Video: Juan Williams, Raffi Williams on diversity of thought

Daily Caller founder Tucker Carlson hosted an interesting tête-à-tête this morning on Fox between a staunch conservative and a well-known liberal on the lack of tolerance for diversity of thought demonstrated again this week, this time by a senior editor for Ebony Magazine. The two squared off — or actually supported one another as son and father, respectively and respectfully. RNC deputy press secretary Raffi Williams joined his father Juan Williams to blast the pervasive notions that ideology has to be linked to ethnicity, and Juan urged everyone to open their minds to new ideas rather than dismiss people out of hand:

It’s not just in minority communities where the conversation needs to open up, and not just on ethnicity where identity politics and closed-mindedness prevail. Juan mentions Condoleezza Rice and the cancellation of her speech at Rutgers. So far, the University of Minnesota is resisting a similar call to cancel a speech by Rice because of her work in the Bush administration — but that’s not stopping the calls to close UM’s doors to her:

Student and faculty activists are joining forces to pressure the University of Minnesota to rescind a speaking invitation to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is scheduled to deliver an April 17 lecture at Northrop Auditorium.

Rice, who also was national security adviser under President George W. Bush, was invited months ago to deliver a speech on civil rights as part of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs’ “Distinguished Carlson Lecture Series.”

But the University Senate has scheduled a vote next week on a resolution urging the school to disinvite Rice because of her role in the wartime policies of the Bush administration.

Another of the critics’ objections: her speaking fee of $150,000.

Andrea Cournoyer, a spokeswoman for the Humphrey School, rejected the notion of disinviting anyone. “Rescinding any kind of invitation would be inconsistent with our goal of promoting discussion and dialogue,” she said. The Humphrey School, in announcing the lecture, described Rice as “one of the most influential and powerful people in the world.”

Every speaker of this caliber runs six figures, so that’s a bit of a red herring. The issue is that the students and faculty don’t want to hear heterodox views on foreign policy and politics. Why not just stage a parallel event on the campus — and the UM campus in the Twin Cities is one of the largest in the country — as a counterpoint to Rice’s appearance? That way students and faculty can choose which speech to attend and make up their own minds about Rice’s views.  That would be true choice, free speech, and tolerance.

Kudos to the Humphrey Center, which consistently invites speakers from many different political viewpoints to speak and discuss issues. Let’s hope that cooler heads and broader minds prevail.

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