Berkeley Mayor Objects To Those Trying To Block Free Speech Events So He Asks For Free Speech Week To Be Cancelled

JesseYesterday, I posted a column on the violence of Antifa protesters and their war on free speech.  Judging from the actions of Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin they appear to be succeeding.  After Antifa and counterprotesters chased and beat people trying to attend the event this week, Arreguin immediately came up with a solution to their denial of free speech: cancel the free speech event.  That is like solving bank robbery by asking banks to empty their vaults.

Arreguin asked conservatives to forego their events because counterprotesters would show up and violently oppose their exercise of free speech:

“I don’t want Berkeley being used as a punching bag . . . I am concerned about these groups using large protests to create mayhem. It’s something we have seen in Oakland and in Berkeley.”

Arreguin sees the problem as the exercise of free speech as opposed to those who want to stop it.  He has asked UC Berkeley to halt plans by the conservative  Berkeley Patriot to host conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos during its scheduled Free Speech Week from Sept. 24-27. No free speech, no problem. It is that simple for Arreguin.

It is less simple for the rest of us who are not so willing to yield to the
“heckler’s veto.”  Arreguin treats free speech like it is some illicit temptation for those inclined toward mayhem:

 

“I’m very concerned about Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter and some of these other right-wing speakers coming to the Berkeley campus, because it’s just a target for black bloc to come out and commit mayhem on the Berkeley campus and have that potentially spill out on the street.”

Imagine if all leaders like Arreguin and, as previously discussed, Nancy Pelosi, could simply cancel events when others might object to the content of speech.  Like Pelosi, Arreguin mouths support for free speech while curtailed it on the basis of how such views would be received by others.

“I obviously believe in freedom of speech, but there is a line between freedom of speech and then posing a risk to public safety. That is where we have to really be very careful — that while protecting people’s free-speech rights, we are not putting our citizens in a potentially dangerous situation and costing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars fixing the windows of businesses.”

It is hard to the evidence that Arrequin “believes in freedom of speech” when he is willing to yield to the mob to deny it.

There is another approach. The city can arrest those committing mayhem and the university should expel any who are students at Berkeley.  The thing about free speech is that people actually have to speak.

 

 

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