And you see, that is exactly the problem. It is profoundly dangerous when anyone cuts off the open discussion of controversial ideas, particularly in an institution of higher learning, particularly in the arts. The point that I made with Dejeuner addresses precisely this. Would you support a similar reaction to someone who is pro-gay marriage being banned from speaking about, say, economics, at a Catholic institution where students find gays offensive? Would you suggest that it’s okay to stop people from talking about race equality in a forum where people believe races are not equal? Who gets to arbitrate such things? On what grounds?
There is no personal attack here. The standards of free speech hold, if it is really free, that all speech is permitted, which is why the ACLU, for instance, defends the KKK’s right to march, however repugnant it may be. If you are willing to admit that you do not support free speech, then that’s another issue; but you cannot insist that speech is free only if you agree with it and call that “free speech.” It’s a contradiction in terms. And that concept is one which Dutch — European, in fact — culture simply does not get.
But the parallel to refugees should be clear enough. “I approve of your right to say something just — not here” is not much different than “I have no problem with the rights of Muslims to live where they want to, just — not here.” How much more obvious can it be? “I don’t mind gays loving each other, just — not here. I don’t have to give a platform to it.” That’s hate, not tolerance, folks. I don’t care how you try to label it, the act is the same.
As for the reference to Theo and Charlie Hebdo — I’m not sure why that isn’t clear. The principle I’m talking about is one that people die for. It’s sacred. Maybe not to you. Maybe not to Annelies van Eenennaam (which makes me wonder how she can possibly run an art school). But it is to me, and it is because of that that I wrote against her decision. YOu are free to write something in support of it, but personally, I find it frightening, and a damning reflection on the future of the school.