NBC’s Bay Area reporter Bob Redell was the first to post the scene of crews hauling large concrete k-rail barricades around the hall where conservative commentator Ben Shapiro was to speak at Berkeley later that night. Redell posted the video to Twitter along with this nonchalant analysis:
“Expecting protests against @benshapiro speech tonight.”
Have we all lost our collective minds? Ben Shaprio is not a provocateur. He’s been one of the leading conservative intellectuals in the country for some time. He is not an inflammatory partisan. He was opposed to Donald Trump from the start and has remained one of the president’s most thoughtful critics on the right. He is not an agitator. He is a polished and articulate spokesman for traditional conservative ideology. He is not a xenophobe or racist. He is a Jewish man who has received more anti-Semitic hate than almost anyone. He is not an authoritarian fascist seeking to deprive citizens of their rights. He is a private citizen business owner seeking to caution a culture about the danger of authoritarian ideas.
So what in the world explains the need for concrete k-rail barriers when he is slated to give a speech at a university that was once regarded as the Mecca of free thought?
I’m not making a partisan point here. I’m asking a serious question.
What does it say about the current state of the American left that this is the response they give to someone like Shapiro? Why are they protesting? What are they protesting?
There’s only one answer to that question – they are protesting the mere enunciation of conservative ideas by a private citizen. The Los Angeles Times runs mock-worthy headlines like “Berkeley on high alert as conservative speaker Ben Shapiro set to arrive for talk,” and, “Berkeley braces for right-wing talk show host Ben Shapiro’s visit.” Good grief. Is the left not embarrassed by that? They are threatened by someone talking? What has become of the left’s supposed commitment to free speech? What has become of the left’s supposed desire for “cultural dialogue?” Is it not the American left that is always talking about the need to have a “national conversation?”
They don’t mean it. They don’t want it. The left wants their side to be heard exclusively.
Several months ago I had a Twitter exchange with liberal CBS sportswriter Gregg Doyel about race and the national anthem protests. When I challenged his commitment to open conversation and debate, the leftist sports media commentator Doyel responded,
“One side of the conversation has been happening for centuries. At this point it’s pretty discountable.”
There’s the modern left. “Everyone else’s ideas are discountable. And if they insist on trying to speak them when we tell them to shut up, they will have to bring in concrete barricades to hold us back in our efforts to silence them.”
For all the flirting the left does with Antifa, I hate to break it to them, their conduct is about as fascist as it gets.