Free Speech is the ultimate provocation.
Two days ago black-clad Antifa thugs beat people in Berkeley as police mostly stood on the sidelines, as we documented in Journalist amid Antifa Berkeley Riots: “Police have completely disappeared … People getting beaten up”.
ABC News reported that police were ordered not to intervene:
Berkeley Police Chief Andrew Greenwood said officers were told not to actively confront the anarchists. He applauded officers’ restraint, saying it forestalled greater violence.
Berkeley Mayor Jesse Areguin, while criticizind the Antifa violence, approved of the police stepping back and effectively ceding the streets:
The Mayor now also wants UC-Berkeley to cancel a Free Speech Week for fear of more Antifa violence.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports, After melees, Berkeley mayor asks Cal to cancel right-wing Free Speech Week:
In the aftermath of a right-wing rally Sunday that ended with anarchists chasing attendees from a downtown park, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin urged UC Berkeley on Monday to cancel conservatives’ plans for a Free Speech Week next month to avoid making the city the center of more violent unrest.
“I don’t want Berkeley being used as a punching bag,” said Arreguin, whose city has been the site of several showdowns this year between, on the one hand, the left and its fringe anarchist wing, and on the other, supporters of President Trump who at times have included white nationalists.
“I am concerned about these groups using large protests to create mayhem,” Arreguin said. “It’s something we have seen in Oakland and in Berkeley.”
The perpetrators in this equation for the Mayor? The two speakers invited, Milo and Ann Coulter:
“I’m very concerned about Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter and some of these other right-wing speakers coming to the Berkeley campus, because it’s just a target for black bloc to come out and commit mayhem on the Berkeley campus and have that potentially spill out on the street,” Arreguin said, referring to militants who have also been called anti-fascists or antifa.
This is not an aberration.
An astounding Op-Ed a week ago in The Washington Post by a Skidmore College professor Jennifer Delton laid out the intellectual foundation for suppressing conservative (or rather, non-liberal) speech, When ‘free speech’ becomes a political weapon:
Here’s the dilemma college presidents face in the fall: Either uphold free speech on campus and risk violent counterprotests, or ban conservative provocateurs and confirm the “freedom of speech” crisis on campuses. Either way their institution’s legitimacy is undermined….
This impossible dilemma is no accident. It has been part of a strategy, deployed first by conservatives and perfected by the alt-right….
[W]e know about the alt-right is that its provocateurs seek to bait liberal institutions by weaponizing the concept of free speech, which is an issue that divides the liberal left. It is true that higher education has brought much of this on itself through the extreme policing of speech and tolerance of student protesters who shut down speakers with whom they disagree. But that doesn’t diminish the extent to which the alt-right and conservatives are using “free speech” to attack and destroy colleges and universities, which have long promoted different variations of the internationalist, secular, cosmopolitan, multicultural liberalism that marks the thinking of educated elites of both parties.
Silencing non-liberal voices is not a bug, its a feature.
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