Zealots Hate Free Speech

Michelle Malkin cites yesterday’s salad dressing attack on Pat Buchanan as part of a trend of intolerance on the Left:

Drudge linked last night to a story and video of Pat Buchanan getting attacked by a deranged college student while giving a speech. The assailant doused Buchanan’s face completely with salad dressing. He screamed, “Stop the bigotry!”before charging within inches of Buchanan and nearly hitting him in the head with the bottle as well.


These physical attacks targeting conservatives on campus and in the public square are getting more frequent. (See Kristol, Coulter, Perle, Harris, and the conservative kid who got kicked by a left-wing nut professor, for starters.) The Left continues to snicker about it. The MSM makes light of it (CBS: “A Dressing-Down For Pat Buchanan“; NPR: “What’s a little pie in the face?“). And for the most part, college administrators let the thugs get away with it.

It does seem that these incidents are mostly of people on the Left attacking the free speech rights of controversial figures on the Right. I can seldom go to a forum in D.C., including those hosted at respected liberal think tanks like Brookings or the Center for American Progress, without some yahoo hippy wannabes disrupting the proceedings. Perhaps this trend, to the extent there is one, is simply a product of conservatives having won a string of national elections and thus seeming to hold the reins of power.

Still, there’s certainly plenty of zealotry on the Right, too. During the fight over Terri Schiavo, for instance, there were several calls from otherwise respectable figures to simply ignore the law in order to save her. Certainly, the abortion debate has spawned a lunatic fringe willing to do anything, including murder, to get their point across.

The idea, though, that invited guests at, of all places, a university campus should be assaulted or have their message shouted down is simply outrageous.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Hal says:

    Gee, didn’t DeLay himself threaten a judge?

    Hmmm. Pies, salad dressing.

    Threatening a judge.


  2. Fersboo says:

    I see that you are still painting with a very broad brush James. Don’t worry, over time, your anti-religious-right-ism will fade and you will be able to start using the smaller brushes.

  3. let 1,000 pies fly!!!
    i am the mad yippie pie thrower….this is part of the cavalcade of pies…a pie in the face of a fascist equals justice on behalf ofthe masses

  4. I think, sometimes, it depends upon the venue. I know that in the public library world the majority of challenges to books (but not all) come from conservatives. Usually books written for teens that have coarse language, or sexual situations, etc…, are the ones that are challenged. Heather Has Two Mommies is a perennial favorite.

  5. jacob waller says:

    I like that our colleges are run by left-wingers. Most of the conservatives I know are gay.