This week an invited speaker at a university blasted campus leftists across the nation for using violent tactics to silence the views of conservative speakers.
But for once this criticism of the protesters who beat up students (along with innocent bystanders) for merely wanting to attend the speeches was not voiced by a conservative.
Instead the criticism was uttered by a former official in the frankly leftist Obama administration: former Vice President Joe Biden.
Before a University of Delaware audience, Biden defended the First Amendment rights of those who campus radicals found detestable, as well as the rights of students to hear opposing viewpoints.
Such violent tactics, he stated, played into the hands of the Trump administration by affirming the White House’s characterization of radical protesters as “Nazis.”
“Don’t give the Trumps of the world” such ammunition, Biden advised.
And such repressive actions denied audiences the opportunity to identify “virulent” views and thus democratically fight them.
Biden’s criticisms weren’t confined to leftist millennials, however. He also attacked his own generation for championing the denial of civil liberties that they themselves were once denied. In the 1960s, Biden asserted his fellow protesters against racism and the Vietnam War “were shouted down” by their opponents.
In effect, by defending the efforts of campus radicals today, his generation was exhibiting a “short term” memory loss.
Biden’s characterization of the totalitarian mindset of today’s campus protesters is applicable to the anti-Trump Left as a whole. For self-described liberals like Rosie O’Donnell and Sarah Silverman desire a military takeover of the government in order to stop Trump. Leftist journalists like Natasha Lennard and Jesse Benn have expressed a totalitarian mindset.
Lennard, a writer so extreme that even the New York Times, the flagship of the mainstream media, will no longer publish her, has attacked liberals as “deranged” in supporting civil liberties for all, and has asserted that “fascists”–ie. anyone who opposes such violent protests—do not have “the right to be heard and countenanced for the rest of us.”
Her co-thinker, Jesse Benn attacked these liberals from a class angle, asserting that those on the ground whose violence is “perfectly logical” do not have the luxury of upper class liberals who support the Constitution from a safe distance. Benn even compared them to the Trump group, by asserting that liberal efforts in silencing “forms of resistance disagreeable to privileged sensibilities” was also fascist.
But it must be said that Biden is demonstrating his own “short term” memory loss about the nature of the 1960s protests. Although he correctly notes the importance of free speech for his generation, he neglects or forgets to mention how much of the campus violence of today came from that era.
For the importance of free speech for the New Left was short-lived. Three years after the Free Speech Movement’s founding, a movement designed in 1964 by Berkeley students to protest the college administration’s ban on students protesting on campus grounds, many on the New Left had mutated from civil libertarians into terrorists pledged to overthrowing the government.
Their house intellectual, Herbert Marcuse anticipated the stance taken by Lennard and Benn by asserting that the First Amendment was merely a means to keep elitist liberals in power. From this, Marcuse argued, any violence directed at overthrowing them was justified, and groups like the rifle-toting and bomb-detonating Weathermen began targeting the populace.
To his credit, Biden was never a part of the Weathermen, and supported the Constitution in a period where many on his side of the fence wanted it eradicated. He should include these totalitarian views in his history lesson to “expose” them and show how these views are still with us today.