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UC Berkeley, Free Speech, and the Art of Agreeing to Disagree
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UC Berkeley, Free Speech, and the Art of Agreeing to Disagree

On February 2nd, protesters at UC Berkeley started violently rioting over the infamous provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, who was set to speak there that night. Milo, who has spoken at multiple universities around the U.S., was rushed out by security as protests began to grow violent and destructive.

Ironically enough, the same place people protested for free speech in the 1960’s  has now been torched in an attempt to silence speech.

First, I would like to make clear, Milo is inflammatory for the sake of being inflammatory, thus furthering the divide in America, not uniting us. With that being said, the leftist that took to rioting at Berkeley are not preventing authoritarianism or fascism. If anything, they are enabling it.

The University of California, Berkeley was home to the campus free speech movement in the 60s.

The primary group leading these riots were the Antifa (anti-fascists). That in and of itself is an oxymoron, given the circumstances. The very people who are supposedly fighting the fascistic nature of Trump culture are the ones violently lashing out at people for their free speech. There are a lot of words to describe these individuals who think they can rid the world for Trumpism, but only one can accurately encompass their childish actions and idiotic notions: dumbasses.

For whatever reason, the rioters couldn’t understand the greatest thing they can do to stop Milo is to ignore him. He doesn’t have deep and profound political insight. He isn’t someone who can effect policy change in America. The only reason he is such a big name is because people like the Berkeley protestors come out and stop people from peaceably assembling. This only causes those reasonable among us to rush to his defense, as much as we may not want to.

Now Milo is bigger and more powerful than ever, having a national spotlight to promote what you supposedly despise, because they are dumbasses.

But of course this is nothing new. On inauguration day, rioters rampaged the streets of Washington DC, setting cars on fire, shattering windows, and destroying private property because they didn’t get their way.

As in the case most recently at Berkeley, the Washington DC riots on inauguration day did nothing but strengthen the chances that reasonable people will abandon their cause and rush to defend Trump. Because, as in the case of UC Berkeley, they are dumbasses.

“The best way to protest is not by shutting down speech, but by providing more speech to counter it.”

If the modern American left, which couldn’t be further from a true liberal, is so concerned with the rising tide of populist authoritarianism and fascism, I suggest they pull the beam out of their own eye first.

It is impossible to fight against a growing authoritarian government if the tactics one uses are the same of that very authoritarian government. To the disbelief of those participating in these acts, they are in fact no better than the alt-right. In their quest for power and revenge, they ironically have more in common with those they are fighting than not. Because they are dumbasses.

In order to heal, the heart of America must reject both the voices of Milo and those who riot against him. Both sides are in fact afraid of the freedom of speech. This is why the opposing factions are in fact one in the same. So our path forward must be the opposite.

The best way to protest is not by shutting down speech, but by providing more speech to counter it. If one has an argument that is worthwhile and can stand the test of time, it will cut through the noise and make the other side look foolish. If one can only bring change by using force to make people pay attention, one should probably find a better argument.

In a way that only he could explain, Benjamin Franklin once said, “Without Freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech.”

In the current political landscape, it could accurately be said that because the two extremes are shutting down speech, both wisdom and liberty suffer. There is never a thought, idea, or speech that is so important that it must be protected. All speech and ideas that are worth their time in the public square deserve to be tested. Not a single person should be coddled into thinking their ideas won’t ever be tested, because that creates surfs, not freemen.

For America to heal, grow, and move forward stronger than ever, speech must reign supreme. Only liberty can propel us forward, so let’s join and reject this notion that ideas must be protected. And not be dumbasses.

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