Today's discussion:

As war rages, we’re standing in the crumbling ruins of the academic Left

Certain people and groups in the West have been bellowing about the return of "fascism" for a good many years now. I doubt there has been a single major conservative figure over the past twenty years or so who has not been called a Nazi or a fascist. So it was something of a shock to see the Nazi-noticers cheering on the largest mass murder of Jews in a single day since the Holocaust.

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Mark Johnson

I hope this marks a much needed and long overdue turning point against the nihilist ideas and methods of radical left wing students and academics on campuses.

23rd October 2023 at 9:02 am
Luke Smith – deputy editor, The Hub

Nihilism is a good word for it. “Burn it all down” rhetoric is catchy and provocative, but people either don’t stop and consider what all will be caught in the flames, or they do and sincerely spout it anyway, in which case they are not worth being guided by. Many are now being forced into confrontation with what this means in practice. Hopefully they reject the nihilism of it and represents a turning point, as you say.

23rd October 2023 at 3:02 pm

We should not be overly surprised at the academic left’s moral imbecility. It is consistent with their post-modernist claim that there is no objective morality or, In fact no such thing as objective truth – just subjective “narratives” from groups competing for power. It is difficult to see how this differs from nihilism.

23rd October 2023 at 7:16 am
Gary Oxenforth

For years now the radical left has infiltrated our institutes of learning and governance.

23rd October 2023 at 11:08 am

I am increasingly uneasy about the Hub’s approach to the situation in Israel/Gaza. I go to the Hub because I trust it do serious analysis that gets beyond the narrow ideological left/right tick responses that people have on issues. I know the Hub is conservative, and so am I to an extent, but it has been good at uncovering the complexities of situations here in Canada.
Not so in the Middle East apparently. Nothing to be seen here about the vast, generations-old conflict that the Middle East now is, how both Palestinians and Jews have deep, bitter and valid reasons for their anger, and how these generational resentments among thoughtful, well-meaning Palestinians and Jews, breeds terrorism on the fringes, leading us ever deeper into the quagmire. This is a mess, but if the Hub is to be believed, if we could just punish Hamas and Hezbollah, the Middle East would return to its paradisal state of happiness and shalom.
Of course Hamas needs to be punished; of course left-wing academics and union-leaders have been exposed for what they are; but lets get past these gotcha articles and get on with some serious analysis of what has brought the Middle East to this point, and what are some serious, viable options going forward for justice, order, restitution, forgiveness and economic growth for all parties involved. To do that, I am afraid the Hub will to have to sit down to listen to serious, Palestinian, Arab perspectives on Israel, without implying that this equals supporting Hamas terrorism.

23rd October 2023 at 4:35 pm
Veronique Miljkovitch

There is a huge difference between” cheering on the largest mass murder of Jews” and protesting the killing of innocent civilians. This kind of rhetoric is simply appalling and will lead us straight into more violence

23rd October 2023 at 10:35 am
Michael F

Nuance isn’t their strong suit here. And not a peep about the IDF assassination of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh or any of the violence committed against Palestinians in the West Bank.

23rd October 2023 at 12:56 pm
Alisha Rao – content coordinator (The Hub)

Runners-up would include myriad tenured academics who rationalized the atrocities on Twitter with the phrase “decolonization is not a metaphor,” as well as Zareena Grewal, an American-studies professor at Yale, who took to Twitter to announce that “settlers are not civilians,” so as to imply that it was right for Hamas to kill Israeli civilians.

This reminds me of Howard Anglin’s piece where he describes the ‘harder edge’ of decolonization and how a hardcore faction like Hamas takes the word’s meaning literally. I think the left is facing a conundrum where events become confused and entangled in semantics and that lead to rather divided views on the war and inadvertently or explicitly supporting violence against civilians.

23rd October 2023 at 6:08 pm

Many valid points marred by gross generalizations and misleading statements. This lack of nuance makes adherents of both the far left and the far right idiotic and moronic (name calling not usually my forte but hey, when in Rome…).

Here’s a generalization for you : your average conservative folk does not know the difference between socialist and communist ideologies, just as your average liberal folk does not know the difference between libertarian and fascist ideologies. Knowingly exploiting this lack of knowledge with 3 word slogans creates divisiveness rather than dialogue.

I agree the cancel culture has never been helpful, and even harmful, in exorcizing whatever demons we’re trying to tame. But I find it a bit rich that the author alludes to Antifa’s “alarming violence”, when we know that a large majority of mass murders are demonstrably perpetrated by individuals who got hooked by the far right’s conspiracy theories.

Israel’s response to Hamas’ massacre is understandable. But I can’t help thinking a more centrist Israeli government might’ve led to peace talks sooner, thereby avoiding thousands of innocents’ deaths and a full scale war.

Unfortunately, warring is an extremist game, and we’re dealing with extremists.

23rd October 2023 at 5:25 pm
John Trainor

This takeover from the inside has been well planned since the 60’s and has grown in absurdity as the left has gained influence…..a simple example shows how infrastructure are stiffled and influenced at the municipal level…..generally if a town wants to upgrade the sewer/water system for the benefit of local taxpayers the cost is covered by a 3 way agreement……municipal taxes, provincial and federal grants… order to force municipalities to ‘get on board’ with climate change, the province and feds threatened to withold funding….in other words the reality of overflowing broken sewers gave way to the ideological nonsense that .04% of C02 in the atmosphere drives the climate more than clouds and sunshine.

