We have a similar problem here in the States. Student groups that are critical of Israel have been publicly threatened with a loss of funding by Republicans, while progressive leftists have quite literally rioted over right-wing speakers appearing on campuses. In the eyes of many students, politicians and activists, free speech is a wonderful thing only when it shields their particular tribe from censorship. When it’s someone from a different tribe being silenced, those same individuals become downright giddy.

I never met an actual terrorist when I was in college, but our campus preacher was a lightning rod for controversy. A lot of students, and even some professors, wanted him banned from campus (which would have been illegal since it was a public university). Not me, though. I didn’t have a religious bone in my body, but I absolutely loved debating him when I had some time to kill in between classes. And he was always up for the challenge (I think he enjoyed it, though he’d never admit it if he did). I honestly believe that those debates did more to develop my critical thinking skills than any of the classes I took in school, and so I was always grateful for having had the opportunity to engage him. I often wonder whether he’s been driven off campus yet, but in this environment, I’d be genuinely (and pleasantly) surprised to learn that he hasn’t.

Outer space enthusiast. Japanese history junkie. I write about politics, culture, and mental illness. Disagreement is a precursor to progress.

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