The Corner

Free Speech It Ain’t

 The opener from my column today:

Ever hear the joke about the guy who couldn’t afford a personalized license plate for his car so he changed his name to XJR-321?

Weirdly, I kept thinking of that joke this week as the entire brainiac world debated the half-pint whack-job Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s appearance at Columbia University. Defenders of A’Jad’s address insisted that “such core American principles as academic freedom and freedom of speech” were being shown “disrespect” by critics, in the words of a Los Angeles Times editorial.

But here’s the thing, whether you favored or opposed the teeny dictator’s lecture: Free speech had nothing to do with it.

You have to stay on your toes, like Ahmadinejad at a urinal, to grasp this point since it’s so often confused in our public discourse….

Most Popular

Pete Buttigieg, Progressive Saint

Don’t bet against the attractiveness of platitudes, sanctimony, and a vague promise of refreshing the American spirit. It worked in 2008. But Barack Obama had a global financial crisis and war weariness to run against. He also had a way with the electorate. Does Pete Buttigieg? His elevator pitch to American ... Read More

Pete Buttigieg, Progressive Saint

Don’t bet against the attractiveness of platitudes, sanctimony, and a vague promise of refreshing the American spirit. It worked in 2008. But Barack Obama had a global financial crisis and war weariness to run against. He also had a way with the electorate. Does Pete Buttigieg? His elevator pitch to American ... Read More
Politics & Policy

You Got a Low IQ, Fatso

When someone has irked you and you want to lash out at him, it is natural, apparently, to mock his looks. Donald Trump and Joe Biden have both exemplified this. Last summer, Trump was doing one of his rallies, and it was interrupted by protesters. The crowd started chanting “U.S.A.!” “U.S.A.!” of ... Read More
Politics & Policy

You Got a Low IQ, Fatso

When someone has irked you and you want to lash out at him, it is natural, apparently, to mock his looks. Donald Trump and Joe Biden have both exemplified this. Last summer, Trump was doing one of his rallies, and it was interrupted by protesters. The crowd started chanting “U.S.A.!” “U.S.A.!” of ... Read More