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The Birth and Death of
Free Speech at Berkeley

Milwaukee radio talk show host Mark Belling let loose with a superb and forceful commentary on Free Speech that we think you should listen to or read in full. In a nutshell he says that the Left in America has become dangerously intolerant of other points of view and has turned its back on core American liberties and values. We've included a bullet point summary, a full transcript of his remarks if you're interested, and a link to his podcast. We urge you to check one of them out.

Link to Hour 1, Part 2 of Mark Belling's April 20 podcast.

The place in the United States where the free speech movement started is the University of California Berkeley. Which is why it is remarkable that Berkeley is now the home of the Anti-Free-Speech Movement.

University of California Berkeley is saying that it is reluctantly canceling a speech by the provocative conservative trouble-maker and columnist Ann Coulter. Now Ann Coulter’s a pain in the butt – I’ll grant you that. She was the one that pushed Trump, pushed pushed Trump, and now she’s complaining the most about Trump.

She’s an agitator and she’s a provocateur and her whole thing is she tries to get a reaction. And she isn’t taken seriously anymore by even a lot of the people who used to take her seriously.

But that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have a following. Her books get an audience and she has a right of free speech.

Cal Berkeley has had a number of aggressive protests, some of which have turned violent, when conservative speakers have attempted to go to campus. Just over the weekend, there was trouble when a pro-Trump group tried to rally in Berkeley, and anti-Trump students, activists, and others, engaged with them. Berkeley says, as a university they are committed to free speech and they want a diversity of ideas to be able to be represented on campus. But they say they are forced to cancel Coulter’s event, because they cannot guarantee her safety or the safety of the attendees or other people on campus. In other words they are fearful that people who don’t want Coulter to speak will violently stop the event from occurring.

What an extraordinary moment in America. Where a major university, run by the state of California, with its own police department, says it can’t have a woman come in and talk, without fear of danger. Are they essentially saying that they can’t protect their campus at all? If they can’t protect their campus from a handful of people, who object to a speaker, how are they going to protect their campus from a handful of people with guns who want to come in and kill people just over terrorism or some other grievance? How are they able on day to day [basis] to protect anyone, if they can’t offer that protection?

Now what they obviously should have done is this: they should have if they didn’t have sufficient police support to be able to ensure safety – and they do – but if they didn’t they should have asked for outside help from the sheriff out in Berkeley or whomever. Anyone who attempts to cause trouble would be immediately arrested. If you ought to put 300 cops there you ought to do that.

“Well you shouldn’t have to expend those types of resources.”

Well then you are saying that mobs have the right to deny free speech to some simply by threatening violence.

What Berkeley didn’t want was potential violence. They say they’re gonna try to reschedule the event in a place that would be safe — well I don’t know how they could do that if they couldn’t do it this time around.

They have an obligation though to not cancel an event merely because they happen to think that it might not be safe, because some goons are threatening to do violent acts. All you’re doing is empowering and rewarding the people who would’ve intended to break the law.

There’s a second part of this though and I want to get into it after the break. And that is, why the Left in this country has somehow gotten to be so terrified of allowing conservatives to talk. If we’re all a bunch of goofball wing nuts, what are you afraid of? What are they afraid of at Berkeley – you know how many students who go to Berkeley are conservative? Probably about 2% of them. What are they afraid of? That Coulter’s gonna go in and every one of these liberals is suddenly gonna turn into a neo Nazi? Is that what their fear is?

I want to expand on that in a moment.

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I was discussing why liberals seem to be — particularly young ones — those on college campuses — the ones that we’ve been calling “snowflakes” — why they seem to be so terrified of allowing conservatives to speak.

The thing that’s rather remarkable about it is they mostly seem to be terrified when a conservative would come to speak at a place that is overwhelmingly liberal.

Do they really think that if Ann Coulter went to Berkeley she would sway so many opinions that Berkeley would suddenly become a right wing university.

This guy Ben Shapiro, every time he tries to go to a campus, they try to shut him down. At Marquette they had University administrators that were plotting plans, to try to grab up all the seats so that nobody could come in to see Shapiro.

Given that the foundation of our country, the whole point of living in a place like America is to have freedom — if you don’t want to have freedom you don’t want to be in America.

Our constitution, the formation of our country, was all based on getting away from another country, England, that didn’t give us any freedom. We wanted to have freedoms that we were denied, and for better or worse, it means that you have to put up with people being able to be with… you can be whatever religion that you want to be. We’ve been told that you can have any viewpoint that you want to have.

Yes I believe that freedom means if you want to own a gun, you have a right to do it. It’s the premise of the country, but at the core of all of it was free speech. Of all the rights that we have it’s the one that’s the most fundamental.

