Andrew Lawton

McMaster “Tolerating Intolerance” event canceled because of intolerance of ideas

The Monty Python troupe couldn’t have written a better headline.

A Hamilton, Ont. free speech event has been canceled due to “concerns about the safety of the event.”

McMaster University was to play host to the panel, titled “Tolerating Intolerance: A Discussion on Free Speech.”

The event was canceled by its organizers, the anti-poverty group Overcome the Gap, who said in a statement that “it would be difficult to convene the civil balanced discourse we were hoping to have on this important issue.”

Two of the three panelists had arranged travel from out of the province, to address the themes of free speech and open discussion from the time of Mao to the present day.

I haven’t even seen evidence of any large-scale campaigns to have the event canceled, prompting me to fear that just a few complaints were enough.

When three professors of history, philosophy and psychology are deemed to pose a danger to the fabric of a university campus, there isn’t much else to say.

I’ve offered to moderate the discussion in London, or in another city, if the participants are interested. Unlike the organizers of this event, I won’t back down.

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