Monday, September 10, 2007

Bollinger and Free Speech

The Sun is reporting today on a "free speech" panel, hosted by Columbia University, that will include the anti-Israel academic John Mearsheimer. Mearsheimer has written on what he perceives is the power of the "Israel Lobby" to push American foreign policy in a direction that harms this country's national interest. He has written nothing, of course, on the hundreds of millions of petro dollars that have been used to support pro-Arab positions, nor has he opined at all on the Saudi funding of extreme Islamic madrases in this country and around the world.

What we always find fascinating in all of this is how universities like Columbia are always doing free speech back flips when the speakers have an anti-American or ant-Israeli message. Heaven forbid that they would take the same position if the speaker's were conservative or took strong nationalistic positions.

We saw this clearly when the Minutemen tried, but failed, to exercise their free speech rights at a Columbia forum last year. As we said at the time, rights and obligations only seem to flow one way up a Morningside Heights, and the first amendment concerns of President Bollinger are clearly selective-he barely manged a slap on the wrist to the fascists that disrupted the Minutemen event.

Yet when it comes to an anti-Semite like Mearsheimer, Bollinger becomes Sir Galahad: "The president of Columbia University, Lee Bollinger, defended the university's decision to host Mr. Mearsheimer on the panel. "This clearly falls within the core principle of academic freedom," Mr. Bollinger said in a statement. "One would hope that those committed to a robust First Amendment would see the vital importance of ensuring that our universities are places where free speech can be exercised, as well as taught."

Quite the Captain Courageous, our friend Bollinger. Without double standards Lee wouldn't have any standards at all.