Editor’s note: Author Charles Murray was invited to speak at Middlebury College on March 2, 2017. His speech was shouted down by student activists claiming he was racist and anti-gay. The attack that followed his departure from the lecture hall is described in a March 4 post by political science Prof. Matthew Dickinson on “Presidential Power,” a Middlebury College blog:
“When Murray, [Professor Allison] Stanger and [Communications Director Bill] Burger, accompanied by school security, attempted to leave the building and go to the car that would take them to dinner, a crowd formed to block their path. During the ensuing shoving, Stanger was grabbed by the hair and her neck twisted with such force she eventually went to the local hospital to be treated for whiplash. (She is home now and recovering.) Although they made it into the car, the crowd prevented them from easily leaving, with people leaning on the hood and climbing on top. Eventually, after nearly running over a stop sign someone had displaced in front of the car, they managed to break free and head toward the campus location for dinner. When they arrived, however, rumors began circulating that the raucous protesters were on their way to shut that down too, so the small dinner group relocated to a nearby private restaurant, where Murray dined and conversed with more than a dozen Middlebury students and faculty late into the night.”
An Irasburg man and Vermont Daily Chronicle reader and commenter recently submitted this first-person account of participating in the attack. He claims Vermont Antifa figures were involved with the attack.
by Scott Norman Rosenthal
This document, recalling the attack on author Charles Murray at Middlebury College, is based on what I’m best able to recollect. Central to this document are descriptions of events of several years ago. Pseudonyms are used.
Antifa has organized riots, looting, and the silencing of dissenting voices. I participated in the aforementioned demonstration to silence Charles Murray at Middlebury College several years ago. The demonstration was violent. I resolved immediately afterward that I was ashamed of myself and refused to again participate in such.
“After the lecture, when Mr. Murray emerged, the crowd tried to block him from reaching the vehicle sent to drive him. The crowd was whipped up into angry physical aggression. The vehicle was blocked and attacked. I myself pounded on a window with a metal and plastic mug. The windows were heavily tinted and appeared to be made of special security glass.” – Scott Norman Rosenthal
I’ve been in danger of my life several times over Civil Disobedience. My disability was a factor several times. I didn’t go through all of that in order to suppress freedom of speech. Simply labeling what criticizes you as “hate speech” doesn’t give an excuse to violently suppress dissenting voices.
Actually, I’d renounced violence for political change about 25 or more years ago. Violence simply isn’t how I’m resolved to act.
Not everyone at the demonstration herein described was “Antifa”. Antifa is a networking of hardcore people who organize and instigate violence in the name of fighting “fascism” which means anything they oppose, from the existence of police to opposing puberty blockers for children. Numerous prominent trans people now oppose such abuse of children. Antifa has increased efforts to suppress all dissent and stifle any questioning.
I also realized that I hadn’t read any of what Charles Murray has published. I acted on what was told to me by Anthony White and Lyle Tanner, former friends. I vaguely recall a brief review of Mr. Murray’s work. I read that review about 45 or 50 years ago. I wonder how many others at the demonstration had actually read Mr. Murray’s own words.
I traveled to the demonstration with White and Tanner, Marxists and transgender activists. I’ve been acquainted with White since they used a different name, back in 1987. It should be noted that a lawyer has contacted me to state that White is trans but not a trans activist. In this case the distinction doesn’t withstand, even semantically.
More recently, a mob in Burlington sought to disrupt actual discussion of BDS. In Chester the board was harassed and threatened over the Chester Library’s hesitation to hold “Drag Queen Story Hour.” Charles Murray was more recently “canceled” at Middlebury College, as was journalist Andy Ngo at Dartmouth College. This is to prevent examination of facts and formation of valid opinion, and to simply control what people think.
To reach Middlebury College we drove down the western side of Vermont. I recall noting the massiveness of the Adirondacks, which I’d never seen.
We arrived at Middlebury College before the crowd had gathered, quite some time previous to the start of the lecture. I’d been informed by White and Tanner that Murray’s ideas had long been discredited. It was habitual for White to state that discussion was unnecessary as a question had already been settled. E.g. the situation of transwomen’s participation in women’s sports. Now the reaction, the “pushback,” against such unfairness is gaining ground. Thankfully so. Even Caitlin Jenner and Erica Anderson have raised objections to excesses. Jenner has condemned it. That is honest, not “transphobic”.
Yet White insisted years ago that the question shouldn’t be discussed as it had been settled. This is another example of the very real phenomena of “cancel culture.”
I had been informed that disabled people were stated by Murray to be inferior. I’m male, of Eastern European Jewish descent. However, I have a neuro-metabolic disability. Often called an “invisible” disability.
As stated, I’m setting forth this narrative as best is recalled. After Mr. Murray arrived, police escorted him into the building. The crowd remained outside, growing restless. People climbed to the window ledges of the building. One man was ordered from the campus by a police officer. I didn’t see what he did. The policewoman told him to leave the campus and not to return. He left, walking into the evening.
After the lecture, when Mr. Murray emerged, the crowd tried to block him from reaching the vehicle sent to drive him. The crowd was whipped up into angry physical aggression. The vehicle was blocked and attacked. I myself pounded on a window with a metal and plastic mug. The windows were heavily tinted and appeared to be made of special security glass.
Afterwards I reflected on my actions. About 25 years ago I disavowed violent revolution as an effective way of solving this country’s problems. That night at Middlebury College I had allowed myself to be drawn into a mob mentality. That’s when I also realized that I hadn’t actually read Charles Murray’s work.
While we mingled with the crowd outside the building, I asked if anyone knew where I might find an available restroom. By then it was darker out. A young woman showed me to the facilities and mentioned to me the “Icarus Project” for and of survivors of the psychiatric system. Subsequently the Icarus Project has been taken completely taken over by “woke” and renamed the “Fireweed Collective.” It is typical of the “woke” to change the name and logo after taking over a project, non-profit corporation, etc. They did it to my own unincorporated project, the “Phantom Rose Express”. Otherwise this valid, recognized alternative volunteer service project would now be incorporated. These are the totalitarian tactics employed.
The goal of all of this is to prevent people thinking for themselves or even being informed of the actual nature of what it is against which they are demonstrating. Inciting mobs with lies and emotional appeals has long been a tactic of fascism, from both right and left. This is totalitarianism.
“The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant.”—Maximilien Robespierre.
The author is an Irasburg resident.