Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Mary Katherine Hamm on Free Speech

The Academy, bastian of reason, treats different--not right or wrong, just different--sensibilities differently. Some might say that they discriminate against those with different political rationales. Some might say that they are intolerant.

Hmmmm.... Mary Katherine Hamm wonders why the Minutemen representative would receive scorn and even physical harm while the President of a murderous hate-filled regime would receive the respectful attention of the same sort of listeners?

And yet, he evoked something less than the reaction the Minutemen got at Columbia. Let’s compare and contrast—just like we used to do in college!

Student Reaction

Minutemen: We’ve already been over a bit of this, but watch the video. It’s informative. Minuteman Marvin Stewart is also charging that the students who rushed the stage referred to him using the n-word. If true, a classy way to start a solid debate.

Khatami: Let’s check the Harvard Crimson’s account of the speech.

In response to another question, Khatami also justified his country’s use of capital punishment for acts of homosexuality, but said that the conditions for execution are so strict that they are “virtually impossible to meet.”

“Homosexuality is a crime in Islam and crimes are punishable,” Khatami said. “And the fact that a crime could be punished by execution is debatable.”

The audience responded with silence to his remark.

Silence, eh? “Execution is debatable” for homosexuality, and the audience declines to even rustle up a “boo?” And here I thought college campuses were the vanguard of the gay rights movement. But let’s give them another chance. What about terrorist sympathizing?

In his 30-minute address under heavy security, the Muslim cleric also defended the militant Lebanese group Hezbollah as a legitimate resistance movement fighting for the “territorial integrity” of Lebanon.

Khatami, who was president of Iran from 1997 to 2004, was met by angry protestors who called on him to apologize for human rights abuses committed by the government under his watch. Police estimated that 200 protestors gathered outside the Kennedy School of Government.

But inside the forum, Khatami faced a relatively polite audience, a marked contrast to previous controversial visitors.

Hezbollah’s A-okay, but the audience managed to keep its composure. Protestors gathered outside the hall, as is the tradition in appropriate protesting.

She concludes with this:

To review: An Iranian president who can’t unequivocally condemn either Holocaust denial or the death penalty for homosexuality, who lauds Hezbollah, and whose administration jailed hundreds of students for doing the same protesting American college students so treasure? He gets a polite hearing for his “objectionable” views, few challenging questions, and the assurance of security on campus.

Americans who are serious about border-control and reasonably and lawfully take matters into their own hands when the government fails to? They receive physical attack and no fair hearing. Their beliefs are “repugnant,” and future conservative speakers are deprived of an audience because the administration cannot guarantee safety.

I think that’s what lefty American professors and college students like to refer to as “disproportionate response.”

Free speech, reason and tolerance if you agree with the accepted reasonable doctrine. Who says the Left ain't got no religion?

H/T Betsy Newmark

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