“I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. – Voltaire
The timeless words of Voltaire have been lost on today’s populace.
It seems people prefer to riot, vandalize, and set things on fire rather than allow someone to express an opposing viewpoint.
Last week, Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to give a speech at the University of California at Berkeley. His speech wound up being canceled due to widespread rioting and violence.
People were smashing windows, setting fires, and throwing fireworks at police. What a way to fight against violence!
It’s important to note that many of these protestors were not students at UC Berkeley. One can discern that much by the ninja-like apparel they were wearing. Dressed in all black with black bandanas or masks around their faces, these people incited violence on a magnificent scale. Who knows if they were paid provocateurs or just anarchists looking for a good time? Both scenarios seem plausible.
The following comes from ABC:
“…But officials said it was a smaller group of protesters dressed in black and in hooded sweatshirts that showed up as night fell to break windows with metal barricades, throw smoke bombs and flares and start a large bonfire outside the building with a diesel generator.
“This was a group of agitators who were masked up, throwing rocks, commercial grade fireworks and Molotov cocktails at officers,” said UC Berkeley Police Chief Margo Bennet.
Bennet said police determined at that point they couldn’t guarantee security, canceled the event and evacuated Yiannopoulos from the building.”
All this was done in the name of preventing “hate speech”, on the grounds that it might incite violence. And get this – Yiannopoulos’ speech was supposed to be about the very topic of violent protestors shutting out alternative viewpoints and silencing freedom of speech.
One can almost taste the irony and hypocrisy.
What’s most disgusting about this demonstration of hatred and intolerance is that it was rewarded. The speech had to be cancelled because of the violence. The message was clear: throw a temper tantrum, mix in some provocateurs, and you can silence anyone you want.
President Trump weighed in on the night’s events with the following Tweet:
“If U.C Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?”
According to Breitbart, UC Berkeley receives almost half of all its funding from the federal government. So Trump’s threat, if more than mere rhetoric (doubtful), would be quite a serious one, having severe ramifications upon the operations of the university.
Although the violence that led to the cancellation of the speech seems to have been induced by outside agitators, at least in part, it still speaks to the sad state of freedom of speech in America that college students would have any part in such a thing.
From free speech areas to safe spaces
When I was in college (not many years ago), there was a “free speech area” on campus. People used this space for all kinds of things ranging from musical performances, promoting political ideas, advertising businesses, playing music and dancing, or ranting on a PA about some topic no one really cared about. Even religious fanatics would come on campus preaching their ideas to a less than receptive audience.
No one threw a fit about it. No violence or protests ever ensued. For the most part, people either listened or walked away. It was that simple.
While some people ridiculed the idea of a so-called “free speech area” on the grounds that all areas ought to be designated as such under the constitution, in retrospect that criticism pales in comparison to what has been happening as of late.
Instead of free speech zones, campuses now have “safe spaces”. These can be seen as the polar opposite of a free speech zone. It seems some students have grown so sensitive to opposing viewpoints that they cannot tolerate even entertaining thoughts that counter their own.
It’s as if, when encountered by someone such as a religious fanatic, instead of walking away, people now either break down and cry or respond with violence.
And when a speaker some people don’t like comes to campus, a violent riot ensues. In the past, people who didn’t want to hear someone just wouldn’t attend the speech. Perhaps they’d encourage others to do the same. Why does that option no longer occur to people in certain instances?
I have inkling as to why.
If you listen to the enraged screaming of violent rioters, the same theme often comes up regarding why they just cannot let someone speak.
They say that misogynistic, racist, homophobic, etc. speech cannot be allowed. They argue this on the grounds that it might incite violence. The very kind of violence they engage in and promote against those they say will cause such violence.
This kind of behavior has come about as a direct result of the radical feminist brainwashing machine. Indoctrination on college campuses has been happening for years. And it seems to have reached a peak as of late. (See The Flipside of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know — and Men Can’t Say)
This school of thought promotes hatred against so-called “privileged” members of society. For the most part, that includes white heterosexual males. Hatred must not be tolerated. When it comes to white males, however, hatred is not only tolerated but also justified, righteous, and even necessary.
The hatred stems from beliefs about patriarchal hegemony. Entire books exist on the subject. Yet distilled to its purest essence, it can be seen as the idea that all of society’s injustices stem from imperceptible privilege that allows certain people power, thereby marginalizing others. These people are men, but not gay or minority men.
If inequality and injustice arise from a single group of people, what solution exists?
The answer involves a single word: genocide.
Yes, there are radical feminists out there who advocate for genocide of all white males. And even if they did not, the logical progression of this idea system cannot lead anywhere else.
It’s flawless logic from the perspective of such ideology. Get rid of white males, and society will become equal, harmonious, peaceful, and magical.
This general concept has been repeated throughout history. It progresses from the scapegoating of one segment of the population. While details differ, the general process looks like this: 1) All of society’s problems fall upon one specific group. 2) This group gets perceived as having all power. 3) Envy ensues, leading to rage and hatred. 4) Hatred gives way to silencing (the step we are at now). 5) Silencing then increases, either to marginalization or genocide.
One would think that with labor force participation rates near forty-year lows, national debt including unfunded liabilities exceeding $200 trillion, central banks impoverishing the world, and issues such as geoengineering destroying the entire planet, we’d be able to stop fighting and focus on issues that affect us all.
Yet as long as education focuses on indoctrination, and mainstream news focuses on division, there will never be solutions to the direst issues that have a detrimental impact upon everyone. Most will never even think about such issues.
In short, hateful rhetoric inspires reprehensible behavior. When freedom of speech becomes silenced, the group doing the silencing become perpetuators of the exact type of hegemony they claim to be rallying against.
What do you think? Is it okay to shut down another’s scheduled speech because you disagree with them? Have we as a society become so obsessed with tolerance that we have become intolerant? And does rhetoric perceived as violent deserve to be silenced with actual violence?
Leave your thoughts regarding the current state of freedom of speech in a comment below.