Unfortunately, these sorts of false appeals work all too well on campus where indoctrination, rather than critical thinking and objective assessment, reigns. This sort of "thinking" and the relativism and resulting apathy it creates is exactly what WSU needs to sweep this issue under the rug. So with Tom's call to keep this issue alive in mind, I submitted the following letter:
"Contreras writes that the College Republicans put up a fence to incite certain reactions to frame their opponents as “extremist, anti-American fascists who try to deny freedom of speech and basic rights.” Whether the CR’s really put on their demonstration for this purpose or not is pure speculation, but the irony of this statement is that the opponents who confronted the CR’s showed that they are extremist, anti-American fascists who try to deny freedom of speech and basic rights to others.I kind of doubt that my letter will appear since I had one run recently, but there's a chance. We'll see.
Regardless of one’s feelings about the display the CR’s put on, they have a right to express their views. Those who oppose their views do, too. But when the opponents of someone’s views attempt to use threats, intimidation, and institutional authority to shut down their expression, rights are violated. Freedom of expression is a basic right, guaranteed by our Constitution, and is inseparable from what it means to be American. Therefore, to try and take those rights from someone – whether it be by physical assault, misappropriating university funds to buy tickets so as to disrupt a play, or when faculty attempt to abuse their authority to silence views with which they do not agree – is extremist, fascist, and anti-American.
Two faculty members are guilty of this very thing, as are numerous students who seem to think that the heckler’s veto and intimidation are the proper ways to debate. Streamas and Leonard must be punished for their transgressions, and hopefully the students who follow their lead will learn from this example.
Paul E. Zimmerman, M.A.
Instructor, Dept. of Philosophy"