Milo Yiannopoulos recently was scheduled to speak on cultural appropriation at the University of California, Berkeley. Rioters wrecked an initially peaceful protest of Yiannopoulos’s appearance, harming at least six people and causing around $100,000 in property damage. The event was canceled due to the violence, and UC Berkeley police evacuated Yiannopoulos from the campus.
A senior editor for Breitbart, Yiannopoulos has achieved notoriety in the past couple of years for his remorseless attacks on the “politically-correct” regressive left regarding their cherished issues, especially their calls to ban so-called “hate speech.” Following the UC Berkeley cancellation, Yiannopoulos remarked on Facebook: “One thing we do know for sure: the Left is absolutely terrified of free speech and will do literally anything to shut it down.”
He is right on that point. The left characteristically uses package deals and vague terminology such as “social justice” and “hate speech” to silence those who disagree with their narrative or political objectives. The UC Berkeley rioters reveal that, despite occasional lip-service to free speech, regressives won’t tolerate speech that contradicts their views, and have no qualms about forcibly quashing views they find offensive, or physically harming those who disagree with them.
As has been demonstrated repeatedly in the past, and as any thinking person could have predicted, by rioting to prevent Yiannopoulos from exercising free speech, the regressive left has only brought him more attention, more interest, more publicity. His debut book Dangerous hit #1 of all books on Amazon on December 30, on preorders alone. As of February 7, it’s still holding strong at #9, and the book won’t be published until March 2017.
This latest assault on Yiannopoulos will sell even more of his books, at least in the short term. But if regressive leftists continue successfully attacking freedom of speech and winning converts to their cause, over time, speech, including books, that don’t toe the leftist line will be outlawed in what was once the land of liberty. Irony lost on regressives aside, such violence must be stopped.
Regardless of what anyone thinks or feels about Yiannopoulos’s views or how he presents them, he has the same right to freedom of speech that we all have. And anyone who cares about freedom—which means: anyone who cares about human life—must respect that right and demand that our government protect it by whatever means necessary.