The birthplace of the “free speech movement” wants to kill it off now.
In this cradle of the free speech movement, from the very campus where the First Amendment has been tested time and again, a new poll from UC Berkeley shows California voters are split over the delicate question of whether white nationalist groups should be allowed to demonstrate.
Forty-six percent of California voters say we’ve gone too far in allowing white nationalists to demonstrate while 43 percent say the rallies should not be restricted and 11 percent had no opinion.
And Democrats, especially, appear to be grappling with the complex issue in deep blue California.
In the wake of violent protests from Charlottesville to Berkeley, more than half, a full 53 percent of California’s Democratic voters, believe we have gone too far in allowing those demonstrations. Some 50 percent of California Republicans, meanwhile, believe the right to demonstrate should not be restricted, compared with 39 percent of Democrats.
An old saying that has been attributed to both Voltaire and Thomas Jefferson goes, “I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” That was the prevailing attitude of most Americans for the first 240 or so years of the Republic’s existence.
Welcome to 2017.
The uncomfortable aspect of the First Amendment is that people you vehemently loathe get to express their opinions too. The late, great Antonin Scalia on more than one occasion said that the right to burn the American flag was protected by the First Amendment, even though he didn’t think it should be.
I would prefer to never again have to hear an American wearing a Che shirt spouting commie nonsense but, as a firm believer in the First Amendment, I don’t have that luxury.
This is the inevitable slide down the slippery slope that began when the idea of “hate speech” became fashionable. Members of just one political class get to be the arbiters of what is and isn’t hateful, becoming de facto thought police. That class is, of course, populated with nothing but shrill, effete liberal perma-victims who are offended by virtually anything they don’t agree with.
That might seem like an over-the-top dig if I hadn’t written it the night before Ben Shapiro is speaking in Berkeley and the school is offering counseling for students who may be traumatized by words they don’t like.
The Soviet Union is alive and well in the hearts and minds of American liberals. That this poll only addresses attitudes towards white nationalist demonstrations and didn’t ask about the ever-violent Antifa thugs who are given free rein in Berkeley shows that not all violent expression is equal in the minds of progressives.
Only someone extraordinarily duplicitous or naive would pretend that this just about the white nationalist groups. They want to shut down anyone who disagrees with them on any topic, just ask Brendan Eich.
“Hate” as used by American leftists now is synonymous with “He/she said something I disagree with.” It’s a broad brush that progressives use to bully dissenters from liberal orthodoxy into capitulation or ruination.
Some may write the results of this poll off as being a California thing but this is the kind of thinking that is being drilled into college kids all over the country. It will spread, and it must be fought.