Scholarly Essay Dumped because “Credible Threats of Personal Violence”

The Third World Quarterly has publicly caved to political correctness enforced by fear of personal violence.

The Antifa tactics of personal violence are not just used on the streets against Trump supporters but also against scholars in academia. I suspect this has happened before but the Third World Quarterly has now made it official that they will bow to threats. Worse, the writer of “The Case for Colonialism,” Bruce Gilley, an associate professor of political science at Portland State University, apologized for the essay even though he did nothing wrong.

This is how we are supposed to roll now—not only censure ourselves because of threats but also censure ourselves for “provoking” the threats.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports, “Publisher Withdraws Essay Defending Colonialism, Citing Threat to Journal Editor.

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A controversial essay that offered a defense of colonialism and led to a revolt at Third World Quarterly has been withdrawn due to “serious and credible threats of personal violence” to the journal’s editor, according to a notice posted by the journal’s publisher, Taylor & Francis.


In the wake of the controversy, the author, Mr. Gilley, had asked that his essay be withdrawn. “I regret the pain and anger that it has caused for many people,” Mr. Gilley wrote last month on his website.

Perhaps, Gilley really wrote a non-apology. But any concession is treason in our current environment. He and others should have armed themselves and used every legal means to track down the criminals and have them prosecuted.

The Washington Post published a longer piece: “Just before Columbus Day, journal pulls controversial article defending colonialism.” It begins:

A scholarly journal pulled a controversial article that defended colonialism just before Columbus Day, a federal holiday that some cities consider insensitive and are instead marking as Indigenous Peoples Day.

“The Case for Colonialism,” written by a political science professor at Portland State University, drew immediate outcries from scholars when it was published last month by Third World Quarterly. Fifteen members of the journal’s 34-member board resigned in protest, and two petitions demanded that the journal retract the piece.

Bruce Gilley’s essay argued that countries that were colonized by Western powers “did better” than those that were not. He also said that colonialism was generally “beneficial” and “subjectively legitimate.” The essay’s abstract said: “For the last 100 years, Western colonialism has had a bad name. It is high time to question this orthodoxy.”

Some scholars immediately decried the article as racist and others disliked it because they said it was based on faulty data. It was published at a time when several cities, including Los Angeles and Minneapolis, have opted not to mark Columbus Day because of its colonialism overtones and instead celebrate indigenous people. There’s also a push in some cities for the removal of Columbus statues.

Read the entire Washington Post story.

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About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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