UC Berkeley has long been considered a bastion of free speech and expression. However, this last week its campus was ravaged by violent rioters who could not tolerate the thought of a speaker being allowed on campus that disagreed with their beliefs.
Milo Yiannopoulos, lately of being banned from Twitter fame, is not my favorite person in the world if I’m being honest. However, whatever disagreements we may have, I respect his right to believe what he believes and to speak out regarding what he believes. The rioters at UC Berkeley, on the other hand, do not.
(It should be noted that there was a contingent of peaceful protesters that did not engage in the rioting and looting. Those people were well within their rights and are not the subject of this article.)
There’s an old saying, “If you can’t win on the facts, argue the law. If you can’t win on the law, call your opponent names.”
Arguments often degrade over time. When one side senses that it is losing, it often resorts to ad hominem arguments – name calling and/or personal attacks. If that side continues to sense an approaching loss, things can turn violent.
The truth is powerful. Truth never seeks silence. When you know the truth is on your side, you are more than happy to talk about it. When you know that truth is not on your side, you are left with two choices – admit defeat or fight dirty.
I don’t believe the rioters at UC Berkeley realize that they are losing. I believe that they are just so fed up with feeling like they aren’t heard that they see more talking as pointless. Combine that with a lifetime of being told “if it feels good, do it” and “there are no absolutes”, and the result is an flood of anger and violence directed at people who had nothing to do with the cause of their rage in the first place.
Benjamin Franklin said, “In those wretched countries where a man cannot call his tongue his own, he can scarce call anything his own. Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”
The radical left is fundamentally anti-freedom. They display it everyday in nearly every policy. From federally mandated minimum wage, federally mandated corporate profit sharing, federally mandated health care, denying the right to life to unborn children, denying 2nd Amendment rights, etc., etc. Not to mention denying the right to free speech.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. said, “If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought — not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.”
Limits should only be placed on speech when it “poses an imminent danger of unlawful action, where the speaker has the intention to incite such action and there is the likelihood that this will be the consequence of his or her speech.” No matter what the Left thinks of Milo Yiannopoulos, even if they believe he spews hate speech like a reincarnate Hitler, his freedom of speech must be protected.
Their “freedom” to throw a temper tantrum – rioting, looting, and destroying innocent businesses, assaulting police officers, and shutting down free speech – however, is not protected and should be condemned for the anti-freedom behavior that it is.
Part of the definition of fascism involves a “violent suppression of the opposition”. If that doesn’t define what these rioters are doing, I don’t know what does.