When racial tensions mounted last spring as the result of the publication of David Horowitz’s anti-reparations ad, only the coolest heads on campus called for a debate that was Socratic, not Springer-esque.
Now, months later, the stage is set for cooler heads to prevail.
Kudos to the Distinguished Lecture Series for booking Horowitz and reparations advocate Randall Robinson for sequential lectures in late November and early December.
Finally, students will be able to hear Horowitz defend his views personally, as the brief statements published in his ad were the subject of gross over-interpretation last semester. Further, Randall’s visit should appease students who felt that their views were pushed out of the limelight by the excess attention paid to the Horowitz cause.
While the lectures certainly will not put an end to the reparations controversy on campus, they should mark the symbolic end of pointless bickering and the beginning of meaningful, open debate about the issue – a welcome change.
Still, there will be those that vehemently oppose Horowitz’s Nov. 20 visit. What such people fail to realize is that having Horowitz on campus has the potential to be a wholly positive experience. When Horowitz speaks, the right and the wrong of his ideas will become evident, and people will be able to judge how they feel about his ideas for themselves. This is the unquestionable importance of freedom of speech – that expression of and exposure to ideas, no matter how inflammatory, is not dangerous.
On the contrary, exposure to multiple points of view, no matter how unpopular, is essential for real diversity. We feel that this point was lost in the heat of the controversy last semester.