This is What Fascism Looks Like
Deborah Porter, Foreign Policy Contributor
Less than three weeks after Milo Yiannopoulos was shut down at UC Davis, UC Berkeley was similarly forced to cancel their Milo event due to violent protests. Amid firecrackers, broken windows, and the police using rubber bullets to prevent total anarchy, protesters still managed to storm the ground floor of the building, resulting in the university canceling the event. Video and pictures of the night depict a massive security force armed in riot gear against a background of firecrackers and a fiery police generator, as well as fights and medical personnel required on scene. Our source at the event said that people in masks were going around with Molotov cocktails, baseball bats, and sticks attacking people, which resulted in numerous arrests and injuries, with those injuries being especially violent. If you think the mayhem of the night seems extreme, well, you might be in a minority of political activists at Cal. Protesters flooded the area, outnumbering the attendees, and multiple fights broke out as the night progressed.
As the saying goes, “the fascists of the future will be the anti-fascists.” Tonight, we saw what that truly means. Bearing signs calling the hosts and attendees fascists, the protesters proceeded to commit acts typically attributed to fascism, like “forcible suppression of opposition.” To say that the protesters were against fascism would indicate that fascism is peacefully listening to beliefs different than those held by the majority of your fellow students. The truth is quite the opposite, and protesters have started to fall into the trap of becoming what they have labeled through identity politics. The anti-fascists have become the fascists, and the tolerant have become the intolerant.
The utter desolation brought by the protesters has a price tag - over $6,000. The administration demanded that the Berkeley College Republicans (BCR) pay that amount in order to host Milo, saying that the funds were required for the security costs. Considering the university, not the College Republicans, had to cancel the event, the $6,000 must not have been enough to provide adequate security. The true cost is likely much higher than $6,000, as even with that security the campus sustained damaged property, people were severely injured, and still Milo was not able to speak. The actual cost to host Milo at Berkeley will likely remain unknown.
The underlying problem of these event cancellations is not the protesters nor the event hosts. The real cause of this violence can be attributed to the universities, who are unwilling to enforce the law, even when it saves lives. At UC Davis, parents are told during orientation that the university police do not want to give students records, and as such shy away from making arrests of underage students drinking. At the University of Washington, the university took over the investigation of a person who was shot, and when the shooter turned himself in, he was subsequently released. The protesters merely take the cue from the administration, using universities obsessed with low crime statistics and image to enact their own form of law. In the age of sanctuary campuses and blatant disregard for the state and federal law, it cannot be surprising that students and outside people think they can break the law without punishment. After all, these learning institutions are teaching that to their students, and they’re just listening.
To put it in the words of the BCR Facebook page, “The Free Speech Movement is dead,” referring to the 1964 student president’s ban of political activity on campus, which subsequently sparked the Free Speech Movement, or FSM. While some might still believe in free speech, it is unfortunate that some feel required to prohibit it. Jason Garshfield, one of our social policy contributors, recommended that Trump audit universities, citing speech codes as a prerequisite to dangerous acts of censorship. Even before that, I reported the ridiculous ban by DePaul University on Ben Shapiro, calling for liberals and conservatives alike to work on putting an end to speech restrictions. Free speech at universities is a dream, a dream that the Millennial generation may never experience. We can only hope that our children will stand for free speech, and the right of everyone to have it.
Follow the author on Twitter at @UCDavisEngineer