Thursday, April 01, 2010

Trudge Toward Freedom

Earlier this week, I posted about the disinviting of Bill Ayers from the University of Wyoming, and expressed my hope that conservatives would speak out against it.

Part of the answer can be found in a post by John J. Miller of the National Review on the blog Phi Beta Cons. Miller writes, “Okay, but he never should have been invited in the first place, not as long as this 'former 1960s radical' who was in fact a domestic terrorist proposes to lecture students and others on, as the article puts is, 'social justice issues.'"

So there we have it. Miller thinks it's “okay” to ban speakers from a public college campus. In fact, the only thing he finds objectionable about the whole episode is the fact that Ayers was ever invited to speak.

He's wrong. It's never okay to ban speakers. The title of Ayers' cancelled speech? “Trudge Toward Freedom.” What a beautiful title. We should try doing that.

Other conservative and libertarian commentators weren't much better.

Accuracy in Academia reported on the ban, but without a word of criticism.

Erin O'Connor managed to point out that Wyoming folks were “disorganized hypocrites." But more disturbing is O'Connor's claim that “Wyoming should have thought about the inevitable controversy before inviting Ayers--and should have decided either not to bring him in at all, or to weather the objections with ringing endorsements of free inquiry and open debate.” Really? A public college disinvites a speaker, and your reaction is that preemptively banning controversial speakers is the moral equal of defending free speech? Not wise, not fair, not useful, not good.

No comments: