Sunday, August 17, 2008

David Horowitz Falsely Attacks Me, and DailyKos

UPDATE: FIRE's blog the Torch includes an excellent analysis of Horowitz's plans by Robert Shipley.

In his blog, David Horowitz responds to my earlier critique of his plans for an Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week that called for colleges and student governments to ban funding for Muslim Student Associations.

Horowitz writes that he "was attacked by the left on DailyKos. This follows a pattern the Kos left has followed since 9/11 of defending the jihadists, and attacking the defenders of freedom in this country and abroad." This is, of course, silly, and Horowitz offers not one single example of anyone on Kos "defending the jihadists," let alone a "pattern."

According to Horowitz, "The leader of this attack was an academic with a long history of intellectual dyslexia named John K. Wilson. Or perhaps John has dyslexia pure and simple since he is apparently unable to read an English sentence and parse its meaning." As usual, Horowitz has it wrong again. I'm not an academic. I don't have dyslexia (and that's not what dyslexia is). And I clearly and accurately reported Horowitz's position, as he himself confirms.

Horowitz accuses me of "gross distortions." Horowitz claims, "I did not say that the Jew-hating, Gay-bashing, misongynistic[sic] speakers sponsored by the MSA should not be allowed to speak."

Of course, I never wrote that. What I wrote was that Horowitz wants to ban funding of MSA for such speakers. Of course, since speakers (including Horowitz) rarely speak for free, such a ban certainly limits free speech on campus.

It's completely dishonest for Horowitz to accuse me of distorting his position when I quite accurately describe it.

Now, Horowitz and I have a disagreement: I think it's an attack on free speech when a student organization is denied funding for the offensive content of their speech (and even more so for the "crime" of not speaking out, as Horowitz clearly proposes for MSA). Horowitz thinks that you're not violating free speech by cutting off funding, so long as you're not actually preventing anyone from speaking. He's wrong, but I'm not distorting his position at all. I'm accurately summarizing it and then criticizing it. Horowitz, by contrast, falsely accuses me of distortion.

Four years ago, Horowitz's Frontpagemag ran a story denouncing Cornell's student government for defunding a conservative newspaper deemed offensive. The article accurately called this "censorship." So does Horowitz oppose defunding these conservative groups, or only defunding groups he disagrees with?

Horowitz accuses me and everyone on Daily Kos of hypocrisy: "The fact is that Wilson and the Daily Kos zealots are hypocrites in attacking us because we don't think the university should be sponsoring hate. Or did I miss their protests in support of the individuals who posted the noose flyer at Columbia or the poster forged by George Washington University leftists with the title 'Who Hates Muslims We Do?'"

I guess Horowitz did miss my defense of those GWU students, when conservatives (including Horowitz) sought to have left-wing students punished for those satirical posters. As I wrote at the time, "Whether you’re mocking liberals or conservatives, you should be entitled to free speech on campus."

Now, there was no noose flyer at Columbia, but there was a noose put in front of a professor's office. A noose is a death threat, and so it isn't protected free speech. When it comes to free speech, I'm completely consistent.

Horowitz concludes, "In attacking us for speaking out against hatred that comes with a Muslim label, in defending overtly genocidal terror groups like Hizbollah, Wilson and Kos demonstrate their concern is not a principle such as free speech, but a cause which is anti-American, anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-Christian and anti-Jew."

Of course, Kos has nothing to do with this. Kos simply created a site aimed at progressives that allows people to post material. I'm the one who posted a critique of Horowitz. However, it's noteworthy that nowhere in my criticism do I complain about Horowitz speaking out against Muslims; in fact, I don't even point out the false charges he makes against Muslim Student Associations (including this absurd comparison to the KKK). He's perfectly free to spout his bigotry. What I object to is the crusade to ban funding for Muslim groups targeted by Horowitz. I am equally opposed to any effort to ban funding for conservative groups that invite people like Horowitz to spout controversial ideas.

Horowitz is the one here distorting my position to attack my accurate criticism of his plan. Horowitz is the one guilty of hypocrisy in failing to make a consistent stand for free speech on campus.

Crossposted on DailyKos.

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