Conservative speakers are healthy for diversity

Sharon Pan/Staff

It’s been almost a year since violent riots broke out over a planned speech by Milo Yiannopoulos on Feb. 1, 2017. Since then, the Berkeley College Republicans, or BCR, have hosted Ben Shapiro, and it took the excellent work of the Berkeley Police Department to keep things orderly. This year, BCR will continue to bring conservative speakers to campus. We are not trying to create unrest, but unrest will not stop us. Our work to bring conservative speakers is not borne out of some desire to inflame controversy. The truth is, Berkeley is supposed to be an arena of ideas, and we think conservative ideas should be considered not suppressed.

We have declared that 2018 will be our “#YearOfFreedom,” and we plan to bring several other great conservative speakers to Berkeley. We have been demonized for bringing such speakers, but this is precisely why it is so important that we do so: Diversity of thought is endangered at Berkeley.

Berkeley takes pride in its diversity. UC Berkeley has a vice chancellor with an entire staff and a great amount of resources dedicated to promoting diversity. Their website states that they provide “leadership, accountability & inspiration to the UC Berkeley campus in integrating equity, inclusion, and diversity into all aspects of university life.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t always seem as if the admirable inclusion is always extended to campus conservatives.

Consider this: After the Shapiro event, the Division of Equity & Inclusion posted a statement on their website titled “Taking Back Our First Amendment.” In the statement, they claim to “stand resolutely against the white supremacist agenda and the use of hate speech of all kinds. (They) call out purveyors of hate and bigotry who harass, target, and stalk others. (They) oppose the defacement of our campus with slogans and symbols that are in stark contrast to the values we hold.” The problem with this statement is that not one thing in Shapiro’s speech nor in any of his writings (nor in any of the values embraced by BCR) supports any bigotry or white supremacy. In this case, the only hate was directed at conservatives, by an arm of the university, for openly expressing political ideas.

This vitriol applied to us and our speakers (regardless of who they are) does a huge disservice to the campus political climate. Instead of encouraging those with different viewpoints to come debate us in a civil context, we are instead written off as irredeemable racists who want nothing more than to return the United States to the era of Jim Crow. While some members of the campus community do approach us and respectfully debate, there are still others who think that it is acceptable to spit at us, steal our promotional materials, openly threaten us and engage in violent destruction on our campus, simply because they disagree with our ideas. The admirable mission for diversity at UC Berkeley can do better and should do better.

The need to do a better job of embracing diversity of thought is clear. UC Berkeley is an echo chamber. This was displayed during the last presidential election. The vast majority of the UC Berkeley campus populace was shocked; they had no idea how this could have happened. Simply put, Berkeley is out of touch with a big part of America.

BCR would like to change that. We want people at UC Berkeley to consider conservative ideas. We want the students, faculty and staff to be exposed to these views that are not in line with the campus majority view. We want an honest and open debate of ideas.

When Shapiro spoke at UC Berkeley, liberal and left-leaning students had the opportunity to ask questions and challenge his ideas. This is the ultimate goal when BCR host speakers. We want great ideas challenged using logic and facts. The best ideas for a society will always be discovered by open discussion and debate. We want that. It should be part of a healthy campus environment.

Dennis Prager is coming to Berkeley on Feb. 1. We sincerely hope that there is no violence and no riots. If you don’t want to hear what Prager says, do not come. If you want to challenge Prager’s thinking, you will have the chance to do so during the presentation, and we encourage you to attend. If you disagree with what he says and want to protest, please do, but don’t let Feb. 1, 2018 be a repeat of Feb. 1, 2017.

Matt Ronnau is a UC Berkeley student and the internal vice president of the Berkeley College Republicans.

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  • Man with Axe

    BCR: Continue your good works. Strength to your hands.

