Ann Coulter was banned from speaking at U. C. Berkeley. She is fighting back and we must stand with her. This is our fight for a very good reason. The University is claiming they cannot protect her from a mob.
Look at that again—they will not uphold her right to free speech—on the campus where the free speech movement began…because they cannot guarantee her safety. This means they also cannot guarantee a safe education for their students. But what is really chilling is what Coulter’s attorney called the “heckler’s veto.”
They put it this way: “UC Berkeley impermissibly has allowed a “heckler’s veto” to suppress the free speech rights of speakers properly invited by recognized student groups.”
A mob veto is what this is all about. If Berkeley can uphold their ban on conservative speakers it will be a national disaster—Mobs will know all they must do to silence people, is to threaten to riot.
It simply does not matter what we think of Ann Coulter. In this case, the issue could not be clearer. Berkeley is behaving shamefully and expanding the insane direction of political correctness run amok of universities across America. Coulter’s attorney continues: “UC Berkeley may not censor speech its administrators plainly disfavor, simply because a potential mob shares the administrators’ distaste,”
Surely a public institution of higher learning should be a crucible of challenging ideas and thought, not a kindergarten where wards of the state are fed a steady diet of pasteurized pablum. UC Berkeley Should be a forum where diverse viewpoints are welcomed. The Constitution does not permit the University to ban controversial speech.”
The New York Post editorial said this: “Its worry is obvious: Masked, rock-throwing thugs prevented a February speech by Milo Yiannopoulos. And the area saw 20 arrests last weekend as extremists of left and right battled in the streets.
But the answer to disorder is order: Put on extra security; keep non-students far from the campus event — and have the police trained and ready for trouble.
Berkeley’s move follows the Black Lives Matter disruption of a UCLA speech by the Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald, and efforts to muzzle her the next night at Claremont-Pomona College — 200-odd protesters chanting “Shut it down!” and “From Oakland to Greece, f - - k the police.”
Last month, goons stopped American Enterprise Institute scholar Charles Murray from delivering a moderately conservative talk at Middlebury College, with Professor Allison Stanger hospitalized by the violence.
More and more college students think it’s proper to act out this way. They proudly deny the free-speech rights of people whose writings they haven’t even read.”
Some will defend U.C. Berkeley for offering Coulter a new date and time. Here is how her attorney reacted: “The University’s transparently insincere offer to permit Ms. Coulter to speak during a two-hour window of time on May 2 when the students who invited here will not be in class and will instead by studying for finals, and when Ms. Coulter will no longer be in the area, is not a suitable alternative (indeed it does not even pass the proverbial “smell test” of credibility) , and we hereby reject it.”
That is also disgusting and dangerous. They want her to come during dead week when no students are on campus—they want her to use a facility on the edge of campus. The lawyer is right! There is only a small difference between an outright ban and a censorship by time and location.
Why am I being so urgent about this? For two big reasons!
-Mobs could stop nationwide Christian Outreaches with a single riot. The first time that an outreach is protested with violence every auditorium in the nation will use the same excuse to ban evangelists that Berkeley is using to ban conservative speakers.
-In 1974, I fought a ban on Christians at this very campus and won. I didn’t let the devil win then and I won’t let him win now.
No two rights are more closely connected than freedom of Speech and freedom of religion. If we sit back and let one die…we are, in the same breath, killing the other.