Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I Don't Get It -- Mitt Romney Edition

Former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami is giving a talk at the Kennedy School on Sunday. However, he will not be receiving the state police escort, etc. typically provided to high level visitors because Gov. Mitt Romney doesn't like him and doesn't think that Harvard should give him a platform.

Kudos to Mitt Romney for engaging in a completely meaningless gesture in a desperate attempt to impress future Republican Presidential Primary voters.

Even if you disagree with his words and deeds and think he is totally crazy, Khatami was the President of Iran for most of the last decade. I cannot think of a single bad thing that might result from hearing him speak. I would have thought that someone interested in leading this county, like Romney, would have jumped at this unique opportunity to be face-to-face with such an important figure from one of our greatest adversaries.

I don't get it.

Yeah, I've several times heard this kind of critique, that we shouldn't give so-and-so a 'platform' to speak. But it seems like, if we really believe they are crazy and/or bad, then letting them speak should confirm that to more people. It's a sad thing when people want to restrict who speaks at universities. A couple of years ago, there was a huge uproar when a college in Utah (Utah Valley State College) invited Michael Moore to speak. Ahem, this is the whole idea of universities, to let ideas fly.
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