  • William Devillis

    The students at this University say that they abhor hate speech and embrace the diversity at the school. That’s a load horse manure if I ever heard it. Diversity doesn’t just mean having students of all races and religions. First, as the most antisemitic university in the US, the hate speech and propaganda spoken about Israel can be found in the writings of the Nazi Party and the Muslim Brotherhood of the 1930s. Second, just as with the Nazi Party and Muslim Brotherhood, diversity of thought and ideas is banned. This University’s diversity is no different than that found in North Korea, Cuba and other such free thinking nations. The students at this University block all attempts to listen to thoughts and ideas that are different than theirs out of fear that they might actually find that they are the racists, bigots, the sexists and have followed the pied pipers of hate and hypocrisy into an abyss. You criticize things like Trump’s over the top criticism of CNN and others who HAVE had to retract and pull back more stories this year tan ever in their history and appear to have covered up far more stories that don’t fit their agenda. You say his attacks on the main stream media are dictatorial. OK, but where were your attacks on Obama when he had AG Holder investigate Fox News because of their criticism of his Admin and had Eric Holder issue warrants to obtain the phone records of Fox’s White House correspondent. And Obama began criticizing Fox during the 2008 Primary and never stooped right thru to his interview with Letterman last week. Wake up to reality. UC Berkeley is one big mess.

  • Hanalouise

    Simply put, a part of America is out of touch with the majority of America. And that is the Republican party.

    • lspanker

      The ones out of touch with the American people are the crazed loonies who think running through the streets beating people up because they disagree with their politics, breaking windows and starting fires is somehow “anti-fascism”, AND the retards who make excuses for them. There’s a reason that Trump (a man I don’t care for and didn’t vote for, either) won the last election – it’s because the American people were disgusted with seeing the Democraps harbor and condone the actions of violent nut-cakes who demonstrably lack the mental capacity to convince others of the superiority of their views through civil discourse.

      • BerCaley

        A man you don’t care for and didn’t vote for but someone you support, tooth and nail.

        • lspanker

          Unlike you, I don’t wear ideological blinders when it comes to looking at the results of elections. Trump won the election, NOT because he was my first choice whatsoever, but because a distinct majority of the people in this country (and that includes quite a few Democrats as well, even some very liberal ones) fond Hillary Rodham Clinton to be a completely unpalatable and unacceptable candidate, and decided (either by voting for Trump or abstaining altogether) that she did not belong in the White House as POTUS.

          • BerCaley

            Distinct majority? That’s stupid even for you. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2.9M votes.

            And don’t claim to be some sort of magical non-partisan independent. You post enough that it’s quite clear you’re right wing. Saying you’re not makes you look even worse.

          • lspanker

            Hillary lost, get over it.

            In addition, being conservative or “right-wing” as you put it doesn’t make me either a Republican or a Trump voter. Your assumption otherwise is merely indicative of your own naivete or insecurity.

          • BerCaley

            So that’s your “distinct majority”. What an idiot.

          • California Defender

            Like Ispanker, I’m part of that distinct majority. Some would say the silent majority.

            I’m not a Republican or Democrat. Nor am I “right-wing” – by your standard. I’m a Jeffersonian libertarian which is most in line with Rand Paul among sitting politicians. Do I like Trump? No. Do I prefer him over Hillary and the Democrat and Republican establishments? Yes.

            And THAT is why he is President.

          • lspanker

            Thanks, it’s quite pleasant when grown adults can join the conversation and offer their own perspective on the issues…

          • lspanker

            So that’s your “distinct majority”.

            YES. Number of voters for other candidates + Number of abstaining voters > Votes for Hillary. I never claimed there as a distinct majority of people who wanted Trump. There was, however, a distinct majority that did NOT want Hillary. Get a clue…

          • BerCaley

            Again, that’s your distinct majority? That *is* stupid even for you. By your ‘logic’ a distincter majority found your boy Cheeto to be even more unpalatable. I note in passing that your boy Cheeto has the lowest approval rating by 10 points a first year President has ever had: 38.4%. But it must be comforting to know that 38.4 of Americans think like you.


            But he’s your boy.

          • lspanker

            Spin away child, but how come nobody else here seems to agree with you?

          • BerCaley

            Are you saying that your opinion somehow has merit because a bunch of right wing trolls has descended on the Daily Cals comments section? I usually think I’m right if I have fact and logic on my side. Does this sort of ‘logic’ work in a professional setting?

          • California Defender

            As usual, BerCaley, you missed the point and respond with a meaningless figure.

            There were 250,056,000 registered voters in America for the 2016 election.

            Hillary received 65,853,516 votes which is 26%.

            74%, a distinct majority of the nation, did not vote for Hillary Clinton.

