How Self-Censorship Feeds Extremism | The Weekly Standard

In a Columbus Day scandal for the ages, a measured but provocative essay reconsidering the evils of colonialism got the axe a month after its publication. First, critics of Portland State University political science professor Bruce Gilley’s “The Case for Colonialism” launched a 10,000-signature petition. Then, there were mass resignations from the board at the Third World Quarterly. Next, an apology from the author—and finally, what did it in, per the publisher: “serious and credible threats of personal violence…linked to the publication of this essay.” From whom, they don’t say. 



The fifteen board members who resigned in protest demanded a retraction of the essay, which they claim failed to meet proper standards: “We all subscribe to the principle of freedom of speech and the value of provocation in order to generate critical debate. However, this cannot be done by means of a piece that fails to meet academic standards of rigor and balance by ignoring all manner of violence, exploitation and harm perpetrated in the name…

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