Quotes of the Day

The Wall Street Journal has published what would have been Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s commencement speech at Brandeis University had the fascist mob not won. Here is my favorite part:

Just as the city of Boston was once the cradle of a new ideal of liberty, we need to return to our roots by becoming once again a beacon of free thought and civility for the 21st century. When there is injustice, we need to speak out, not simply with condemnation, but with concrete actions. One of the best places to do that is in our institutions of higher learning. We need to make our universities temples not of dogmatic orthodoxy, but of truly critical thinking, where all ideas are welcome and where civil debate is encouraged. I’m used to being shouted down on campuses, so I am grateful for the opportunity to address you today. I do not expect all of you to agree with me, but I very much appreciate your willingness to listen…The motto of Brandeis University is “Truth even unto its innermost parts.” That is my motto too. For it is only through truth, unsparing truth, that your generation can hope to do better than mine in the struggle for peace, freedom and equality of the sexes.

And if you think I go into fits over free speech, you haven’t met the fantastic Mark Steyn. This quote is from a transcript of his appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show yesterday:

Well, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Somali woman, a black, feminist Somali who was raised in a brutal, extreme Islamic upbringing where she underwent female genital mutilation, and she was put in an arranged marriage and all the rest of it. And she managed to escape to the Netherlands and get elected to the Dutch Parliament, and she made a film about the state of Muslim women, about the life of women in the Muslim world called Submission. She wrote the film. The guy who directed it, Theo Van Gogh, the film so outraged Muslims in Amsterdam that one of them murdered him, all but decapitated him in the street. His last words were, “Can’t we just talk about it,” and the guy didn’t want to talk about it. He all but decapitated him, and his final act was to put a letter and used a knife to stab it through what was left of Theo Van Gogh’s chest, pledging among other things to do the same to Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Now she could have done what a lot of people do. She could have moved to New Zealand, gone into hiding, had a quiet, changed her name, had a quiet life. And instead, she has lived with that death threat and many others, and had the courage to speak out against it. Most of us are never called upon to be that brave. Most of us will never have to actually weigh those odds the way Ayaan did. And no one’s asking these ghastly squishes at Brandeis to show that kind of courage. All this pathetic president, I want to get his name right, I’ve got it written, Frederick Lawrence. All this wretched nothing eunuch man, Frederick Lawrence, had to do, he didn’t have to show courage on that scale. All he had to do was not cave in to pressure group bullies and allow this woman to speak and receive the worthless honorary degree from his worthless institution. These guys won’t defend Western Civilization, and Western Civilization will die, because it depends on the defense of losers like this guy…And so what we’re learning here which is fascinating, in the hierarchy of progressive politics identity group victimhood, Islam trumps everything. Islam trumps gender. The fact that she’s a woman doesn’t matter. It trumps race. The fact that she’s black doesn’t matter. It trumps secularism. The fact that she’s an atheist doesn’t matter. They wouldn’t do this if it was a Christian group complaining about her, if it was a Jewish group complaining about her. But when the Islamic lobby group says oh, no, we’re not putting up with this, as I said, these jelly-spined nothings at Brandeis just roll over for them.

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