THE LOGICAL EXPRESSION OF
During the 1960s, Berkley was the center of activism for freedom of expression. Now the focus of campus activism is on excluding views considered unacceptable — especially when they’re expressed by someone deemed a traitor.
Greek-born British journalist, social critic, and provocateur, Milo Yiannopoulos, claims to be gay. That would make him part of a group identified as oppressed and, consequently, favored by those on the Left.
He ought to be a kindred spirit. The problem is, however, that Milo is deeply skeptical of Progressivism in all its variants and ideological sub-sets.
On top of that, he’s a brilliant, sharp-witted, articulate smartass whose sarcasm is capable of reducing to tears everyone from the most delicate undergraduate snowflake, to the most prickly Feminist, to the most ardent advocate of Sharia Law. As if all that weren’t objectionable enough, he’s Pro-Life, and he supports Donald Trump.
I’m not altogether convinced that Milo’s gay, actually. Gifted showman that he is, the carefully crafted “Milo” persona seems a touch artificial to me. It’s just too perfectly provocative.
But whatever his sexual inclinations, Milo takes no prisoners in his clashes with leftists. And that makes him Turncoat Number One, as far as they’re concerned.
Milo had been scheduled to speak at a campus event sponsored by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a conservative activist and media group, and the Berkeley College Republicans (yes, there are Republicans at Berkeley). His speech was to address the topic of “sanctuary campuses” that harbor illegal aliens — most timely, given all the resistance to Trump immigration initiatives, and the movement for California secession.
Berkeley students had organized protests against Milo’s appearance. But according to the university, things turned violent when some “150 masked agitators” invaded the campus. CNN reports that the ensuing chaos — which included vandalism, arson, and physical assaults — prompted administrators to cancel the event about two hours before the program was to begin…
“UC Berkeley said it removed [Milo] from campus ‘amid the violence and destruction of property and out of concern for public safety.’…
“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 said in a statement.
“‘While Yiannopoulos’ views, tactics and rhetoric are profoundly contrary to our own, we are bound by the Constitution, the law, our values and the campus’s Principles of Community to enable free expression across the full spectrum of opinion and perspective,’ it stated.”
Just how many Berkeley students may have jumped in to assist those “150 masked agitators” is unclear. But despite the university’s condemnation of violence, what’s all too clear is that Berkley administrators (and probably a good portion of the faculty) don’t wish to acknowledge a basic truth:
This is the inevitable outcome of restricting intellectual freedom. It’s the prevailing ideology of political correctness taken to its logical extreme.
Young people exposed only to a narrow set of ideas considered acceptable or enlightened are very likely to lose their ability to discriminate between good ideas and bad.
Education becomes nothing more than indoctrination. Academic institutions are no longer places of learning, but merely boot camp.
But…but…but — the university would object — this violence wasn’t caused by our students. It was the work of those “150 masked agitators.”
To which I would reply: Were those “150 masked agitators” totally unrelated to the Berkeley community? Were they bussed in from Cincinnati? Or were they the radical players you can find on the fringes of any university campus?
The word terrorism is already being applied to the Berkeley frolic, and not without reason.
What is terrorism? Simply stated…
Terrorism is violence conducted with the intention of creating fear and civil disorder for the accomplishment of military, political or ideological objectives.
It is NOT simple protest, although it may adopt the language of objection — moral or otherwise.
The Trump Administration might very well begin to regard such violence as terrorism. It might look at other agitation going on around the country in a similar light (think airport riots against tougher vetting of Mideast refugees).
And if a decision were made to pursue terrorism charges against the instigators of such activities, the whole business would rise to a much higher level of criminal categorization. Things like what happened in Berkeley would become federal crimes.
That would be a virtual declaration of war on the Left — which strikes me as a very plausible Trumpian response, given the flack he’s been catching in his first two weeks as President.
So far, however, Trump has focused on the university, tweeting a provocative threat…
“If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view — NO FEDERAL FUNDS?”
This drew a counter tweet from California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, a university regent…
“I’m appalled at your willingness to deprive over 38,000 students access to an education because of the actions of a few.”
…which, considering UC Berkeley’s reputation as a hotbed of leftist ferment, sounded an awful lot like “Casablanca’s” Captain Renault, who was Shocked — shocked! to discover gambling at Rick’s Café.
Back in the ’70s, when I was living in California, Berkeley was quite aptly known as “Berzerkley.” This riot would suggest that things are still pretty berserk out there.
For his part, Milo is unfazed. In remarks to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, he seemed to feel that the point of his anti-leftist critiques had been thoroughly proven by this violence…
“I annoy the feminists and the Black Lives Matter guys probably almost as much as Trump does, certainly on college campuses. So, they go for the next best thing. They go for … the person they think they can scare. Well, they don’t scare me. I will continue to give college talks until the day I drop dead.”
Forgive me for sounding flip, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are folks laying plans for that contingency, since as Milo points out…
“They never want to debate because they’re scared of losing. They don’t have the facts on their side and for 30 years the left has been able to bully people into silence by name-calling and they’ve forgotten how to argue.”
I hope Milo is well protected.
Meanwhile, irony abounds. Starbucks recently declared its opposition to Trump’s immigration vetting plan, proclaiming sanctimoniously that it will hire 10,000 Mideast refugees in its stores worldwide.
Its store at the UC campus was trashed by the rioters.
That’s fun in Berzerkeley.
Here’s a link to CNN’s coverage of the Berkeley riot. It includes this telling paragraph…
“But some protesters said the Yiannopoulos event wasn’t a matter of free speech, because he espouses hate speech.”
Fox News notes Milo’s opinion that anti-free-speech agitation is actually “self-defeating for the social justice left.”…
Setting all of this in a slightly broader context…
Comic actress Sarah Silverman thinks that the dilemma in which Donald Trump has placed Progressives can be solved by an institution to which leftists rarely turn: the U.S. military. She tweeted (in all caps, no less)…
“WAKE UP & JOIN THE RESISTANCE. ONCE THE MILITARY IS W US FASCISTS GET OVERTHROWN. MAD KING & HIS HANDLERS GO BYE BYE.”
It’s possible that, if we faced a grave crisis which military leaders believed Trump incapable of handling, The Donald could be deposed. That would contradict our long-established tradition of civilian control over the military, but it’s not unthinkable.
I’m rather certain, however, that should such a thing happen, the results would not be to Sarah Silverman’s liking. I really don’t see our generals and admirals putting Hillary Clinton in the White House. What we would get instead is a military-run government of national salvation.
The question then would be: How do we come back?
From the UK’s Daily Mail…
I came upon a meme online that has fun with one contradiction at the heart of Sarah’s Silverman’s idea…
Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up.
Robert Reich, former Democratic Secretary of Labor, has suggested that the Berkeley riot was a false flag operation. Speaking on CNN, he said…
“I saw these people. They all looked very – almost paramilitary. They were not from the campus. I don’t want to say factually, but I’ve heard there was some relationship here between these people and the right-wing movement that is affiliated with Breitbart News.”