Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Review Of David Horowitz's October 15, 2008, Speech At UVA (Part One)

As part of Islamo-fascism Awareness Week, on October 15, 2008, David Horowitz gave a presentation at the University of Virginia. On my way into the lecture, all entrants were met on the steps outside Minor Hall with students who were handing out a flyer entitled “Hate Speech? Or Freedom of Speech? A Fact Sheet on Hate Speech, Hate Crimes, and the First Amendment”; the groups responsible for the flyer were the Middle Eastern Leadership Council and the Minority Rights Coalition, the latter consisting of the Asian Student Union, the Black Student Alliance, Feminism is For Everyone, La Alianza Coalition of Hispanic/Latino Leaders, the Middle Eastern Leadership Council, and the Queer Student Union. The following appeared as the “Introduction” on the flyer:
Individual liberty is protected in as much as a community is protected. When a community is not protected and its voice is stifled, the individuals of that community are prevented from exercising their liberties. It is for this very reason, our society has limits to freedom of speech and legislation against hate crimes. Hate crimes exact violence against an individual because of a specific aspect of his or her background. This violence is not only committed against the personal but against those of that person’s demographic, because it instills fear into that entire category. In the same way, hate speech can propagate false perceptions of a community and has the potential to incite violence against the community. As a society the right to freedom of speech is one of the most protected, but exceptions do apply.
Apparently, the MELC and the MRC, the groups sponsoring the flyer, believed that David Horowitz should not have been invited to speak at UVA and that his speaking at the university constituted an exception to the right of freedom of speech — reminiscent of the revised commandment in George Orwell's Animal Farm: "Some animals are more equal than others."

Several students who were distributing the flyer before Mr. Horowitz's lecture took their seats in Minor Hall at the last minute, just before he gave his presentation; some of those same students challenged Mr. Horowitz in the question-and-answer period following the lecture, but they at least sat respectfully and quietly during the presentation itself. Early in his lecture, Mr. Horowitz made brief reference to the flyer, a copy of which he had in his hand. Did those handing out the flyer give a copy directly to Mr. Horowitz? I don’t know. But his disdain for the flyer was apparent, and he clearly felt that his message should not in any way be termed "hate speech."

At the conclusion of the event, when Mr. Horowitz was being interviewed-on-tape by a local television channel (I overheard all that he said because I was standing about five feet away as I waited to speak with him), he gave credit to the decent behavior of the students at UVA: not once was he interrupted by any student while he was lecturing or answering questions (although an older fellow, obviously not a student, did interrupt Mr. Horowitz during the question-and-answer period and uttered anti-Semitic remarks, resulting in the summoning of two campus polices officers, who calmed down the aged leftist so that he was allowed to remain). Apparently, Mr. Horowitz was not as respectfully received at other universities, and he expressed to the media his gratitude for the calm behavior of the UVA students, especially to those who disagreed with what he had said. He termed the question-and-answer period "a good exchange of differing opinions."

(Part Two of this review to follow soon)

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posted by Always On Watch @ 10/22/2008 04:35:00 AM