University of California, Berkeley is getting a large dose of free speech education this March with appearances from Dave Rubin, Heather Mac Donald, Steve Simpson, and Dennis Prager.
This lineup comes in the form of two separate events, both hosted by the UC Berkeley College Republicans, BCR. The first, a panel on March 8, asking “Are We Killing Free Speech?” is co-sponsored by the Ayn Rand Institute and includes Rubin, Mac Donald, and Simpson. The second event, a talk by Prager on March 13, focuses on his upcoming documentary, “No Safe Spaces,” and is co-hosted by the Young America's Foundation.
"UC Berkeley is a uniquely historic campus as the birthplace of the free speech movement," notes Justin Folk, director of the documentary "No Safe Spaces." "We are inviting students, particularly those that disagree with Dennis Prager, to come out on March 13 and exercise their free speech rights by having a civil discourse on the issues of free speech, safe spaces, and the importance of intellectual diversity."
It has become commonplace on college campuses for students to use force in order to silence nonconformist or conservative speakers. Folk’s invitation for students to engage in measured but dissenting discourse with Prager is a unique opportunity for civil discourse to take place between the Left and the Right at UC Berkeley.
“The free speech crisis on college campuses threatens the very possibility of a peaceful, civil society,” says Mac Donald, the Thomas W. Smith fellow at the Manhattan Institute. “But that crisis is an outgrowth of an even more dangerous problem: the cultivation of a victim mentality in an ever-growing number of individuals and identity-based groups.”
Simpson, a constitutional lawyer and the director of Legal Studies at the Ayn Rand Institute, recently noted in the Hill that there is a stark difference between a gun and an argument.
“If we forget the difference, we will end up with guns settling our disputes, rather than arguments,” he wrote.
Simpson emphasizes that “the purpose of the right to free speech is to protect our right to think for ourselves and to communicate with others, which are two of the pillars of a modern, free society.”
The Eventbrite description for Prager’s event states: “Eventgoers will be challenged to think, a challenge on face value that does not seem daunting, but in the age of absurdity such as trigger warnings, microaggressions, and safe spaces, is something Berkeley rarely asks of its students.”
"After YAF and BCR broke the liberal blockade with a lecture by Ben Shapiro last September, we're continuing our work to bring conservative ideas to the rising generation at Berkeley,” said YAF Spokesman Spencer Brown.