Pat Buchanan wrote this article.
In December 1964, a Silver Age of American liberalism, to rival the Golden Age of FDR and the New Deal, seemed to be upon us.
Barry Goldwater had been crushed in a 44-state landslide and the GOP reduced to half the size of the Democratic Party, with but 140 seats in the House and 32 in the Senate.
The Supreme Court of Chief Justice Earl Warren, the most liberal in history, was on a roll, and LBJ was virtually unopposed as he went about ramming his Great Society through Congress.
The left had it all. But then they blew it, beginning at Berkeley.
Protests, sit-ins, the holding of cops hostage in patrol cars — went on for weeks to force the University of California, Berkeley, to grant "free speech," and then "filthy speech" rights everywhere on campus.
Students postured as revolutionaries at the barricades, and the Academic Senate, consisting of all tenured faculty, voted 824-115 to support all Free Speech Movement demands, while cravenly declining to vote to condemn the tactics used.
Middle America saw the students differently — as overprivileged children engaged in a tantrum at the most prestigious school in the finest university system in the freest nation on earth.
Here is how their leader Mario Savio
"There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!"
To borrow from Oscar Wilde, it takes a heart of stone to read Mario's wailing — without laughing.
As I wondered in an editorial in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat that week, "If there is so much restriction of speech on the campus, how it is that a few yards from Sproul Hall there is a Young Socialist League poster complaining of 'American Aggression in the Congo' and calling on students to support 'the Congolese rebels.'"
Yet Berkeley proved a godsend to a dispirited right.
In 1966, Ronald Reagan would beat Berkeley like a drum in his run for governor, calling the campus, "a haven for communist sympathizers, protesters and sex deviants."
Reagan relished entertaining his populist following by mocking San Francisco Democrats. "A hippie," said the Gipper, "looks like Tarzan, walks like Jane and smells like Cheetah."
More seriously, the radicalism, intolerance, arrogance and fanaticism of the far left in the '60s and '70s helped to revive the Republican Party and bring it victories in five of the next six presidential elections.
In 1964, neither Nixon nor Reagan appeared to have a bright future. But after Berkeley, both captured the presidency twice. And both benefited mightily from denouncing rioting students, even as liberalism suffered from its perceived association with them.
Which brings us to Berkeley today.
Last week, columnist and best-selling author Ann Coulter was forced to cancel her speech at Berkeley. Her security could not be guaranteed by the university.
In February, a speech of Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos also was canceled out of safety concerns after campus protesters hurled smoke bombs, broke windows and started a bonfire. The decision was made two hours before the event, as a crowd of 1,500 had gathered outside the venue.
The recent attacks on Charles Murray at Middlebury College and Heather Mac Donald at Claremont McKenna call to mind an event from three decades before Berkeley '64.
On Dec. 5, 1930, German moviegoers flocked to Berlin's Mozart Hall to see the Hollywood film, "All Quiet on the Western Front." Some 150 Brownshirts, led by Joseph Goebbels, entered the theater, tossed stink bombs from the balcony, threw sneezing powder in the air and released mice. Theaters pulled that classic anti-war movie.
That same sense of moral certitude that cannot abide dissent to its dogmatic truths is on display in America today, as it was in Germany in the early 1930s. We are on a familiar slippery slope.
First come the marches and demonstrations. Then the assertion of the right to civil disobedience, to break the law for a higher cause by blocking streets and highways. Then comes the confronting of cops, the smashing of windows, the fistfights, the throwing of stones - as in Portland on May Day.
And, now, the shouting down of campus speakers.
The rage and resentment of the left at its rejection in 2016 are palpable. Sometimes this fever passes peacefully, as in the "Cooling of America" in the 1970s. And sometimes it doesn't.
But to have crowds of left and right coming out to confront one another violently, in a country whose citizens possess 300 million guns, is probably not a good idea.
Recently I made a comment to a friend that Americans are fighting the Second War of Northern Aggression/Civil War. The deep chasm that has opened up between the left -- not liberals, the left -- and the rest of the country is so wide and so unbridgeable that there is no other way to describe what is happening. But I noted that at least thus far, unlike the First Civil War, this war is not violent.
Unfortunately, there is now reason to believe that violence is coming. In fact, it's already here. But as of now, it's only coming from one direction.
Left-wing thugs engage in violence and threats of violence with utter impunity. They shut down speakers at colleges; block highways, bridges and airport terminals; take over college buildings and offices; occupy state capitals; and terrorize individuals at their homes.
In order to understand why more violence may be coming, it is essential to understand that left-wing mobs are almost never stopped, arrested or punished. Colleges do nothing to stop them, and civil authorities do nothing to stop them on campuses or anywhere else. Police are reduced to spectators as they watch left-wing gangs loot stores, smash business and car windows, and even take over state capitals (as in Madison, Wisconsin).
It's beginning to dawn on many Americans that mayors, police chiefs and college presidents have no interest in stopping this violence. Left-wing officials sympathize with the lawbreakers, and the police, who rarely sympathize with thugs of any ideology, are ordered to do nothing by emasculated police chiefs.
Consequently, given the abdication by all these authorities of their role to protect the public, some members of the public will inevitably decide that they will protect themselves and others.
This ability of the left to get away with violence is one of the gravest threats to American society in its modern history. Since the Civil War, I can think of only two comparable eruptions of mob violence that authorities allowed. One was when white mobs lynched blacks. The other was the rioting by blacks, such as the Los Angeles riots 25 years ago, and the recent riots in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland.
Today, authorities in what we once proudly proclaimed the "Land of the Free and Home of the Brave" are intimidated to the point of paralysis.
And exactly what do they fear? Not violence -- they have made peace with left-wing violence. What they fear is the left-wing media. If the Black Lives Matter movement is forcefully prevented from blocking tens of thousands of cars from entering or leaving San Francisco, the police and local authorities will be labeled racist by black leaders, a smear that will then be echoed by The New York Times and rest of the left-wing media.
Likewise, if a college president requests enough police to come to a college campus so that a Heather Mac Donald, a Charles Murray or an Ann Coulter can deliver a lecture, some of the student-gangsters engaged in violence might be injured -- and that college president will then be pilloried by the mainstream media.
Furthermore, left-wing violence doesn't only succeed where it takes place. It succeeds where nothing happens. The left can now shut down places and events just by threatening violence. This is what happened in Portland, Oregon. One leftist called in a threat to the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade, saying that the Republican Party contingent marching in the parade would be beaten up. The business leaders organizing the parade canceled the whole event for the first time in its 10-year history. If they'd had any reason to believe that the police would have adequately protected the marchers in left-wing Portland, one assumes (hopes?) that they would not have canceled the parade.
An email sent to parade organizers perfectly summed up the left's dominance of America through violence. It said, "You have seen how much power we have downtown and that the police cannot stop us from shutting down roads so please consider your decision wisely."
Meanwhile, the press lies about alleged white supremacists in President Trump's administration and an alleged massive surge in anti-Semitism in order to do what the left has done since Lenin: blame others while it alone organizes violence.
So, here's a prediction: If college presidents, mayors and police chiefs won't stop left-wing mobs, other Americans will. I hope this doesn't happen, because electing conservative Republicans and not donating money to colleges will be more effective. But it is almost inevitable.
Then the left-wing media – the “lame stream” media and “presstitutes” -- will enter hysteria mode with reports that "right-wing fascists" are violently attacking America.
And that's when mayors and college presidents will finally order in the police.