I’ve always been kind of intrigued by the response that David Horowitz always generates on this campus. It seems like the reaction is always very visceral, very passionate, and very negative. Which begs the question, “Why?” Surely a man that so many people not only dislike but despise must be saying some pretty terrible stuff. Yet after seeing him speak twice on campus and after having read several reactions to him in the Daily Tar Heel, I have yet to come across any sort of reasoned argument against the man.
Take his most recent campus visit as an example. After about 20 minutes into his speech, and before he had even said anything controversial, nearly every Muslim student (and a few other sympathizers) in the room walked out. Now, I know that several groups on campus, Hillel, the Muslim Students Association, Students for Justice in Palestine, etc., really despise Horowitz. But given their little performance at his speech the other night, I wonder if any of them have ever actually heard what he has to say, or if they are just being told that they should despise him. Personally, I was hoping for a little dialogue in the Q&A part of the talk, but apparently Mr. Horowitz’s opponents aren’t interested in debate. If he’s so obviously wrong, it shouldn’t be too hard to show that through a few thoughtful questions, right?
Judging by the responses to Horowitz in the Daily Tar Heel, one might be tempted to think that his opponents don’t want to debate him because they are unable to counter anything he says. It seems like the best they can do is to call him a “well-paid, fire-breathing provocateur,” accuse of him of “weav[ing] a tapestry of truth using tattered fragments of evidence,” and make rather ironic claims that “there is no space in our campus dialogue for generalizations and discrimination.” I suppose if you have no grounds on which to attack his actual arguments going for a character-assassination is the next best thing, but it’s not particularly persuasive. Of course, every now and then, a student (not a UNC student of course) will attempt to challenge Mr. Horowitz on his views. But before long, these students tend to find themselves in the rather awkward situation of endorsing well-known terrorist organizations, which might explain why they’re a little reluctant to engage in any sort of debate.
I’m not really an expert on Middle Eastern affairs, which is why I like to go to these sorts of events, to hear two sides hash out the issues. But when one side fails to show (or rather, just straight-up leaves), I’m inclined to favor the side that actually argued its position. If David Horowitz is such an evil hate-monger, it shouldn’t be too hard to prove that he’s wrong. Yet, I have yet to see anyone do that. Indeed, I haven’t even seen anyone prove he’s a hate-monger. It’s like there’s some sort of massive Group Think going on, where everyone just feels compelled to hate David Horowitz, but no one can explain why. If there’s any side that appears to be caught up in irrational emotion, it appears to be those who oppose Mr. Horowitz, and if they ever hope to persuade anyone who doesn’t already agree with them, they ought to work on formulating actual arguments.