Wednesday, April 19, 2017

UC Berkeley cancels Ann Coulter speech due to "security threat"

Ann Coulter at the Comedy Central roast of Rob Lowe. USA Today/Getty.

UC Berkeley has canceled a speech by conservative pundit Ann Coulter after more violence has happened in the area. USA Today. Coulter was supposed to speak on the 27th and had been invited by two student groups. UC Berkeley claimed that they were unable to find a safe venue for the speech to happen at. Coulter and her supporters claim they will hold the event anyways and that the cancellation was politically motivated. Violence has broken out several times in Berkeley. In February, leftist protesters were able to shut down a Milo Yiannopoulos event and just last week brawls broke out at a pro-Trump rally. 

My Comment:
I've never been a fan of Ann Coulter. She's always been far too abrasive for my tastes and I think half the time she's just saying stuff for media attention. But to cancel her event? Beyond the pale. Though Coulter is abrasive and often annoying, her political beliefs are fairly mainstream conservative. I have never thought of her as being "alt-right" even by the most lenient and expansive definition of the term. She's part of the conservative establishment and isn't anywhere near as provocative as someone like Milo Yiannopoulos or nearly as offensive and controversial as Richard Spencer.

If someone as mainstream as Coulter can't speak at a college campus then there is a serious problem with our colleges today. Indeed, less controversial figures then Coulter have been attacked. Charles Murray, a political scientist and the author of "The Bell Curve" and generally well respected academic, had one of his events shut down by radical leftists as well.

And it's not just pundits and scientists. Regular people are getting attacked for their political beliefs as well. During the presidential campaign President Trump, and other candidates, had supporters attacked, events disrupted and regular threats issued. Indeed, the violence at Donald Trump rallies, many of which were later proved to be connected to the DNC, was a major reason why I ended up voting for him.

Berkeley has been a base for these kinds of attack. Part of that is because it is a major base for anti-fascists. Antifa claims to be against fascism but normally just target run of the mill conservatives, libertarians and people not sufficiently on the left. They are communists and target anyone who isn't also communists. They are criminals that revel in violence and often brag of attacking right wing people. As far as I am concerned they are terrorists and it is just luck that they haven't killed anyone and they will do so eventually if this continues.

That being said, other places have had problems with Antifa as well. When Richard Spencer spoke on the 18th, there were also protests by Antifa. You know what happened? The cops cracked down right away and though there was a little violence the situation came under control very quickly. Compare that to the violence in Berkeley and you have to reach an obvious conclusion. The local PD and campus security are far more interested in allowing Antifa to run wild. If they would do their jobs and break up these riots when they start and investigate and arrest the instigators, things would calm down quickly.

The situation in Berkeley is so bad that conservatives are starting to adapt Antifa tactics. They are showing up with armor and shields and are generally expecting a brawl. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I abhor political violence and though the conservatives are generally just defending themselves, I think it could be counter productive. Indeed, last weekend the news media focused on the fact that a female Antifa member was punched, despite the fact that she was later shown to be armed with a bottle and was attempting to fight people. It's bad press even when our side does nothing more than defend ourselves. And I do have to admit that some of the anti-Antifa protesters aren't really doing it for a noble cause, they just want to fight.

On the other hand, something needs to be done about Antifa. It's clear that the cops in Berkeley aren't going to do much of anything. We can't just let conservative events get shut down and we can't just let Antifa to beat people up. Political violence isn't acceptable but neither is leaving people defenseless against thugs who wish to silence speech.

I think more mainstream conservative and libertarians need to show up at Berkeley as well. Anyone that supports free speech, has a large audience, and isn't a total tool like Richard Spencer, should go there. It would be helpful if someone is is relatively uncontroversial or has universal respect, like a major senator or former president showed up. People need to know that Antifa is not attacking these speakers because they are controversial but just because they aren't radical anarchists/communists. Ann Coulter is a start as she is relatively famous and is at least accepted as a popular pundit, but we need some heavy hitters there as well. Someone like Ted Cruz or one of the Bushes should show up... 

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