[sixties-l] (Fwd):Progressive on DH & Left

From: Ted Morgan (epm2@lehigh.edu)
Date: Mon Mar 19 2001 - 11:46:15 EST

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    Of interest, perhaps, given the recent flap.


          Published on Sunday, March 18, 2001 in The Progressive
          Horowitz Flap Makes Left Look Bad
          by Matthew Rothschild

          With increasing dismay, I've been following the controversy about
    the anti-reparations ad
          that conservative author David Horowitz has been trying to place
    in campus newspapers
          around the country.

          The ad, "Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Slavery Is a Bad Idea and
    Racist Too," has
          prompted exercises in censorship by many of the papers and acts of
    intimidation against
          papers that did run the ad.

          These responses show what little respect there is for the free
    exchange of ideas on
          campus--and, I'm sorry to say, among segments of the left.

          At least eighteen college papers have simply refused to run the
    ad, including the Harvard
          Crimson, the Columbia Daily Spectator, and the Daily Collegian at
    U-Mass Amherst,
          according to the A.P.

          Some papers that did run the ad quickly apologized for it,
    including the Daily Californian at
          U.C.-Berkeley. "I think the ad is inflammatory and inappropriate,
    and we should not have run
          it," said Daniel Hernandez, the editor of the Daily Californian.

          These editors were wrong.

          It's not up to them to shield their readers from ideas that may be
    "inflammatory" or to set up
          shop as censors who are empowered to make decisions on which ads
    are "appropriate" and
          which are "inappropriate."

          They should not discriminate against advertisers on the basis of
    their political beliefs. This
          is fundamental.

          Our tradition of free speech in this country is to protect the
    expression not only of views we
          agree with, but also those we abhor.

          And whether abhorrent speech inflames or not is really besides the

          "A function of free speech under our system of government is to
    invite dispute," wrote
          William O. Douglas in 1948. "It may indeed best serve its purposes
    when it induces a
          condition of unrest."

          But the editors who censored the ad would not take a risk on free

          And many student groups were even more intolerant.

          Conservative columnist John Leo reports that students at Berkeley
    "fanned out around the
          campus to steal the remaining copies of the offending edition from
    their racks."

          At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, staffers at the Badger
    Herald, which did run the ad,
          reported that protesters were burning copies of the newspaper
    containing the ad (though the
          police did not confirm this), according to the Wisconsin State

          And at Brown University, leaders of the minority student
    associations "removed the papers
          from their distribution bins and replaced them with fliers that
    accused the paper of
          insensitivity," according to the A.P.

          Now I can understand why people disagree with Horowitz's position
    on reparations and with
          the specifics of his ad (to say nothing of his self-promotion as

          But the proper response to bad speech is good speech.

          To resort to intimidation, to engage in gang suppression of
    speech, is an old and discredited
          tactic of brownshirts everywhere.

          It's a tactic that ill fits the left and does our cause no good.

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