I’m not surprised that mobs shriek at Trump administration officials in restaurants and that Maxine Waters wants more of that. I’ve watched this happen at American colleges.
Heather Mac Donald is a Manhattan Institute scholar who wrote the book “The War on Cops.” She argues that Americans are less safe today because police, for fear of being called racist, back off. I sometimes disagree with Mac Donald, but she is a thoughtful researcher whose ideas deserve to be heard.
At UCLA, when she was allowed to give her “Blue Lives Matter” speech, many in the audience applauded.
But then “they stormed the stage,” she explains in my video interview with her.
The protesters, both white and black, shouting “Black lives — they matter!” drowned out any possible questions.
Watching video of the event, I was surprised to see what looked like a party atmosphere. Protesters smiled as they got out cameras and recorded each other.
“It’s almost an expectation that if you’re a minority student on campus, you’re there to protest,” Mac Donald told me.
Eventually, the UCLA protesters took over the stage. No further discussion was possible.
From UCLA, Mac Donald went to Claremont University, where she was met with posters that said her speech should be “shut down” because she is an “anti-black fascist.” I asked Mac Donald about that.
“This is preposterous. I have spent enormous amounts of time in high-crime, minority neighborhoods talking to good people there who are desperate for more police, who have a right to expect the same freedom from fear that people in safer neighborhoods take for granted,” she replied. “My agenda is to try to give voice to these people. To say that I’m anti-black is ridiculous.”
Nevertheless, Claremont activists blocked the entrance to the lecture hall where Mac Donald was scheduled to speak so that no one could enter.
Mac Donald gave her speech to the empty room, and that was recorded for the internet, but no students could ask questions because they couldn’t get in.
Even a school newspaper reporter who tried to get opinions from protesters was shouted down.
“I’m with the Claremont Independent, and I’m wondering if you might be willing to tell me anything at all,” he pleaded with the mob, but they were more interested in stopping speech than in arguing any points.
“The protestors are the ones engaging in what is clearly historically fascist behavior,” said Mac Donald later. “In the case of the Berkeley riots, vandalizing, breaking glass, setting fires, beating people up. But they go under the moniker ‘anti-fascist’ ... They called me a fascist. But I have not tried to silence anybody.”
Years ago, California Governor Ronald Reagan called Claremont “a place that fosters discussion and debate ... where a student could learn to deal with controversy.”
No more, wrote Mac Donald in a City Journal article titled “From Culture to Cupcakes.”
“College once promoted an understanding of Western culture,” she says. “Today ... there is an enormous bureaucratic infrastructure dedicated to teaching students that they’re victims.”
She calls that the diversity bureaucracy.
“UCLA has a Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (who) makes $445,000 a year. The Berkeley Division of Equity and Diversity Inclusion has a $20 million budget.”
She warns, “There’s a co-dependency between the exploding diversity bureaucracy and these narcissistic, delusional students who act out little psychodramas of oppression before an appreciative audience of diversity bureaucrats.”
Really? I pushed back. “Psychodramas of oppression?”
“Do we believe in objective reality?” she replied. “These students ... are among the most privileged human beings in human history. To be at an American college with educational resources available to them that the Renaissance humanists would have killed for. (Yet they) think of themselves as victims. That, to me, is a very sad state of delusion.”
These “victims” now feel entitled to censor other people’s speech, but differences won’t be resolved without debate. Politicians don’t help when they encourage their supporters to get rough, as Trump did on the campaign trail and as Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., now has.
At least the college kids may outgrow this behavior. We’re stuck with the politicians.
John Stossel is author of “No They Can’t! Why Government Fails — But Individuals Succeed.”