I shouldn’t have to say it, but for the benefit of the cerebrally-deprived I will anyway: I am not a fan of George W Bush — far from it.
But this is ridiculous:
Next week’s appearance by former U.S. president George W. Bush at an event hosted by a local evangelical Christian university has been cancelled.
The decision came Wednesday, the same day three former students launched a petition http://www.tyndale.co/petitionEND urging the university to cancel the speech. On Tuesday, a class valedictorian and professor publicly spoke out against the appearance following the resignation of another staff member.
Bush was scheduled to speak Sept. 20 to about 150 people at an invitation-only breakfast hosted by Tyndale University College and Seminary, home to about 1,400 students at two campuses in Toronto’s north end.
So, the school puts on a little shindig featuring the incoherent gibberish of George W Bush. An exclusive event, meant for an invitation-only audience of about 150 people. “Invitation-only” — meaning nobody will be forced to attend, no virgin ears will be irreparably damaged nor tender psyches shattered by the discordant sound of disagreeable views. The speech will be attended only by those who want to hear Georgie speak, and those who despise the man don’t have to put up with him. That’s what most people would call a win-win. That’s what most people would call free speech.
But not everyone. For a disgruntled few, opting out of the speech wasn’t enough — the choice to attend the speech had to be denied even to those who wanted went to the trouble of getting themselves on the Invite List.
So much for universities being bastions of free thought and free speech. Imposing your choice on someone else, or taking their choice away, isn’t freedom: it’s the ugly face of authoritarianism in all its censorious glory. And in this case, probably hypocrisy of the highest order: I wonder how the Self-Appointed Censors of Tynedale College reacted when it was this guy’s speech being censored.
That said, this engagement has only been public knowledge for a couple of days, so there’s a pretty good chance that the cancellation was just due to a scheduling conflict for The Georgie, not a victory for the Censors. But that doesn’t make the intent any less, which is all that counts.