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In the fall semester of my freshman year, I wrote what I thought was a relatively innocuous opinion piece for the Thresher on free speech at Rice. I realize now that the omnipresent threat to freedom of expression on college campuses is just one manifestation of a much larger and more pernicious phenomenon: visceral, unadulterated hatred for those who express heterodox views. If we fail to turn back this tide of hatred currently inundating our school, I’m afraid it will eventually consume every heterodox thinker in its path and leave in its wake a trail of stifled minds and frightened souls.
This past Friday, Rice Left offered unabashed support for a so-called “Palestinian feminist icon” named Leila Khaled. Make no mistake: Khaled, whom they refer to as a “liberation activist,” is, in every sense of the word, a terrorist. In 1969, Khaled and a group of fellow terrorists hijacked a civilian flight from Rome to Tel Aviv and planted bombs in the nose of the plane, which were detonated moments after the passengers, children and elderly among them, had hastily exited the plane. The plane having been diverted to Damascus, two Israeli civilians aboard the flight were held hostage by the Syrian government for three months after being delivered by the hijackers.
Free markets are not very popular on college campuses. As rigid economic regulation has become a staple of leftist politics, another market — the marketplace of ideas — is now being subjected to the same type of boundless regulation.