Sunday, March 3, 2019

Denounce the Left's Idea That Free Speech is 'Violence'

From Jonathan Zimmerman, at the San Francisco Chronicle, "We must denounce the idea of speech as violence":
When the actor Jussie Smollett charged that two men shouting this is “MAGA country” had attacked him, also yelling racist and homophobic taunts, my fellow liberals were quick to blame the rise in such incidents on President Trump and his supporters who want to “Make American Great Again.”

Smollett was indicted by an Illinois grand jury on Feb. 20 for apparently faking the whole episode, but the larger trend is real: Hate crimes have spiked during the Trump era. And surely the president’s own bigoted rhetoric — Mexicans are rapists, Africans live in s—hole countries and so on — has something to do with that.

So why aren’t we also denouncing the culture of intolerance on America’s university campuses, where dissenting voices have faced physical attacks? And doesn’t our silence on that score make us partially responsible for the violence, just as Trump is complicit in hate crimes?

Consider the assault on a conservative activist last month at UC Berkeley, where he was displaying posters declaring “This is MAGA country” — which is what Smollett said his attackers shouted — and “Hate crime hoaxes hurt real victims.”

Two men accosted the conservative activist with expletives. One denounced him for “encouraging violence.” As if on cue, the second man then punched the activist in the face.

Noting that the incident took place on Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza, epicenter of the university’s Free Speech Movement in 1964, school officials were quick to denounce it. “We strongly condemn violence and harassment of any sort, for any reason,” they said in a statement. “Our commitment to freedom of expression and belief is unwavering.” Friday, they announced an arrest...

And at CBS News 5 San Francisco, "Man Arrested In Attack On Conservative Activist at UC Berkeley."


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