College campuses used to be a breeding ground for free expression and the exchange of ideas.
Spirited debate used to be encouraged and championed at universities around the country.
But now something terrible is happening on college campuses.
The Free Speech Movement of the 1960s that swept across college campuses began at Berkeley.
Ironically, Berkeley is now the head of the snake of the Anti-Free Speech Movement.
In recent years, a host of conservative speakers have been disinvited due to violent protests from leftist mobs.
Black-clad leftist radical groups like Antifa, and other splinter groups, call themselves anti-fascists while they destroy property, assault journalists, and hit dissenters over the head with bike locks.
Berkeley’s low point came when mainstream conservative pundit Ben Shapiro required $600,000 worth of security to keep leftists from causing a massive riot.
It would be troubling enough if this type of heckler’s veto were only occurring at private universities—such as Middlebury, where libertarian sociologist Charles Murray was chased off campus—but it’s primarily happening at public schools, which fall under the state’s purview.
The nadir came at Evergreen State College in Washington where the campus descended into madness.
Each year the school participated in a tradition called “a day of absence,” where students of color would retreat from the school for one day.
The tradition was based on a play by Douglas Turner Ward where the black inhabitants of a town refused to work for a day, illustrating their importance to the community.
But the authoritarian leftists at the school decided to flip the conceit and ban white people from coming to campus for a day.
Professor Bret Weinstein balked at the absurd notion and refused to leave.
His defiance triggered a campus-wide protest which resulted in roving mobs searching for Weinstein and his wife Heather Heying (a fellow professor), and school president George Bridges essentially being held hostage; he required a student escort to go to the bathroom.
The scary thing is Bridges is a dedicated leftist who was a willing participant in the chaos.
He essentially issued a “stand down” order to chief of campus police services Stacy Brown, and prohibited her from bringing a weapon to campus in light of the raging protests.
Weinstein, Heying, and Brown all resigned.
Regarding Bridges, other university presidents and mayors are issuing similar stand-down orders.
Jesse Arreguín, the mayor of Berkeley, shackled the police and prevented them from maintaining order.
This wink-and-nod to the radical leftists on campuses gives them agency to come within a hair of violating the right to free speech.
Cal State Los Angeles was forced to drop discriminatory practices toward conservative campus groups—such as requiring exorbitant fees for their “controversial” invited speakers, while avowed communists come to speak without incident—after one group sued the school.
Universities are the place where idea experiments are held, then they often seep into the body politic.
The recent assaults on the First Amendment must be seen more broadly, such as the erosion of freedom for religious bakers.
They didn’t sprout spontaneously from nothing.
They were incited by radicals on college campuses.