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I'm a little confused by the framing of the decision to extend an invitation for Mahmoud Ahmadenijad to speak at Columbia University as "free speech." Everyone, including Ahmadenijad, has a right to speak his mind in this country, but nobody has a right to a specific platform at a major university. I, after all, haven't been granted such an invitation and there's no particular reason he should have gotten one either. For all the reasons Ross cites a lot of the right's reaction to this has been overheated, but it's still fundamentally odd to decide that a maniac should participate in a debate with a university president as part of a bizarre publicity stunt whose main purpose is to exaggerate the importance of both men.

Conversely, though, things like Duncan Hunter's new plan to cut off funding to Columbia University is a real free speech issue. The university really has the right to stage an asinine publicity stunt if it wants to without the federal government stepping in.
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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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