Opinion

Berkeley: Birthplace Of Free Speech… Intolerance.

Joe Alton Contributor

The University of California at Berkeley proudly labels itself as the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement of the 1960s. Now it can also claim the title of Birthplace of Free Speech Intolerance.

Milo Yiannopoulos, self-described “provocateur,” was scheduled to speak to a group of Young Republicans at the university on Wednesday. Shortly before the event, a crowd of Berkeley students, teachers, and outsiders gathered at the venue. They were there to express their objection to his right to voice his opinion, and it got ugly very quickly.

Demonstrators broke windows, set fires, pepper-sprayed those of opposing viewpoints, and hurled Molotov cocktails, fireworks, and projectiles. The day after, a 21-year-old Trump supporter was beaten while on his way to class.
There have been protests and cancellations at a number of Yiannopoulos’ events; this was different, however, and not only in the degree of violence. The appearance of a group of masked guerilla-types dressed in black infiltrated the crowd and acted in an organized manner to do the most damage possible.

Is this a 21st Century Weather Underground? Numerous irresponsible statements by celebrities such as “comedian” Sarah Silverman, who called for a military coup d’état, and director Judd Apatow, who applauded the violent protest (then backed off), are lending support to leftist ninja warriors like those at Berkeley.

The Anti-Free Speech (AFS) movement has at its core the belief that enough violence will cause average Americans to withdraw their support for conservative values. AFS adherents will stop at nothing to assure that college campuses are “safe spaces” for their crowd, but unsafe for everyone else. Worse, there appears to be ample money available to organize protests on a grand scale. Could “Leftist Ninja” become a viable career path for Berkeley grads?

The administration at UC-Berkeley bemoans the heinous events at the protest, but did little to stop the carnage. By failing to intervene, the university president is complicit in the intolerance, and must share in the responsibility for the violence.
She, and others like her, attended and aided the birth of a movement born on the grave of the school’s Free Speech Movement. One that is as fascist as it is liberal.

“Liberal Fascism”? I didn’t coin the term. Writer Jonah Goldberg’s book of the same name outlines his belief that modern-day fascism has its roots in liberalism, and not from the far right. More and more, I see his point.

Political violence in the name of progressive ideals is still political violence. When it is used to shut down the freedom to voice opposing views or to be a certain type of person (conservative, in this case), it is abhorrent. Can it be called fascist? Well, the Left uses the word to describe whatever or whoever they don’t agree with, especially Republicans.

Nazi Germany (the word “Nazi” is an acronym for the National Socialist German Worker’s Party; note the word “socialist”) used political violence (the Reichstag fire, Kristallnacht) to achieve their goals. Free speech? Let’s just say you weren’t welcome to voice your disagreements with a certain dictator.

The Nazis, however, were in power or on the cusp of power, while today’s Left has just recently lost power. Anti-Free Speech-ers, however, like the idea of being La Résistance; it makes the violence sound more romantic.

Call it liberal fascism, call it the Anti-Free Speech movement, call it what you will; it’s violence in the name of repressing opposing opinions and philosophies. The intolerant Left has plenty of radicals willing to do what it takes to silence the average American. Are there enough average Americans willing to stand up to them?