The next hour was migraine-inducing. Chants of âracist, sexist, K.K.K., Charles Murray go away,â indecipherable shouting, earsplitting cellphone alarms and âThe Imperial March,â Darth Vaderâs theme in âStar Wars,â drowned out his words.
At one point during that chaotic hour, a university spokesman, Rick Fitzgerald, took to the stage. He called on the protesters to stop shutting down the speaker or further measures would be taken. The boorish behavior continued. Further measures were never taken.
At several points during the inaudible lecture, protesters turned off the lights and displayed a projection with the words âwhite supremacistâ on the wall with an arrow, pointing down at Mr. Murray. Others held signs: âWe punch white supremacists!â and âNazis go away.â Over a dozen University of Michigan police officers stood by. No one was removed from the event.
Finally, after some 45 minutes of pandemonium, which included a graduate student protester taking to the stage and co-opting the lectern from Mr. Murray, the protesters marched out of the event en masse. Mr. Murray spent the remainder of his time lecturing on what he was invited to speak about: The 2016 election and how we got stuck with President Trump, whom Mr. Murray fiercely opposes.
The argument of Mr. Murrayâs latest book is that the nation is âcoming apart at the seamsâ largely because of class. The elites and the people of âflyover country,â as he refers to it, have diverged so far that they barely recognize their underlying American kinship.
Something very similar can be said of college campuses like my own. What last nightâs reaction to Mr. Murray demonstrates so powerfully is that they are coming apart as well, not over class but over a deep intellectual intolerance for any voice that falls to the right of the center. âThe reason universities exist is so we can have calm, logical exchanges about…