Saturday, November 01, 2014

Irony Alert: UC Berkeley Administration Defends Freedom of Speech from Students

I recall reading somewhere that the Tsarnaev brothers were angered that so many Americans viewed Islam as a violent religion. So the did what any of us would do. They detonated bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

That really made their point.

Recently Bill Maher, left-wing talk show host, dared to remark the obvious, that extremism and intolerance are endemic to Islam and not limited to “just a few bad apples.”

Let’s review who Bill Maher is: He’s a hateful, foul-mouthed, left-wing bigot who has made a career in show business slandering Christianity. But he has never paid a price for that. But when he dared to criticize Islam, the left went crazy. And now there’s a petition circulating at the University of California at Berkeley demanding that Maher’s the revocation of his invitation to speak at the school’s fall commencement.

"Bill Maher is a blatant bigot and racist who has no respect for the values UC Berkeley students and administration stand for. In a time where climate is a priority for all on campus, we cannot invite an individual who himself perpetuates a dangerous learning environment,” the petition reads.

No. They’re not complaining about his trademark anti-Christian bigotry. They’re upset that he dared speak aloud what most people know.

And wouldn’t you know it? The organization backing the petition is the, “Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian Coalition (MEMSA).” That’s right. Muslims are reacting to accusations of intolerance with intolerance.

“It’s not an issue of freedom of speech, it’s a matter of campus climate,” Marium Navid, a senator with the Associated Students of the University of California said. “The First Amendment gives him the right to speak his mind, but it doesn’t give him the right to speak at such an elevated platform as the commencement. That’s a privilege his racist and bigoted remarks don’t give him.”

Navid co-authored the petition with Khwaja Ahmed, an active member of MEMSA.

According to MSNBC, as of this past Tuesday, the petition had collected 10,000 signatures.

My, how things change once liberals feel themselves in charge. Berkeley was the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement. Fifty years ago, civil rights activists Mario Savio wanted to advocate for his causes, but was told by the UC administration that political speech was forbidden on campus. What followed was a convulsion of civil disobedience that ended with the resignation of the UCB chancellor and a revival of the academy as a home for the free exchange of ideas.

That has all changed of course. On today’s college campuses, one only free to advocate for approved ideas.  Decades of political correctness have stripped us of our moral courage. Today’s college student is taught to subordinate his own moral judgment to those anointed as his moral superiors. These moral authorities are not wiser than the rest of us, just louder. Their only guiding principle is their opposition to everything traditional to Western civilization.

Bill Maher’s gratuitous anti-Christian bigotry did not arouse their ire. It was his legitimate criticism of Islam. Democratic campaign consultant and MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell’s shrill, anti-Mormon bigotry will never cost him a speaking opportunity at any college.

And it doesn’t matter to these totalitarians that Maher is correct. This last summer, the civilized world followed the drama of Meriam Ibrahim, a pregnant US resident who was imprisoned and sentenced to death when she returned to her home country of Sudan to visit family. Her crime was her conversion to Christianity.

This is not at all uncommon in the Islamic world. Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan, among others, all have laws demanding the death penalty for apostasy. In Jordan and Egypt, recent public opinion polls found that 85% of the population favored the death penalty for apostasy. The Pakistani government does not enforce the death penalty for apostasy. They leave “honor killings” to the families.

This seems to support Maher’s claim that, it’s not just few bad apples who practice extremism and intolerance in the Islamic world. Only in those countries where they comprise a small minority to you hear Muslims express a desire for tolerance.

In an amusing turnabout, the UC Berkeley administration told the petitioners to fly a kite. Bill Maher’s invitation to deliver the commencement address will be honored. How ironic is that? Fifty years after the UCB administration suppressed students’ right to free speech. Today it’s the administrators protecting free speech from students.


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