What happened in Berkeley last night is the end point of what I have noted many times: that American colleges and universities are no longer centers of free inquiry and intellectual exploration. Instead, they are merely centers of hard-Left propaganda and indoctrination. In this, UC-Berkeley is foremost.
President Trump wrote: “If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?”
Good. He should follow through. The Left has been growing more violent, thuggish, and fascist for a long time, and if this isn’t stopped, a lot of innocent people are going to get hurt or even killed. Everywhere Leftist protesters occupy the streets, those whose opinions are deemed insufficiently progressive are abused, mocked, ridiculed, brutalized and physically menaced. This lawlessness is rapidly becoming the norm. The American public square is being transformed beyond recognition and is ceasing to be an arena for free discourse.
Although this violence and brutalization of political opponents is a new phenomenon in American politics, it has a historical antecedent: the Nazi Brownshirts. In The Coming of the Third Reich, historian Richard J. Evans explains how, in the early days of National Socialist Germany, Stormtroopers (Brownshirts) “organized campaigns against unwanted professors in the local newspapers [and] staged mass disruptions of their lectures.”
To express dissent from Nazi positions became a matter of taking one’s life into one’s hands. The idea of people of opposing viewpoints airing their disagreements in a civil and mutually respectful manner was gone. One was a Nazi, or one was silent (and fearful). That is just the kind of public arena that the Left has been trying to bring to the United States for years, and is bringing to us now. If you don’t believe Islam is a religion of peace, you could get physically attacked by the tolerant and peaceful folks who do — witness all the Twitter warriors who have recently been calling for me to be punched or worse.
“Trump threatens UC Berkeley funds over Breitbart protests,” AFP, February 1, 2017:
Los Angeles (AFP) – US President Donald Trump threatened Thursday to withdraw federal funds from UC Berkeley after violent overnight protests against a planned appearance by a controversial editor of conservative news website Breitbart.
Hundreds of students and other protesters chanting “shut him down” smashed windows at the University of California campus, set wooden pallets on fire and threw fireworks and rocks as police in full riot gear responded with tear gas.
The university was placed on lockdown as the sold-out appearance by Milo Yiannopoulos, a conservative firebrand, was canceled Wednesday evening.
“If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?” Trump wrote on Twitter Thursday.
Trump’s top political adviser Stephen Bannon is the former chairman of Breitbart News.
UC Berkeley is one of the top public universities in the United States. Its operating costs are funded by money from the state of California and tuition fees, as well as grants and government and private contracts….
Similar protests at the University of California at Davis last month also forced the cancellation of speeches by Yiannopoulos and former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli.
The events at Davis and Berkeley were organized by conservative student groups. A similar invitation to speak at UCLA was rescinded and Berkeley was to be the last stop of his tour.
Officials at the three University of California campuses stressed that they did not invite Yiannopoulos or endorse his ideas but were committed to free speech.
More than 100 UC Berkeley faculty members had signed two letters sent last month to the school’s chancellor, urging him to cancel the event.
“Although we object strenuously to Yiannopoulos’s views — he advocates white supremacy, transphobia and misogyny — it is rather his harmful conduct to which we call attention in asking for the cancellation of this event,” read one of the letters….
He most certainly does not advocate white supremacy, and what he mocks is Leftist puffery, but that’s beside the point. The concept of the freedom of speech is dead at Berkeley, which used to pride itself on being its champion.