I saw a lovely young woman on TV tonight at NYU, New York University. She was in a riot that was designed to silence someone, to keep them from speaking on campus. She was screaming “We will not sit back and allow Nazis to have a platform to feel comfortable and organize and mobilize!"…
I wanted to reach through the TV and shake her and say “Nazis are people who use violence to silence others from speaking, and that’s you!” But unfortunately, this bizarre inversion is all the rage these days. I saw an email to a Republican electoral voter that said “You are a hateful bigot, and I hope you die!”
Clearly the writer had not heard of irony.
Now, I was a student at the University of California in Berkeley during the Free Speech Movement of 1964-65. I was just a foot soldier, I went to rallies and speeches. It was a movement designed to force the University to use the same rules on campus that apply off campus - the usual American First Amendment rules. The movement was driven by the liberal side of the political spectrum. We sat in and had peaceful demonstrations to demand that the University stop censoring speakers and stop preventing them from speaking on campus. Back then, liberals were all about free speech and non-violence. And we succeeded, the University started letting all speakers have equal access.
So I nearly wept last night to see the University of California once again conspiring to silence a speaker, and the irony was, it was being driven to do so by violence from the very same liberals that once prized free speech and non-violence. When did that change happen? How did I miss it? When did the Democrats become the party of riots, beatings, and intimidation?
The Berkeley speaker in question was Milo Yiannopoulos. He is the ultimate liberal nightmare, because he is a funny gay Jewish Republican. He breaks all the boundaries at once, their minds can’t handle it.
Now, the University played an underhanded game. First they said OK, the campus Republican Club can invite you to speak. Then, not long before the event, they said the Republican Club had to pay for the security.
Note that this is not security to protect people from the Republican club. This is security to protect people from liberal rioters.. explain to me why the organizers need to pay for that?
Now, imagine for a minute that you run such a University. If you know that people may riot against a speaker, the obvious response is that you get your campus cops together with the city police. You plan on how you are going to control the crowd. You consider what you will do if various scenarios occur. You design, barricade, and enforce a pathway for people who wish to hear the speaker have safe access. You deploy your women and men to minimize and prevent violence from happening.
However, Janet Napolitano, the head of the University, along with the Mayor of Berkeley, acted in a most cowardly manner. Rather than do any of that planning and coordination and action, they stood idly by while a hundred thousand dollars worth of damage was being done by rioters. I couldn’t find a single report of anyone arrested.
And of course, a predictable riot occurred as an inescapable result of the pusillanimous actions of the authorities. Then the University cravenly used that riot as an excuse to cancel the event, preventing Milo from speaking. Not only that, but another University of California campus followed up by canceling Milo’s speaking engagement there. Gutless University cowards. UNIVERSITIES ARE SUPPOSED TO PRESENT AND PROTECT OPPOSING VIEWS!
So we have the irony of the University and the Berkeley Police force, those very institutions who are supposed to promote and protect free speech, standing by on a miniature modern Kristallnacht and watching as the windows of UC Berkeley, my alma mater, where liberals once demanded, promoted, and protected freedom of speech, get shattered to the ground by liberal rioters.
Then we have the irony of the name of the group who led the rioting and broke the windows to stop someone from exercising their Free Speech rights. They call themselves the “AntiFa”. This is short for “Anti-fascists”.
Who knew? Curiously, at least on my planet, “fascists” are people who riot and break windows to stop someone from speaking, and “anti-fascists” are the people who oppose that violence...in other words, anti-fascists are what the police and University are supposed to be.
Finally, we have the irony of the media. The Bloomberg headline about the UC Berkeley riots says “Milo Yiannopoulos Sparks Riots”. The Wrap says “Milo Yiannopoulos Speech at UC Berkeley Sparks Fiery Protest”.
Milo sparked the riots? Get real. THE ANTIFA SPARKED THE RIOTS! Milo is a smart, funny conservative comic who terrifies the liberals. The liberals are afraid someone might actually enjoy him and learn something from him. He didn’t “spark” anything. He was the victim of the riots, and as is far too common these days when the victim is a conservative, the media is blaming the victim.
So just to make sure I have this straight: white is black, up is down, people exercising their free speech rights are Nazis, a gay Jew is a homophobic anti-Semite, the victim of the riot caused it, and anti-fascists are people who riot and burn things ... OK, got it…
Like the song says, “I fought the irony and the irony won”....
Best to all, liberals and conservatives alike. I do wish the Democrats would get it together. Not one word from the Democratic leadership.