Readers Have Mixed Views on the Limits of Free Speech readers were unanimous in their blatant disgust with Canadian professor Sunera Thobani's  denouncement of the United States foreign policy and the Candian government's funding of the forum at which she spoke--as reported this week in Wendy McElory's ifeminist column.  

But although readers universally agreed that Thobani’s words were hypocritical and threatening, some do not feel that the Canadian government--which is investigating Thobani on charges "hate speech"-- should prosecute her for her words, because of her rights to free speech.

Here's a sample of this week's mail:

— It is good to hear someone calling the academic double standard of "free-speech" onto the carpet...  What people fail to realize, I think, is that not all ideas and beliefs are equally valid or morally equivalent. If thoughtful and civil discussion about the validity of different ideas cannot be made because of fear of offending some group, how can society benefit from having free speech? And only those in positions of authority will have the right to decide what is and isn't allowed to be said. That's a scary thought.

— The term "what’s good for thegoose is good for the gander" comes to mind. The thing I've noticed about all extremists is that they don't want to follow the same rules they want to impose upon the rest of us. They're like spoiled children. They should learn the golden rule, "treat others as you would like to be treated." This is the same type of behavior demonstrated by the likes of Lennin, Bin-Laden, Hitler and others that went on to become tyrants. They want to step on everyone else’s rights while grabbing all they can for themselves.

— What struck me is that Thobani and her groups are funded by the government. I can't help draw the parallel to Middle Eastern governments funding terrorism. Terrorism is worse but I bet it started the same way. Government funding extremists. They can't press their case with facts, common sense or logic. So they blow things up.

— Probably the most interesting analysis of feminists like this that malign America is to take a good look at the female existence in the Muslim world, especially in Afghanistan. If these loud mouths lived in the Middle East, they would be shot or have their heads cut off. They would have no rights at all and would be the slaves of the male world of Afghanistan. I wonder sometimes where these idiots are going. Maybe they should be sent to the Middle East without head and facial cover and find out who is really screwed up in this world.

— I deplore the thoughts and comments of Thobani. But in a 'free' society, I feel she should have the freedom to express her thoughts, regardless of how repugnant they may be.

— Although I don't agree with (Thobani's) views of my country, I believe she has the right to express those views. She is wrong and I would gladly debate it with her, but still I can't see charging her with a crime...I don't agree with her conclusions but I'll uphold her right to express them… however distasteful they may be.

— There is no chance of charges being laid against my dear friend Ms. Thobani. You see we live in Canada and people here are not judged by their actions, but by their gender and color. Ms. Thobani has both gender and race on her side. The Liberal federal government would never consider offending a down trodden wretch like Thobani because it wouldn't be politically correct. The government however is willing to persecute white males vigorously for any and every minor infraction.

— This Thobani woman truly frightens me. She appears to be almost psychopathic. I wonder if the Taliban would let her speak that way?

— I am all for free speech. But real free-speech. Not the kind where you incite people to dismantle the society which guarantees you that free speech and then turn around and attempt to stifle and censor anyone who highlights the sheer stupidity of such a position.

— I have been trying to isolate a common thread among all the America-Haters. After much agonizing evaluation, the answer now seems so obvious and simple. People, governments and leaders who are afraid of freedom and can exist and prosper only through rigorous control can almost universally be counted as Anti-American. Fanatics of any ilk, feminist, religious, or ideological have always and continue to pose the greatest threat to peace and understanding among peoples, sexes, races and nations.