Recently, there was some controversy at the Ohio State University surrounding an appearance/speech from David Horowitz – the relentless and unapologetic conservative firebrand.
Following the event, the Ohio State Undergraduate Student Government posted a letter on their website saying:
“While controversial speakers invited to campus is not a new phenomena, a speaker like David Horowitz is. He directed hateful comments toward the Muslim Student Association and the Committee for Justice in Palestine while on campus on April 22nd. In addition, his organization (David Horowitz Freedom Center) took responsibility for posting frightening and offensive posters attacking the Committee for Justice in Palestine here on campus earlier this year. This has prompted us to take a stance against him and his presence on campus.”
The posters, as well as his comments, primarily revolved around calling anti-Israel groups Jew haters/supporters of Jew haters. Herein lies the problem with thinking that this form of expression is hateful itself – his purpose is to expose what he thinks is hate elsewhere, not to be hateful himself.
Now, of course, you can disagree with him, as many do, and explain why the groups he targeted aren’t in fact hateful. But calling someone else hateful isn’t automatically a hateful act itself. It is a subjective call regarding someone else’s intentions. Nothing more, and nothing less.
When calling out Horowitz for “hateful” comments, the USG is doing the same thing they are criticizing Horowitz for doing. They are trying to look behind his comments, and see his intentions, when they honestly can’t know anything about that for sure. In essence, this makes them no different than Horowitz on a tactical and rhetorical level, even though they likely think they are morally superior to him.
But it does something even more – it represents a clear, partisan, and political double standard. Conservatives at universities across the country are called “hateful” the same way Horowitz calls out the so called “Jew-haters.” Whether it be charges of racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, etc… the political left on college campuses has created a culture of intimidation and silencing based off false accusations of “hatefulness.” (See here and here for some examples) Rarely do student governments jump in to defend the right. They will protect their favorite victim groups on the left over and over again though.
Speak out against all character assassinations, in order to foster debate, or speak out against none. Otherwise, you are biased shills.
The Undergraduate Student Government should be ashamed.
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