Who is Ben Shapiro and why is Berkeley treating his upcoming speech like a nuclear attack?

On Thursday, Ben Shapiro is scheduled to speak at the University of California, Berkeley, which has tried very hard for months to prevent him from speaking.

Some Background on Ben Shapiro

Shapiro is a reasonably well-known talk show host with conservative views, multiple books to his credit, and a superb academic record.

He has strident views, but he is neither a kook nor a (metaphorical) bomb-thrower. (With Antifa rioters throwing real bombs, you have to add “metaphorical” to the Shapiro description.)

He’s smart and extremely well-educated: As an undergraduate at UCLA, he graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. At Harvard Law, he graduated cum laude.  He practiced briefly with a top national firm in Los Angeles before turning to journalism.

Smears against Shapiro

The left has smeared him as a “fascist” and a “white nationalist.” He is neither. He is not a Trump supporter and, in private life, an orthodox Jew.

He has the odd and unhappy distinction of being attacked both as a Jew (by numerous anti-Semites, a group increasingly prominent on the left) and as an Alt-Right White Nationalist.

His association with Andrew Breitbart, with whom he work for several years, is another lightning rod. Shapiro continued to work with Breitbart.com after the founder’s death but resigned on grounds of principle when the news outlet refused to defend one of its reporters allegedly manhandled by Corey Lewandowski, then-campaign manager for Donald Trump.

College Speeches

The left and anti-Israel activists have decided Shapiro should be prevented from speaking on college campuses, including public universities, and the target of physical confrontations when he does try to speak.

In 2016, protesters form human chains around an auditorium at Cal State LA to prevent him from speaking. (They failed.)

Later that year, DePaul University banned him from setting foot on their campus. He was banned from participating in an event to which he had been invited. DePaul, it should be noted, is one of the worst offenders against free speech in the country. Their treatment of Shapiro was par for their substandard course.

When Shapiro appeared on television with a transgender activist, Zoey Tur, he was threatened with physical assault again after referring to Tur with male terminology.

Cal-Berkeley

Berkeley is so fearful of Shapiro’s speech that they are closing off nearby buildings on the day of the event.

They are also–incredibly–offering psychological counseling for Cal students traumatized by the mere thought of Shapiro speaking on campus. That’s a real thing.

What is also sadly read: anarchists and crazies are likely to show up and riot.

Comment:

The willingness to use violence to stop opposing views is a fundamental threat to our constitutional democracy. That willingness is rising, and people of all political stripes need to speak out clearly and forcefully against it. 

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ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . .Sunday, Dec. 18

Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
Linked articles in bold purple

Beijing will return America’s underwater drone it seized in international waters, the Pentagon says. (Washington Post) Trump tweeted that China could keep the damned thing.

Wisconsin student try to ban conservative group for inviting Ben Shapiro to speak, which the progressives consider an attack on all minority groups (Daily Caller)

◆ Having a blog means getting spam promotions, but some come from better names than others. You gotta love this one: Alphonse Kinderknecht.

Bobby Mugabe, who has rule Zimbabwe for decades, has decided to run for president again. He is 92 and his chances of winning, should he be alive, are approximately 100%. (CBS)

Inventor of the Heimlich manuever, which has saved countless lives, has died. (Philly.com) I’ve always wondered why other doctors were proud to have terrible diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, named after them. But Dr. Heimlich’s procedure seems like a wonderful honor.

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DePaul’s Latest Suppression of Free Speech

DePaul University deserves special attention because it is specially dreadful on free speech.

This is the university that

  • took away the students’ chalk after one wrote “Trump 2016” last spring,
  • routinely prevents conservative speakers from coming on campus, and
  • prevented one student group from putting up a poster that read “Unborn Lives Matter.” Their rationale: it did not reflect DePaul’s Catholic values.

DePaul is proud of these achievements.

And it does not want to sit on its PC laurels. It runs hard to remain the laughingstock of higher education.

Here’s what happened on Tuesday night, November 15.