Monday, September 24, 2007

Taking Offense

President Ahmadinejad is speaking at Columbia University today. A member of Congress from New York said on the news that he was offended that the Iranian president was speaking at Columbia, and that the university was wrong for having invited him to speak.

I think the New York congressman's offense is wrongly placed. Columbia University is only doing what universities should do: encourage diversity of ideas and the freedom of thought so that well-informed citizens can make up their own minds about the issues.

Certainly, much of what President Ahmadinejad says is offensive to me and to many people, but I would rather hear his speech and be offended, then never hear his speech and remain ignorant. Furthermore, if we never meet our enemies we will never stop being enemies. We will never have the means to find (sometimes painful) accommodation with each other.

At least let me hear the President before I take offense. And letting him speak is about the most red-blooded American thing that can happen to this guy.