The Cost of Free Speech
The University of Colorado has a difficult choice to make. One of their professors, Ward Churchill, has written a paper saying the bankers and stock brokers killed in the WTC terrorist attack were responsible for the disaster. Calls for Churchill's head to be brought up on a platter are now being heard in the administrative offices of the university. Naturally Churchill has been called un-American and he is not a popular figure. But he has supporters, including many of his detractors. When someone with an arguably hair brained opinion is threatened with dismissal from his job, it tends to silence the voice of dissent in the entire academic arena. As a nation we need to hear voices from all sides of a debate. The most severe cruelty is to withhold valuable information from someone. It looks like the University of Colorado may subject itself to such cruelty by dismissing Churchill, but they are under outside pressures to do so. Everyone needs to cool down and realize that Churchill is only an American with an unpopular opinion.
You might silence him, but you won't change his mind, and you won't hear from the other people who agree with him, perhaps even the one sitting next to you on the bus ride to work tomorrow.
It will be a far better thing if the man is left in his position and forced to debate with those who disagree with him. I don't agree with him, but I'd love to hear that debate.
David Blaine [8:28 AM]
Waste of Tax Dollars
The FTC is stepping up fines for television networks that violate decency standards. On the face that doesn't seem wrong, but it is redundancy of a system already in place, a system that costs the taxpayers nothing. Television is supported by advertising dollars, and advertisers are a far better judge of what the public is offended by than Washington bureaucrats. When a network shows offensive programming, advertisers hear from their customers, and threaten to pull their commercials from that network. That can cost a network billions of dollars. The fines the FTC serve up are cream puffs in comparison. In a time of shrinking revenues, the FTC might be an agency that needs downsizing. The funds saved could be diverted to literacy programs. Then the problem of television could be solved once and for all, by reading books instead of watching T.V.
David Blaine [8:17 AM]
The Real Danger in North Korea
Now that North Korea has announced they have nuclear weapons, necessary for self defense, the real danger isn't from the bombs. North Koreans and everyone else know that the country has nothing anyone wants. The only reason to invade North Korea is for the safety and security of her neighbors. Today's announcement only serves to paint North Korean leaders as dangerous and unstable. Those could be grounds for a stronger country to invade, and it would be difficult for anyone to believe claims of imperial aggression, although such claims would be pressed. Ignorance is the real danger in North Korea.
David Blaine [8:11 AM]