UC Berkeley surrenders to the fascists
The University of California, Berkeley, where the modern New Left student movement began with the Free Speech Movement of 1964, has come full circle and has surrendered to the anti-free speech fascists of the left. Even the increasingly left-wing Washington Post see the irony:
The decisions by UC-Berkeley to cancel both events involving high-profile conservatives are especially notable given the campus's role during the 1960s and 1970s as the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement and its long tradition of social protest.
But there is no humor, ironic or not, in the cave-in to violence. There is only cowardice, and possibly silent agreement with the goals of the thugs by at least some influential forces within the university. Janet Napolitano, the university president whose background includes service as secretary of homeland security, knows a lot about law enforcement and the reservation of order in the face of serious threats, yet she has been hiding under her desk.
Thomas Fuller of the New York Times dutifully reports the university's position as articulated by underlings:
University administrators said in a statement that they could not let Ms. Coulter speak because of active security threats. In a letter to the Berkeley College Republicans, which was sponsoring the speech, two vice chancellors said the university had been "unable to find a safe and suitable venue for your planned April 27 event featuring Ann Coulter."
The letter, written by Scott Biddy, the vice chancellor, and Stephen Sutton, the vice chancellor for student affairs, said it was "not possible to assure that the event could be held successfully – or that the safety of Ms. Coulter, the event sponsors, audience and bystanders could be adequately protected."
The mealy-mouthed prose of the letter amounts to a surrender to what used to be called the "heckler's veto." But in the wake of the violence and destruction permitted to take place and prevent Milo Yiannopoulos's address on the same campus, it ought to be called the rioter's veto, or even better, the fascist's veto. Vice Chancellors Biddy and Sutton have announced that they will obey, rather than resist, demands of violent thugs who wish to shut down voices of which they disapprove.
There are plenty of law enforcement resources available to the University of California if it wished to preserve the tradition of open inquiry upon which the many public (i.e., taxpayer) subsidies and privileges available to U.C. are premised. When Governor Ronald Reagan faced a campus insurrection at Berkeley, he called in the National Guard and tear-gassed the protesters in Sproul Plaza – the very place the anti-Milo rioters used to destroy property and threaten lives.
For its part, the city of Berkeley Police Department has been only marginally better. At least it made some arrests over last weekend's violence when pro-Trump demonstrators were attacked. But it has permitted armed, masked thugs, openly promising to shut down voices of which they disapprove, to march through the streets of Berkeley and engage in mayhem. They should be arrested at the city line when they do so.
In Alabama, this sort of nonsense is not tolerated. The Washington Post:
Self-proclaimed white nationalist Richard Spencer spoke at Auburn University in Alabama Tuesday night after a federal judge reversed the school's cancellation of the event on First Amendment grounds. ...
Hundreds gathered before his talk around Foy Hall, where Spencer appeared, according to AL.com. The video showed a portion of this crowd chanting, "No alt-right. No KKK. No racist USA." One protester carried a sign reading, "Fighting Fascism an American Tradition Since 1941."
The local authorities had the backbone to enforce a court order preventing Auburn University from canceling the speech:
"I'm pretty happy with the way things have gone," Auburn police chief Paul Register told the Plainsman, the student newspaper. "It could have been a lot worse. I attribute the peaceful nature to the students."
Auburn police spokesman Capt. Lorenza Dorsey told the Associated Press three people were arrested for disorderly conduct, though it remains unclear if they were protesters or attendees of Spencer's talk. A video released by AL.com showed a man with spiked hair and a bloody face on the ground, his hands cuffed behind his back.
Obviously, California's current governor, Jerry Brown, is in no mood to learn from Alabama, nor to follow Governor Reagan's precedent and call out the National Guard to protect the rights of all to speak freely on a campus that receives billions of dollars of taxpayer money each year. When in 1957* then-governor Orville Faubus of Arkansas similarly agreed with the anti-integration mobs seeking to prevent black students desegregating Little Rock's Central High School, he instructed the National Guard to "preserve the peace" by turning away the black students. How is that different from U.C. Berkeley factotums announcing that Ann Coulter's talk would be canceled to preserve the peace?
In 1954, President Eisenhower thereupon "federalized" the Arkansas National Guard and ordered them to protect the nine black students seeking to attend school. It was a signal event in the history of the Civil Rights Movement and a proud moment of the Eisenhower presidency.
The arrogant left-wing academics accommodating fascistic students across the land by failing to punish disrupters of conservative speeches do not realize it, but they are in an existential crisis. Higher education is a vast and rich industry that feeds at the public trough and is squandering centuries of public goodwill and support. An accumulating mass of insults to common sense by radical leftists on the faculty and in the student body is eroding that support and eventually will see support for strong measures.
President Trump should move forward with his threat to cut off federal funds to universities that fail to protect free speech with all available resources, including requests for federal law enforcement and National Guard support.
Higher education official are in need of remedial education. President Trump is just the man for the job.