A night of violence at the University of California, Berkeley could cost the far-left school its federal funding. Berkeley students staged violent protests in anticipation of a speech by right-wing gay provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, forcing the speech to be cancelled. President Trump responded that if the campus did not respect the First Amendment, it could lose its federal funding.
Leftist hypocrisy is on full display in the students’ opposition to Milo Yiannopoulos, who is a gay conservative and editor for Breitbart. Of course, by being a conservative, Yiannopoulos lost all the respect that being gay would have garnered amongst the Berkeley community. A transgender student at UC Berkeley made this clear in an open letter he penned to Yiannopoulos in anticipation of his visit, in which he wrote, “When you get here on Feb. 1, we will be waiting here to strip you of your gay identity. You can have sex with all the men you want, but you’re not gay anymore.” The letter seems to underscore once more that LGBTQ has become less about sexual orientation and gender identity and more about politics.
Yiannopoulos is not the only homosexual whose homosexuality did not pass the leftist litmus test at UC Berkeley. Peter Thiel, who had endorsed Trump’s candidacy, had his event cut short while delivering a speech at UC-Berkeley when protesters invaded the venue and shut it down. Activists later said that Thiel is not “a real homosexual” because he supported Trump, Breitbart reports.
The response to Yiannopoulos was even more militant on February 1, however. The Daily Caller reports that protesters at Berkeley “broke windows, set off fireworks, and threw smoke bombs and flares, creating a dangerous environment for students and the public.” Protesters wore masks and started a large fire just outside of the building where Yiannopoulos was supposed to speak, and set off fireworks and hurled rocks at police officers. At least six people were injured in the violence.
The rioters claimed in a press release that Milo is a “tool of Trump’s fascist government” and “has no right to speak at Cal or anywhere else!”
“Milo is seeking to use the campuses to serve a larger fascist transformation of America and its entire culture,” the press release continued. “Students are right to SHUT IT DOWN because yes, it’s dangerous. Fascism is dangerous to humanity. And you, if you oppose this with everything you’ve got, will have the honor of being dangerous to fascism.”
So unsurprisingly, they responded by pepper-spraying students who intended to watch the speech and kicking and punching students wearing Trump hats.
According to Yiannapoulos, the behavior of the protesters is the only way the intolerant Left has come to know how to respond to alternate viewpoints.
“For 30 years, the left has been able to bully people into silence by name calling and they’ve forgotten how to argue,” Yiannapoulos said in an interview with Fox News.
Prior to the date of the speech and the violent protests, students and professors had called upon UC-Berkeley’s Chancellor Nicholas Dirks to shut down the event, but Dirks rejected the request, stating that the students needed to exercise “tolerance.”
"We are defending the right to free expression at an historic moment for our nation, when this right is once again of paramount importance," Dirks said.
Some veterans from Berkeley's 1960s Free Speech Movement voiced their support for the administrator’s decision to allow the event to go on despite opposition, reports the Daily Mail.
“Even the worst kind of bigot, including Yiannopoulos, must be allowed to speak on campus,” they wrote in an op-ed.
But the response to Dirk’s statement from students writing for the Daily Californian, Berkeley’s student publication, highlights once more just how “tolerant” the left truly is and how far college students have moved from the 1960s fight for free speech. They wrote that “tolerance” and “academic freedom” are “not meant to be boundless” and in fact require “limits.”
And who determines those limits? Apparently the intolerant Left. Yet the students writing for the Daily Californian claimed the Berkeley College Republicans, who had the audacity to invite Yiannapoulos to speak, are coming from a “position of privilege.” But surely, those who have the power to shut down one’s free speech are in fact the privileged ones, right? Those who believe themselves to be the proprietors of the limits on free speech must recognize that they are in fact part of the so-called privileged class. Or perhaps not.
The students’ violent display successfully cancelled the appearance of Yiannopoulos on campus, marking yet another victory for the intolerant Left.
The Berkeley College Republicans said in a statement that their “constitutional right to free speech was silenced by criminals and thugs.” They added, “Their success is a defeat for civilized society and the free exchange of ideas on college campuses across America."
Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof told reporters that the behavior of the protesters marks a shameful moment for UC-Berkeley.
“We condemn without reservation the violence that was on display, and the actions of a few that tainted the desires of the many to engage in legal and lawful protest, and who also interfered with the ability of an individual and those in the Berkeley College Republicans and those in the audience to exercise their First Amendment rights.”
“This is not a proud night for this campus, the home of the free speech movement.”
The ordeal caught the attention of President Trump, who tweeted, “If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view — NO FEDERAL FUNDS?”
As noted by the Daily Caller, UC-Berkeley received $370 million in federal research funding during the 2015-2016 school year, so President Trump’s warning should certainly hold some weight.
Yiannopoulos later posted Trump’s tweet to Facebook with this note: “American universities are on notice. The President is watching. The days you could silence conservative and libertarian voices on campus and still expect to collect their tax money are coming to an end.”
No reports indicate arrests were made despite the outbreak of violence, but UC-Berkeley officials at least had the good grace to condemn the actions of the protesters.
"We condemn in the strongest possible terms the violence and unlawful behavior that was on display and deeply regret that those tactics will now overshadow the efforts to engage in legitimate and lawful protest against the performer's presence and perspectives," U- Berkeley said in a statement.
"While Yiannopoulos' views, tactics and rhetoric are profoundly contrary to our own, we are bound by the Constitution, the law, our values and the campus's Principles of Community to enable free expression across the full spectrum of opinion and perspective," they stated.
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