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HE ORDERS the fish and chips; I settle for a cup of coffee.
The waitress leaves with our order and Jared Taylor leans back, catching his breath.
“The media scrum gave you a pretty rough time back there,” I remark.
He shrugs and smiles.
“That was the only time I saw you rattled,” I press him. “When that TV reporter asked you whether you’d ever had gone out with a person of colour, you were rattled.”
“I was annoyed,” he corrects. “There are certain things I wouldn’t talk about, like my eating habits and my bowel habits.”
It’s been a long Tuesday morning for this controversial American magazine editor and self-styled race realist.
This is the second time in as many months Jared Taylor has been invited to Halifax to debate racial diversity.
It’s his contention that nations like Canada, which promote racial harmony, are deluding themselves. This man believes strongly that racial diversity is a weakness and shouldn’t be encouraged because it leads to social unrest and violence.
He feels people should be free of government interference, free to make their own associations. He says forced integration flies in the face of the reality we’re all tribal in nature and prefer the company of those like ourselves.
Twice now, he’s had the rug pulled from under him when he’s tried to speak at a Halifax university.
The first time was in January at Dalhousie University. The second was this week, when he flew in to debate racial diversity with Saint Mary’s University philosophy professor Peter March, another champion of free speech but with the opposing view.
In the end, the two men squared off on radio station AM 920/CJCH with Hotline host Rick Howe moderating.
The 90-minute event was very civilized and ended in what felt like a draw. Now it’s lunchtime and Jared and I are back at his downtown hotel, where Peter has dropped us.
“I don’t understand why people are intent on demonizing me,” says the 55-year-old father of two daughters.
He tells me these two trouble-plagued trips to Halifax are the only visits he’s ever made to Canada. He says he has spoken on hundreds of radio stations and numerous campuses in the U.S. without any trouble.
“I’m not treated like the devil incarnate like I am here,” he says.
“It must really get to you after a while,” I reply.
He nods. “It’s wearing to be constantly treated as a moral defective.”
“So why put yourself through it?”
The Virginian confesses that he doesn’t enjoy doing it but plugs away because he feels it must be done.
“I’m an entirely ordinary man who cares because, ultimately, our civilization depends on it.”
He asks me my opinion of the debate.
I tell him I came away confused. “Peter March would make a case for racial diversity and I’d agree with it wholeheartedly. But then you’d say something and I could recognize myself in your anti-diversity argument.”
I tell Jared that, being from England, it was difficult not to bring some of my tribal European attitudes with me when I came to Canada, 40-odd years ago. Most of them didn’t last long.
“I came to realize that Canada truly represents the best chance this world has of creating a decent society where everyone can get along.”
“But why risk it?” he interjects. “What if it doesn’t work? You had a delightful white society here.”
But it can work, I persist. “I spent six years in Fort McMurray. Thousands of us came from all over Canada and all over the world. We were all equal and we all got along just fine. We worked side by side and we built a city from nothing.”
“Was it all white people or mostly white people?” he asks.
I think back. “Nearly all white.”
“Would it have worked if it had been 20 per cent black,” he challenges, “or 20 per cent lesbian or …?”
I hold up my hand. “I don’t want to think that way,” I say. “I need to see past a man’s skin colour.”
He chuckles. “Peter, you’re starting to sound like a Marxist.”
“So what advice have you come to Halifax to share?” I ask.
“If racial diversity weakens,” he replies, “then don’t add to it through immigration.” And stop forcing people into each other’s company through non-discrimination laws.
Jared glances down at his half-eaten lunch and then at his watch. He has to leave for another media interview.
He reaches for the bill and then pauses. “Government,” he reflects, “looks over every employer’s shoulder in the U.S. and Canada and makes sure there’s a certain mix. The next step will be to tell you who you should marry.”
“To be continued,” I say as we shake hands.
“To be continued,” he promises.
Email Peter Duffy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Posted on March 8, 2007)