In a speech at Harvard University’s commencement, Michael Bloomberg criticized cases in which liberal students prevented speakers, including Condoleezza Rice, from speaking at universities. “In each case, liberals silenced a voice — and denied an honorary degree — to individuals they deemed politically objectionable. This is an outrage.”
He compared students protests to the efforts of gun rights’ advocates in Congress to prevent research into gun violence:
Bloomberg, who in April pledged $50 million to gun control groups he helped organize, spoke about Washington politicians’ handling of gun issues, noting Congress has barred the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from conducting studies of gun violence, a prohibition that was recently extended to the National Institute of Health. (source: CNN)
Bloomberg’s comparison is unreasonable. In the case of Rice, students objected to the university’s choice of her as commencement speaker. A commencement speaker should be someone students can look up to. It is perfectly reasonable to oppose the selection of a war criminal to receive an honorary degree.
The case of research into gun control is completely different. The research is not an honor bestowed on someone. The speech represents no particular partisan point of view.
Would it be reasonable to oppose the selection of Charles Koch as commencement speaker? I think so.
In any case, as long as the students don’t use violence, it is completely within their right to state their preferences loudly.
Bloomberg is trying to silence those students, and I’m calling him out for it. He’s free to speak and free, even, to try to silence others. I’m free to criticize his speech as being unreasonable.
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