In the competition for which country is most afraid of the truth about race, Canada is surely at or near the top. In Halifax, Nova Scotia, I was recently treated to a wall of closed-mindedness that would be comic were it not for what it says about the cowed state of Canadian whites. In the end, AR stirred up a lot of media, but mainly because of a particularly disgraceful kind of closed-mindedness that not even self-righteous Canadian newspapers could ignore.
My Canada tour began when Brian Boothe, an independent booking agent, set up a debate between me and Prof. David Divine, head of the Black Canadian Studies department (yes, they have such a thing) at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Mr. Boothe appears to be an anti-racist, but must enjoy a fight; he arranged for me and Prof. Divine to debate the subject: “Racial Diversity: North America’s Strength or Weakness?” The day was set for Jan. 15, 2007–the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, on which almost as many Canadians as Americans at least pretend to bow the knee to multi-racialism.
I had not been to Canada in years, and was looking forward to the trip. Dalhousie University had printed up an attractive poster, I had bought my air tickets and made hotel reservations, but on Dec. 20, Mr. Boothe warned me there was trouble. He was right: According to a later press account, on that day, President Tom Traves of Dalhousie University got a message from something called the Atlantic Jewish Council. Whatever the message said, Mr. Traves immediately suggested to Prof. Divine it would be “odd” to hold the debate. As he later explained, “When a university feels that, essentially, it is being taken advantage of by someone who just wishes to use the credibility of the institution to advance a noxious cause, obviously it’s our duty to preserve our institutional integrity.” Translation: “We don’t like Jared Taylor’s views, we can’t refute them, so we won’t debate.”
On Dec. 21, the university issued a statement saying it “learned more about the background and standpoint of the others involved in the proposed debate and has concluded a debate with people who held such views would not be a useful way to explore the topic [of racial diversity].” Mr. Boothe assured me he had forwarded a generous selection of material about me to Prof. Divine and, anyway, a ten-year-old with a computer can learn a lot about me in 15 minutes. I asked Prof. Divine by e-mail what was going on, and got a classic–of, well, something–in reply (see “Mush From Divine,” below).
Prof. Divine did not actually cancel the event. The date and place were already set and weren’t to be wasted, after all, so he simply pitched me off the program and turned it into a monologue. He reportedly said he would be kind enough to summarize my views before refuting them. It was quick work to turn the original “debate” poster into one for a “lecture” on diversity in which no diversity of views was to be allowed.
The press found this of some interest, and correctly reported my view that I thought Prof. Divine had backed down because he was afraid he would lose the debate. He piously claimed he could not be seen as permitting me to “espouse hate.”
I thought this unmanly behavior deserved a comeuppance, so I decided to go to Halifax anyway, attend Prof. Divine’s lecture, ask a few questions during the Q & A period, and give my reply in a hotel ballroom the following evening, Jan. 16. I sent Prof. Divine an e-mail message explaining my plans and urging him to return to the original debate program. Failing that, I invited him to appear with me at the hotel, where we could have a proper exchange. He never replied.
We booked a hall at Halifax’s oldest hotel, the Lord Nelson, and made both print and radio ads for my Jan. 16 talk. Enthusiastic advertising people at the Halifax Chronicle-Herald accepted payment for an ad but then must have had an unpleasant talk with higher authority. They returned the money without explanation. The Halifax Daily News turned down the same ad. The sales staff at the local news radio station were also eager to take our money, but they, too, must have had a disagreeable chat with management. Merely to advertise a talk doubting the advantages of racial diversity appears to have been too much for the media barons of Halifax.
This meant that although I had told the press about my plans, there was no way to tell the public. My only opportunity was to attend Prof. Divine’s lecture and announce to his audience I would be offering a reply the next evening. I designed a flyer, printed it off at the Halifax Kinkos, and prepared to disconcert Prof. Divine. He escaped me. There were a few inches of snow on the afternoon of the 15th, and the champion of diversity celebrated Martin Luther King’s birthday by calling off his talk. I telephoned the Dalhousie switchboard to ask if the snow had affected any of the campus’s evening events. “Only a lecture by Prof. Divine on diversity,” the operator told me cheerfully.
Dalhousie did not put a cancellation notice on its web page, so I decided to go to the lecture hall and hand out leaflets to whoever might show up–there was a total of three people. There seems not to have been much appetite for a monologue on diversity. I put up the rest of my flyers in the Student Union, and switched the reservation at the Lord Nelson to a smaller room.
The night of the 16th, I had an audience of perhaps a half-dozen people, with about twice as many journalists. A few minutes before I was to be introduced, about two dozen scruffy youngsters–male and female, all apparently white–filed into the room and took seats. Perhaps a third had kerchiefs over their faces likes Wild-West bandits.
One thug went to the literature table and took my sample copies of AR. I followed him to his seat and took them back. Then a woman began beating pans together, while the rest chanted like lobotomy victims: “Jared Taylor, racist scum, let’s put fascists on the run!” During the lulls, people shouted elegant, witty things like “Do us a favor and put a bullet in your head, you f**kng Nazi.” Hotel security was quickly attracted by the din, and I signaled to them to call the police, which they said they would. I mocked the louts for their gutter language, and urged them to shout louder–I wasn’t getting the message, I told them. I let them wail and chant, expecting the police to arrive, restore order, and let me give my talk.
