The shutting down of Charles Murray's talk at Middlebury College by self righteous narcissists reminded me of a similar attack on speech many years ago at the University of California, Berkeley, when the same kind of intolerant people shouted down Jeane Kirkpatrick, President Reagan's foreign policy advisor.
And their actions had consequences down the road: the present day terrors inflicted by ISIS.
Absurd, you say? Well, follow this chain, each of link of which I believe is valid.
A young David Brock was in the audience there at Berkeley in his capacity as a reporter for the student newspaper. He was so appalled by the intolerance of the left that he gravitated to right wing politics, and signed up as a propagandist for the right.
In that capacity, he uncovered the Paula Jones story, which led to a lawsuit, which led to President Clinton perjuring himself, which led to his impeachment.
The damage to the Clinton presidency rubbed off on Al Gore, who (while winning the popular vote), narrowly lost the presidency to G.W. Bush. It's not unreasonable to think that, without that taint, he could well have gained those few thousand extra votes needed to assure him the presidency.
President Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq, which Gore would not have done were he president.
The destruction of Iraqi society allowed ISIS to establish itself, and to commence their reign of terror.
So: I am arguing that foolish students shouting down an ideological opponent years ago led to the horrors we see today.
Yes, actions have consequences. Who knows what may happen years down the road as a result of the shameful behavior at Middlebury?
How do I think the Berkeley students opposed to Reagan's South America policy should have reacted to Ms. Kirkpatrick's appearance? By going out in advance to locate some of the many refugees from El Salvador who were in the Bay area, and arranging for them, and them only, to have the microphones during the Q&A after Ms. Kirkpatrick's talk. Let each of them describe the atrocities - tortures and murders of their families - that prompted them to flee, and ask Ms. Kirkpatrick how she and President Reagan could possibly support such evil. If just one or two spoke this way, Ms. Kirkpatrick might dismiss their stories as invented, but a sufficient number of recitations would show the emptiness of such a response on her part. And contrast the news reporting of what such an approach would have been to that describing the self indulgent acting out of foolish young people, actions that only reinforced many people's support for Reagan's toxic Latin American policies.