The first sign that Milo Yiannopoulos’s “Free Speech Week” at Berkeley wasn’t what it was cracked up to be was the news story two weeks ago announcing the “confirmed” speakers for the week that included both Heather Mac Donald and Charles Murray, among others. Both Heather and Charles were quick to say that they had not spoken to Milo or any of his people, and had no interest in participating.
I began to wonder whether the whole thing was a business plan of Milo’s that didn’t come together, and/or whether it was a massive trolling operation. Did he just decide to throw out every potential conservative speaker that the left hates as a means of maximizing the leftist outrage? As the dates drew near, and the number of “confirmed” speakers began to shrivel down to a tiny handful of B- and C- listers, it became apparent that trolling the campus left and the university administration was likely the chief goal of the thing. Finally Milo made a perfunctory appearance last Sunday at Sproul Plaza that didn’t amount to much, and the campus sponsor pulled the plug on the whole idea.
But if Milo’s purpose was to troll the Berkeley left into embarrassing itself, it has to be counted a spectacular success. A number of Berkeley faculty, not so strangely clustered in the various politicized “studies” departments, had proposed canceling classes this week because of the potential disruption of the Milo circus, and of course because Milo represents “hate speech” that would make the campus “unsafe.” Even though the Milo Show didn’t come off, the leftist protests against it went forward, requiring a large police presence on campus most of the week. There were so many announced protests that they had a scheduling problem. The one I saw yesterday was a small and a rather pathetic affair. (Pictures below.)
Protesters disrupted the library and also Wheeler Hall; the local Bank of America kept its ATM machines boarded up for much of the week (the “Antifa” folks had smashed them with sledgehammers back in February), and, perhaps most fitting, there were arrests after a scuffle at the plainly mis-named “Empathy Tent.” In other words, the left did to the campus exactly what they accused Milo of wanting to do. It’s almost enough to make you want to take a knee. Kneel before Zod!
I had to be on campus this week for a couple of meetings—and also a short news story about me—so I got to take in some of the circus first hand. Here are a few more pics from on-scene (it is tempting to call this “The Weak in Pictures”):
And here’s the turnout: