Students' feelings knock out 1st Amendment at Berkeley
By: PAUL BREMMER
There will be no speech. Once again, leftist protesters at the University of California at Berkeley will get their way.
On Wednesday, well-known conservative commentator and WND columnist Ann Coulter canceled a planned appearance at the California university after the two campus groups sponsoring her event withdrew their support over security concerns.
"It's a sad day for free speech," Coulter told the New York Times. "Everyone who should believe in free speech fought against it or ran away."
She said to Reuters: "I looked over my shoulder and my allies had joined the other team."
Young America's Foundation, Coulter's main sponsor, pulled out on Tuesday, frustrated with the school's apparent unwillingness to ensure the safety of students attending the speech. In a statement, the group criticized the U.C. Berkeley police department's official "stand-down" policy for any situation on campus that doesn't involve the imminent loss of life.
"Berkeley made it impossible to hold a lecture due to the lack of assurances for protections from foreseeable violence from unrestrained leftist agitators," YAF said in the statement. "Berkeley should be ashamed for creating this hostile atmosphere."
The group concluded: "Ms. Coulter may still choose to speak in some form on campus, but Young America's Foundation will not jeopardize the safety of its staff or students."
The executive board of the Berkeley College Republicans, who co-sponsored Coulter's talk, also signed the YAF statement.
Scott Greer, deputy editor at the Daily Caller and author of "No Campus For White Men: The Transformation of Higher Education Into Hateful Indoctrination," said the administration at Berkeley most likely shares the protesters' views.
"They view Ann Coulter as the invader and the enemy," Greer told WND. "They don't believe she has any right to protection. Her right to protection matters less than these students' rights to not be offended. So that's more important and they just see her as some crazy neo-Nazi coming to campus to spew 'hate speech,' and then whatever happens to her is justified and rightfully coming her way."
It's not the first time a conservative speaker has been forced to cancel a speech at Berkeley. In February, politically incorrect provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos scrapped a planned event at the university following violent protests by masked agitators. Greer recalled how the police simply stood aside as Milo supporters were beaten senseless.
"They just watched and let it happen because they thought their cause was right but their methods may be wrong, and the same here with Ann Coulter," he said. "They view Ann Coulter as someone they don't want to have on their campus."
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Left-wing activists who wish to silence dissenting views have certainly found sympathy in academia and the media.
On Monday, the New York Times published an opinion piece by Ulrich Baer, a vice provost and professor at New York University. Baer argued American culture has shifted to a state in which personal experience and testimony, especially of suffering and oppression, now challenge the primacy of reason and argument. And there's nothing wrong with that shift, in his view.
To Baer, some topics should not be open to debate because they "invalidate the humanity" of certain people. Therefore, he said recent student demonstrations against Milo and political scientist Charles Murray "should be understood as an attempt to ensure the conditions of free speech for a greater group of people, rather than censorship."
The professor views freedom of speech as being mostly about inclusiveness.
"The idea of freedom of speech does not mean a blanket permission to say anything anybody thinks," he wrote. "It means balancing the inherent value of a given view with the obligation to ensure that other members of a given community can participate in discourse as fully recognized members of that community."
Baer is grateful for those who try to shift the definition of free speech.
"We should thank the student protestors, the activists in Black Lives Matter and other 'overly sensitive' souls for keeping watch over the soul of our republic," he wrote.
Greer marveled at Baer's argument.
"This is incredible," he said. "It shows that the moral argument for why 'hate speech' needs to be suppressed is more powerful than the constitutional argument."
Greer said since he wrote "No Campus For White Men" last year, he has noticed an increase in campus insanity. In particular, he has noticed activists are increasingly willing to use violence to suppress speech and go after their political enemies. He believes the new president has something to do with that.
"Once Donald Trump became president, then there became more willingness to use violence and more 'justification' for violence," Greer said.
He recalled how Yiannopoulos, during a speech at DePaul University last May, was hit in the face by a protester who stormed the stage. Yet the violence seems to have gotten worse since Trump's election, as Yiannopoulos found out at Berkeley in February and as Charles Murray found out at Middlebury College in March.
"I think partially that's due to Antifa finding a safe space on college campuses to wreak havoc and to commit violence against any of their political opponents," Greer surmised. "So I would say the madness is increasing, there's no sign of it stopping or ebbing or calming down, and there's a great change in their willingness to use violence and to justify it against their political enemies."First Amendment, Ann Coulter, Liberal Bullies, Free Speech, Liberal Nonsense, berkeley, Berkeley