Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Yes, it's time for a "freedom of speech" post again

Katherine Ernst, over at City Journal, takes on Ward Churchill story -- you know, he's the Colorado University professor who said that the 9/11 victims had it coming to them because, merely by going to work, they contributed to evil American imperialism, rendering them no better than Eichman. Her article is excellent on all points, but I particularly enjoyed her riff about the fact that universities are crying "Freedom of Speech" as a defense to using taxpayer dollars to pay for this kind of ludicrous, indeed, evil, thinking:

But don't hold your breath for anything consequential to happen. As CU Interim Chancellor Phil DiStefano told the press, "While I personally find his views offensive, I also must support his right as an American citizen to hold and express his views, no matter how repugnant, as guaranteed by the First Amendment." Ditto Churchill's CU Ethnic Studies buddies: "We as faculty . . . stand in full and unconditional support of our colleague Ward Churchill's freedom of expression and First Amendment Rights." Hamilton College's president Joan Hinde Steward had mouthed similar sentiments (at least until the security concerns prevailed): "However repugnant one may find Mr. Churchill's remarks, were the College to withdraw the invitation simply on the grounds that he has said offensive things, we would be abandoning a principle on which this College and indeed this republic is founded -- free speech. These First Amendment-based arguments miss the point: the right to free speech is not a right to be heard or a right to hold on to a job. Would these schools hire or invite to speak a biologist who claimed that alien gamma rays caused cancer -- even if that someone held a Ph.D. from a prestigious school? Of course not. So why is a psuedo-intellect -- who thinks that stock traders, accountants, and Windows on the World busboys are comparable to genocidal Nazis -- given intellectual time and respect? Just to prove that officials at these schools have read the Bill of Rights? CU is also a public university: Why should Joe Taxpayer be subsidizing such idiocy?
I've noted above that there is a huge difference between affirmative government censorship -- such as clapping someone in irons for voicing a thought -- and the marketplace of ideas, which holds that we, as citizens and taxpayers do not have to pay for ideas in which we don't believe. You can look here and here for these prior posts.