ICYMI: Berkeley speech fiasco a grotesque theatre of the absurd: Michael Coren

One of the better commentaries on free speech, Berkeley, violence and white supremacists:

The violence at Berkeley, and at other such events for that matter, is completely unacceptable. But there is violence in language as well as action. If one degrades a race, marginalizes a sexuality, condemns a people, there tend to be consequences. Surely the recent obscene events in Quebec City taught us that. One fist can do damage; one broadcast, article or Internet rant can lead to a lot more.

Idiots provoke and idiots are provoked. Milo, and for that matter his banal imitators in Canada, have to establish a false problem if they are to set themselves up as the solution. Build it and they will come.

So if you claim that Islamic extremists are everywhere, that we can no longer speak our minds, that media conspiracies are preventing us from knowing the truth, and that being a white man is considered a crime, enough credulous and insecure people will accept it and act accordingly. Witness the election of Donald Trump.

In actual fact there are genuine dilemmas about speech, tolerance, the meeting place of secular pluralism and religion ideas, and the way we deal with justice and equality issues, and these are intensely sensitive and delicate.

It’s because of that sensitivity and delicacy that we have to respond with empathy, compassion, intelligence and — important this — responsibility. Screaming is easy, listening far more difficult; outrage satisfies hysteria and anger, consideration fulfils the intellect and the soul.

The hoodlums in California will be punished and Milo will fade away before most of us even knew he was there. The same, God willing, will happen to those Canadian rightists who assume they’re being rebellious when they’re just childish conformists. But some of the divisions caused will take longer to heal and that’s difficult to forgive.

Personally, I’d just treat these clownish performers with the derision and contempt they deserve. As for the coins in the coffers, integrity is far more valuable than money.

Source: Berkeley speech fiasco a grotesque theatre of the absurd: Coren | Toronto Star


About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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