A member of the University of California-Berkeley College Republicans caught a young man in the act of destroying the group’s large wooden sign on campus.
The perpetrator is presumed to be a student—a witness described him as such.
The CR began recording the incident, which transpired at Sproul Plaza on Tuesday. This did not deter the perpetrator, who continued smashing the sign into smaller pieces.
“You just vandalized our property,” said the person recording the video.
“Yeah,” replied the perpetrator. “I did.”
You can watch the video below: it’s one of the more chill acts of illiberalism I’ve ever seen. The perpetrator even asked the CR if he knows whether the sign should be composted, or placed in the trash.
“I believe that would be compost,” the CR replied, because this is Berkeley, after all.
At one point, a female student in league with the sign-destroyer asks the CR to stop recording the destruction of his group’s property. She asserted that he had no legal right to record them without permission. That’s funny for two reasons: one, it’s wrong—there’s no expectation of privacy in a public place—and two, the vandals were already breaking the law, anyway.
The altercation likely represents continuing fallout from the CR’s decision to bring Milo Yiannopoulos to campus last month. Anti-fascist protesters—most of whom were not students—crashed the event, smashes windows, and started fires, ultimately preventing Yiannopoulos from speaking.
Professional “black bloc” rioters were responsible for shutting down Yiannopoulos. But illiberal leftist college students often try to silence their perceived opponents as well. An onlooker defended the student’s actions, claiming that he was merely exercising his own “free speech” rights. This is a perversion of the concept: free speech does not and cannot include the right to deny someone equal use of a public space, or shout them down at a forum, or destroy their belongings.
Orwell’s famous allegory fits a little too neatly here: If you want to a vision of the present, imagine a college Crossfit bro calmly stomping on a conservative’s sign, forever. (Or just watch the video.)