Cowardice? Or Tyranny?

Earlier in the week, Breitbart News Editor Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak at UC Berkeley, but the institution (I can’t call it a school) canceled his appearance two hours before its start because protestors enrolled in the institution protested, violently with fire and smoke bombs.

Security allegedly was present, but the violence and damage occurred anyway.  UC Berkeley issued a statement about its decision that said, in part,

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[.]

The institution’s management talked about condemnation of the violence, but it chose to do nothing about it, it chose instead to allow the violence contribute to the destruction of free speech within its facilities.

Notice another thing in that statement.  The institution’s managers regret that violence “overshadowing” other protests against free speech, but they don’t have a minim of regret for the protests against free speech.

Nor is free speech in the Berkeley institution helped by the timidity of the Berkeley College Republicans.

Pieter Sittler, a spokesman for the Berkeley College Republicans, said the club doesn’t support everything Yiannopoulos says but “he gives a voice to repressed conservative thought on American college campuses.”

There’s no need for the protective qualifier; it isn’t relevant to the matter at hand: whether a man will be allowed to speak aloud a contrary opinion in the institution.

The cowardice, or the tyranny, of the Left says the only speech that may be freely spoken is that which the Left will permit and no other.  The timidity of the others functionally condones this tyranny.  The overt actions of the institution’s managers, limited as it is to idle chit-chat, actively condones this tyranny.

The only question remaining concerns Yiannopoulis’ description of the event:

[T]he Left is absolutely terrified of free speech and will do literally anything to shut it down.

Are they such cowards?  Or do they really favor such tyranny?  Or is this the cowardice of tyranny?

2 thoughts on “Cowardice? Or Tyranny?

  1. “A word should be said on behalf of Berkeley students. I am convinced that the violent rioters were not students from the campus, but were organized outside agitators from off campus that exploited the event. Most students today, even my left-leaning students (I have quite a few in class), were angry about what had happened, as they resented having their protest hijacked by thugs, and the victory it delivered Milo, who is the Kim Kardashian of political theater.” – from Steve Hayward, who was on scene.

    Also, “I turned up for the beginning of the protest at 5 pm, and it was pretty silly sounding and unimpressive. But I noticed there were TV helicopters circling around above the university, and then I started noticing the professional rioters starting to infiltrate. They were obvious for wearing black apparel, having their faces covered in bandanas or something, and carrying backpacks that one might well suspect carried home made ordnance or bricks. There were a lot of people on the periphery talking on their cell phones in what looked like a purposeful way—not the way students appear when they do so. So I thought the better part of valor was to withdraw from the scene.” Hayward’s prior report.

    I would say the angry students need to act to take back their university, possibly after looking in the mirror to see how much they are like the professional thugs. And the administration needs to be cashiered, en masse, and replaced with people with functioning spines.

    • What is Hayward’s actual evidence–he offered none in his post beyond a single isolated anecdote–that the rioters (I’ll eschew the redundancy) were not Berkeley students? No doubt many were outside agitators, but all of them? And what are his “angry,” even his “left-leaning,” students doing/going to do about this assault on free speech? Never mind Hayward’s own cynical and extended ad hominem attack on Yiannopoulos–again with the irrelevant virtue-signalling qualifier.

      Hayward’s update is just as cynical, or it’s breathtakingly ignorant. Professional rioters? Really? Because mere students can never come prepared to inflict violence? These may well have been outside professional rioters. However, Hayward grew up–as did you and I–in the era of the Weather Underground and the SDS and others–made of up networked (even before the interwebs…) students, indigenous to the schools at which they led their own riots. He knows, or should know, better.

      I would say the angry students need to act to take back their university….

      I would say the angry students already have, and this assault is their outcome.

      Nevertheless, this all avoids the two problems: free speech was successfully assaulted and blocked at this institution, and the institution’s managers had promised security against just such an assault–and then welched on that promise, withdrawing that security at the moment it actually was needed. And thereby condoned that assault.

      …and the administration needs to be cashiered, en masse….

      Here we agree. And Federal funds should be withdrawn and withheld (perhaps held in trust for later return) until that cashiering occurs and the replacements have demonstrated–empirically–both their commitment to free speech and successful outcomes from their commitment.

      Eric Hines

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