The London School Of Extremism
A policy of free speech at all costs, even if it means incitement to hate, terror and violence, is an irresponsibly dangerous thing. Yet at least one might be able to respect the commitment to the principle behind such a policy. No such respect then is due to the London School of Economics. Under the guise of operating a free speech policy, it has opened its doors to countless hate speakers only to slam them tightly shut in the face of speakers that might offend certain benefactors and key constituencies on its campus.
Earlier this week the LSE German Society was scheduled to hold its annual symposium, the panel was to debate on the subject of multiculturalism and the integration of Germany’s immigrant communities. Included among the panellists was Dr Thilo Sarrazin, author of the controversial book ‘Germany Abolishes Itself’, or as The Independent described him, the ‘anti-Semitic Banker’. True, Sarrazin is a former executive of the German Central Bank. But the rest is utterly fallacious.
Curious how The Independent seems to rarely trouble itself with other genuinely anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hate speakers that regularly find their way onto Britain’s University campuses. When the speaker is perceived to be of the Right however, well then it’s a different story it would seem.
As it was Dr Sarrazin and the other panellists never found their way onto the LSE campus because at the last minute the University cancelled the event claiming that there would be a security risk and that they could not guarantee that the event would proceed in an orderly fashion or that ‘free speech could be ensured for all participants’. So instead LSE decided to ensure that there would be no free speech for any of the participants. The idea that the small rabble of Leftist and Muslim protestors that had gathered outside the lecture theatre posed any real threat is simply farcical.
What makes the LSE’s decision so troubling is that when considered in light of the Universities track record a rather shameful pattern emerges. For instance when the anti-Western, pro-Terrorist, anti-Semitic newspaper editor Abdl Bari Atwan came to the LSE the university authorities boldly announced that they would be championing Atwan’s right to free speech despite the flurry of complaints they received about the event going ahead.
Similarly the LSE felt compelled to bravely guard the right of Colonel Gaddafi to openly speak his mind to their students via satellite video, regardless of his multitude of horrendous human rights abuses against his own people and his decades of sponsoring international terrorism. Same story when members of the now outlawed pro-terror group Al-Mujaharoun came to call.
Yet when it was the turn of the pro-Israel and anti-Islamist writer Douglas Murray to come and speak at LSE following Israel’s war in Gaza, LSE announced that it would be unable to ensure security. Why is it then that when those who champion murder and violence wish to speak at the LSE the red carpet is rolled out but that when those who speak out against extremism and terror are scheduled to visit well then the invitation is unequivocally revoked? What kind of twisted version of free speech is that?
LSE is sending out the message loud and clear; make anti-Semitic and pro-terrorist statements and we’ll mumble something about free speech and look the other way, but say things Leftists and Islamists don’t want to hear and you’ll be stopped in your tracks. With this ever worsening record on who it permits to speak from its platform and who it turns away, with Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh among its alumni, it’s only fitting that the LSE should have earned itself the title, the London School of Extremism.
Tom Wilson is a Contributing Writer for The Propagandist