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Guardian - David Shariatmadari - There's no crisis of free speech. Milo's campus crusade is rank hypocrisy

If you're curious as to what a basket of deplorables looks like in real life, perhaps you should head over to Berkeley next week, where Steve Bannon, Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter and friends will gather for a "festival of free expression" at the University of California campus. Maybe they'll oblige by arriving in a hot air balloon, to render the metaphor entirely literal.

The fact is, they may not arrive at all: Yiannopoulos, who is helping stage the series of events, has made a point of selecting "everyone who has been prevented from speaking at Berkeley in the last 12 months". But "prevented" should be taken with a pinch of salt. Anti-immigrant firebrand Coulter, for example, decided of her own accord to cancel an appearance in April after the authorities allocated her a time slot designed to minimise the likelihood of a disturbance. "It's a sad day for free speech," she lamented, apparently without irony. This time around, the university administration has complained that deadlines for booking venues have been missed and fees remain unpaid. Yiannopoulos calls it a "coordinated bureaucratic mission to silence conservative voices". Is it possible that the organisers would like nothing more than for Berkeley to insist on reasonable measures to ensure order, before flouncing off and crying censorship? Surely not.
As far as I can see, the direction of travel is not towards a greater number of limits on behaviour, but simply to different ones. And, though there is certainly much to argue about in the detail, these limits seem in general to be more enlightened - less about controlling people, and more about protecting them - than those of the past. The reactionary right paints this shift as a kind of tyranny: the policing of thought, an attempt to curtail hitherto unfettered freedom. But they would do, wouldn't they, because it is their moral code that is gradually being dismantled.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Sep 20th, 2017 at 07:02:28 PM EST

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