Milo Yiannopoulos limits free speech with attacks

Pieter Sittler and Troy Worden’s understanding of “free speech,” as advanced in their Valentine’s Day op-ed, doesn’t stand up to intellectual scrutiny. First, the right to free speech hardly means the right to be paid to speak in whatever venue one chooses. Milo Yiannopoulos is free to preach on any street corner he’d like, and likewise, no one’s stopping him from self-publishing his screeds. But if workers and students on this campus don’t want their fees sponsoring someone who attacks them directly, this seems perfectly reasonable to me.

Second, the content of the “free speech” advanced by the speaker in question is precisely an effort on his part to suppress the speech of others. Whether encouraging a sustained harassment campaign against a transgender student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee or planning to instruct his followers how to facilitate the deportation of undocumented students at UC Berkeley, Yiannopoulos’ whole shtick is to limit the speech of already marginalized groups. Sittler and Worden know this, but like Yiannopoulos, their entire strategy is predicated upon provoking liberals into defending a racist troll.

Last I checked, Yiannopoulos has quite the platform for his transphobic rants. He’s on every major cable news and radio station and in every newspaper. How was his speech limited again? Meanwhile, while everyone is wringing their hands over a scorched generator, I haven’t heard a peep about the student who was shot through the stomach by a Yiannopoulos fan in Seattle a month or so ago. As one of our leaders once wrote, “SAD!”

Zachary Levenson is a UC Berkeley student.

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  • scbritton

    This opinion piece is complete tripe:

    First, Yiannopoulos did not “self publish” a “screed”; he started a publishing company and published a book. That is a completely different thing from “self-publishing”, which, nowadays, implies using something similar to Amazon’s on-demand printing service to send books to customers as they’re ordered.

    Second, his book, “Dangerous” is not a “screed” by any stretch of the imagination. I suggest you pick up a dictionary, assuming you know how to use one, and look the word, “screed” up. Had you bothered to actually read Yiannopoulos’ book, you’d know the difference between a “screed” and the content of his book.

    Third, your take on free speech is completely wrong. While it is true that free speech is no guarantee of an audience, nor does it mean that one may walk into any venue and begin to speak without invitation, Yiannopoulos has, in fact, been invited to speak, and, therefore, given that basic, underlying fact, nobody has any right to forcibly prevent him from speaking – which is what happened last time he attempted to speak at Berkley – nor does anyone have any right to forcibly prevent those who wish to hear his speech from doing so. (Free assembly).

    To suggest that Yiannopoulos speaking, legally and by invitation somehow limits free speech is laughable. In actual fact, it is the protesters and violent thugs like Antifa and Black Lives Matter that, by rioting and/or disrupting the events at which Yiannopoulos speaks, who limit free speech.

    Here’s a brand new idea: If you don’t want to hear Yiannopoulos speak, or if what he says somehow “triggers” you, maybe you should consider NOT ATTENDING HIS SPEECH TO BEGIN WITH.

  • lspanker

    I haven’t heard a peep about the student who was shot through the stomach by a Yiannopoulos fan in Seattle a month or so ago.

    Most likely because the individual who was shot was NOT a student but an outside violent agitator, and local law enforcement personnel investigating the incident determined that the student shot the agitator in self-defense. Funny how difficult it is to get people outraged when the facts don’t support your version of the story…

  • lspanker

    Apparently the ongoing effort to find someone who can convince others that the anti-Milo riots and violence were justified, is the Daily Cal’s equivalent of putting 10,000 monkeys in front of typewriters and hoping one of them will come up with Shakespeare.

    • Giorgios Anapoulos

      Why do you bother reading it if you know in advance that you don’t/won’t agree with any of it? It is laudable of you to take so much time and effort to understand opinions which differ from yours.

  • RobMyers

    The claim that Milo’s rights were violated, and those who turned out to hear him speak, are not based on payment or lack thereof, but on violent actions taken by those who would seek to “shut him down.” The first liberal principle is the understanding that without free and unfettered speech, there is no true freedom. Those wishing to defund the group that invited him are free to attempt to do so. Those not wishing to hear him speak were free to not attend.

    Free speech is the right of ANYONE, including: Nazis in full regalia walking past a holocaust museum, or the KKK marching in front of the MLK museum, or ALF supporters marching in front of… I don’t know, the statue of Balto in Central Park? You get my drift. As abhorrent as those acts are, and as awful as their speech may be, by living our principles we show each other and the world that these bad actors are just that, and their ideas should be shunned. That doesn’t require us to deny their right to speak, and it doesn’t require we provide an audience.

    Finally, at no time (short of direct calls for violence or riots) is someone’s use of speech capable of denying anyone else their right to speech. The more speech, the better.

    The irony here is that the cradle of liberal sensibilities in this country has shown itself to be capable of the most ill-liberal behaviors when words are spoken with which they disagree. It’s a shameful moment, and one that does a mighty disservice to everyone involved.

    It’s letters like this that has a good portion of the country rooting for a Cal-exit. If it were possible to dig a moat and cast Cali into its own island state, I’d gladly get a shovel and pitch in.

  • M2000

    Remember Leftists, your time will soon come karma will knock on the door soon enough.

    • Secret Name

      Blah blah blah. You sound unhinged.

      • lspanker

        You sound like you’re incapable of coming up with an intelligent argument to support your position.

        • Giorgios Anapoulos

          So do you unfortunately. Unfortunately, appearances on the internet can be deceiving in both directions.

      • M2000

        Like how you Leftists want the military to remove Trump? Use the 25th Amendment of the Constitution when you didn’t give one damn about it?

  • nobody

    Apparently the author of this worthless scribble hasn’t learned yet that after the taxes have been paid and the votes in election given the tax payers no longer have any say on how they are used or that there is no right to not be made fun of.
    Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that he’s a member of the (((tribe))), and they are more equal than us.

  • ShadrachSmith

    The rules are the 1st amendment.

  • Suddenlysusan23

    Dumb…this is dumb.

  • laura

    Levenson, at least get your facts straight. The shooter was the UW student who is claiming self defense. The victim is an anarchist who does not want criminal charges filed, he is asking for restorative justice instead.

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