Friday, February 04, 2005

Churchill's Horrific Screed:

I say tar and feather him. But Eugene Volokh takes a more thoughtful approach to the question of what the University of Colorado should do to Ward Churchill, the professor "who wrote the horrific screed praising the murder of the people in the World Trade Center (on the grounds that they were 'little Eichmanns')":

I think Justice Hugo Black was right to say that First Amendment rights "must be accorded to the ideas we hate or sooner or later they will be denied to the ideas we cherish"; and the same is true of academic freedom principles. . .
Sounds about right to me. Churchill has already resigned as chair of the university's ethnic studies department. The great marketplace of ideas--in the form of widespread outrage--seems to be finishing the job of discrediting his depraved views. As Justice Holmes wrote in the 1919 decision Abrams v. US:
[W]hen men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas -- that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out. That at any rate is the theory of our Constitution.

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