By Grant Strobl
How does the radical Left justify violence toward conservatives? To today’s liberals, ideas and words constitute violence.
A startling 53 percent of college students agree that using or not using certain words can constitute an act of violence, according to a poll conducted by The Polling Company, Inc. on behalf of Young America’s Foundation.
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This certainly provides one explanation for the increase in often violent acts and vitriolic statements against conservatives in recent months.
In fact, leftists disrupted 46 percent of events with conservative speakers hosted by Young America’s Foundation (YAF) after the election of President Donald Trump. This translates to three times more disruptions than before the election when a still absurd 15 percent of events faced disruptions.
Although anti-conservative actions have skyrocketed in recent months, it has been a long time coming. Over the years, it became commonplace for events with conservative speakers to be subverted by protesters or stymied by university administrators.
The most prominent, recent example of the violent suppression of speech is at the University of California, Berkeley. The university, in fear of violent protesters, used an unwritten “high-profile speakers” policy to prevent students from listening to two prominent conservative authors, David Horowitz and Ann Coulter.
To make matters worse, the University of California Police Department at Berkeley has an official “stand-down” policy which would allow for protesters and so-called “anti-fascists” to exercise violence toward students interested in listening to conservative ideas.
Similarly, administrators at Cañada College in Northern California allowed a small group of leftist hecklers to shout down and subvert a speech by Rabbi Daniel Lapin. A few minutes into the speech on the morality of free markets, hecklers undermined the event by drowning out the speech with chants including “fascist,” “bigot,” and “homophobic.”
The hecklers evidently missed the irony of overthrowing the event while calling the speaker “fascist.” Campus security in the room refused to remove the protesters, claiming that administrators in the room were the only ones with proper “authority.”
These are only two instances of the kind of opposition conservatives face on college campuses. With this unprecedented aggression toward conservatives, it is no wonder one-in-five students are afraid to express their opinions on campus.
These stunning figures should not, however, discourage young conservatives from standing up for their rights. The only way to change our college campuses is through students boldly advancing conservative ideas. When universities infringe students’ rights, they should challenge their respective universities in court.
This is why YAF, along with the Berkeley College Republicans, is taking legal action against Berkeley to protect students’ First Amendment rights. Doing so will ensure that future conservative groups and speakers will not face these unconstitutional obstacles.
If conservatives want to restore the mission of the university in its pursuit of truth, they must be courageous freedom fighters.
Grant Strobl is the national chairman of Young Americans for Freedom.