No freedom of speech for the politically incorrect

A few weeks ago Iran's president Ahmadinejad was invited to speak at Columbia University despite his numerous and public pronouncements vowing to pursue a contemporary genocide by eliminating Israel  and denying that a deliberate genocide against Jews occurred during World War ll.  Academic freedom to provide a forum for controversial ideas, freedom of speech sputtered the apologists, justifying his appearance.  With this seal of approval Ahamdinejad spoke to a mostly cheering audience--they did boo him when he suggested that Iran didn't have homosexuals as in the US--and soiled precious academic freedoms.

But now another star, a Nobel Prize winner at that, didn't fare quite so well when speaking out. 
A British government minister, scientists and a human rights activist condemned James Watson's comments as racist, and London's Science Museum canceled his speech
and he was even  suspended as Chancellor Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in NY with which he had been associated since 1948.  There have been few protests, no outcry of academic freedom of speech. 

And why the flurry of activity?  Haven't these academics learned from Columbia and academia?
In an interview published in the October 14, 2007 edition of the Sunday Times, Watson was quoted as saying he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa." "All our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours -- whereas all the testing says not really."
Apparently an invidious lobby, let's call it the Decent People Lobby, has used their insidious powerful  pressure tactics and
joined a throng of other institutions and researchers that said his comments were offensive and scientifically incorrect. 
This lobby's tactics worked.  Properly contrite Watson stated
"I am mortified about what has happened," he told a group of scientists and journalists. "I can certainly understand why people, reading those words, have reacted in the ways they have.

"To all those who have drawn the inference from my words that Africa, as a continent, is somehow genetically inferior, I can only apologize unreservedly.
Well, that might help him regain his stature, maybe even his chancellorship.  And certainly the Nobel committee won't ask him to return his award even though there were/are allegations that he and his co winner partner Francis Crick used the findings of Rosalind Franklin, a British Jewish woman working in their British lab, without acknowledgment. 

Ahmadinejad continues to speak hatred, and along with Hitler's ghost, will probably be invited to speak next year at Columbia University or another academic venue and at the opening of the UN's General Assembly.  In this case  freedom of speech proponents will easily trump that powerfully entrenched Decent People Lobby, because some ideas, according to the former, apparently are worthy of discussion.

Meanwhile, the Democrats have a lot of trouble with freedom of speech, censuring those who dare utter opinions that are at odds with holy liberal dogma.  With the record breaking auction sale of a Democratic Congressional letter criticizing non existent comments, Rush Limbaugh cleverly exposed the progressive authoritarian tactics and will emerge stronger than ever; hopefully the next victim will do as well.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Friday the head of the Justice Department's voting rights office should be fired for saying minorities often die before they reach old age. (snip)

In a letter to the Justice Department sent Friday, Obama called Tanner's remarks a disgrace and asked Acting Attorney General Peter D. Keisler to dismiss him.

"Such comments are patently erroneous, offensive and dangerous, and they are especially troubling coming from the federal official charged with protecting voting rights in this country," Obama wrote.
So Obama wants to fire someone for stating what is, alas, the truth. 
It is well documented that black Americans-particularly black males-have shorter life expectancies than whites. But blacks do live to become senior citizens.

A black person born in 2004 had an average life expectancy of 73.1 years, about five years less than for whites, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
This is not the fault of Mr. Tanner; he was merely reporting the truth.  Should a Justice Department official be fired for that?

And what kind of person is Mr. Tanner?
Justice Department spokesman Erik Ablin said Tanner has worked for the department's voting section since 1976, the last two years as its chief. Tanner's tenure also includes a stint in the White House counsel's office during the Clinton administration.

"Mr. Tanner is an attorney who works to protect civil rights on a daily basis," Ablin said, adding that the official has won numerous awards from African-American groups. "Nothing in his comments deviated from his firm commitment to enforce the law, and it is unfortunate that they have been so grossly misconstrued."

Ablin said the Justice Department "continues to have full confidence" in Tanner, effectively rejecting Obama's demand that the voting chief be dismissed.
Perhaps Rush Limbaugh can help John Tanner get hold of a copy of that letter and put it up for auction on eBay.  I'm sure Hillary will be glad to help a former colleague so unfairly charged.  Certainly a letter from a failed presidential candidate proving that charisma and good looks are no substitute for skills and experience should go for a very high price. 

And Tanner could donate a percentage of profits to health care organizations if he chooses.