What Liberals Don’t Get About Free Speech In The Age Of Trump

Katherine Cross
The Establishment
Published in
13 min readFeb 7, 2017


UC Berkeley protest against Milo Yiannopoulos, February 1, 2017 (credit: flickr/Joe Parks)

The Berkeley protest against Milo Yiannopoulos raises questions about what a right to free speech is — and is not.

NNothing proliferates speech quite like a debate about a white man’s inalienable right to it.

Ever since a bit of lighting equipment was set on fire at UC Berkeley, causing the cancellation of a planned rally by Breitbart editor and professional crypto-fascist troll Milo Yiannopoulos, we’ve seen endless handwringing and finger-wagging defending his right to free speech and chastising of the evil, violent protesters. Interestingly enough, there wasn’t anywhere near this much speech surrounding the attempted murder of an anti-fascist protester at the University of Washington by one of Milo’s supporters. Apparently, a right-winger trying to shoot someone to death matters less than an anarchist smashing a Starbucks window, but I digress.

There are other confounding details as well. Were the violent actors at the Berkeley protests even students, or Black Bloc agitators from outside? Why do all accounts of the protest ignore the many months…