From The Wall Street Journal:
Americans should not fear talking--and listening--to those whose views we loathe.
Friday, September 28, 2007 12:01 a.m.
You don't want to judge Christ by Christians, someone once said. He is perfect, they are not.
In a similar way you don't want to judge capitalism by capitalists, or the legitimacy of democracy by the Democrats, or the vitality of our republic by the Republicans. You have to take the thing pure and in itself, while allowing for the flaws and waywardness of its practitioners.
I say this because here in America we have reached a funny pass. People are doing and saying odd things as if they don't know the meaning of the thing they say they stand for. In particular I mean we used to be proud of whom we allowed to speak, and now are leaning toward defining ourselves by whom we don't speak to and will not allow to speak. This is not progress.
Conservatives on campus are shouted down. A crusader against illegal immigration is rushed off the stage at Columbia University. Great newspapers give ad breaks to groups with which they feel an ideological affinity, but turn away ads from those they do not, such as antiabortion groups. And they call this a business.
So much silencing. It seems so weak, so out of keeping with who we are. We love the tradition of free speech in America, but you don't want to judge its health by what we've done with it lately, or to it.
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