On the evening of 1 February, Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak at the University of California, Berkeley. Instead, violence and chaos flooded the streets. A firebomb was used to set a generator-powered spotlight ablaze, people were attacked with pipes and a Starbucks was looted and destroyed.
This incident was just the latest attempt from the left to censor opposing political ideas through violence. It is important to note that the dictionary definition of terrorism is "the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims".
Yiannopoulos is controversial. He was permanently banned from Twitter after the social media platform accused him of inciting the harassment of Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones, something he denies. He has also been barred from speaking at a number of universities over his views on issues ranging from transgenderism to "rape culture".
But in the students' pursuit of protesting against "hate speech" that they believe will lead to violence or intimidation, they have become what they fear. The lynch mob that targeted Yiannopoulos, a gay Jewish man, is likely many of the same people who would protest the silencing of any other LGBTQ voice — as long as they agreed with what they are saying.
While these violent public temper tantrums are allowed to continue in the streets, and those who would dare to wear a red "Make America Great Again" hat in support of our president are being chased down and beaten with pipes and flagpoles, protesters have the audacity to claim that words that make them uncomfortable are a threat. What these people want is censorship, and that is a very slippery slope that we should never even begin to slide down.
In the fascinating forward for Scott Greer's book No Campus for White Men, written by Yiannopoulos, he explains that "America has a long way to go to return universities to their rightful places as centres of learning, free speech, and controversial ideas".
"It is painfully clear that many schools are coddling students, more concerned with their feelings than the growth of their intellect," Yiannopoulos wrote. "But the left does not care about the feelings of the conservative students who sponsor me to speak and are consequently subjected to social ridicule and even physical threats."
In 1961, the university's chancellor at the time, Clark Kerr, responded to complaints over allowing a Communist to speak on campus by asserting that as an institution of learning they must allow the "freest expression" of views.
"The university is not engaged in making ideas safe for students," Kerr famously said. "It is engaged in making students safe for ideas. Thus it permits the freest expression of views before students, trusting to their good sense in passing judgement on these views. Only in this way can it best serve American democracy."
If Kerr was still with us, he would be horrified by the events that were allowed to transpire on the campus that he loved so dearly.
By declaring that controversial ideas, shared by someone who is not a position of power or policymaking, are "hate speech" and should be silenced, the left is calling for the end of the most important freedom in our nation.
Even if you disagree with Yiannopoulos, hearing ideas that challenge you helps to sharpen your own perspectives and arguments. If you cannot bare to hear opinions that differ from your own, how do you know you are even right?