Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Both Sides Showing Off: By now I'm sure you've read about Nicholas DeGenova, the knucklehead prof at Columbia University who, at a teach-in, wished "a million Mogadishus" upon America in Iraq and praised the sergeant who allegedly tossed a grenade into the officers' tent in Kuwait. Columbia denounced the statement (rightly). And that is that, right? Nope. A Republican in congress, J.D. Hayworth of Arizona, is circulating a letter in congress calling on Columbia to dismiss DeGenova (related here, rather uncritically, in National Review). This is a stupid move, and it smacks of ham-fisted political pressure. Hayworth knows that getting members of congress to sign on to his letter packs a punch it wouldn't have if 435 members of his district signed. No, it's not censorship; they're not ordering Columbia to fire the guy. Still, Hayworth should go about this in the most unofficial way possible. Yes, the right to speak freely comes with responsibilities, and one of those responsibilities is to live with the consequences. Thus, Columbia would be justified in firing DeGenova (if they so chose) as a consequence of his abhorrent views, and he'd get zero sympathy for me by pleading free speech. Likewise, Arizonans would be within their rights to vote out of office a grandstanding yutz.

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