The Dangerous Assault on Freedom of Speech

By John Thorsson

Last night, we saw everything that is wrong with modern day America. Last night, the right to free speech was under attack. Last night, conservative radio host/columnist/pundit, Ben Shapiro spoke on the campus of UC Berkeley. This may come as a shock to some people of the more liberal persuasion, but the attack on free speech did not come from Mr. Shapiro himself. No, instead it came from the anarchist thug group known as Antifa.  They blocked the streets, the rioted, they protested. They made the businesses on the UC Berkeley close down shop early and board up their offices so nothing was destroyed. And for what reason? Simply because they disliked what the speaker had to say. Or, to put it more accurately, they thought they knew what the speaker would say, and they were fighting against that.

We have a huge problem that’s running rampant across this country: it’s knee-jerk stupidity. Let’s take for starters, the morons who put banners up just outside of where Mr. Shapiro was speaking. For those of you, who can’t see what it says, it states: “We say no to your white supremacist bullshit.” There’s just one small problem with calling Mr. Shapiro a white supremacist. The man is Jewish! There has not been one group of people on this earth that have been more oppressed by white supremacists than Jews!

And that’s really the problem that we have in this country. You have fascist groups, like Antifa, that openly and aggressively try to shut down any form of speech that they deem to be hurtful or unsatisfactory. The bigger problem is that many of our colleges and universities allow it to happen and they even stoke the flame of it. I’ll quote the news article here if you want to read the whole thing. Or if you want to forgo the entire article, here’s the part I was referring to: “We are deeply concerned about the impact some speakers may have on an individuals sense of safety and belonging.” The newsletter that was sent out went on to say that, students faculty and staff would be able to receive counseling if they felt threatened or harrassed.

Imagine that, free speech now requires counseling. Not because someone said something that is actually offensive or is an actual threat, but because of the feeling or the illusion of being threatened or harrassed. Well, there was threats last night at UC Berkeley, but they didn’t come from Mr. Shapiro or anyone that was inside of the auditorium where he spoke. It came, once again from the thugs that make up Antifa. There were four people in total who were arrested last night because they were carrying banned weapons. One of the people arrested was charged with suspicion of assaulting a police officer on the scene.

The exact same problem has occurred on the right. When candidate Trump was at the Kentucky International Convention Center last spring, he was interrupted by protesters. He stopped the rally and shouted for security to “get them out.” Video of the event showed his supporters very aggressively shoving the protesters out of the arena, with one of the protesters alleging that they were even punched in the stomach. At an earlier rally, a protestor for Black Lives Matter too was kicked and punched at a campaign rally.  “Fox and Friends” asked Trump about it the next morning and, after bragging about the size of the crowd there to see him, said that “Maybe he should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.” No, Mr. Trump; someone speaking their minds in a nonviolent way isn’t disgusting. It’s inherently American. What’s disgusting is what happened at a Monday afternoon rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in January of 2016 when Trump told his supporters at the rally, that if they saw  anyone who looked like they were going to throw a tomato at him (something that had happened the week before), they should “knock the crap out of them….Just knock the hell- I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees.”

This isn’t about democrats or republicans. This isn’t about conservatives or liberals. This is about fascist leftists and fascist rightists who want to stifle open and public debate and the exchange of ideas among people. It’s something that has been bubbling up in this country for some time, and it’s only getting worse. Just think about it, almost every time somebody is labaled as a racist or a homophobe or an Islamicphobe or a sexist. Whether the person making the claim really believes it about the other person or not, it’s used to disarm the subject. It’s used as a way to marginalize them and to shut them up. It’s happened to conservatives for at least a decade that I can remember. During the Obama administration, if you disagreed with him politically, you were labeled as a racist. As in, the only possible reason that you could ever disagree with him had to be because he was black, and you just couldn’t stand to see a black man in the White House. It’s an absurd notion, but it happened all the time. It’s become increasingly popular on the Alt-Right too. Any time you disagree with during the Trump administration, you’re automatically labeled as a cuck or RINO. We’ve made it to where there’s no good way to have actual discourse about differing ideas in this country, and it’s extremely dangerous.

Without the vigorous exchange of differing opinions, we’re left never seeing an issue in it’s  entirety. We get spoon fed one side of an argument, and we just accept it as the whole reality. Free speech is vital to the continuing of ideas in this country. As Benjamin Franklin said: “Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government: When this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved.”

I’d like to thank the administration of UC Berkeley, the police department and Mr. Ben Shapiro, for making sure; that for one night at least, that “principal pillar” of free speech remained intact. They did that despite the effort of fascists to make sure that one of the most basic and fundamental rights in our country, free speech was destroyed.

Share Your Thoughts?