Mona Charen

When New York City's strikingly successful police commissioner, Raymond Kelly, arrived to address students at Brown University, he was harassed, booed and heckled for 30 long minutes. "Racism is not for debate," they shouted. A university official pleaded with the goons, er, students to permit Kelly to speak, reminding them that they would be free to express disagreement during the Q-and-A session afterwards. "Shout him down!" responded a man in the audience, and the crowd did.

Episodes like this are tolerated in America because college faculties, administrators and the press almost uniformly share the students' prejudices and haven't the spine or the integrity to uphold boring American values like free expression. Brown's president issued a wan apology noting that it was a "sad day" for the university, but there were no suspensions or other punishments for those who organized and carried out this thuggish intimidation. Instead, the university will convene "a forum for the campus to discuss our values and expectations as a community." That'll help.

These outrages get noticed in the conservative press and largely ignored by others. It goes without saying that such tolerance for intolerance would not prevail if conservative students behaved this way toward, say, an advocate of same-sex marriage.

Members of the press indulge left-wing students, imagining that their hearts are in the right place, even if their heads are a little hot.

Is that really true? Consider that Kelly has presided over a policing regime in New York City that has resulted in poor and minority neighborhoods seeing victimization drop to levels not seen since 1963. New York's crime rate is the lowest among big cities in the United States. The most dangerous neighborhoods, which are majority black and Hispanic, have seen the greatest improvements in quality of life.

As Kelly noted on "Meet the Press" last summer, during the past 11 years, there have been 7,363 fewer murders than during the preceding 11 years. Based on victimization patterns in New York, that means there are about 7,000 more black and Hispanic young men alive today than would have been the case absent Kelly's leadership. The homicide rate for Chicago teens, for example, is four times that of New York.


Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
 
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