September 21, 2007

Top Terrorist to Get Columbia Platform

Columbia University is holding another event in its "We're So Tolerant, We'll Tolerate Your Intolerance" Lecture Series and Preening Exercise, by hosting Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the campus.

Powerline's Scott Johnson has a terrific post on the subject, and Hugh has lots of coverage and comment here and here. Not much I can add to all that.

UPDATE 9/22: Roger Kimball rocks Columbia President Lee Bollinger:

Universities are institutions dedicated to the pursuit and transmission of learning and the furtherance of civilization. They are not circuses for the exhibition of politically repugnant grandstanding. Free inquiry is not a license for moral irresponsibility. At a university, as at every other human institution, freedom can thrive only when it is limited by allegiance to certain positive values--the value of historical truth, for example, or the moral truth that human dignity is worth preserving.

President Bollinger's sophomoric conception of free speech is precisely the sort of supine intellectualism that, if consistently embraced, would make free speech impossible. President Bollinger primly lectures us that "It should never be thought that merely to listen to ideas we deplore in any way implies our endorsement of those ideas, or the weakness of our resolve to resist those ideas," etc. But he is quite wrong about that. By providing a madman like Ahmadinejad with a platform at Columbia University, President Bollinger has in effect welcomed him into the community of candid reasoners. He has granted him a patent of legitimacy that no amount of "dialogue and reason" can dissipate. In this case, "listening" is indeed tantamount to an endorsement. It reduces free speech to a species of political capitulation and renders dialogue indistinguishable from a suicide pact.

A roundup of blog reaction to the Columbia University visit by Ahmadinejad, at PJM

Posted by dan at September 21, 2007 12:16 AM