September 24, 2007

Chillingly Laughable

Readers of my blog know that I pretty much hate the present Iranian President. I think he's a whacko. (Some readers of my blog do contend -- rightly, I think -- that even though he's a whacko, he's done less harm to Americans than our own whacko, Dubya.) Well, he gave a speech at Columbia U today.

When they announced that they were going to allow him to speak, lots of people were upset by this. I think they're right to be upset.

I also think that so long as the American government allows dictators to visit our shores as they do, Columbia is within its legal rights to allow him to speak. I point this out to be clear that the question here is not a political one but moral one.

Briefly on the political question: I don't think leaders like Ahmadinejad should be allowed in the country. If I were president, I would not meet with people like him except perhaps as a plot to kill him. Of course, if I were president, policies foreign and domestic would be radically different and I would have more leisure time in which to plan the assassination of dictators. Those scenarios are obvious fantasies.

On to the moral question.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has nothing of value to communicate to any rational person. The notion that any good can come of allowing him to prattle on to Americans is an insult and, frankly, I can only imagine that it is out of morbid curiosity (and perhaps journalistic assignment) that any person in their right mind attended the speech. By the furor that many raised over his presence at Columbia, I also assume that others have made similar observations.

Even still, Columbia allowed him to speak and it was that furor that led Columbia University president Lee Bollinger to heavily qualify the presentation. Not to put too fine a point on it, he called Ahmadinejad a "petty and cruel dictator." True enough, but then he followed it with the perplexing assertion that "We do not honor the dishonorable when we open our public forum to their voices."

Now, I am assuming that the government did not in any way influence Columbia University's decision to allow Ahmadinejad to speak. In spite of receiving state funding, this was a private decision made by individuals on a quest to present the students of Columbia the broadest possible opportunities for a superb education.

I return to my point above that Ahmadinejad hasn't anything of value to teach us. He's a madman, so it begs the question of what this sideshow could possibly due to contribute to anyone's education. Surely we can get close enough to madmen through reports on CNN and descriptions in text books.

So, the claim is that it isn't an honor to address Columbia students to the benefit of their education. This is a bald contradiction.

Either presenting Ahmadinejad is of value or it isn't.

I suspect that Mister Bollinger suffers from the deplorable line of thinking that leads one to believe that everyone's point of view is worth consideration in itself simply by virtue of being someone's point of view.

Freedom of speech doesn't mean that anyone has to listen. So, do I think they should have given him a forum to speak? No. Do I think they should be charged with a crime? No.

I didn't mean to get on that rant. I really just wanted to point out this funny thing that I heard from Joe.My.God. he said.

In Iran, we donít have homosexuals like in your country. We donít have that in our country. In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I do not know who has told you that we have it.

Joe rightly responds with this:

Of course, what Ahmandinejad didn't say was that he keeps Iran free of homosexuals by killing them.

That Mahmoud kills me.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at September 24, 2007 06:07 PM | TrackBack
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