After perhaps five minutes, half a dozen of the men–boys, really–came to the front of the room and surrounded me. Others went over to the literature table and started tearing issues of AR to pieces and throwing them around the room and at me. Then the boys who had surrounded me linked arms and made a human wall, forcing me to the door.
While the shouting had been going on, I felt sorry for this band of losers, so pathetically afraid they would lose an argument that they had to prevent me from speaking. When they started pushing me around physically, I felt like killing them, but restrained myself. If there had been any damage I would probably have been blamed, not my assailants.
When the human wall got me to the door, one of the boys put me in a bear-hug and pushed me into the hall. He didn’t then seem to know what to do. A tall man walked up, laid hold of him, and told him to let go. I thought for a moment I had a friend in the audience, but the man later told a reporter he was from the Atlantic Jewish Council and was there only to see if I said anything about Jews. From what he said to the bear-hugger, I gathered he wanted to stop any further loutishness because it reflected badly on the anti-racists.
At about that time, hotel security decided to clear the room, and that was the end of the lecture. The banditos left, unmolested by the police, who were reportedly somewhere on the premises. The louts had brought flyers of their own–photographs of me with the words “Racist Scum” in big letters. I offered to autograph them, and got one taker. I gave several short interviews to the reporters who were still there, and then returned to my room. I e-mailed to the print journalists copies of the talk I had been unable to deliver, and waited to watch the late television news. What appeared was a good, factual account, with footage of screaming protestors, leading up to my being muscled out of the room. There were also several good excerpts from my later remarks to the press. What I did not hear on the air was the question I had been asking the journalists all night: “If my views are wrong or even loathsome, they should be easy to refute. Why isn’t Prof. Divine or someone else jumping at the chance to prove me wrong?”
I had reservations to leave Halifax early the next morning, so I went down to the police station late that night and wrote out a lengthy complaint against the people who had disturbed the peace, destroyed my property, and assaulted me. The radio was on at the police station, and as I was leaving, a report came on about the events at the Lord Nelson. “That’s the assault I’m talking about,” I said. The police just looked bored.
The next day, back in Virginia, I was in great demand from the Halifax media. I gave an interview at the Washington bureau of Canadian TV, which reported fairly and accurately. The papers and radio station that had refused ads for my talk had perhaps tumbled to the thought that the effect of their refusal was no different from that of the thugs they were now denouncing: to squelch unpopular speech. My views were “clearly repugnant,” huffed the Chronicle-Herald (funny–they hadn’t heard them), but “mobs have no legitimacy as arbiters of permissible speech.” One columnist looked over the copy of the refused ads and wondered why they had been rejected, noting that they “didn’t seem incendiary.” Some of the less hopped-up anti-racists grumped that the louts had drawn more attention to my talk than it would have gotten without them.
And how about the brave and noble Prof. Divine? He told Canada Television he thought I had been hoping for a mob to break up the talk so as to get more attention. He also told one newsman the louts were right to shout me down, that there is a difference between free speech and irresponsible speech, and that I had crossed the line. I told the reporter that if Prof. Divine said that, he was not fit to be a university professor.
In the meantime, the people who were afraid to defend their views were making excuses. Karen Mock, former executive director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, explained to a duly credulous reporter for the Canadian National Post that to propose a debate is “an old Klan trick.” “They [people like me] can’t be refuted because their lies are propaganda and the arguments are circular and conspiratorial,” she added helpfully. Dr. Mock went on to explain that racism can be discussed, but not with “racists.” Canada seems to be full of people who think they should decide who gets to speak and who doesn’t.
How is the police investigation coming along? The press photographers were snapping away and the TV cameras were whirring while the mob destroyed my property and assaulted me, so these must have been some of the best photographed crimes in Halifax history. The detective assigned to my case is going through the legal process of securing the photographic evidence. He knows the media have their eye on this case, and he wants to have everything in order before he makes arrests. In the meantime, members of the web site Stormfront.org have monitored lefties bragging on the Internet about how they shut down a talk by “racist scum,” and have positively identified even some of the louts who wore bandannas. When the police make their move, they will have a mountain of evidence.
Three weeks after the debate that never happened, I am still trying to organize a civilized exchange of views. A philosophy professor at another university in Halifax is willing to step into the ring, and we are looking for an appropriate venue. This time, given the extended publicity the non-debate received, I expect to draw a crowd–and a rather better-behaved one. In the meantime, we have received a great many inquiries from Canada, and subscriptions are rolling in. The authorities are, if anything, even more closed-minded in Canada than in the United States, but the people still see things clearly.
Mush From Divine
Dear Mr. Taylor,
I am disappointed too that the debate had to be cancelled.
As the Dalhousie University statement outlines, it was felt after further reflection and recent coverage of the issues, that the debate as envisaged which was designed to contribute to a dialogue, a conversation, with the prospect of enhancing open discussion and potential for change of opinions and attitudes, would be unlikely to meet that goal.
Instead there was a real possibility of major offence being occasioned which i am sure you or i would not wish to unintentionally be part of. Neither you or i have any control over how individuals or organisations wish to interpret our words and deeds, but i have a duty as far as i am able, to diminish the potential of such parties to take advantage of genuine efforts to enhance understanding of the challenges and opportunities in working with racial diversity, to promote intolerance and hate.
I apologise for any inconvenience caused by the cancellation of your participation in this event.