The events of Wednesday night (Feb. 1) prove that America has indeed gone back at least 50 years since Donald Trump was elected in November.
As Milo Yianappolous was set to take the stage and speak to a sold-out show at the University of California’s Berkeley campus, a violent mob clad in all black came out to protest against him. The situation quickly escalated and police were forced to cancel the event as rioters began to beat the fleeing audience with wooden bats and bike locks. Molotov cocktails set parts of the campus ablaze and in a flash, Berkeley’s reputation as a herald of free speech went up in smoke.
Through the livestreams, Periscope feeds and live accounts of the people present at Berekely, the whole world was able to see the ugly past of political intimidation and violence rear its head once again.
In the 1960s, Berkeley was the site of the Free Speech Movement, a student-led protest against the college’s rules limiting political discourse and action. Now, those ideals that were so hard fought for have been tossed away and rejected by the school’s host of anti-fascist fascists.
In a huge understatement, college spokesman Dan Mogulof said it “was not a proud night for this campus.”
What made all this acceptable in the minds of the protesters is the old logical fallacy, “error has no rights”. Spoken by a 19th century pope to justify attacks on religious freedom, it’s now used by opponents of free speech to shut down anyone with an opposing viewpoint. Modern-day liberals on college campuses are quick to label anyone they disagree with as neo-Nazis, fascists, bigots and any assortment of labels in order to justify their own lack of tolerance.
Political intimidation through violence has seen a rise in the US in the past year. From Trump’s rally in Chicago being shut down by rioters to self-proclaimed alt-right leader Richard Spencer being punched during a live interview, it’s now become acceptable to resort to violence instead of debate when faced with your political opponents. Neo-Nazi and white supremacy have almost become buzzwords in college political discourse, to the great detriment of those actually affected by the small minority of actual monsters in the world.
The blockades on free speech, the dehumanizing of enemies, the use of violence against those you disagree with were the tactics used by real Fascists in the past. The so-called Antifa have fallen to the same self-righteousness that made the rise of tyrants possible. After all, they were only following orders.
Riot when your college invites a Nazi.
Set it all on fire.
In case of doubt, study history.
— Lexi Alexander (@Lexialex) February 2, 2017
Film director Lexi Alexander endorsed the violence, tweeting: “Punch Nazis. Riot when your college invites a Nazi. Set it all on fire. In case of doubt, study history.”
WAKE UP & JOIN THE RESISTANCE. ONCE THE MILITARY IS W US FASCISTS GET OVERTHROWN. MAD KING & HIS HANDLERS GO BYE BYE❤❤❤❤ https://t.co/Y2WZbL012A
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) February 2, 2017
Comedian Sarah Silverman seemingly advocated civil war, tweeting: “WAKE UP & JOIN THE RESISTANCE. ONCE THE MILITARY IS W US FASCISTS GET OVERTHROWN. MAD KING & HIS HANDLERS GO BYE BYE.”
Actor Shia LaBeouf set an example last month when he was arrested for assaulting a protestor at a protest in New York.
The media in the United States likes to compare the current climate of their country to 1930s Germany with reckless abandon. MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews called Trump’s inaugural address “Hitlerian” on air and the once-respected anchor Keith Olbermann spends most of his days trying to test the limits of Godwin’s Law.
In a way, they are right. The riot on Wednesday was eerily similar to 1930s Germany. The only difference this time was that the brownshirts wore black.