On Sept. 14, 2017, Antifa lost. Antifa lost because they were unable to turn the city of Berkeley and UC Berkeley campus into a madhouse of violence and vandalism as they did in February. Antifa lost because their threats of violence in the face of speech with which they disagree didn’t work. Antifa lost because Ben Shapiro spoke, violence and vandalism was prevented, and the belief that violence is the answer to speech with which one disagrees was dismissed as unwelcomed in civilized society. Antifa, and those who celebrate and praise them, lost, and it’s important we all take the time to make sure they know it. It’s also important that we give credit where credit is due: the current campus administration let the police do their job and the men and women in uniform superbly fulfilled their responsibility to serve and protect.
Under Chancellor Carol Christ, unlike the previous campus administration in February, the administration clearly articulated zero tolerance for violence and vandalism.
This last May, I graduated from the UC Berkeley School of Law. And this last February, I was assaulted by Antifa during their violence in response to Milo Yiannopoulos’ appearance while I was merely trying to go home after class and escape the mayhem. Throughout my time as a student at UC Berkeley, I witnessed firsthand the ironic intolerance of our campus’s celebrated commitment to viewpoint diversity. Accordingly, it’s refreshing to see a new course charted, albeit imperfectly, by the campus administration. Misguided calls to appease heckler’s vetoes, such as those by Mayor Jesse Arreguín, are invitations to surrender the foundation of America to the enemies of freedom. These calls should be rebuffed and refused at every turn.
I hope this proves to be a turning point in UC Berkeley’s recent history that restores the school to the path of facilitating freedom of expression instead of frustrating it. I’ve often been a vocal critic of the past actions taken by UC Berkeley’s administration in regards to freedom of expression. However, today, I give credit where credit is due — good job.
It’s tragically absurd in the 21st century, in a “developed nation,” in the United States, that it takes armored vehicles and police officers prepared for violence to preserve the fundamental rights of those who wish to peacefully assemble. I’m glad, however, to see that there are still those who will do the right thing even in the face of domestic terrorist violence by Antifa. As is often said, freedom is never free, but it is worth fighting for. As the night of Sept. 14 proved, when we fight for freedom, we will win.
Philip Wiseman is a graduate of UC Berkeley School of Law.