Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Jan. 31, 2003 / 28 Shevat, 5763

Michael Long

Mike Long
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Silencing opponents because you can | There is a scary trend on the left just now, and it's scarier than the standard battles over Social Security, gun control, abortion, etc. Members of the left, even those who are welcomed inside respectable mainstream party politics, are actively working to silence those with whom they disagree, and they don't care that this is a fundamental violation of not just the Constitution, but the human right to freedom of speech as well.

We're accustomed to the Democrats' looking the other way when Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and Cynthia McKinney start up their paranoid and fact-free race baiting. But the blind-eye syndrome is spreading a lot more lately: Hillary Clinton recently blasphemed Martin Luther King by saying his "I Have A Dream" speech should be updated to note that, well, no, in fact, we shouldn't be judged just by the content of our character, because race is a part of character. Her bizarre assertion is obviously anathema to the very words King spoke. But no one on the left did anything but nod in agreement.

One troubling phenomenon grows because it gets little media coverage, the shouting down or "disinviting" of speakers altogether from college campuses, and related harassment not just of opponents, but even of those who question leftist orthodoxy from inside the left.

One case in point is described in a lengthy letter from the editor in Psychology Today, brought to wider attention by Rod Dreher of National Review. The author, Dr. Robert Epstein, who is editor-in-chief of the magazine, received a harassing phone call at his home and 120 letters threatening a massive boycott of the publication. Why? The advertising department of the magazine accepted a tiny ad for a book on "reparative therapy," which in some cases seems to diminish homosexual tendencies for those who seek out such a change.

The therapy is widely derided and misrepresented by its opponents. It is, however, a form of treatment with serious adherents in the medical and scholarly communities, and it is recognized by the American Psychological Association.

But many of Dr. Epstein's correspondents didn't bother with those facts. They couldn't even get the editor's alleged offense right. They accused him of everything from publishing an anti-gay book to running an anti-gay article. They compared him to the Taliban and called him a Nazi, and, a "surprising number of letters asserted that gays have a right to be rude or abusive because they themselves have been abused."

This is a despicable approach-and the failure to denounce it is just as bad. But instead of distancing themselves from this dirty episode, look for the cultural left to sit by quietly, and appreciate whatever damage it does to their enemies, executed "by any means necessary."

Elsewhere, JWR's Daniel Pipes, the Middle East expert who soldiers on in the face of near-violent confrontation with the anti-Israel left, was recently the target of the ironically named "Coalition for Academic Freedom." They objected to Dr. Pipes being allowed to speak at York University, where the Jewish Federation of Students had invited him. Canadian Press reported that coincident death threats and email attacks nearly debilitated the work of many of Pipes' colleagues.

York University, no beacon of liberty or free thought, this place, shamed itself by withdrawing Pipes invitation. It relented within a few days, but the damage was done, and the "chilling effect"-the overused phrase that is the only appropriate one here-was done. A student spokesman told Canadian Press that some students feel "offended and attacked" by Dr. Pipes.

More likely, they cannot refute his arguments and hate to see their opponents get a chance to speak.

The word "un-American" gets used a lot these days-and inappropriately so-over disagreements about policy and politics. But one of the few unarguably un-American things is the silencing of opponents. When a group of individuals does it, it's a shame-and, hopefully, an anomaly. But when a university does it, it's a moral crime, and a violation of human rights.

Like this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Michael Long is a a director of the White House Writers Group. Comment by clicking here.


01/10/03:You can't always eat what you want ... But you still can, for a while 01/10/03: What They Believe For The Moment
12/06/02: Federal Spending: Look At It This Way And weep
11/15/02: On the radio: What really happens behind the scenes at talk shows
11/08/02: Coming Soon: 1972
10/31/02: The Election Goes Republican: Election 2002 finds Democrats alienating nearly everyone
10/22/02: What if we never catch the terrorist-sniper?
10/04/02: A Few Thoughts On The News
09/27/02: Goodbye To All That: The terrible, wide war that must be fought
09/20/02: The Florida Lesson: We need better voters, not better machines
09/13/02: A few thoughts on the news
09/06/02: Give Them What They Want
08/13/02: The Dangerous Lull on Iraq ... And how today's delay proves why 9/11 had to happen
07/26/02: Where's Honest Debate on Judge Owen?: NOW members should demand better of President Kim Gandy
07/19/02: A Secret No One Can Keep: Why Osama bin Laden is still alive
07/09/02: Don't forget why Bush was elected
06/28/02: The bravest pop culture icon in the war on terror
06/14/02: Five Thoughts On Father's Day: Personal Stuff
06/06/02: Stay Awake, Grads, I'm Almost Done Talking: Life, and How to Live It
05/31/02: See This Movie: "The Sum of All Fears" is a wake-up call
05/24/02: Richard Simmons for President? What really motivates the fat-taxers
05/13/02: The Carnival at the FAIR: "Unbiased" acquires a new definition
04/22/02: Bottled And Sold: Economic Confidence Under a Screw-top
04/12/02: McGovern's Respectful Dissent
04/02/02: The Right to Do Wrong: The Creator, A Clockwork Orange, and war
03/26/02: The Big Story No One Talks About: Why isn't Washington serious about airport security?
03/18/02: Worlds Away: A snapshot of anti-Semitism in the Moslem world
03/08/02: The safest place in the world --- for now
03/05/02: Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others
02/22/02: And Then What?: Fear and Loathing Around the Corner
02/15/02: Al Gore and the real root cause of terrorism
02/08/02: A few thoughts on the news
02/01/02: Ready, Aim, Cloud The Issue: An irresponsible report on "terrorism" from the Brady Center
01/28/02: Discretion and Art, Part 2
01/16/02: Discretion and Art
01/08/02: Desperate Dems
12/18/01: Politics and Holidays
12/07/01: A war bigger than we know: Changing the future, slowly and surely
11/28/01: A Mid-Winter Night's Dream: A play in one fun act
11/20/01: A Lot of War Left To Fight
11/13/01: Guess who Clinton's apologizing for now: I'll bet you guessed right
11/02/01: Rules for Wartime: Rule Number One: Remember what's true
10/26/01: The Moral Case For Torture: Dirty hands don't always mean dirty souls
10/19/01: Questions for the Anti-War Crowd, Part II: What if someone took them seriously?
10/16/01: Questions for the anti-war crowd: If they question you, ask these back
10/12/01: The Jason Problem: Sometimes they only look dead
10/08/01: A little hindsight: A letter for readers in the future
09/28/01: Calling Bono: A plea to the pop culture elite to speak out
09/20/01: Encouragement from the Heartland, by mail
09/13/01: Bleeding time
09/07/01: The trailer-park taste of the public radio catalog
09/04/01: BRAVE NEW FREUD: Internet-based psychiatry may mean relief for those who have shunned treatment
08/17/01: First Amendment: Chickens home to roost
07/27/01: Dispatch From The Front: The Gun Control War
07/20/01: Summer song
07/03/01: It's a Wonderful Recount

© 2001, Michael Long