In the 1960s, the Northern California city of Berkeley became known as the “birthplace of the free speech movement.” Motivated by their opposition to the war in Vietnam, and support for the civil rights movement, University of California, Berkeley college students let the world know that they would not allow their First Amendment rights to be curtailed, no matter how controversial their positions were at the time.
This was back when Berkeley and other Bay Area cities were also known for being “affordable”; but I guess all good things must eventually come to an end.
Nowadays, Berkeley is rapidly becoming famed as one of the least tolerant cities in the country — where any challenge to left-wing orthodoxy is met with terrorist threats and mob violence.
The only practical restriction on free speech used to be against yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. Now, we just have to settle for trying to keep these thugs from setting fire to a crowded theater.
The most recent example of this insanity comes courtesy of Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin, who is urging UC Berkeley administrators to cancel plans by a conservative group for a “Free Speech Week” in September — because he fears it will motivate left-wing agitators, operating under the banner of being “anti-fascists,” or “antifa,” to spark violent clashes in his city.
The first-term mayor, who describes himself as an “unapologetic progressive,” told the San Francisco Chronicle that he didn’t want UC Berkeley “being used as a punching bag” in the wake of antifa members’ violent attacks on conservative demonstrators last weekend.
Arreguin explained, “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.”
So, in other words, in the name of “public safety” Arreguin is only interested in hearing points of view that won’t conflict with the worldview of antifa protesters.
Too bad for them that Kim Jong Un already has a full calendar.
Somebody should let the mayor know that if you don’t believe in protecting speech that you disagree with, you fundamentally don’t believe in free speech. You believe in an echo chamber.
And on the…