Bezalel Sterns' Article
Daniel Duffy, 2007
Sterns: the night before Pipes spoke, Brandeis students threatened tolerance protesters, burned their informative handouts, physically blocked their passage through dormitory hallways and called them various obscenities and "anti-Semitic." However you accuse the protesters of being "close-minded." Which side is really intolerant in this situation?
Quite mystically in his article "Pipes protest shows left-wing fascism," Bezalel purports to know something no one else does; his editorial "will not be biased," in fact, it's not even subjective--it's fact. Bezalel would say that I am completely wrong in many of my life experiences and opinions because he knows that "Daniel Pipes is not a racist." With that logic the rest of our opinions are meaningless.
He also talks about "half-truths" that lurk at Brandeis that he would like to avoid. Well I pose this question: what about quarter truths? How about two-thirds truths? I would not deny the possibility of an eleven-seventeenth truth. When does one reach the whole truth?
But those kinds of questions could really go on forever.
Bezalel, according to you, because "about fifteen people walked out" on Pipes' speech the protesters did not want dialogue, but you left out a "fact." No group on campus opposed Pipes' coming to speak and there were many people who stayed to challenge his views in "dialogue."
You assert that "the problem with left-wing rhetoric today" is that liberals who protest don't know what they are talking about and will support any "ultra-liberal" cause. However I wouldn't consider a movement towards respecting diversity to be that radical since it is generally agreed that it would be key to a pluralistic society.
What really still confuses me about this article is that it points out the irony in a tolerance movement that does not tolerate Pipes' views when so many Brandeis students cannot even tolerate a perceived "non-tolerating," tolerance movement. It seems that so many privileged Brandeis students I have come into contact with have mocked the campaign because of "tolerate's" negative connotation, quarreling constantly on the surface of the problem but not actually doing anything to change what appears to be a massive racism problem on campus. A very typical argument: Why not an acceptance movement where we accept other people rather than just tolerate and put up with them? This would be a good point, but how can one accept something if they are not even to the point of tolerating it? On a campus where Arabs are openly called "yucky," and "dogs meant to be shot" without being challenged, it is fairly clear that even tolerance is far off for much of this campus.
And back to Bezelel: Why does he become a stickler about one of the only humanitarian movements on campus? Perhaps, like other students, it is because these movements challenge his opinion, which is "fact." Says Bezelel, because protesters think that a man who sees Al-Qaeda as a problem could possibly question his beliefs, they must be closed-minded. What is "open-minded" about this kind of logic?
Bezelel, if you can't find any reasoning better than this to slander a very small group of people expressing their beliefs that challenge your own, it certainly suggests a pretext to your argument.
It seems that you, like many students here, have built a castle of "fact" around you to protect yourself. You lash out against the smallest movement that may test your beliefs and let in those that you agree with. Although, I was not in the last tolerance protest, I will certainly be in the next. And although a brief interruption of studying only tempted these walls' fall in this protest, I will be right in your face for the next, flaunting my beliefs and challenging your "facts."