Free Speech week on the Left Coast

August 31, 2017 |

As I always say, “God, please protect us from liberals ‘protecting’ our rights.’” Just a day or so after it was announced that Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter would return to the UC-Berkeley campus next month to give the speeches that were aborted by violent leftist protesters, Berkeley city officials are already leaning on the school to cave in to the leftist thugs and cancel the event. It’s called “Free Speech Week,” which makes the phrase “canceling Free Speech” both accurate and eerily appropriate.

At the link, the L.A. Times quotes various Berkeley city council members who are eager to give the Antifa mob an official “heckler’s veto.” They rationalize it by claiming that the speakers “spew hate” and “white supremacy” (yet they don’t even know who some of the speakers will be yet, and judging by these quotes, they don’t even know what the people they claim to know really believe.) It makes for a convenient rationalization to declare that “free speech” shouldn’t apply to Nazis… “Oh, and by the way, anyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi.”

Well, pardon me, but I’m going to exercise a little free speech now. I hereby call for every Berkeley city official quoted in this article who is siding with a violent mob against free speech rights to resign immediately. As elected public officials, it is your duty to protect the civil rights of everyone under your jurisdiction. The fact that you would consider, for even one second, misusing the power and resources entrusted to you to silence speakers instead of policing a violent mob proves beyond all doubt that you are utterly unworthy of holding public office. Your cowardice is disgusting, as are your situational ethics (if a KKK mob were threatening violence to prevent the Rev. Jesse Jackson from speaking, would you side with the Klan?) You should hang your heads in shame and immediately vacate your offices to make room for someone who understands what the job entails and what the Constitution means.

For the record, this is not a partisan issue for me, and I think I have some authority to speak on it. I don’t believe that either Milo Yiannopoulos or Ann Coulter are far-right, white supremacists. That’s absolute nonsense. But I definitely have my issues with Ms Coulter. During my first presidential campaign, she made accusations about my beliefs and record that I believed to be outrageously false, negative and misleading. However, my response was not to demand that she be silenced. I refuted her accusations publicly, and after the election, I even invited her onto my TV show, where we had a reasonably civil discussion about the things she’d said that I took issue with.

That’s the answer to speech you find disagreeable or offensive: answer it with more speech. If the only way you can answer criticism is by putting on a mask, attacking people and setting fires, then I have to assume your position is intellectually indefensible. And if you are a public official who sides with the mob over the First Amendment, that is even more indefensible.

Exercise your freedom of speech now by saying the words, “I resign.”

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