Travis Rowley: Progressives: Liars By Religion and Trade

Saturday, November 02, 2013


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“Our goal was for the lecture to be canceled from the beginning.” – Brown Student Protester

Following in the tradition of radical campus politics, student protesters at Brown University this week managed to once again infiltrate, disrupt, and terminate an organized discussion with New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly – the man in charge of implementing the City’s controversial “stop-and-frisk” policy.

For anyone who was wondering about the current condition of Brown’s infamously radicalized campus, they can rest assured that the most dangerous of ethical lessons is still being instilled – that is, that moral standards may be suspended if one finds an issue to be important enough; that life’s rules don’t necessarily apply if you count yourself among society’s intellectual and moral elites; that one’s moral outrage and/or victim status is enough to warrant dishonesty and double standards.

No matter how much time lapses between high-profile controversies, and no matter how much lip service Brown administrators are currently offering to the principle of open dialogue, the “leftist ethic” is what still reigns supreme on top of College Hill.

Living With Themselves

My personal undergraduate experience at Brown University was also marred by incidents similar to what occurred this week. I had to agree with the high-profile, lesbian-feminist professor Camille Paglia when she observed about my alma mater, “Brown is the most viciously intolerant campus that I ever visited as a lecturer.”

And it certainly came as no surprise to me when in 2003 Richard Perle – a known advocate and architect of the Iraq War – was forced to hurdle insults and interruptions by anti-war protesters attending a University-sponsored public affairs conference.

When these “liberals” – people who defend the concept of professorial tenure on the grounds of free speech absolutism – were faced with criticism for their hypocrisy, they defended their actions by simply informing everyone of just how intolerable they found Mr. Perle to be. “Must this form of protest be absolutely condemned no matter who the speaker is, no matter what the speaker has done or plans to do,” argued Brown Professor of English William Keach. Keach also went on to say, “Such disruptive protest can be morally and politically justified in some situations,” if for no other reason than other activists may have been “strengthened by this show of defiance” or “took heart from reports of these protests.”

That’s how simple it is for progressives to silence anyone they consider to be a threat, to maintain their dignity, and to be able to live with themselves later on: Simply express severe moral outrage.

This week the Brown protesters screamed, “Racism is not for debate!”

Off Campus

This radicalism hardly confines itself to our academic playgrounds. The leftist ethic runs straight through the Left, including the Democratic Party and its progressive network – exhibited most recently by how many Democrats can’t seem to find anything wrong with President Obama selling his signature healthcare bill by falsely insisting again and again, “If you like your current insurance plan, you can keep your plan.”

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D) may have come closest to an admission of dishonesty on Obama’s part: “We knew that there would be some [insurance] policies that would not qualify and therefore people would be required to get more extensive coverage…I don’t think [Obama’s] message was wrong. I think the message was accurate. It was not precise enough . . . [It] should have been caveated with ’assuming you have a policy that in fact does do what the bill is designed to do.’”

Democrats thought “healthcare” was important enough to lie.

Two years ago Richard Tomlins, a former Democratic candidate for Mayor of Cranston, was caught blasting out a patently misleading RoboCall to Cranston voters – a recording that falsely informed Cranston voters that Mayor Allan Fung (R) intended to “[remove] twelve million dollars” out of the Cranston public school system in order to fund a “private charter school,” and that Cranston “taxes would increase by between 6 and 8 percent per year.” While Tomlins’ lie reached 78% of Cranston households, he stubbornly maintained that he was “proud as [he] could ever be.” Why? Because it gave him the “opportunity to bring out what’s really wrong with education” and that he got “the public interested in education.”

Tomlins found “education” important enough to lie.

Liberal Elites

The most laughable defense of the Brown protesters came from Steve Ahlquist,’s top atheist agitator – who just several weeks ago criticized Providence College for “rescind[ing] an invitation to philosopher John Corvino of Wayne State University because his lecture would be in support of marriage equality.”

Ahlquist lamented over the fact that PC’s actions could “only be called a blow to academic freedom and intellectual inquiry.”

Seemingly on a mission to confirm just how unprincipled progressives truly are, this week Ahlquist penned a column – hilariously titled “Why We Shouldn’t Listen to Ray Kelly” – that compared the Brown militants’ actions to the civil disobedience of Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

Funny, I don’t remember Ahlquist offering Providence College such a flattering comparison. Oh, I forgot: Liberals decide which causes are just, and which are violations of conscience.

Reminiscent of Tomlins and Keach, Ahlquist justified the silencing of Kelly within a prepared academic setting by reminding everyone that “had the protesters been polite and well-mannered, the story would have been buried deep inside the ProJo.”

I guess media attention is now important enough to violate Ahlquist’s revered principles of “academic freedom and intellectual inquiry.”

Ahlquist would add, “The views of Kelly’s opponents…are less likely to be given national press and airtime. By being uncouth and civilly disobedient, Kelly’s opponents got their message out: We don’t tolerate racism in Rhode Island.”

“Racism is not for debate!”

License to Lie

Entirely oblivious to the Left’s embarrassing history of policing political speech, Ahlquist suggested during the PC controversy that conservatives must be “afraid of the truth,” and that would explain why they object so vehemently to outspoken progressives.

“Why do so many conservative voices worry about the comparatively few voices, like mine, that advocate for reason, naturalism and secularism,” Ahlquist asked after several conservative commentators merely countered opinions that Ahlquist had already broadcast to the public.

With all the oblivion we should now expect from atheist progressives, Ahlquist decided that being criticized by conservatives is solid evidence that their “faith is weaker than they pretend it is” and that they are “plagued by doubts.” According to Ahlquist, “Religious believers secretly worry that atheists might just be right, and that there really is no God.”

This week, rather than observing just how easy it could have been for the protesters to showcase the “racism” that Kelly overtly represents simply by allowing him to speak, Ahlquist ironically praised their decision to obstruct a competing perspective – truly appearing as if they are “plagued by doubts” and that “their faith is weaker than they pretend it is.”

Ahlquist argued this week that “this was an action of people exercising their own free speech rights. Kelly’s views are easily and readily available; he has stood before a microphone more often than not during any given waking hour.”

Funny, I don’t recall Ahlquist defending Providence College several weeks ago on the grounds that Corvino’s views were “easily and readily available” to anyone who may find the time to Google them. As Ahlquist reminded everyone, Corvino “is a nationally known proponent of LGBTQ rights, and frequently engages in friendly debates with marriage equality opponents.”

Behold, the intellectual inconsistency that progressives license themselves to employ.

What happened at Brown University this week should not be mistaken for an isolated incident of radical teenage politics. Rather, this is the disease that haunts the entire Democratic complex. It is time people understand that progressives are liars by religion and trade.

Travis Rowley ( is the author of The RI Republican: An Indictment of the Rhode Island Left.


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