The “Dangerous Faggot” was to speak at Berkeley, where the free speech movement was born. Whether you like what Milo Yiannopoulos has to say or think he’s the most outrageous, hateful asshole ever doesn’t matter. That’s what free speech is about.
Chancellor [Nicholas] Dirks has just sent a follow-up email, probably prompted by the widespread attention from other blogs that aren’t so off-putting and creepy as this one. From a tipster, here it is:
Every fall for the last many years, we have issued statements concerning the virtue of civility on campus. This principle is one of several that Berkeley staff, students, faculty, and alumni themselves developed and today regard as “fundamental to our mission of teaching, research and public service.” To quote further from our “principles of community”: “We are committed to ensuring freedom of expression and dialogue that elicits the full spectrum of views held by our varied communities. We respect the differences as well as the commonalities that bring us together and call for civility and respect in our personal interactions.”
While Chancellor Dirks’ effort was convoluted but well intended, both extolling free speech while condemning Milo, one might have hoped that the message was clear: Hate Milo all you want. Protest him all you want. But let him speak.
There is always a question about whether such a mixed message sends the wrong signals, even though there is nothing inherently wrong with the message. These aren’t times of appreciating deeply nuanced ideas. Or, perhaps, Chancellor Dirks lacks clout among his students, carries no “moral suasion” to guide their actions. Or perhaps these weren’t Berkeley students, but “outside agitators,” a phrase often used during the Nixon administration.
When the radicalization of emotions is otherwise extolled, who gives a damn what some old man has to say anyway? He’s not the boss of us.
Regardless, Milo was to speak and all hell broke loose.
Chaotic scenes at the University of California in Berkeley after protest against Milo Yiannopoulos turns violent pic.twitter.com/45g4HRiIbb
— BNO News (@BNONews) February 2, 2017
— UC Police, Berkeley (@UCPD_Cal) February 2, 2017
— Alex Yoon-Hendricks (@ayoonhendricks) February 2, 2017
And, perhaps the most visceral video of all.
— janey (@janeygak) February 2, 2017
There was more, including the ransacking of a Starbucks (which certainly makes sense, given how immoral and hateful Starbucks has been), plus they got free bags of coffee out of the deal.
This comes on the heels of the deeply passionate social justice warriors applauding the sucker punch of some worthless pimple because this nobody said despicable things.
So Milo’s presentation was canceled and the violence won. What does the New York Times have to say about this?
Berkeley Cancels Milo Yiannopoulos Speech, and Donald Trump Tweets Outrage
This would be the headline one would expect of the Onion, but it’s most assuredly not the Onion.
A speech by the divisive right-wing editor Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of California, Berkeley, was canceled on Wednesday night after demonstrators set fires and threw objects at buildings to protest his appearance.
The university announced the cancellation on Twitter around 6 p.m. local time, about an hour after a section of the campus erupted in protest.
Want to know more about the “protests,” a curious choice of words but the word used nonetheless? You won’t find it in the Times’ article. What you will find, however, is a detailed description of Milo’s awfulness.
Mr. Yiannopoulos, an editor at Breitbart News, is known for his gleeful attacks on political correctness that can sometimes veer into offensive and racially charged language.
He was barred from Twitter last year for inciting trolls to attack the “Ghostbusters” actress Leslie Jones.
His flamethrower approach has aroused a fierce backlash. His scheduled speech at U.C. Davis last month devolved into a tense standoff between protesters and the police. It was called off before it could begin over security concerns.
And you will also find Trump’s twit.
If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017
But the Times provided “balance.”
— JesusCamposHernandez (@superzusgw) February 2, 2017
A bit out of hand, indeed. There may well be good cause to castigate Milo for his inflammatory speech. There may be even better cause to castigate Trump. But there is no cause for what happened at Berkeley.
Many will gush their feelings about the awfulness of people like Milo, about how this is the Holocaust. Bullshit. This is Lord of the Flies wrapped up in the self-righteousness that only the truest and most ignorant believers can muster.
This isn’t about social justice, whatever that means. This isn’t about how much Milo’s words hurt your feelings. This is about how the radicalization of narcissism has removed all inhibitions, rationalized the end of the social contract and empowered the stupid on one side to believe that their violence is somehow better than, and justified by, whatever injustices they feel from the other side.
This is a lie you tell yourselves. You are just as much, if not more, the devil you claim to hate.