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Whose "freedom of speech"?

Reader comment on item: Speaker Shouted Down at U.C.-Irvine

Submitted by G.Woodworth (United States), Feb 12, 2007 at 09:34

"I applaud Professor Pipes for trying to speak to these Nazis [not fascists but correctly- Nazis] but they understand only force." -- Cassano

They're neither Nazis nor fascists! I would prefer to call them neo-Bolsheviks, which is much closer to the truth. Why, oh why, is everyone so afraid to call them what they are? Why this pervasive terror of offending the Marxists, who are presently alive and well, while it's safe to attack ideologies that are buried half a century in the past?

Secondly, I would blame EVERYONE involved for not being firmer with the disrupters - including Pipes.

He says, rather weakly, "Of course. I'm not asking they be put in jail. [Only] two things: First that the university use its moral situation to say this is unacceptable. This is not the way you do business at a university. I would certainly say ... if you're a student, if you do this again, even now we've got problems. We're not going to accept this kind of behavior. And if you're not a student, you know, don't trespass on this university and don't come back. Should they be thrown out of school for that? Not the first time. But maybe the second time. I mean, I haven't thought through in detail the way this should work..."

Well, I have no problem knowing how it should work! Maybe he SHOULD think about it a bit. After all, it's happened to him enough times already that it's worthy of some thought. And it's happened not just to him either. This is an ongoing problem that needs to be addressed. And it's ongoing solely because no one has addressed it.

Are there no laws forbidding the disruption of a peaceful assembly? If not, there certainly should be! What about Disorderly Conduct, at the least? The concept of freedom of speech (for which I'm all in favor) should not give anybody the right to infringe on SOMEBODY ELSE's freedom to speak. And disruptions or attacks upon a political or religious meeting (or any such group) should be made strictly illegal (if they aren't already).

It's amazing what people apparently confuse with freedom of speech. As Mr. Arevalo correctly says, "Colmes thinks that freedom of speech means incivility, disrespect, and intimidation. He thinks that because Dr. Pipes had the chance to finish his presentation peacefully, everything is ok. A true liberal university would have condemned the behavior of these Muslim students, put them in disciplinary status, [and would] protect the right of speakers to be heard ..."

I am not only disappointed (I should say "dismayed") with the feckless response of the university, and the TV people, but with the response of Mr. Pipes. There should have been arrests, expulsions, and legal action. Only THAT will get the message clearly across that such attacks upon OTHER people's freedoms will not be tolerated.


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