Editor, Daily Nexus:

Thank you for the balanced editorial on David Horowitz (Daily Nexus, “Free Speech, Newsprint and David Horowitz,” May 29). Good call on identifying Horowitz’s “Ten Reasons” as editorial, not advertising, apparently intended to generate publicity for its author. You made the right decision to print this piece in the appropriate forum when – and only when – it became relevant to UCSB students.

As a gay man, I have an intimate understanding of what it is to belong to a persecuted minority – an understanding that seems not to have rubbed off onto Horowitz during his Black Panther days. I don’t claim to know what the best solution is for the discrimination from which African-Americans continue to suffer, but it is clear to me that Horowitz does not have such a solution. His arguments appear to rest on a denial of the existence of any social inequities. Such an attitude will make the situation worse, not better, as anyone who is a subject of social oppression will tell you. I know that an attempt to convince me that government-sanctioned discrimination against gays is not a problem (“and, in fact, what about the debt gays owe to the government because of it?”) would – and has – merely enraged me.

As such, I have to disagree with an opinion you expressed in your editorial. You condemn as intolerant (and even obscene?) anyone who may boo Horowitz off the stage before he has a chance to speak, but it’s not as simple as that. Yes, it’s generally in our best interests to listen to opposing arguments, and yes, prohibiting someone from expressing his or her opinions is wrong. When the costs of any freedom begin to outweigh the benefits, however, the situation becomes more complex. Invoking “tolerance” in such situations as a pinnacle of morality or a social panacea is simplistic and dangerous. Certainly, there are many things society should not tolerate, and the line between tolerable and intolerable is broad, ill-defined and hotly debated. So, although I’m about an inch away from booing him off the stage myself, I will not. But I will not condemn those who may, either. Everyone attending his talk can be reasonably sure what the content will be, and if this is so abhorrent to them that they feel morally or socially obliged to prevent him from speaking, then so be it. I am in no position to judge these people, and I don’t think the Daily Nexus is either.