Tuesday, September 25, 2007

President Bollinger and the Free Speech Party

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I was originally going to title this post "President Bollinger, late to the Free Speech Party," But read on for the answer to the change.

Unlike Moveon.org and the Democratic Party, I listen to opposing views (such as Mahmoud Ahmadinijad and President Bollinger) before I decide to chastise their words. I listened, I read. Free speech lives everywhere except in Iran, US College campuses and the Democratic party.

Mahmoud Ahmadinjad, President of Iran spoke at Columbia University on Monday. Before he spoke, President Bollinger, of Columbia University chastised the president of Iran.

Did he do it because he was brave and in front of an easy audience? Partly. Did he do it because he believes in the War on Terror? No. Like every Upper West Side Liberal, he doesn't vote for Republicans. So, why did President Bollinger attack the President of Iran?

The invitation to an Anti-Semite, homophobic, who rules a country trying to gain nuclear weapons to attack Israel and fight a proxy war in Iraq (as per General Petraus' testimony) offended a majority of Americans. The day before, the New York State Assembly (run by Democrats) and the New York State Senate (run by Republicans) both threatened to cut off funding to Columbia University.

The true test of Free Speech, is not to defend your right to speak, but someone whose views are opposite yours. Defending the president of Iran is a cakewalk -- he is not an American, but he is given the same opportunity. However, in an earlier era, Columbia would have invited Sakharov or Alexander Solzenitzen not Brezhnev. Why not any Iranian Dissidents?

Last year, the Minutemen tried to speak at Columbia University. The College Democrats stopped their speech. Here is the video:

President Bollinger responded with this press release. He took the side of freedom of speech. I may disagree with Jason of Washington Interns Gone Bad, but I would not expect the power of the State to be used to stop his speech or mine.

Disagree all you want with a speaker, but let them talk, than argue. Code Pink's protest in the middle of Congressional Committee Rooms is not "Speaking Truth to Power," It is chilling speech they oppose. When Democrats, their protest cabals and Moveon.org understand the power of first listening, then responding; Political discussions will gain some maturity.

While there is no free speech in Iran, I hope to hear how Democrats propose to make free speech a reality there. I'm listening.


  1. Anonymous8:39 AM PDT

    There is a reason why freedom of speech is our first amendment. Without it our whole country will fail. I strong democracy sits on the shoulders of an educated populous. The first amendment was put in place to allow the populous to educate themselves and be educated by the press. Is this still as strong as it once was? Or have the media conglomerates and gatekeepers tinted it? Our country has lost the one thing that makes it strong and it isn’t patriotism. People don’t talk openly discuss views and we stopped respected opposite viewpoints. Open your mind and listen, you might learn something. If nothing else, challenge your own world view, it has the power to help the world

  2. JSF, it would be so refreshing to hear you discuss a universal issue like free speech without all the usual partisan wankery. I wonder if you'd even bother writing about the subject of free speech without just using it as a launching point to bash democrats.

  3. Dr. Savielly Tartakower once opined that:

    "The winner of the game is the player who makes the next-to-last mistake."

    In light of the recent address given by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to students at Colummbia University, I began to wonder which side won that game because in my estimation both Lee Bollinger, the President of Columbia University and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad committed blunders.

    I wonder whether the stages at Columbia, and the United Nations were the figurative chessboards over which the lies and hypocrisy of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be dealt their death blow because, as Dr. Emmanuel Lasker pointed out "On the chessboard lies and hypocrisy do not survive long.

  4. Jason,

    I am a partisan. If the Democrats wouldn't put a large target on how they are shutting down dissent in their own party (and outside their party too), I wouldn't write about it.


    Bollinger gave Mahmoud Ahmadinijad a new place to play his pieces. The niceties of deiplomacy were destroyed in December 1979. How do you make nice with someone willing to destroy the only democracy (and loyal ally) of the US?

    Neville Chamberlain proved you cannot negotiate with evil. Yet the modern Democrats still want to.

  5. JSF, I would hope that you consider yourself a human and an American before you consider yourself a partisan. If free speech is not an issue that transcends political parties, I don't know what is.


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