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If you wanted to encapsulate the hypocrisy and tyranny of the modern left into a single rule, you could do far worse than this one: To the left, all opposing speech is "violence," while their violence, even at its most unhinged, depraved, or ridiculous, is merely "speech."
In nearly a decade of campus speeches I’ve seen this play out again and again, but my appearance this week at the University of California-Davis might have been the most jarring instance of it yet.
Before I even arrived in Yolo County, the event was preceded by wild and hysterical lies about my beliefs and the things I have said. Professor Joshua Clover claimed my group, Turning Point USA, threatens "direct violence" against professors, with a "special focus" on non-white faculty.
Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk speaks at UC Davis on March 14, 2023. (KTXL)
This is a lie, but it’s a lie that Clover has to tell, because Clover himself proudly thinks that American police officers "need to be killed." In his op-ed attacking me, he wrote that it was "time to teach Charlie Kirk a lesson," by which he meant "chasing [him] off campus" or engaging in some good old "Nazi-punching." "This is what resistance looks like," he said.
The Sacramento Bee parroted a lie started by trans activist and serial hoaxer Erin Reed, formerly known as Anthony Reed II, who claimed I advocated for "lynching trans people." A wild fabrication created out of whole cloth but was nevertheless seen by over 5 million people on Twitter and spread around social media.
UC-Davis Chancellor Gary S. May—who earns $820,000 a year between his state paycheck and board seats—repeated this vile slander once more in an official school sanctioned video released the day of the event, and called on the UC Davis student body to boycott my speech and "send a message" by forcing me to speak in front of an empty auditorium.
Strange that Antifa proceeded to block entrances into the venue later that day. Did they do so at the Chancellor’s urging? May then implied that only some irritating advice from his lawyers and that pesky First Amendment was stopping him from cancelling the event. He assured the UC Davis community that he would be closely monitoring my speech, inferring he would have me arrested for "inciting violence" if I said something he didn’t like.
Of course, I wasn’t inciting violence, and I never have. I always advocate for peace and always will. The ones inciting violence were the radicals at UC Davis aided and abetted by the Sacramento Bee and the UC Davis Chancellor.
Law enforcement officers stop unrest outside a venue at UC Davis where protesters attempted to stop a speaking event. (KTXL)
About 500 people attended a speech by Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk at UC Davis on March 14, 2023. (KTXL)
Two people were arrested and taken to Yolo County Jail for allegedly painting graffiti on the University Credit Union Center at UC Davis, on March 14, 2023. (KTXL)
Protesters and law enforcement officers surround the University Credit Union Center on March 14, 2023. (KTXL)
By insisting that Hitler 2.0 was headed to campus, they indulged the Antifa goons and whipped credulous local liberals into a frenzy. Because when you portray someone as a genocidal maniac, the message you send is, "This person can and should be stopped, by any means necessary."
As of this writing, the Sacramento Bee has retracted the lie and apologized for repeating the "lynching claim," but Chancellor May has remained conspicuously silent.
In the end, California taxpayers and public servants paid the price for the lies told by fake journalists, sham professors, and overpaid academic bureaucrats. At least one local police officer was injured defending the constitutional right to free speech, while taxpayers will pay to repair the vandalized campus.
Yet while UC-Davis is still scarred by the radical left’s rampage, I’ve already been lectured by more than one person that their behavior is my fault, for "provoking" them by accepting an invitation from conservative students to visit a public, taxpayer-funded school and talk about my ideas on limited government, free markets, and traditional values.
It perfectly captures the entitlement of the left. The same people who think they own UC Davis (an assertion the rioters shouted repeatedly) are blameless for lashing out violently over a speech or a tweet that made them angry.
FILE – Charlie Kirk, founder and executive director of Turning Point USA, speaks during the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in Tampa, Florida, US, on Friday, July 22, 2022. (Tristan Wheelock/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
From Portland to Minneapolis and from Kenosha to Ferguson, political violence in America has always chiefly been a tool of the political left. Even the left’s shills in the media are aware of this. This is why they must invent euphemisms like "mostly peaceful protests," and it’s why they push the sham of "words are violence." That way, they can dismiss all the burned-out cars, injured police, and assaulted speakers with farcical claims of acting in "self-defense."
Are words violence? No. Despite the best efforts of the left, words do have actual meanings. Just like being a man requires a Y chromosome, "violence" requires physical force. Words, by their nature, are never violent. Recognizing this distinction is central to our entire system of government. In a republic like ours, we do battle with words, rhetoric, and ideas, instead of with fists, guns, and guillotines.
But more and more, the left rejects that foundational idea of America. To them, opposing ideas have no right to be voiced, and therefore any tactic is valid to stop them. For far too many students and activists today, being a liberal means having the right to bash someone on the head with a bicycle lock while screaming "You made me do this!"
But we have never made them do anything. The left’s love of violence is entirely of its own making.