“No one is compelled to attend the university. Those who do attend should accept and obey the prescribed rules or get out.” — Ronald Reagan on student protests at Berkeley UC, 1966
Seemed like good advice then and it remains the same over 50 years later as students at Berkeley still can’t decide whether they have enrolled in university to further their education or become professional protesters — the irony being that you can actually become a professional protester in this crazy world and hangout with riff-raff for the rest of your life.
It’s becoming tiresome to read that ” Milo didn’t speak again” every time the free speech crusader hits a campus dominated by hoodlums who apparently never learned to speak in the first place. But it is certainly become more tiresome to see riots unfold for the sake of riots unfolding. The end is justifying the end. Just what points are these “students” attempting to make other than their own inability to come to terms with their inability to listen to anyone’s opinion but their own.
America is not immersed in a foreign war. There is no generation gap — the old liberals are as bent as the younger ones. So why are the colleges aflame because somebody wants to talk about free speech?
It is one thing for America to become unhinged because of a fundamental disagreement over foreign policy that has resulted in a controversial war; it is quite another matter for the country to be torn apart over the Left’s refusal to acknowledge the right of conservatives to hold opposing positions and to voice those opinions without fear of being brutalized for doing so. What it describes is a totalitarian tendency that bears the characteristic arrogance and anger of backstreet Bolshevism. It brings disrepute to the national character to see police languidly lingering in the background while vandals and hoodlums destroy property, both public and private.
The police have suffered enough under Obama and the anarchistic gangs of thugs that seemed to prosper under his administration’s quiet acquiescence to their right to “protest.”
But when protest is transformed into communal violence that has itself becomes little more than a knee-jerk reaction to someone else’s right to a political opinion — unfashionable or inedible to you or not — than it must be identified, arrested and punished.
It may well be that Berkeley has no none of the prescribed rules of which Reagan once spoke. The inmates have apparently taken over the madhouse years ago. When you read daily reports of American universities that not only tolerate but promote the enrollment of illegal aliens and crave a “sanctuary campus” status you begin to wonder. If you discover that universities are demanding Muslim prayer rooms in every major building, it promotes a sense of bewilderment. Should you glean that colleges invest more time in socially re-engineering their students than educating them, then you understand: you understand why students are apparently bereft of any disciplinary action being taken against them.he
There are many losers in this democratic charade. The kids are missing a vital opportunity to learn some elementary lessons about life while at university — the foremost being that violent, undisciplined, desultory behavior will not be tolerated in life: either at home or the workplace. The universities are amassing a deficit too — a deficit of credibility, as they appear to be little more than a breeding ground for violent, amoral and cretinous activity.
But Americans have the most to lose. Freedom of speech is not a privilege or a preference in a democracy: it is an inviolate right that is integral to the integrity, flexibility and durability of an often fragile system that continues to enhance and not dismiss our liberties.
As much as we need our opposing parties, as much as we cherish regular elections, as much as we value our elected assemblies — freedom of speech is the glue that keeps it all together.
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