To the editor: Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of the trajectory of history as an arc. The actions of a handful of people at UC Berkeley in reaction to a planned speech by right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos raise grave doubts in my mind. ("The No Free Speech Movement at Berkeley," editorial, Feb. 3)
History is not an arc. It's a pendulum. The political ideology of those kept silent has changed, but the evil of oppression has once again become the same.
I was a sophomore at UC Berkeley during the Free Speech Movement. I was proud to be a member of a community that insisted all voices be heard. I held my head high as I argued with my conservative father about the principles that made our country great.
Today, as an alumna, I bow my head in shame. The Free Speech Movement has become a Freedom From Speech Movement. Protection of the constitutional right to speak has been thrown aside, sacrificed to a new modern ideal: protection from hearing speech that runs contrary to the closely held views of those who are certainly entitled to their opinions, but are not entitled to restrict the free speech of others.
Janet Weaver, Huntington Beach
To the editor: White supremacist Yiannopoulos argues, "The left is terrified of free speech."
Quite the contrary. The left has embraced free speech in protesting racist, bigoted, fascist and misogynistic views. It is not only our 1st Amendment right, but our patriotic duty.
Imagine inviting a hooded Ku Klux Klan member to address a publicly funded institution like UC Berkeley. Yiannopoulos, sans hood, is just that.
Judith Barden, Long Beach
To the editor: Almost everybody already knows that free speech is not debatable. The only slow learners appear to be the professors at UC Berkeley who wanted to prohibit Yiannopoulos from speaking.
Is this what they are teaching at Berkeley?
Arthur Armstrong, Manhattan Beach