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University cancels libertarian Charles Murray speech so as not to offend

Libertarian Charles Murray was scheduled to speak at Azusa Pacific University yesterday, April 23, 2014, however the university "postponed" his visit because it was concerned Murray's visit may offend some of the faculty and "students of color." Murray, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is promoting his new book "The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead" which has him speaking across the country as well as making television appearances. Murray is controversial within libertarian circles as some view him as not the best libertarian messenger, however even his libertarian detractors would find Azusa Pacific's cancelling his talk with students highly inappropriate. This must have come as quite the shock to Murray who has two daughters "of color."

Being an evangelical Christian university, it is a wonder Azusa wishes to keep their faculty and students in the dark about libertarian values. Having Murray on a stage during a question and answer session could challenge the trustees who encourage their college students to be celibate until marriage. However, the university has little to fear in exposing their students to Murray or to libertarian ideals. Christianity and libertarianism are highly compatible. The two believe in educating students through private schooling as opposed to government schooling, they both believe in expanding more efficient and effective private social programs and society should be more about voluntarism than force. One of the most widely known libertarians in America is Ron Paul, who is a devoted Christian with unshakable faith.

Libertarianism is also favorable toward "students of color" for which the university seemed so concerned over Murray's visit. Americans "of color" would benefit greatly from libertarian public policy. Most notably is the ending of the drug war that has decimated the young, black population through death and incarceration while robbing them of the prosperity they could have otherwise enjoyed.

Murray responded to the postponement of his speech in this open letter posted on the American Enterprise Institute website:

I was scheduled to speak to you tomorrow. I was going to talk about my new book, “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead,” and was looking forward to it. But it has been “postponed.” Why? An email from your president, Jon Wallace, to my employer, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), said “Given the lateness of the semester and the full record of Dr. Murray’s scholarship, I realized we needed more time to prepare for a visit and postponed Wednesday’s conversation.” This, about an appearance that has been planned for months. I also understand from another faculty member that he and the provost were afraid of “hurting our faculty and students of color.”

You’re at college, right? Being at college is supposed to mean thinking for yourselves, right? Okay, then do it. Don’t be satisfied with links to websites that specialize in libeling people. Lose the secondary sources. Explore for yourself the “full range” of my scholarship and find out what it is that I’ve written or said that would hurt your faculty or students of color. It’s not hard. In fact, you can do it without moving from your chair if you’re in front of your computer.

You don’t have to buy my books. Instead, go to my web page at AEI. There you will find the full texts of dozens of articles I’ve written for the last quarter-century. Browse through them. Will you find anything that is controversial? That people disagree with? Yes, because (hang on to your hats) scholarship usually means writing about things on which people disagree.

The task of the scholar is to present a case for his or her position based on evidence and logic. Another task of the scholar is to do so in a way that invites everybody into the discussion rather than demonize those who disagree. Try to find anything under my name that is not written in that spirit. Try to find even a paragraph that is written in anger, takes a cheap shot, or attacks women, African Americans, Latinos, Asians, or anyone else.

But there’s another way to decide whether you would have been safe in my hands if I had spoken at Azusa Pacific. Go to YouTube and search “Charles Murray.” You will get links to dozens of lectures, panel discussions, and television interviews. You can watch Q&A sessions in which I field questions from students like you, including extremely hostile ones. Watch even for a few minutes. Ask yourself if I insult them or lash out. If I do anything except take their questions seriously and answer them accordingly. Ask yourself if I’m anything more dangerous than an earnest and nerdy old guy.

Azusa Pacific’s administration wants to protect you from earnest and nerdy old guys who have opinions that some of your faculty do not share. Ask if this is why you’re getting a college education.


Charles Murray"

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