The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

Respond reasonably to fanatics

     Our university has been blessed (or cursed) these last two days with an evangelical who has delivered fire and brimstone sermons condemning the majority of our student population for fornication, homosexuality or any religious belief that varies from his own. Obviously this man hasn’t made much traction among students who have heard him, but the response of most of the students who stopped to listen to him has me very disappointed in our University.
     Students responded by yelling at him, attempting to drown him out by screaming obscenities and “99 bottles of beer on the wall,” and even pantomiming acts of violence towards him. Is that the level of debate that we’ve learned here? Could no one quote (or even paraphrase) some natural philosophers to him, or make any logical counter-argument? Obviously no argument can sway a fanatic, but the point of counter-argument would have been to sway a third party. In the real world our ideas will be competing against other ideas that, like the ones we’ve seen these last two days, are intolerant, illogical and dangerous.
     Studying in college should equip students to be able to counter these arguments and prevail in the open market of ideas that defines America. Anger and yelling will not make the cut, as the proselytizer’s poor performance at our University has proven. So to those students who yelled and jeered without logic let me ask, is that the best you’ve got?

Matthew Cancian
CLAS IV

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