Stupid ideas, stupider suppression

Among my many strong principles is this one: Disagree with whatever Ann Coulter says. Actually, Ann is not the only one; she’s really just a fill-in-the-blank name on my page reserved for ridiculously cruel commentators who build their followings with their limitless shock stock of tacky offensiveness. They manage to be both uninhibited and calculating at the same time. Every poisonous word they utter, every inflammatory tweet they type, every dangerous stunt they concoct is aimed at getting publicity. That is their guiding unprincipled principle.

Pathetic though they are, and she is, I’m going to stand with Ann Coulter — after donning a hazmat suit, of course. She decided that she would forgo an invitation and not make an appearance after all at the University of California-Berkeley, telling The New York Times, “It’s a sad day for free speech.”

She and her sponsors caved after realistic threats of organized violence caused UC-Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks to intervene, based on the perceived certainty of rioting. “This,” he declared, “is a university, not a battlefield.” But this is not just any university. This is UC-Berkeley, where the free-speech movement erupted in the ‘60s. Campuses were battlefields, where the idea of resisting the civil rights and Vietnam status quos paradoxically found safe haven.


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