (a declared presidential candidate at the time), Chris Simcox of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, and Nick Griffin of the British National Party, as well as many others.
I have been forced to withdraw Mr. Taylor’s invitation because of a combination of factors that have resulted in a serious abridgement of free speech at MSU.
First, the National Young Americans for Freedom, which serves as the umbrella organization for all campus YAF chapters, threatened to revoke our YAF charter if the talk went forward. Chairman Erik Johnson’s excuse was that YAF does not officially recognize multi-culturalism as a threat to the United States. He cited as his authority something called the Sharon Statement, a YAF founding document, according to which “the forces of international Communism are, at present, the greatest single threat to these [American] liberties.” Congressman Tancredo, Chris Simcox, and Mr. Krikorian were somehow forgiven for failing to work this theme into their comments, but Mr. Taylor’s talk would have been off limits because multi-culturalism is not covered by the Sharon Statement. Despite the incoherence of its position, National YAF was adamant: We were not to host Mr. Taylor. If we defied National YAF and sponsored the talk anyway, we would have lost our YAF charter and would no longer have been an official student organization with the right to host events on campus.
The university, run by the usual fanatical advocates of diversity, also threw obstacles in our path. We had scheduled Mr. Taylor’s talk for Wednesday, March 19. Suddenly, the university told us that date was impossible. It had been understood from the beginning that the talk would require police security, and the university claimed security would be possible at only one lecture hall — and that hall had become mysteriously unavailable that day.
La Raza and MEChA can have events any day. They can also hold them anywhere because their opponents are civilized and pose no threat that requires police protection. Conservative groups, however, are stifled through a combination of strong-arm tactics and bureaucratic harassment.
Mr. Taylor may yet come to Lansing, however. I have passed his name on to a local activist who arranges talks in the area, and I understand discussions about a possible lecture have already begun.
The cancellation may well have spared Mr. Taylor a certain amount of unpleasantness. Many of our events have been violently disrupted by left-wing students who have more in common with Hitler’s brown shirts than they would care to admit. When Congressman Tom Tancredo spoke at MSU last year, a La Raza activist attacked the seven-months’ pregnant wife of the Olivet-YAF chairman. Others kicked and spat on me. Protesters pulled the fire alarm twice, and followed us after the event to a restaurant and slashed our car tires while we were inside. All this made national news; the president of the MSU College Republicans and I discussed these outrages on The O’Reilly Factor, and Mr. Tancredo appeared on Hannity & Colmes.
When Chris Simcox of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps spoke at MSU, the Aztlan militants were so disruptive that the university police called for reinforcements from the city of Lansing. The police cleared the room of troublemakers, arresting four of the worst, and Mr. Simcox was able to give his talk. Protesters were still outside the building, however, and police had to push them away from the doors as we came out. I overheard one officer suggest to another that they should have brought “shields and helmets.”
When Nick Griffin of the British National Party spoke at MSU on how Islam is taking over Europe, protesters beat a piñata that was made to resemble him. They shouted so much during the speech that Mr. Griffin had to end it early. Just as they did when Mr. Tancredo spoke, protesters set off the fire alarm. After the aborted talk, MSU-YAF members had to run for their lives from a lynch mob of protesters armed with sticks and bats. Videos we have uploaded to YouTube.com capture only part of the chaos leftists were able to provoke when Nick Griffin, Tom Tancredo, and Chris Simcox tried to speak.
I have no doubt that if Jared Taylor had spoken at MSU, he would have faced similar opposition and disruption. Various leftists including Students for a Democratic Society were already announcing plans to do everything possible to prevent Mr. Taylor from delivering his talk.
On Thursday, February 21, the student government of Michigan State University approved a bill requesting the university to define the supposed difference between “hate speech” and free speech. This craven move resulted directly from the lectures my group has sponsored, and is intended stop speakers the leftists do not like. It is not certain whether the university will establish “hate speech” guidelines or how they would be implemented. In a sane world, the student government would be censuring people who violently disrupt meetings, but it instead wants to do the protesters’ work for them by preventing the meetings in the first place.
What our opponents have done — and what cowards at the university and in “conservative” organizations permit them to do — could not be a more eloquent expression of the poverty of leftist thinking. Unable to refute our views in civilized debate, incapable of understanding the First Amendment, their brutish tactics reflect their brutish natures. They are the best possible demonstration of the very point Mr. Taylor had intended to make: that multi-culturalism is a serious threat to what is left of Western Civilization on this continent.