Ann Coulter said Wednesday that she is canceling her planned speech at the University of California, Berkeley, because she had lost the backing of conservative groups that had initially sponsored her appearance.
Ms. Coulter, in a message to The New York Times, said, “It’s a sad day for free speech.”
Despite insisting that she would go to Berkeley regardless — even after the university said it could not accommodate her on the date and time it had initially scheduled her because of threats of violence — Ms. Coulter said she did not see how she could go forward. The school said she could speak only at a later date and an earlier time of day, when there were likely to be fewer students on campus and less of a likelihood for violent outbreaks.
Late on Tuesday, the conservative group that was helping Ms. Coulter in her legal efforts to force Berkeley to host her, Young America’s Foundation, said it could no longer participate. “Young America’s Foundation will not jeopardize the safety of its staff or students,” the group said.
I certainly understand YAF's perspective, especially since there's no guarantee of Berkeley cops doing their job.
There was a time I enjoyed Coulter's biting commentary despite not being a fan of her gratuitous insults. But she lost me a couple of years ago when she became an insufferable shill for Donald Trump's presidential run. I say that because I hate having to defend someone like Coulter whom I clearly detest. But if we're going to be intellectually consistent in our support of the First Amendment, it should include defending provocateurs on whom we wouldn't urinate were they set ablaze (metaphorically speaking of course).
The Editors at National Review (themselves not exactly adoring Coulter fans) had a stern message for those who used heavy-handed threats to undermine this event.
For those at Berkeley celebrating what they believe to be a moral victory, consider this: As much as you may detest Ann Coulter, she has never used violence or the threat of violence to keep someone from speaking. She is a better citizen than you are, with a deeper commitment to genuinely liberal and humane values. You may call yourselves the anti-fascists, but your black-shirt routine — along with your glorification of political violence and your rejection of liberal and democratic norms — suggest that the “anti” part of that formulation is not entirely appropriate. Perhaps you are only young and ignorant, but if you had any power of introspection at all, you would see that you are the thing you believe yourselves to be fighting. You are the oppressors, the censors, the violent, the hateful, the narrow-minded, the reactionary.
So what does it say about UC-Berkeley when someone as loathed as Coulter comes off as the more dignified party in this saga?