Courtney Stevens’s recent column (“Censorship Should Not Be Tolerated,” Daily Nexus, Oct. 24, 2006) makes reference to a letter written to the Nexus protesting the appearance of David Horowitz, in which she points out the irony that a speaker “not be allowed to speak” because of his attacks on freedom of speech. This would be a good point if it were true. Ed Tohe wrote the letter she is referring to, and nowhere in that letter does Tohe suggest that Horowitz not be allowed to speak. Rather, he suggests his speech “be taken at face value and not tolerated,” which is a far cry from chasing the man from the podium itself. Ms. Stevens may not be able to discern this, but there’s a difference between saying someone “shouldn’t” say something as opposed to saying they “can’t.” Just because you tolerate someone’s right to free speech doesn’t mean you have to tolerate the substance of the message.
Stevens is apparently adept at pointing out ironies but she failed to mention that irony of Horowitz himself, who has called for the expulsion of student protestors who picket his events and the silencing of liberal professors who he considers radical. Instead she launches into a tired tirade against liberals, liberals, damned liberals, pointing out a few instances of liberal intolerance and assuming this characterizes liberalism as a whole. Attacks on freedom of speech come from both sides of the aisle, and protecting the 1st Amendment shouldn’t be a left-right issue, even if Stevens insists on denigrating it into such simplistic terms.