Given where it comes from, this call for “respectful dialogue” on campuses is rather surprising, but welcome just the same. It seems Peter Beinart is having doubts (or even pangs of guilt?) over
the clearly fascistic way too many self-described liberals feel entitled to shout out and silence anyone they deem evil enough to challenge, or merely question, their self-righteous views of the
world and of how people should behave. I don’t have any illusions that this will make much of a difference, but it should be noted. Notice the parallel between left-wing and Palestinian
extremists, who argue that given the alleged oppression they suffer from, they can dispense themselves from the normal rules of respectful dialogue that govern the rest of us and instead give
themselves the right to demonize unilaterally anyone harboring views different from theirs. The result is that rather than being the place par excellence where ideas are debated and exchanged
with civility, our campuses have become more akin to arenas where gladiators savage each other. Beinart’s call is very late in coming, but it certainly should be paid attention to.