I have learned since my last post that blowhard extraordinaire Bill O'Reilly was quite furious over the possibility that Ward Churchill might get an audience. So much so that he posted a form letter for all those similarly offended by ideas. Enough people signed O'Reilly's letter (I wonder how many of them actaully read the letter) and sent it off to the president of Hamilton College that Churchill's visit was canceled. We can all rest in peace--we don't have to hear anything we don't like. What's more, we don't have to let anyone else hear what we don't like.

I also want to say that I hadn't actaully read Churchill's essay before my last post. Those ideas were based on the newspaper clipping describing the reaction to Churchill's upcoming appearance. Well, I have now read the essay--and I'm still alive to talk about it. Nowhere in the essay are the 9/11 terrorists praised as O'Reilly suggests; nor does Churchill ever say the victims deserved to die. He is simply trying to get at the root causes of this horrendous act. I can certainly see how people could disagree with him. But to be so offended that they would seek to suppress it--that I do not understand. I return again to the words of Steven Pinker which I posted the other day:
Look, the truth cannot be offensive. Perhaps the hypothesis is wrong, but how would we ever find out whether it is wrong if it is 'offensive' even to consider it? People who storm out of a meeting at the mention of a hypothesis, or declare it taboo or offensive without providing arguments or evidence, don't get the concept of a university or free inquiry.