In Defense of Milo: Not His Views, But His Rights
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Politics and Activism

In Defense of Milo: Not His Views, But His Rights

While I do not agree with Milo Yiannopoulos on many things, I agree with his right to speak his mind.

In Defense of Milo: Not His Views, But His Rights
New York Magazine

I do not support Milo's views, nor do I support the alt-right. But the protests on Sproul Plaza really opened my eyes, for the first time, to the real intolerant left. Yes, many of you scoff and laugh, saying that it is an idiotic concept and doesn't exist, but preventing Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking and preventing people who paid to see him is really quite intolerant. I applaud the administration for allowing Mr. Yiannopoulos to speak on campus. They are free to disagree with what he has to say, but as Chancellor Dirks and others have iterated, it is our duty to entertain all free speech, not selective free speech. I have no problem with peaceful protest; it is the exercise of your First Amendment rights.

However, using violence to stop Mr. Yiannopoulos from speaking is censorship, not free speech. Contrary to popular belief, “hate speech” doesn’t have any fixed legal meaning under U.S. law.Labeling his words as "hate speech" does not mean he is not allowed to say it. Instead of shouting him down, debate him. Instead of trying to cover him up, expose him. The inability of some left-wing individuals to tolerate any views contrary to their own is sickening.

It's actually quite interesting how the protesters on Sproul Plaza declared that they were fighting against hate speech, when many of themselves engaged in it. Walking through the protest, I encountered many Cal students chanting, "F*ck the police, down with the pigs!" Is referring to the men and women that protect us every day as "pigs" not considered hateful rhetoric? Why is it not right to use racial or sexist slurs when using offensive terms for police officers is condoned? Shouldn't both be considered wrong? I fail to see the logic behind fighting for the rights of one group while spitting on another.

After the rioting, many students went to Facebook and other social media to disavow the rioters, saying that they were not representative of the values of UC Berkeley and its students. I agree completely. However, watching Cal students chant, jeer, jump up and down, and shout along with black clad agitators indicates tacit approval of the actions of the few. As fires burned, rocks flew, and fireworks exploded, the atmosphere on Sproul was almost festive rather than apprehensive or scared, at least until it moved onto the streets. While students may not have perpetrated these attacks, their passive approval only fueled the anarchists that continued to destroy property and cause injury.

It is deeply, deeply hypocritical to say that a bad bunch of protesters does not represent the majority of peaceful protesters when those same people say that figures like Donald Trump and Mr. Yiannopoulos represent me and all Republicans. I've seen the memes. You can't have it both ways. I am a Republican. I have never been afraid to say it. I have been called a fascist, bigot, racist, and many other stronger words. For the record, I was never seriously labeled as any of these terms in my 18 years of existence until I became open about my political beliefs. I do not believe in “The Wall,” I do not believe that gays should go to hell, I do not believe in a Muslim ban -- so, do not say that a minority group of conservatives represents the majority of us unless you are prepared to be represented by domestic terrorists, communists, and rioters.

In the end, I was disappointed to see that Mr. Yiannopoulos was not allowed to speak for his safety. I applaud the UCPD for assessing the situation and thinking about the safety of the students and campus. Rioters and protesters may have been able to stop him from speaking, but they have only fueled radical conservatives and furthered his platform. Well done.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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