Big Gulp banning Mayor Mike Bloomberg delivered an extraordinary speech at Harvard University. With conservative speakers getting banned and/or uninvited from university commencement ceremonies, Bloomberg took the opportunity at Harvard to, basically, tell the banners and uninviters to knock it off. He likened them to McCarthyism, which is unfair as McCarthy was actually fighting a totalitarian idea that was being pushed into the US by a hostile foreign power for the express purpose of weakening us and overthrowing capitalism. But that bit of moral confusion aside, and his support for the Ground Zero mosque aside along with it, Bloomberg delivers a strong defense of free speech. Stirring, even.
I’m as stunned to write that as you surely are reading it.
The important part starts after the six minute mark.
Bloomberg’s defenses of freedom of thought and speech are not a mere sidebar in the speech. They are the speech. Bloomberg strongly defends all dissent from the current leftist orthodoxy, even on gay marriage, and calls out universities for going so far left that they have become the very forces of intolerance they claim to oppose. And earns applause. No one even threw a pie at him.
Via Allahpundit, a few quotes.
“It is just a modern form of McCarthyism,” Bloomberg said of university “censorship” of conservatives. “Think about the irony: In the 1950s, the right wing was attempting to repress left wing ideas. Today, on many college campuses, it is liberals trying to repress conservative ideas even as conservative faculty members are at risk of becoming an endangered species.”
“And that is probably nowhere more true than it is here in the Ivy League,” declared Bloomberg…
“In the 2012 presidential race, according to Federal Election Commission data, 96% of all campaign contributions from Ivy League faculty and employees went to Barack Obama,” he said. “There was more disagreement among the old Soviet politburo than there is among Ivy League donors.”…
“Neither party has a monopoly of truth or God on its side. When 96% of Ivy League donors prefer one candidate to another, you really have to wonder whether students are being exposed to the diversity of views that a great university should offer,” Bloomberg continued, occasionally being interrupted by moderate applause.
That comment about the Politburo surely went over most of the students’ heads, but it found its mark among the faculty. Well done.
I am aware that Bloomberg remains a hypocrite on guns who believes that his use of wealth to push his policy preferences whether people want them or not will buy his way into heaven, even though he doesn’t really believe in God. He’s a small man with a gargantuan ego. But when he’s right, he’s right, and in this speech, he’s right. His commencement address is an important one.
Contra Allah, that doesn’t make Bloomberg presidential material. President of Harvard, maybe.