23rd October 2023 at 5:17 pm
Dan Brown

Abhorrent. To say those expressing understanding of the underlying causes leading to the terrorist attack on unsuspecting Jews, or asking Israel to look be careful in its response, are cheering for evil, is despicable.
Nobody reading this entity’s articles could possibly miss the unapologetically pro-Israeli stance, a position so emphatically embraced it has excluded any allowance of compassion for the Palestinians caught in the crossfire. It was even noted that these civilians, unlike their Israeli counterparts, have courted and earned their fate.
Reiterating, repeatedly, the right of Israelis to fight for their survival and freedoms but remaining silent on the plight of the Palestinians for the same.
I am one of those leftists you speak of. I do understand there is more going on here than meets the eye. I do not condone the actions of Hamas; but I cannot call Israel innocent.
I have, until these last two weeks, enjoyed this publication. I did value it for it!s content and point of view. But no more. As of this article I am finished with it. You are every bit as repugnant as those you seek to expose.
I will unsubscribe from what has become more odious and insidious than I can support.

23rd October 2023 at 4:11 pm
Michael F

I don’t think you should leave. I too have been disappointed by a lot of the writing here but people need to stay engaged in thoughtful debate and not just focus on media they agree with. Be here to call out the ideological blinders these people wear and the hypocrisy that gets spouted.

23rd October 2023 at 5:29 pm

The “underlying causes” liberal pops in to embarrass their entire family. Keep squawking bud. The utility of free speech has never been more evident than the last two weeks.

23rd October 2023 at 7:39 pm
Michael F

Because everything is black and white in the reductionist world of conservatives isn’t it?

24th October 2023 at 1:25 am
Dan Brown

Oh yeah, I forgot- crickets in the ‘preemptive’ strikes, or, let’s be honest, criminal and unjust, attacks by Israel on Lebanon. Hamas harms Israeli citizens and the Hub goes postal. Israel attacks Lebanon and those civilians are left ignored.
The left may have become a confused and out-of-touch bunch, but the right has used its own power and influence and self-indulgence to frustrate and drive the left to its current state.
In their pursuit of power and influence the intellectuals on both sides have been stunningly reluctant to ask fools to sit down.

23rd October 2023 at 4:27 pm
Amal Attar-Guzman – Content Editor, The Hub

“When making the local Starbucks into a “safe space” became more important than fair wages for employees and fair taxes paid to governments…”

This is one thing that tends to be present in academic leftists circles. While yes, it can be worthwhile to provide lip service for those who historically have not been permitted to safely operate or even participate in public spaces, there is nonetheless this tendency to miss bigger issues at play that actually impact wide ranges of people. That is especially the case when it comes to present economic challenges, from housing to the cost of living crisis. I would further point out that not only do you see this in university circles, but one can even see this dynamic shift in current, left-leaning politics. While sentiments may be nice, they come out as performative if there is no reasonable, action-based policies to back it up.

23rd October 2023 at 3:59 pm
Stuart Thomson, editor-in-chief

Michael touches on this briefly in his piece and I am also curious what happened to all the old-school, class-based leftists. The relatively new emphasis on identity seems to have overwhelmed the movement. I wonder if this is a genuine ideological shift for the Left, or if there is a silent majority of progressives who are uncomfortable with the identity rhetoric. Ed Broadbent seemed to hint at this in his recent interview with us, but no one is exactly screaming it from the rooftops.

23rd October 2023 at 3:07 pm
Lorraine DeVanthey

Leftist fascism is Critical Race Theory in action or, as they like to call it, praxis. What did they think would happen, assuming they think?

23rd October 2023 at 12:51 pm
Peter Byrne

‘Stupid is as stupid does.” – Forrest Gump

23rd October 2023 at 12:31 pm
Rob Tyrrell

Some unchecked human beings will seek power by whatever means at their disposal. It is a tale as old as humanity. The organization or group in which they find themselves, or sought out, is just the, often ironic, means to grow and exercise their power. The language of political left or right, religion, or nationalism, often serve effectively as rhetorical trappings to attract available followers.

Such followers will be initially seduced by a seeming righteous cause but too often become all too willing to surrender rational thought while reveling in the invigorating exercise of what feels like righteous power (see China’s Cultural Revolution for an example at a horrific national scale). When “successful”, dissent in the organization/group/country becomes too risky and the inevitable mindless orthodoxy leads to bizarre proclamations such as those after the indefensible terrorist attack of Oct 7. Left unchecked, violence is inevitable.

Open, civil, fair, and democratic societies that value a free market of ideas, of which universities should be the epitome, are best positioned to keep such power-seekers in a place commensurate with the quality and appeal of their “ideas”. That is, forever at the very margins.

23rd October 2023 at 10:09 am

Well said Mr. Bonner.

23rd October 2023 at 7:40 pm
Whitmore Gene (Joe)

In Canada we have been isolated from the on going issues in the Middle East even though many of us lost relatives in the last world war. Freedom is once again at stake unfortunately we didn’t keep the younger people up to date with history.Such a gross attack upon democracy can not be tolerated again the simple activity of the pro palistinian protests are concerning in response the Jewish community we’re collecting everything to support the people of Israel

23rd October 2023 at 4:59 pm
Len Wiseman

I am amazed at the furor over the natural response of the audience to an accidental trick of disinformation. Certainly it would nice if all guests could be researched adequately to prevent such an embarrassment; however, not many Canadians would know enough history to distinguish who fought for which of the several Ukrainian military factions, some anti-Nazi, some pro.

23rd October 2023 at 2:03 pm
Paul Crawford

“Dammed if you Do, Dammed if you Don’t.” Speech & Silence are both Violent??????????????????????????????

23rd October 2023 at 9:47 am