    • Killer Marmot

      The Republicans have majorities in both houses of congress, the majority of state governorships, and the majority of state legislatures.

      The facts don’t appear to back your assertion.

      • Hanalouise

        I’m talking about numbers, not gerrymandering.

        • Rollie

          I’m interested. What are your numbers, please? Keep in mind that neither polls nor voting tallies prove anything about the “…majority of America.” (The majority of America didn’t even vote in the 2016 general election, when appropriately including non-resistered Americans in the analysis.)

          Look, your original claim might be right or wrong–who knows?–but the point is that it’s only a guess, and is better expressed that way.

        • Killer Marmot

          So you’re claiming that if it wasn’t for gerrymandering, Democrats would dominate the political landscape.

          That’s a little desperate, especially as gerrymandering doesn’t work for federal senators or state governors, where the entire state is their district.

        • That Guy

          Black people are also out of touch with the “majority of America”. What should do about them?

        • California Defender

          Please supply the numbers. If you don’t, I’ll assume you mean the popular presidential vote which is meaningless and you know it. Why continue down that dead-end road?

          The reality is that the election was not close. It was a decisive victory for Trump and the strongest win for a Republican in 30 years.

          Gerrymandering? Have you looked at California?!? Democrats have controlled the legislature for 58 years straight! Of it’s 53 Congressional seats, only 14 are held by Republicans. Even 14 is amazing considering that no district in California has a Republican majority and the highest is at a paltry 44%.

          People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, Hana.

    • Rollie

      On what basis do you estimate the sentiment of “…the majority of America”? No poll in the world, nor even election results can indicate such a thing–only 54.2% of eligible voters actually voted in the 2016 general election.

    • zzz


      Your problem is that democrats can not put forth why they represent America according to them, yet non democrat types keep voting wrong.

  • lspanker

    Good to read an article in the Daily Cal written by a mature, thoughtful student for a change. Let’s see if those on the left side of the spectrum in Berkeley can conduct themselves as responsible adults this time around…

    • California Defender

      What worries me is that BCR continually begs for civility as the university suppresses them and students “spit at us, steal our promotional materials, openly threaten us and engage in violent destruction on our campus.”

      They have to acknowledge that Berkeley is not a place for expressing the freedom of speech, learning in a marketplace of ideas, or even basic civility. BCR is just a punching bag that teaches young students how to dominate through intimidation and violence.

      I’m glad BCR is trying to do the right thing by exposing others to diverse ideas and debate, but don’t fool yourselves. You’re on a battlefield, not a campus. Don’t beg the left to be civil and “hope that there is no violence and no riots.”

      The sad reality is that you must plan and prepare for just that. For you’re not in America anymore.

      You’re in Berkeley.

    • Che

      LOL at “intellectual conservatism.”

      • zzz

        Please see if you can keep from running wild through the streets.

      • lspanker

        Do tell us what intellectual thoughts you have offered yourself. You’re clearly a mindless clown regurgitating tired old Marxist drivel, with no clue why all the places in the world that take such stuff seriously (Cuba, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, North Korea) turn into sh!tholes…

        • Jorge Carolinos

          “we will get it right next time we have a single part communist state”

          Seems to be the goal/rationalization with modern communists.

          Communists think they are intellectuals because so many of them wrote books about how to remake society and so few people bother with them now, they are in the rarefied atmosphere of esoterica that only soft science college clowns bother with.

          Intellectual also has the connotation of critical thinking about the world, no one willingly is going to submit to a single party state so of course communists are “thinking” critically about the world, no one wants to let them actually run it.

        • Che

          Lspanker is so sensitive that Berkleyside censors comments to him that might hurt his feelings Snowflake.

      • Nunya Beeswax

        It does exist, as does intellectual progressivism–despite what your posts might suggest.

      • Man with Axe

        You admire a murderous racist, anti-gay. monster so much that you use his name and likeness as your avatar? What does that say about your politics?

      • BlackConservative

        I’m not even quite sure what this means??? That you are uninformed and racist?

        • lspanker

          Its OK, nobody here will ever accuse the individual posting as Che of being intellectual anything…

          • Che

            Nobody “upvoted you.” Guess you have less friends here than on Berkeleyside. Sad.