Ben Shapiro at UC-Berkeley Slams Left for Conflating Speech with Violence
September 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Speaking at heavily police-fortified UC-Berkeley, Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro yesterday assailed several “progressive” myths used to banish conservatives from college campuses, including the Left’s tactic of conflating speech they don’t like with “violence.”
Shapiro, 33, is a yarmulke-wearing, conservative Orthodox Jew and former Breitbart editor who didn’t vote for Trump and speaks out against the “alt-right” and white nationalism. Nevertheless, a large banner protesting his much-anticipated Berkeley speech accused him of being a “white nationalist.” Other protesters chanted, “Speech is violence, we will not be silent!”
“The reason I am here is that fascism does not own this university,” Shapiro said, “because there are students who do want to hear differing views, who don’t want to be told that they can only hear one view, who don’t believe that the First Amendment should die under the jackboots and Birkenstocks of a bunch of anarchist, communist pieces of garbage.”
UC-Berkeley administrators took extraordinary measures to ensure that yesterday’s speech would not be a reprise of speech of what happened at their campus early this year, when masked, violent protesters rioted to disrupt a scheduled February speech by “gay conservative” firebrand Milo Yiannopolous, a Trump supporter. The riots, in which leftists were caught on film assaulting peaceful conservatives and destroying private property, caused $100,000 in damages.
$600,000 to protect free speech
Shapiro began his talk by thanking the police and Berkeley officials for allowing the event to go forward. He praised the police as the "heroes who stand between us and darkness," and thanked UC-Berkeley administrators for "making the effort to put on this event tonight," spending a reported $600,000 in security preparations.
"There were a lot of obstacles...but they did attempt to make the effort and they did unshackle the police to actually protect this,” he said.
That included building barriers to block leftists from storming the building, and banning protesters from wearing masks, as is the practice of Antifa and anarchist protesters. Across the country, liberal Democrats in big cities are under criticism from the Right for kowtowing to violent Antifa and anarchist radicals under the banner of “resisting” Trump.
Shapiro noted that the high costs to put on the event should not be blamed on him or those attending his speech (titled, "Say No to Campus Thuggery"), but "it's due to Antifa hard-left morons who are out there breaking windows."
Citing the "morons" who put up a sign saying, 'We say no to your white supremacist [bulls--t]," Shapiro said, "I say thank you because I also say no to white supremacist [bulls--t]...The problem is I also say no to your identity politics [bulls--t]."
He thanked Antifa and the Anti-Fascist Brigade "for exposing what the radical Left truly is: all of America is watching because you guys are so stupid.”
Shapiro complained that the school limited the audience size, closing down the balcony seats at Zellerbach Hall as a safety precaution so that protesters could not throw things down on those below. The school also assessed the sponsoring student clubs, Young Americans for Freedom and Berkeley College Republicans, $9,162 in security fees. Hundreds lined up to get tickets and the event sold out.
“I only wish the administration would have allowed us to fill up the rest of these seats, which we certainly would have,” Shapiro said.
Speech is violence
Pointing to the growth of leftist intolerance, Shapiro noted that it was only a year and a half ago when he spoke at Berkeley to a packed house, with only two bodyguards.
"Now we are spending well into six figures so I can say many of the same things. It's utterly absurd... but things have changed....There's a pathetic new movement arising all over the country ... and that movement says that speech is violence and must be treated as such," he said.
Against the Left's charge that the Trump-Pence administration is "fascist," Shapiro defined fascism as a "phenomenon whereby people believe that they have the capacity to ram their beliefs down your throat at the point of a gun."
He said he has spent his whole career "standing up to fascism and the idea of an overreaching government that uses the power of the gun in order to compel people” to do what it wants them to do.
"Antifa is fascist. I am not a fascist," he said, adding that if things were truly moving in a fascist direction under Trump, "Where's the 'Orange Hitler' shutting [the protests] down? He's nowhere to be found." (Leftist critics have mocked the tan Trump as the “Orange Hitler.”)
The Harvard Law School-educated pundit said, "Antifa couldn't go anywhere without an ideology that runs broader than Antifa--without a group of people willing to look the other way."
What undergirds Antifa and the "hard Left," he said, is the view that "America is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad place. The truth is that America is the greatest place in the history of the world...It is the freest, most prosperous country, most tolerant country in the history of planet earth."
Micro-aggressions and Intersectionality
Shapiro deconstructed two left-wing philosophies that are leading to widespread attempts to silence conservatives across the country, especially on liberal campuses.
One is “intersectionality,” which posits that “the value of your opinion lies in your group identity,” and ascribes various ethnic groups and social categories levels of victimhood, which intersect, with white males at the bottom of the totem pole.
“The idea is if I … say you have bad ideas, what I’m really doing is attacking you personally,” he said. “I’m really attacking your identity. I’m aggressing you. You might require counseling.”
“This is the philosophy of micro-aggressions. My words are violence,” he said, adding that you don’t have to intend to offend someone to ‘micro-aggress’—they just have to feel offended,” because the actual words are violence.
He said UC-Berkeley is “fostering an attitude that says that certain types of speech are violent, which is the gas in the tank for groups like Antifa. It’s the gas in the tank for the hard Left.”