It is quite amazing how people perceive an event in many different ways. The idea that a single occurrence can stimulate a variety of views and perceptions is magnificent, but in today’s world, it adds to the constant uncertainty of when fact becomes opinion, or vice-versa. An op-ed published by WSN on Feb. 9 is a perfect example of how one person can perceive an event and draw it out for readers without any merit.
As a conservative that happens to be black, I understand the issues of race in the United States very well. I have been lambasted throughout my high school and college career for adhering to conservative principles, have been called an Uncle Tom and regularly get accused of sabotaging my race. None of this bothers me very much because I understand that to achieve a particular goal, you must be able to go through criticisms and setbacks. As the former Parliamentarian for the New York Federation of College Republicans, and now a candidate for State Chair, I appreciate the efforts of the NYU College Republicans to bring all types of views onto their campus to create discourse. It is unfortunate that such an excellent group of individuals have to go through what they did when they brought in Gavin McInnes, and now with this ridiculous op-ed written by Kouross Esmaeli.
It is pretty striking that a reference is made to NYU’s President Andrew Hamilton’s “Our NYU” email. The reason why it is striking is that his urging of students “to be reasonable and respectful towards each other” goes against any narrative that the author of the op-ed presents. The Gavin McInnes event was an opportunity to put President Hamilton’s words to the test, and NYU failed miserably, despite what one thinks about the guest in question. When a group that calls itself the Anti-Fascists resorts to the tactics that Hitler’s Brownshirts used, it goes against any notion of being reasonable and respecting one another. When that same group paints Gavin McInnes as a Nazi, yet does everything in their power to shut down alternative viewpoints, I call that hypocrisy, and frankly quite dangerous.
Conflating the events of the horrific Quebec City mosque shooting, which left six innocent people dead, with that of words said by a politician about 3,300 miles away is ridiculous. All this shows is the double standard of the left. When terrorists become radicalized because of some Imam spewing hate speech in a mosque, according to the left, we must never conflate that with the fact that these radicalized people go out and massacre 50 innocent people at a gay club in Florida. The outrage that ensues whenever anyone even mentions the correlation is incredible. Pundits are accused of being Islamophobic and are pressured into never speaking their minds again in the future. However, it is perfectly okay for Esmaeli to blame the actions of a deranged lunatic on Marine Le Pen. Esmaeli also writes that “[hate] speech emboldens people to act upon their ideas, no matter how radical they may be,” kind of like my correlation above, right?
When will people like Kouross Esmaeli learn this concept? When will groups like ANTIFA learn that their freedom of assembly does not trump others’ freedom of speech? Whether leftist groups, according to Esmaeli, attempt to “bring such controversial subjects to campus” is quite frankly irrelevant, however, it is also untrue. The reference to “rational dialogue” is funny, because I attended the NYU Politics Society debate on the Trump Executive Order 13769 on Tuesday, and witnessed firsthand this purported “rational dialogue,” — the same “rational dialogue” that involved leftists talking over the NYU College Republicans’ President, and their unwillingness to listen to any opposing views. I would say the conduct of the leftists was entirely irrational, as they usually are. However, not all hope is lost. Another conversation I witnessed firsthand was between a Republican and a Democrat after the event was over, and it was respectful and intelligent.
No, NYU should not strip “the College Republicans of its affiliation until it can show responsibility and reasonable conduct,” — in fact, it should do the complete opposite. NYU should condemn hate groups like ANTIFA who shut down free speech. It should respect and protect the first amendment right afforded to us by the U.S. Constitution, and it should never tolerate any actions perpetrated by a vile group of domestic terrorists — under the guise of rejecting hate speech — to forcefully take away those rights. Pepper-spraying a guest and threatening fellow NYU students is not a form of protest, nor is throwing bricks at school property. To use the words of Esmaeli, the recent actions of groups like ANTIFA should not be tolerated at all if President Hamilton wants students to commit to being reasonable and civil to each other. The administration needs to do its part.
Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Feb. 13 print edition. Email Paul-Anthony Cuesta at [email protected]