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James O’Keefe of Project Veritas, is at it again.  This time the gorilla journalist has caught a Vice-Dean of student affairs at Cornell telling a prospective student (a PV plant) that a club supporting Isis or Hamas would be welcome on campus.

Here is some of that exchange:

Is it OK to bring a humanitarian pro-“Islamic State Iraq and Syria” group on campus, the undercover for conservative activist James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas asks.

Sure, Scaffido says in the recorded March 16 meeting.

Scaffido doesn’t even blink an eye when the undercover asks about providing material support for terrorists — “care packages, whether it be food, water, electronics.”

How about supporting Hamas?

No problem at all, Scaffido said.

“The university is not going to look at different groups and say, ‘You’re not allowed to support that group because we don’t believe them’ or something like that. I think it’s just the opposite. I think the university wants the entire community to understand what’s going on in all parts of the world,” Scaffido said.

You can read the entire story and watch the video here.

Understandably, the video has sparked both surprise and outrage.  The images of the brutality of the Isis fighters has been very hard to miss. The idea that any American University would welcome such inhuman thugs onto the campus or support a student group that supports those organizations is appalling to most Americans; its appalling to me. It is also a bit disconcerting to realize that this university would welcome a speaker from Hamas or Isis AND pay their speaking fee, but may not do the same for Conservative student groups who want to obtain funding to bring in conservative speakers.  And I am not referring to the usual lighting rods like Ann Coulter or Michele Malkin.  Conservative groups have had difficulty in securing funding to bring ME to their campus.  And that is precisely why I am a bit confused as to what O’Keefe is getting at.

If O’Keefe’s goal was to shock, he was successful. If, however, he has in mind that we of good conscience should mock Cornell and Dean Scaffido for their unabashed political correctness, I disagree.  IN the video Scaffido highlights one of the great differences between freedom loving Americans and the totalitarian bullies of Isis.  Here is America, we are not afraid of ideas!  At least some of us are not. We believe in the open exchange of ideas, because we believe that in the end better ideas, like better mouse-traps, will win the day.

The Conservative belief in the free market is not confined to widgets, it must include ideas as well.  Similar to any other market place, the market place of ideas is going to have some really terrible product.  My understanding of Conservatism is that it is the duty of the rest of us, through reason and the articulation of better ideas, to drive those bad ideas from the public square? Isn’t it the other guys who want to pick and choose and censure ideas? As distasteful as it may be, and assuming that doing so would not violate federal law, The student group supporting Hamas should be allowed on campus AND Conservatives should be both the ones defending their rights and providing the reasons why their beliefs are wrong.

The idea of simply banning speech, or leaving it to others to decide which speech is good and which is bad – even speech which is so clearly distasteful, puts conservatives on the opposite side of the ideas enshrined in our keystone document and the constitution, which highlights those ideals.  That is the wrong place for Conservatives to be.



About Author

Joseph C. Phillips

Joseph C. Phillips was born on January 17, 1962 in Denver, Colorado, USA as Joseph Connor Phillips. He is an actor, known for General Hospital (1994), The Cosby Show (1984) and Strictly Business (1991). He has been married to Nicole since 1994. They have three children.

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