This whole Pacifica Forum fiasco has swiftly traversed the distance between plain stupid and outright farcial. The posturing and illiberal zealotry of those clamoring to have the Pacifica Forum banned from campus — in the name of “the students,” natch — have pitted those who sincerely believe in freedom of speech, even if it’s organizations like the Pacifica Forum doing the speaking, against a self-righteous mob of self-proclaimed “anti-fascists,” whose rhetoric is so over-heated that it’s in danger of commencing nuclear fusion (see, for example, “The Black Tea Society’s” crass “do we have to wait for them to start loading us onto the trains?” sputum).
Now, according one of the two Pacifca-related opinion pieces published in last week’s Eugene Weekly (those poor protesters just can’t get a fair shake!) in the wake of the massive disruptions these self-styled antifa kids have visited on the Pacifica Forum (hint: using your freedom of speech to shout down someone else, even if that “someone else” is a Nazi, is censorship, which is exactly what the Pacifica Forum goons have been complaining about all along), the Eugene Police Department has been called in to keep order. The response could not have been more predictable, with student activists like the Student Insurgent’s Cimmeron Gillespie declaring, in his usual level-headed way, that the use of police officers to keep an angry mob of hundreds of outraged, self-righteous protesters from engaging in any mischief “a severe escalation by the university to defend those who would use our campus to recruit for hate organizations.”
In short, Mr. Gillespie seems to be implying that the Pacifica Forum does, in fact, require defending. “Against what?” one might ask, though the fast-and-loose attitude malignant phonies like Cimmaron Gillespie have toward other peoples’ Constitutional rights, to say nothing of their increasingly unhinged rhetoric might provide a few signposts.
In light of all this, the Weekly’s other Pacifica Forum article, describing Billy Rojas’ purported threats to sue people for defamation, comes off as a bit laughable. If indeed. Mr. Rojas intends to sue critics of the Pacifica Forum for pointing out the organization’s well-documented anti-Semitism and other “gutter bigotry,” to quote former UO President Dave Frohnmayer, then he most certainly deserves to lose. The article’s author, however, isn’t content with merely recounting the group’s various outrages. Before glumly admitting that the “government is compelled to allow legal speech,” he writes
Over the past six years PF principals have consistently mentioned suing various people for defamation. Although these threats are groundless, there is concern that this new very public threat may have a chilling effect on people who are critical of PF programs. Threatening lawsuits is a cheap way to intimidate and silence critics. [emphasis added]
One can only wonder what Mr. Williams thinks about the “chilling effects” on free speech that screaming, black-clad mobs and “loading us onto trains” talk has on people who one day might be tempted to say something that runs afoul of his cherished “community values.” Despite dishonest attempts at linking the Pacifica Forum to instances of racial violence around Eugene, it seems clear and unambiguous that, for all the disgusting ideas they hold, the Pacifica Forum has never tried to impose its will upon anyone, nor to prevent any group from peaceably assembling.
The “anti-hate” activists, however, have done both of those things in recent weeks. They are, moreover, proud of it, casting anyone who disagrees with them as “defenders of hate.” Perhaps it would do them well to remember the slogan “terror must be broken by terror.”
More than that, it might do them well to remember whose slogan that was.