News & Politics

Berkeley Task Force Blames Victims for Violence at Riots Last Year

Protesters against a scheduled speaking appearance by Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos on the University of California at Berkeley campus. Feb. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Well, after all, it is Berkeley.

A task force formed by the president of the University of California at Berkeley found that conservatives are to blame for the riot on campus during protests against conservative speakers.

Those darn conservatives! There they go inviting speakers that were “likely to incite a violent reaction.” How can Antifa help it if they were driven mad because the righties didn’t invite a communist or, at least, a socialist?

Campus Reform:

The report was filed on April 10 by a Commission on Free Speech that Chancellor Carol Christ created last October to “analyze events featuring external speakers” on campus in the wake of a series of disruptive protests against planned appearances by speakers such as Ben Shapiro, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Ann Coulter.

“Although those speakers had every right to speak and were entitled to protection, they did not need to be on campus to exercise the right of free speech,” the commission declares, speculating that they were only invited “in order to advance a facile narrative that universities are not tolerant of conservative speech.”

Talk about “facile narratives”! Does the task force really believe conservatives wanted to provoke a riot and that nothing Ann Coulter, Milo, and Shapiro have to say is of interest to anyone?

No, but how else can you blame the victims for getting their heads bashed in?

Note also that despite their pious proclamation that the speakers had “every right to speak,” they did not “need” to be on campus. Last time I looked, there is no restriction on free speech based on location.

“Although of course many things changed during the 17 months between Shapiro’s campus engagements, our conclusion is that the rise of ultra-conservative rhetoric, including white supremacist views and protest marches, legitimized by the 2016 presidential election and its aftermath, encouraged far-right and alt-right activists to ‘spike the football’ at Berkeley,” the commission writes.

You had to know they’d find a way to blame Trump.

The report goes on to contend that all of the events that sparked protests last year “were sponsored by very small groups of students working closely with outside organizations,” asserting that “at least some of the 2017 events at Berkeley can now be seen to be part of a coordinated campaign to organize appearances on American campuses likely to incite a violent reaction, in order to advance a facile narrative that universities are not tolerant of conservative speech.”

It’s a vast right-wing conspiracy. It always is.

The report concedes that “more than eighty years of First Amendment law would need to be overturned for the campus to legally prohibit potentially disruptive events that offer little value as contributions to campus discourse,” saying its members have “no appetite for instigating a legal battle over this issue.”

These people wouldn’t know the First Amendment if it came up and bit them in the ass. There is no restriction on speech that offers “little value as contributions to campus discourse.” It is not up to administrators, police, or anyone to assign a “value” to speech. The value is in the free expression of speech, not in the supposedly toxic ideas contained therein.

Berkeley is a lost cause, of course, but the significance of this report is that it reveals tactics that schools will be using from now on to shut off free speech and debate. The notion that conservatives only invite speakers to cause a riot and not out of any intrinsic value for what the speakers have to say will be a narrative that will become familiar across the country as campus authorities look to make sure the only speech they allow will be speech of which they approve.