Speech Defending Attacks on Civilians: A Thought Experiment
I’ve heard some suggest that it’s proper for universities to expel students for publicly defending the Hamas murders. (This has included both public universities and private universities that had pledged to protect student free speech.) Others have suggested that faculty members who defended the murders be fired. And there have been calls for nonacademic employers to refuse to hire students who have defended the murders. (Such refusals to hire based on a student’s speech are legal in most states, though illegal in some.)
If you take this view, let me ask this hypothetical. Say that a student or a professor writes something like this:
With Iran getting a nuclear bomb soon, Israel has to make clear: If Iran (with a population almost 10 times that of Israel) bombs an Israeli city, Israel will bomb an Iranian city, aiming to kill 10 times the number of people killed by the Iranian bomb.
And none of this pretense about limiting the bombing to military targets. Japan surrendered because it was facing the loss of cities, not of military capacity. This is what Mutually Assured Destruction needs to be: tit for tat, civilian deaths for civilian deaths. In war, civilians pay for the sins of their governments, and the prospect of civilian deaths is often the main deterrent to aggression, or the main impetus to surrender; that’s just the way it is.
What would your view be?
- The hypothetical author should be fired/expelled/etc. just like the pro-Hamas author. He’s embracing the deliberate killing of civilians; such advocacy is immoral and creates a hostile environment f
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