Still Want To Be Just Like Europe?

Powerline introduces us to the hip new Euro thing, “anti-Fascist Fascists“:

On October 7, Filip Dewinter, a prominent Flemish politician, was scheduled to participate in a debate at the University of Ghent. The issue was to be cooperation between Flanders and the Netherlands. Dewinter is a member of a party that favors the separation of Flanders from Belgium. Separation would be accomplished non-violently, as occurred when Czechoslovakia separated into two Republics.

Prior to the debate, the Rector of the university announced that Geert Wilders, a member of the Dutch parliament who had also been invited, would not be allowed to participate. Wilders is a libertarian-conservative, a staunch defender of free speech, and a critic of Islam to the extent that it conflicts with freedom. Because of his criticism of Islam, he frequently receives death threats. The Rector said that Wilders would not be welcome because his safety could not be guaranteed.

Neither, it turned out, could Dewinter’s. Left-wing students (300 of them according to one estimate) calling themselves anti-fascists blocked his entrance. Dewinter refused to be intimidated and attempted to enter the building. A brawl ensued. The police eventually broke it up, but the debate was cancelled.

Just a case of the euphemistically named “heckler’s veto” going a touch too far?

Hardly.

Attempting to silence those you disagree with politically by shouting them down or denying them access to the traditional arenas of public discourse signals the death knell for any Democracy worthy of the name. The solution for political speech you do not like is more political speech, and not the adopting of a morally self-righteous attitude that justifies intimidation and violence.

You do not separate yourself from the Brownshirts of history by acting just like them. It’s as if they would be fine with a new Kristalnacht as long as it was leftist in inspiration.

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10 Responses to Still Want To Be Just Like Europe?

  1. yuri says:

    “The solution for political speech you do not like is more political speech, and not the adopting of a morally self-righteous attitude that justifies intimidation and violence.”

    amen, very well said.
    Too bad current administration doesn’t practice this in the US foreign policy…

  2. syn says:

    “Attempting to silence those you disagree with politically by shouting them down or denying them access to the traditional arenas of public discourse signals the death knell for any Democracy worthy of the name.”

    Yuri, please offer an example in which the current administration has silenced anyone, anywhere?

    Just one.

    That’s all.

  3. yuri says:

    oh, dear, where do I start?
    But I’ll limit myself with Iraq, and not even go into the domestic policy ;)

  4. yuri says:

    ahhhh, can’t resist.
    Remember mayhem that broke loose when Ahmedinijad was allowed to speak at Columbia last year?
    Listening to FOX news one could think that the University’s president is personally responsible for the Holocaust and 9/11 …

  5. Mwalimu Daudi says:

    Listening to yuri one would think that Columbia’s President and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were immediately carted off to Area 51 of Gitmo by the Bush Administration for violating the Patriot Act. Except of course that the little monster from Iran got to have his say – and received wild applause from many in the audience. And Columbia Lee C. Bollinger continues his policy of only supporting speech that he agrees with (remember how the brownshirts at Columbia threatened the leader of the Minutemen and managed to deny him the right to speak? Did Bollinger do anything?).

    But what do you expect from an academic like yuri who has segregated himself in his ivory tower?

  6. Mwalimu Daudi says:

    Interesting that when yuri was pressed for an example of the Bush Administration silencing its critics, all that he could come up with was a vague accusation about the Iraq War (no names and places – just an accusation) and the fact that sometimes Fox’s coverage of university presidents is less than hagiographical.

    I guess that in academic circles failing to worship university presidents is almost as heinous a crime as criticizing the Messiah. Tells you all we need to know about life under the coming Obama junta.

  7. Rich Horton says:

    Yuri, I’m perfectly willing to confront examples of those on the right denying others access to the venues of free speech. I’m sure they are out there (hypocrites abound on all sides), but, in this day and age, the heckler’s veto is generally a tool of the left. Yes, Conservatives were not happy about the invite to Ahmedinijad, but that was patially a result of the university denying the right to speak to Conservative speakers (as Mwalimu correctly noted). The founder of the Minutemen? “Strictly forbidden.” Notorious anti-Semite? “Have a seat and tell us your views, please.” The complaint was more that BOTH should have been allowed to speak. (That, and is Columbia University really the appropriate venue for holocaust denial talk? Free speech must allow for the criticism of Columbia on this matter.)

    Now, I’m less sanguine about the efficacy of using, for example, Mill’s ideas of free inquiry as a model for international relations. (Which you seem to be intimating by your Iraq war reference.) Yes, as Churchill said “jaw, jaw is better than war, war,” but the whole point of free speech, again in Mill’s conception, is the ability to influence individuals through a marketplace of ideas. We might try to appeal to the greater mass of the Iranian people (for example), but fundamentally the Iranian people do not rule. Theocracies are not interested in free and open discourse as they are already in possesion of all the “truth” that they need. As a result I dont think a “free speech paradigm” will suffice in that context.

  8. Bleepless says:

    The only silencing these days comes from Yuri’s thug pals, abetted by cowards and hypocrites. Take a look at the antics of the ironically-named Antifa, devoted to suppressing the peaceful expression of pro-democracy views.

  9. martian says:

    Yuri, it’s interesting that you choose, as an example of the administration denying someone the right of free speech, an incident where the subject, Pres. Ahm-a-doofey-jerk, was not only NOT denied free speech but when it would have been simple to deny him entry into the US, the administration even refrained from that. Further, you cite the “mayhem that broke loose when Ahmedinijad was allowed to speak at Columbia last year” and the coverage of the incident on FOX News as an example of denying him free speech when it was really an example of “The solution for political speech you do not like is more political speech” to which, in your first post, you said “amen, very well said”. In short, you still have not provided a single instance in which the current administration denied anyone the right to free speech either here in America or in our nation’s foreign policy. I love the way you liberals constantly make accusations against Pres. Bush and his administration but when pressed for examples you obfuscate and try to twist facts to make them fit your accusations. It’s often fun to watch you twisting and turning to try and prove your point.

  10. Why do the sounds “clip clop., clip clop” come to my mind when yuri posts a comment?

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