Last night, Milo Yiannopoulos, a supporter of President Trump and free speech, was prevented from speaking at UC Berkeley by Leftists using violence as an argument.
News of the rioting made cable news last night as students smashed ATMs and bank windows, looted a Starbucks, beat Trump supporters, pepper-sprayed innocent individuals, and set fires in the street. Others spray-painted the words “Kill Trump” on storefronts.
The speech was canceled by UC Berkeley police as security failed. Yiannopoulos was evacuated from the area.
There was something odd in the statement that the University of California, Berkeley issued on Wednesday night in response to the leftist riot that stopped a speech by Breitbart tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos and trashed the town:
We condemn in the strongest possible terms the violence and unlawful behavior that was on display, and deeply regret that those tactics will now overshadow the efforts to engage in legitimate and lawful protest against the performer’s presence and perspectives.
UC Berkeley, as an institution, was not only opposed to Milo’s views (or what it imagined those views to be), but also to his very presence on campus. Nothing could be further from the spirit of the Free Speech Movement.
The Free Speech Movement was started at Berkeley in the academic year 1964-1965. It must be understood that it was started by Communists in order to put an end to free speech – by first making it okay for them to indoctrinate students. They succeeded. Communism tolerates no dissent.
Unfortunately, the statement was not merely an error after the fact. It echoed an earlier statement by UC Berkeley chancellor Nicholas Dirks the week before, in which he had tried to balance the “right to free expression” against the university’s “values of tolerance, inclusion and diversity”.
Note that free expression was not described as a “value” to which UC Berkeley subscribes, but a “right” that it must allow however grudgingly.
The statement went on to take a specific stance against Milo, misrepresenting his views:
In our view, Mr. Yiannopoulos is a troll and provocateur who uses odious behavior in part to “entertain”, but also to deflect any serious engagement with ideas. He has been widely and rightly condemned for engaging in hate speech directed at a wide range of groups and individuals, as well as for disparaging and ridiculing individual audience members, particularly members of the LGBTQ community.
But not for their being gay. Milo is gay.
The point that the blindly stupid Berkeley authorities are making is that it is his fault if people don’t like what he says: so he is wrong to say it, and their reaction, whatever it might be, is fully justified.
Mr. Yiannopoulos’s opinions and behavior can elicit strong reactions and his attacks can be extremely hurtful and disturbing. Although we urge anyone who is concerned about being targeted by Mr. Yiannopoulos to consider whether there is any value in attending this event, we stand ready to provide resources and support to our community members who may be adversely affected by his words and actions on the stage (we will provide more detail about these resources in a subsequent message).
The statement betrays Dirks’s complete ignorance — or the ignorance of whoever wrote it for him. Anyone who thinks Milo is not interested in “serious engagement with ideas”, for example, has never watched a Milo lecture online, and has never seen him invite challenging questions from the audience.
Worse, Dirks signaled to UC Berkeley as a whole that Milo was, indeed, dangerous to their well-being — so much so that they might need “resources and support”. For those in the mob that besieged the lecture hall Wednesday night, that was more than adequate pretext to claim they were merely acting in self-defense.
Later in the statement, Dirks went on to defend freedom of speech, and Berkeley as the home of the Free Speech Movement, which inspired campus activism across the world in the 1960s. But he went on to describe — proudly! — how the university had actually attempted to dissuade the Berkeley College Republicans (BCR) from inviting Milo to campus:
In addition, however, we have also clearly communicated to the BCR that we regard Yiannopoulos’s act as at odds with the values of this campus. We have emphasized to them that with their autonomy and independence comes a moral responsibility for the consequences of their words, actions, events and invitations – and those of their guest. We have made sure they are aware of how Yiannopoulos has conducted himself at prior events at other universities, and we have explained that his rhetoric is likely to be deeply upsetting and perceived as threatening by some of their fellow students and members of our campus community. Our student groups enjoy the right to invite whomever they wish to speak on campus, but we urge them to consider whether exercising that right in a manner that might unleash harmful attacks on fellow students and other members of the community is consistent with their own and with our community’s values.
“… might unleash harmful attacks”! Harmful Attacks are tied up near by, and non-politically-correct words uttered aloud can unclip their leashes, and then the rabid things will spring out and savage … well, the speaker of those potent words, the authorities at UC Berkeley hope! Who brought those Harmful Attacks to the campus? Who keeps them snarling and hungry? Who invented the leash that can be undone by a non-politically-correct statement? Who but the authorities at UC Berkeley? They typify the American Left now. The fascist Left.
The chilling effect of university administrators warning students that they ought not invite controversial speakers to campus and that they bear the moral consequences of doing so negates the right to free expression Dirks claimed to be upholding.
Later, he added that the university was “saddened that anyone would use degrading stunts or verbal assaults on marginalized members of our society to promote a political platform”, presupposing what Milo would say and signaling to the community that they ought to fear “assault” in advance. …
Berkeley not only made clear its opposition to what Milo had said in the past, but to what he had not yet said in the future. …
Undoubtedly, the university will blame outsiders for the vandalism in the streets and for the flames on campus, for the bricks and bottles and pepper spray and fireworks. But on this occasion, that is an inexcusable copout. UC Berkeley made clear that it was on the side of those who wanted Milo shut down. It made clear that conservatives, of whatever ideological flavor, do not actually have the unfettered right of free expression on campus.
Chancellor Dirks and the UC Berkeley administration deserve to be held accountable for the violence that violated Milo’s rights — and the rights of those who wanted to hear him — as well as for the betrayal of the university’s free speech legacy.
Milo spoke on the phone to Fox News.
“The left is profoundly antithetical to free speech these days, does not want to hear alternative points of view, and will do anything to shut it down,” Yiannopoulos told Fox News host Tucker Carlson in an interview on Wednesday night. “My point is being proven over and over and over again.”
There is good news about the ugly incident at Berkeley.
President Donald Trump reacted to the massive rioting at UC Berkeley in response to a scheduled campus speech by Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos.
He tweeted early this morning:
If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?
Yes, please, Mr. President!