Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is in town. Not my town, thank goodness; he is in New York instead, and it appears that he will have a busy agenda there. He will be speaking at Columbia University and at the United Nations.
I am all for free speech, freedom of movement, and even the freedom to be an idiot. What I don't understand is what useful purpose will be served by having someone as clueless (or as calculatingly incendiary) as Ahmadinejad given a forum at a prestigious university. For every intelligent student and other interested party listening to his speech, there will be a lunatic who will applaud every bit of anti-American and anti-Israel drivel spouted by this madman. Let's forget everyone's legitimate preoccupation with the Iraq war for a moment, and whether the United States should be there at all, and consider the man's broader message of hate and intolerance.
Ahmadinejad has every right to be an idiot. Iranians and others have every right to support him and even to believe his holocaust denials and other ravings. I'm not sure though, that thinking individuals should give the man a pulpit from which he can further incite other lunatics, either here in North America or abroad.
Maybe that's the problem: There isn't enough thinking going on.