Quebec Government Deplatforms Daniel Weinstock (updated)
Daniel Weinstock, a philosopher on the Faculty of Law at McGill University and director of the McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy, was disinvited by the Quebec government from speaking at a meeting about reforming the mandatory ethics and religious culture course taught in the province’s schools.
Professor Weinstock was falsely described earlier this week in a Le Journal de Montreal column by writer Richard Martineau as having expressed support for a type of “symbolic” form of “female circumcision.” Martineau criticized the Quebec government for inviting Weinstock to speak at the meeting. Shortly after the column’s publication, Quebec’s education minister, Jean-François Roberge, cancelled Weinstock’s appearance at the meeting.
Weinstock has not supported female circumcision, not even in its “Seattle Compromise” form. He told CTV: “I think that no compromise should be made with female genital cutting at all.” Martineau apparently mistook Weinstock’s description of a position regarding female circumcision for advocacy of it.
Yesterday, the columinst, Martineau, admitted that is column was inaccurate, but refused to apologize, according to CTV.
Despite being made aware of the inaccuracy, education minister Roberge refused to reinstate Weinstock’s invitation to speak at the meeting, which is taking place today.
UPDATE (2/24/20): Roberge apologizes to Weinstock.
What idiots. Roberge should resign immediately.Report
Shame on Roberge. And what a ghastly precedent he’s trying to set. If you can get uninvited for one straight-up lie from one partisan hack, then all academics are vulnerable.Report
It’s almost as if the culture of disinviting people for ever so slighter disagreements and objections someone might have has negative unintended consequencesReport
I know! Who’d have thought that telling people that they’re born as privileged sinners and that their only road to redemption and self-worth lies in calling out a certain form of evil would, in a society in which that evil is steadily decreasing, lead them to search harder and harder for targets, and then denounce anything in the vicinity more and more demandingly, out of all proportion to what was actually done?
And who would ever have guessed that this trend would be worsened by a general social norm of treating those who oppose such call-outs as enemies of society? Who would have imagined that subjectivizing the criteria for offense and treating A’s mere outrage against B as grounds for action against B would have made any of this any worse?Report
You know that the provincial government is conservative, right? And that Weinstock doesn’t actually hold the view attributed to him (he actually believes the opposite)?
Just checking. I wouldn’t want that information to get lost in the shuffle.Report
You’d think that the problem of a misfired call out might be distinct from whatever problems call out culture might have. But the two are related.
The current culture doesn’t just target people who actually defend the wrong position, it will inevitably end up also targeting people who present the wrong position and the arguments in favour of it before showing why these arguments don’t succeed. Perhaps, there are some positions which can never be rationally held. Nevertheless any intellectually serious treatment of these positions must grapple with the arguments that have been made on their behalf.
However, when you view everything as an expression of the power wielded by the privileged, then even the arguments defending the wrong position are just further exercises in oppression. Then even presenting those arguments even if only to refute then later is morally suspect.Report