The Ann Coulter speech-at-UC-Berkeley-that-wasn't ended as so many flare-ups at that school do: not with the anticipated climactic confrontation between left and right, but with a few protesters cuffed by police, students getting on with their higher education, and the public continuing to debate just what's the matter with that controversial campus.
Coulter — after her speech was canceled by the university, then rescheduled for a later date — canceled her planned appearance after all, amid warnings from the university police that violence could erupt, as it did when Milo Yiannopoulos attempted to give a scheduled talk there in February. The debate among The Times' letter writers had continued long after that episode, and it is continuing now after the Coulter flap seems to have ended with as close as Berkeley gets to a whimper.
Donald Lopez of La Mirada says there's more of this to come:
The most basic human right is that of free speech. Denying Coulter the right to speak indicates that
As a state-supported school, the university must be inclusive. Perhaps administrators originally canceled Coulter because they anticipated her drawing a huge crowd in the den of liberal ideas — and, well, they can't have that.
Conservatives have hit a liberal nerve with free speech, and with it they can expose the hypocrisy of the left. Expect to see more of these challenges.
Encino resident Michael Finnegan says this is much ado about nothing:
I'm getting pretty tired of the wall-to-wall coverage on Coulter's struggle to collect another paycheck.
It's not as if her views are unknown or that America is breathlessly awaiting her opinions. Her free speech hasn't been stifled. She's a carnival barker who gets paid to say and write stupid things.
When Noam Chomsky speaks at Bob Jones University, that will be actual news. Coulter pulling another stunt is not.
William J. Loskota of San Gabriel, a physician and professor emeritus at USC's Keck School of Medicine, notes that little has changed on college campuses:
In 1970, I was president of the UCLA Health Sciences Graduate Students Assn. We invited Arthur Jensen, a UC Berkeley psychology professor, to speak regarding his theory on the genetics of intelligence. The racial implications of inheritable intelligence were, to say the least, controversial.
Our small group was invaded by outside protesters who shouted down any attempt to remind them of the concept of free speech and academic discourse at UCLA. The situation was defused by the fire marshal, who determined that the room was over capacity.
We tried to move to another venue, but Jensen demurred in the interest of safety and canceled his lecture. As the French saying goes, "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."