Thursday, February 2, 2017

Last night at UC Berkeley was chaos. Another conservative event shut down by violent protests.

Milo Yiannopoulos speaks at California Polytechnic State University. AP/NBC.

Violence at yet another conservative event at a college campus has prompted a reaction from President Donald Trump. NBC News. Another Milo Yiannopoulos, editor for Breitbart, event was canceled after violence and riots broke out at UC Berkeley. More then $100,000 worth of damage was done to the campus and several students and Trump supporters were assaulted. Responding to the attack, President Trump threatened to pull funding from Berkeley due to the violence and lack of respect for free speech. Trump doesn't have that power alone but if he works with congress he could get a large amount of federal funding for research pulled. The action would be similar to the threats that Barack Obama made against institutions accused of violating Title IX, the controversial sex discrimination law. Only one arrest was made during the riot and two more were arrested when they attacked students Thursday morning. 

My Comment:
Another day another riot. I can tell you that I, for one, am sick of this kind of violence. I was talking to someone this morning that told me that the only way to stop these riots is to make colleges a police state. He was being snarky, but if we are going to have these riots all the time, then why not have a police state? As I have said before riots and violence pretty much gutted any appetite on the right for police reform and for me personally, this was the final straw.

UC Berkeley is blaming outside groups for the violence. I am not sure how true that is. Though I have no doubt that the most violent protesters were from groups like anarchists, anti-fascists and communists. Where those people came from though are not so clear. It is very possible that they were actually from the school. Left wing campuses have long been a hotbed for left-wing activism and encouraged protest in the past. I would be very surprised if at least some of the rioters weren't students at UC Berkeley or other California colleges.

Donald Trump has threatened to pull funding for UC Berkeley if this kind of action continues. Can he do it? NBC seems to think that he can't do it without help. He needs congress on his side. Does he have that? I am not sure. I do think that people in congress are going to get a lot of pressure to go along with Trump if he decides to push this. People are absolutely sick of this kind of leftist violence, and not just people on the right. Riots have disrupted the lives of completely innocent people, Democrats and Republicans alike. People care more about being able to get to work and feeling safe then they do about identity politics.

Is Trump right to threaten this? I think so. Colleges have a responsibility to both protect their students and stand up for free speech. I think UC Berkeley failed on both accounts. The fact that there was only one arrest tells me that the police were purposely held back. They almost certainly were told to stand down because the local authorities had more support for rioters then they did for the victims of this attack.

The fact that UC Berkeley released a statement that claimed to be supporting Milo's right to speech while at the same time condemning everything that he stands for and calling him every name in the book tells me that UC Berkeley doesn't actually respect free speech. They went through the motions because they didn't want to be punished and are probably pissed that there was so much damage done, they certainly don't care that Milo didn't get to give his speech. At best he's a headache to them and at worse they consider him an existential threat.

And it's not like a President hasn't used the threat of cutting funding for colleges before. Obama did the same think with Title IX, which is why colleges have such horrible sexual assault laws now. The execution of Title IX might be the strongest argument against not cutting funding. The law created kangaroo courts in colleges everywhere because administrations were so afraid of cut funds that they had to get rid of civil rights for men accused, often falsely, of sexual misconduct on campus.

I think that Trump's idea should remain on the table but only as a last resort. I do think that the colleges have a role in these riots but they are not the primary factor. The fact of the matter is that these riots are being paid for. These anarchist, communist and antifa groups are not being propped up organically, they are funded by billionaires like George Soros.

My suggestion is that Trump should come down hard on these groups. Higher penalties for rioting would be one start. Even devoted rabble rousers won't risk starting fires if they are charged with arson and won't be punching people if they are charged with felony assault or battery. And if governments won't let their police act, then threaten to cut their funds as well. Once the foot soldiers are put in prison they can be used to turn on the people that are providing funding. Those people can be charged with inciting a riot.

The only good I can see coming from any of this is that people are getting sick of the radical left. Even Democrats are getting tired of seeing these rioters destroying public property. And it is just making people like Milo become more popular. After all, if a bunch of riots happen every time he speaks, people are going to wonder what the big deal is. And when they listen to him and find out that instead of Hitler 2.0 he's just a British gay guy that is right wing politically and against feminism and critical of Islam (which are both politically unpopular anyways) they are going to be even more mad. Once again, the left is eating itself and working against their own their own purposes... 

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