Bill Maher, Richard Dawkins blast leftists for 'betrayal' of free speech

James Mietus
Campus Reform Intern

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  • The personalities focussed particularly on free speech on college campuses during the Oct. 2 episode of Real Time with Bill Maher.
  • Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins joined comedian Bill Maher on Real Time with Bill Maher on October 2 where they took a brief break from their anti-religion polemic to decry hypocrisy on the Left regarding free speech.

    The two personalities narrowed in on free speech on college campuses.

    “If you only ever get exposed to ideas you agree with, what kind of university would that be?”   

    Dawkins denounced “regressive leftists” at Warwick University who “disinvited” human rights activist Maryam Namazie from speaking to the student union. Namazie, an ex-Muslim who fled Iran in 1980 after the Iranian Revolution, is a vocal critic of Islam and university administration was fearful that her talk would offend Muslims.

    “If you only ever get exposed to ideas you agree with, what kind of university would that be?” asked Dawkins.

    Maher has also endured attempts to disinvite him from speaking on campuses in the past over his remarks, which are deemed controversial by those on the right and left. A petition to disinvite him from delivering the Fall 2014 commencement address at University of California Berkeley, Dawkins’s alma mater, failed to sway administrators but received over 6,000 signatures.

    Dawkin was heavily involved in the Free Speech Movement as a professor at Berkeley in the 1960s and said “denying people the right to speak on campuses” was a “betrayal.”

    Dawkins and Maher, both outspoken critics of religion, provided demonstrations of the rhetoric that makes both figures lightning rods to controversy. Maher condemned fellow liberals for condemning misogyny while giving Islam a “free pass” when “a woman [is] forced to wear a beekeeper suit in the hot sun all day.”

    Maher especially criticized what he called a tendency to brand criticism of Islam as racist or, “at worst, an Islamophobe.”

    Dawkins added, “Oh that’s their culture...well, to hell with their culture.”

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    James Mietus

    James Mietus

    Campus Reform Intern

    James Mietus is Campus Reform's fall 2015 intern. He worked in consulting and policy research before joining the internship program at the Leadership Institute.

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