So, I visited Berkeley last night.
And it was terrific.
The students were engaged; the police were finally allowed to do their jobs. Antifa stayed away. Sure, there were protesters – lots of them. That’s great! It’s a free country, and they’re free to say whatever stupid nonsense they want to. But overall, this was a big moment for Berkeley, which had been blockaded by violent leftists for nearly a year: a civil discussion involving a dissenting, conservative voice, allowed by the administration and defended by law enforcement.
Even at Berkeley, the First Amendment still lives.
Here are a few things I learned last night.
- When The Police Are Allowed To Do Their Jobs, Antifa Is Powerless. We’ve watched Antifa fight free speech in cities ranging from Portland to Seattle to Sacramento to Dallas to Berkeley. We’ve watched them get violent. But the biggest problem, by far, has been the unwillingness of local authorities to allow the police to do what they need to do. Last night, hundreds of police were brought in to protect our event, at a cost of $600,000. That’s because of Black Bloc and Antifa. But neither held sway, because the police quickly arrested anyone with a weapon or a mask, and prevented violence in the crowd outside. Good. Law and order is a precondition to civil society. It’s just sad so much law enforcement was necessary for a college speech.
Here is a map of the cordoned off buildings for the @benshapiro talk at @UCBerkeley pic.twitter.com/mOh4H18ney
— Frances Dinkelspiel (@Frannydink) September 14, 2017
VERY long line of police in riot gear getting into position before @benshapiro takes the stage @Cal pic.twitter.com/G3d9Gu5bS2
— Lisa Amin Gulezian (@LisaAminABC7) September 14, 2017
- Many Students Are Infected By The Microaggression Mentality. The notion of microaggressions suggests that if I attack your politics, I’m attacking your identity – and that such political attacks are a form of “aggression” equivalent to violence. Watch these doltish students chant just that:
“Speech is violent, we will not be silent!” Students protesting #BenAtBerkeley. pic.twitter.com/49V6DD9OI7
— Sophia Lee Sohyun (@SophiaLeeHyun) September 15, 2017
This is plainly un-American. No, speech isn’t violence, as we showed last night.
- Many On The Left Are Willing To Label Anyone A White Supremacist. I, needless to say, am not a white supremacist. I devoted several minutes of my speech last night to ripping into white supremacism and the alt-right. I’ve devoted much of the last two years to doing so as well. That didn’t stop Leftist students from posting this banner opposite the building where I was speaking: