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College Learns Lesson: Horowitz Scores By: Chicago Flame
Chicago Flame Editorial | Wednesday, November 06, 2002


Having author David Horowitz and his often controversial political views on campus was one of the best things to happen to UIC for some time.

Whether or not you agree with his points of view, what Horowitz did for UIC was allow students to formulate opinions, present arguments and become politically active for a cause.

Those leaning to the right were happy because they finally felt a presence on campus that reflected their perspectives. Those leaning to the left of the political scale also received something from the experience — a chance to question their own views and try and create a stronger foundation for their cause.

However, the lecture turned out to be a disappointment in many ways. The tensions began weeks in advance, as the sponsors of the group took out advertisements promoting the event and sent e-mail messages to organizational listservs.

These were obviously oriented around provoking their ideological counterparts, with pictures of the World Trade Center towers on fire and talks about the left undermining security. Also, members of the sponsoring organizations made many firm remarks about police presence the event as a threat to any person or group who might think about causing a disruption.

The real disappointment, however, came during the lecture. Students with opposing viewpoints consistently made rude, obnoxious and inappropriate comments to the speaker. For supposed free speech advocates, they sure did nothing to show they support that cause.

They claim because Horowitz tore up signs that criticized him earlier in the day, that made their comments justified. This does not make any sense. Just because someone is not a supporter of free speech does not give everyone else the right to ignore it.

Also, making comments and trying to disrupt Horowitz because in one's opinion he makes racist, sexist and anti-gay remarks is not a good way to make a point. If these comments he makes are so obviously terrible, why not allow him to make them and let those present at the lecture find this out for themselves? With such horrible statements, even the most politically ignorant of people should be able to recognize this instantly.

In fact, it seemed that a few times during the lecture, people asking questions had Horowitz in a corner, but those disrupting the answers allowed him to avoid giving his response.

Of course, Horowitz is not an angel in this situation. He engages in the same name-calling and smear campaigns for which he criticizes other groups. He does this intentionally, to incite his opposition, making them look hostile, juvenile and tempestuous.

If there is one statement Horowitz made all night that all groups should agree on, it was that a university should be a place for the civil exchange of ideas. However, when these groups engage in "uncivil wars," no one learns anything.




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