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The Intolerance of the Left - 05/03

By Rich Trzupek
  The violent, mindless intolerance of the left was on full display last week as liberal thugs managed to get conservative author and pundit Ann Coulter’s speaking gig at the University of California at Berkeley cancelled. 
  Coulter had been invited to speak by the campus chapter of the Young America’s Foundation. (Yep, there are young conservatives who managed to sneak into Berkeley – who knew?)
  Liberal students and professors were outraged. Threats were made. They vowed to stop Ms. Coulter from speaking by any means necessary. War may never be the answer on the left, but more and more of them are willing to turn to violence to silence those with whom they disagree.
  The University said it could not guarantee the safety of Ms. Coulter or conservative students who wanted to hear what she had to stay. According to a lawsuit filed by the Young America’s Foundation, campus police are subject to the university’s “stand down” policy: they are prohibited from intervening in a physical confrontation unless there is imminent danger of loss of life.
  Put another way, liberal students playing mafia enforcer were free to kick the crap out of conservative classmates, so long as they didn’t actually kill them. I guess there is only so much “inclusiveness” one can handle.
  Given those conditions, the Young America’s Foundation felt they had to cancel Coulter’s speech. It was a sad day for freedom in America. 
  Note I said “freedom”, not “freedom of speech”. Freedom of speech is about government regulating speech, which is not what happened to Coulter. Coulter and campus conservatives were prevented from holding an event by bullies who disagree with them. When the bullies win, freedom loses.
  Not surprisingly, the right was justifiable disgusted by the incident. Writing at Politico, National Review editor Rich Lowry said:
  “We have entered a new, much less metaphorical phase of the campus-speech wars. We’re beyond hissing, or disinviting. We’re no longer talking about the heckler’s veto, but the masked-thugs-who-will-burn-trash-cans-and-assault-you-and-your-entourage veto. 
  Coulter is a rhetorical bomb-thrower, which is an entirely different thing than being a real bomb-thrower. Coulter has never tried to shout down a speaker she doesn’t like. She hasn’t thrown rocks at cops. She isn’t an arsonist. She offers up provocations that she gamely defends in almost any setting with arguments that people are free to accept, or reject, or attempt to correct. 
  In other words, in the Berkeley context, she’s the liberal. She believes in the efficacy of reason and in the free exchanges of ideas. Her enemies do not.”
  It was heartening to see many on the left feeling the same way. Websites don’t get too much more left than the Daily Kos, but even writers there were disgusted by the Berkeley’s boors. Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director of PEN America, had this to say in a post at the Kos:
  “Those who protested her visit may consider her no-show a victory, but will find the triumph pyrrhic; accused of shutting down speech, they played right into the Coulter contingent’s hands. Besides, the speech silenced next time may be their own. The marauders who threatened violence may also count a win, but the affirmation of their tortured, barbaric logic will only fan the authoritarianism and hatreds they purport to assail. The university, caught between menacing plotters and event organizers who insisted on having it their way regardless of security concerns, suffered a bitter blow to its historic legacy as a breeding ground for free speech.”
  Many a liberal predicted that Trump’s election would result in the modern-day equivalent of storm troopers violently attacking their perceived enemies. Other than the fact that it’s our campuses supplying the thugs, not the Trump administration, turns out they were right.
  E-mail: rich@examinerpublications.com



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