Even the other rights that we have are all derived from free speech. The free press is simply a version of free speech.

Freedom of religion is another version of free speech. It’s the ability to espouse whatever belief that you want, religion or otherwise.

When you think about our nation and you think about people on both sides — one of the most famous sayings in America is “I may not agree with what you say but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

That was something that has generally been accepted by Left and Right.

Now that doesn’t mean that we don’t have a right to criticize speech. That’s what free speech is. Somebody doesn’t like my speech, they can rip me for it. And I can rip ‘em back. That’s what free speech is. But these people want to deny it altogether. They don’t want to allow it to be expressed. And the great question is, Why? What are they so afraid of? And I think that the answer is two-fold.

One, it’s the ultimate insecurity. They’re afraid that they’re gonna lose the argument! Most liberals, especially these millenials who have been sheltered and put in a bubble and educated by leftist hacks in the public schools — they’ve never been forced to defend their point of view, they’ve simply been told, “This is the way that you must think.” They don’t have to make an argument and defend it with any type of logic, they’ve never had to be confronted by conservative ideas that attack their fundamental precepts. They’re mortified when they hear an alternate point of view. They literally are scared of it.

“Well this makes me uncomfortable.”

You hear all the time it’s hurtful and uncomfortable. How can speech be hurtful and uncomfortable? Only if you are so fragile in your own opinions, that having your beliefs challenged is something that would damage you.

In other words, your own beliefs are so thinly held, so poorly developed, that when you hear others you’re literally scared of them. You’re the ultimate sissy. You’re not just afraid of someone’s gun or someone’s rock or someone’s fist, you’re afraid of someone’s idea, you big babies.

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They have tried for the longest time to delegitimize any conservative idea. Any time anybody right of center says anything more, it’s racist, it’s sexist, it’s homophobic, it’s bigoted. Don’t allow the person to express the idea, well if you’re the only idea expressed you obviously win the argument. Funny they like to throw around the term fascism — they’re the biggest fascists of all. They want to use the power to literally establish one way of thinking, one way of speaking, and they want to sanction and smack down anyone else. They keep calling Trump a fascist, as they espouse the most fascist tactics one can imagine. They oughta be running around with the brownshirts at Berkeley trying to stop poor little Ann Coulter — well she’s not little. She’s also not poor, Ann Coulter, from going in to talk.

In a way, what’s happening to Fox, and what is happening to Fox is, that network is gonna be destroyed by Murdoch’s kid. And it’s gonna become another CNN and it’s gonna happen I think, the story I might be able to get to a little bit later on, it may happen within the next 18 months that that network is not even recognizable for what it is right now.

There is an attempt by people left of center, to consider only one way of thinking respectable — and to sanction and silence everything else. Interestingly, the oppressiveness of this is what’s led to Trump, it’s what leads to backlash. It’s what leads to jokes on the internet, it’s what leads to popularity of programs like Duck Dynasty, where people actually get a chance to hear someone who breaks against this prevailing tide of how you’re supposed to think, how you’re supposed to talk and how you’re supposed to express yourself.

In Berkeley and elsewhere though they make fools of themselves. I’ve never objected to a liberal having a talk radio program. I keep saying I welcome them to be on the air. So I can enjoy them falling flat on their faces as they always do. Liberals however strongly object to people like me having these programs. They strongly object to guys like O’Reilly, and use whatever they can to silence him. Use whatever they can to silence Rush, use whatever they can to silence out in Berkeley Ann Coulter.

The reason conservatives aren’t afraid of liberal speech is, it’s usually inane and not persuasive. It only becomes dangerous when it’s the only idea expressed. All my side has ever wanted is the opportunity to be heard.

The problem with all the public school educators or virtually all of them being liberal is the only ideas, the only ideology these kids ever hear is liberal. Can you imagine if some conservative instructor got up there and said that climate change is a farce, America is the freest land in the world, espouse some of these ideas considered anathema by those on the left? They’d smack him down in no time. They don’t believe in ideologizing in front of a classroom unless the ideology is the one that they share.

All my side has wanted ever is a chance to be heard. When we are heard, we always win. Look what they did to smack down and marginalize Trump and he still won. 99% of the media, even some of the conservative media was against — he still won. We just wanna have the right to be heard which our, the whole premise of our country is that we have that right. We don’t have to put a sock in their mouths. They can’t win arguments. Which is why they insist that there be no arguments, that everything be so—

“Well that’s determined, this is the only way to think, you’re just a bigot so therefore we don’t have to listen to a bigoted argument, we only have to listen to a reasoned argument”, which of course is the one that they have.