Ann Coulter vows to speak at UC Berkeley - CNN.com
I’ll preface everything by stating that I hate Ann Coulter’s methodology. I view her as the instigator type, that is those who say absurd and outrageous things specifically to elicit an emotional reaction in both supporters and distractors because by doing so, it creates attention, coverage, and sells books. So on some level, I take her as an actor, playing this part in order to make money. Not that there is really anything wrong with making money, but it’s more to do that her style isn’t there to promote any sort of discussion, but rather reaction; a reaction specifically tailored to sell. It’s part and parcel to America’s “drama first” consumption trends these day.Conservative commentator Ann Coulter vowed to proceed with a scheduled speaking event at the University of California, Berkeley, despite the school's decision to call it off.
Citing security concerns, the school's vice chancellors said they intended to "reschedule her appearance for a later date."
In a letter to Berkeley College Republicans, who organized the event, Vice Chancellors Scott Biddy and Stephen Sutton said campus police were unable to find a "suitable venue" for the April 27 event.
"Unfortunately, UCPD determined that, given currently active security threats, it is not possible to assure that the event could be held successfully -- or that the safety of Ms. Coulter, the event sponsors, audience, and bystanders could be adequately protected -- at any of the campus venues available on April 27th," the letter said.
That being said, she should go and seek to make her speech regardless of Berkley because it’s important that we keep free speech open and that we engage in it. Now I do think that the University is between a rock and a hard place. Given the antics as of late, particularly by the Antifa assholes. That organization was, long ago, some anti-fascist organization, but is now the fascists themselves. Terrorists even, on some level, using violence and fear to shut down the free exercise of rights. And so the University now has to look at the safety of their campus and consider what these guys will do. I don’t think the University itself is actively trying to undercut free speech, but that they know that there is going to be violent reaction and they need to time to secure the police force and venue necessary to best protect against it.
But it feels a bit too much like giving into terrorist demands, that by not letting Coulter on campus, it legitimizes their use of violence. This is all wrong. The rights and liberties of the individual, of all individuals, is important and must be upheld. The right to speech and the right to protest alike. But we must abide by the rights of others, and the use of violence to oppose the free exercise of rights cannot be tolerated. But what’s the University to do?
We could just carte blanche increase police protection for these events for the time being. That would cost money, but hopefully we would be driving the system to more reasonable ends in the interim. We could increase policing as well, meaning that we pursue aggressive policing/arresting strategies against groups known to cause violence. Typically for these things the police will stand back somewhat, try to keep the peace, and try to stay out of it unless necessary. This isn’t a bad strategy when rational heads prevail, but as of late rational heads do not seem to be prevailing.
Fundamentally, what is even the cause of this? I think it’s true that we see this sort of violence acted out by “leftist” sides more so than “rightist”, but what happened? Even Berkley back in the day was a champion for Free Speech, and they meant it as such, as an environment where all sides could discuss their ideals and arguments. But it has since moved away, and rather quickly in very recent times. Since the 90’s we have been falling, it seems, into more and more partisan roles. When Reagan and Clinton were in charge, cooperation between the R’s and the D’s wasn’t unheard of. In fact, bipartisanship was often championed (under Clinton it was likely starting to close down, though). But since we have seen, I think, a dramatic shift in the politics and a particular rise in hyper-partisan behavior. To the point now where “bipartisanship” is neigh a dirty word. Is the violence we see now emerging a symptom of that?
Surely Trump is not to blame, per say, but he is certainly a divisive figure, more so than any we’ve had previously. But perhaps that too is a symptom and not the root cause. In fact, I’m inclined to think it is.
Why, then, the sudden shift from open discussion and bipartisan compromise to this inflexible, aggressive, and partisan mindset? How can we fix it?