Sunday, June 03, 2018

Never Too Young To Master Personal Attacks And Voter Manipulation


Guardian |  Niall Ferguson, the conservative British historian and political commentator, has resigned from a key position on a US university free speech programme after leaked emails revealed that he urged a group of Republican students to conduct “opposition research” on a leftwing student.

Ferguson had been serving in a senior leadership role on the Cardinal Conversations, a Stanford University programme that has given a platform to contentious speakers including Charles Murray, the controversial social scientist who has claimed that black and Latino genetics are linked to intellectual inferiority.

The leaked emails, which first appeared in the Stanford Daily newspaper, revealed that, following a backlash against Murray’s appearance, the Sunday Times columnist urged conservative students to conduct “some opposition research on Mr O” – a reference to a leftwing activist student at Stanford, Michael Ocon.

After the emails were published last Thursday, Ferguson said he regretted his actions but explained that he had been “deeply concerned” that Stanford’s student steering committee was in danger of “being taken over by elements that were fundamentally hostile to free speech”.

In one email sent to various conservative students, including John Rice-Cameron, the president of Stanford College Republicans and the son of Susan Rice, a former national security adviser to Barack Obama, Ferguson confides: “Now we turn to the more subtle game of grinding them down on the committee. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

“Unite against the [social justice warriors],” he instructed students in another email, urging them “to bury whatever past differences they may have for the common good”.

Rice-Cameron replies: “Slowly, we will continue to crush the left’s will to resist, as they will crack under pressure.”

Murray spoke on 22 February after students had complained to the university’s president, Marc Tessier-Lavigne, and expressed their disapproval at his inclusion in the debate series.

“Murray’s history of racism and using pseudo-science to further racist ideas is deeply disturbing,” read the letter from Students for a Sustainable Stanford.