In a Time of Universal Deceit, Telling a Joke Is a Revolutionary Act: Hayden Williams Pleads the First

By Paul Dowling
“Every joke is a tiny revolution.” —George Orwell

“Politics is downstream from culture.” —Andrew Breitbart

“It is not uncommon for societies to produce a hate squad. People who want to suppress the right to speak—they are everywhere.” —Jo Freeman

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The Truth Will Out, & Hayden Williams Is Telling It

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A fitting summary of the themes in George Orwell’s 1984—per one David Hoffman—might be that, “in a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.Hayden Williams, quite the revolutionary himself, has surely demonstrated his bona fides by taking a punch in the face for his beliefs, on the Berkeley campus, when an Antifa bruiser assaulted Mr. Williams exactly for telling the truth, thereby exposing the hypocrisy of the Left. On July 22nd, 2019, as the guest of the Tea Party Sentinels of Orange County, California, Mr. Hayden Williams promoted the conservative values of free speech and peaceful protest, while condemning the censorship and violence that have grown to become the hallmarks of Leftist activism.

Hayden Williams on Humor as a Form of Truth-Telling

“One of the reasons I love free speech, above all else, is because I really love art and comedy—and comedy specifically. Really, the first thing that gets sacrificed on the altar of political correctness is comedy, because humor is a really effective way of relating to people and, if you use it properly, a really effective way of criticizing authority. George Orwell, author of 1984, which is a classic political satire really relevant today, said that ‘every joke is a tiny revolution.’ And I like that, because I think he meant something really profound by saying that.

“So, we [conservatives] laugh. We have a good time. And the Left doesn’t. And I think they hate us for it. For, as much as they preach about standing against hate, I think they’re really just projecting—a lot of the time—the hatred in their own hearts onto us. I think that we are motivated by nothing more than a love for our country and for freedom, and they are motivated by something else. You look at them, and you realize that they don’t want you to laugh, or tell jokes, or even really speak your mind at all, if you disagree with them. They don’t appreciate honest humor, and they are always looking for something to be offended by.

“Orwell also said that something is funny if it upsets an established order. And the Left has become the established order. We have become the counterculture, and every time one of us shares our point of view, our perspective, our values, it upsets the Left. Another thing that Orwell said is that, ‘if liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.’ And I think we all can agree that the Left is very controlling, and they want to shut down anything they get upset by or that they don’t want to hear. They’re hell-bent on keeping this kind of strangle-hold on our culture and promoting political correctness. They are deciding what you can and can’t say, what you can and can’t think or joke about. Famous comedians, like Jerry Seinfeld, refuse to go to college campuses, because, as he’s said, it is their willingness not to offend anyone. Leftists want you to lose your sense of humor, so they can be comfortable. But, more than that, they want you to be completely quiet, if you disagree with them. And this all gets to the larger point that you can’t have humor, you can’t criticize authority, without freedom of speech. The First Amendment isn’t just your right to say whatever you want—it is really your right to be revolutionary.

Allowing the Dictatorship of the Left

“When we let the Left control our speech, what we are really doing is letting them control our thoughts and ideas and, ultimately, our values. And if this is allowed to continue without challenge, then they will win this war for our culture by default. We didn’t start this culture war, but it’s imperative that we win it, because our very country depends on it. And I firmly believe that, underlying our culture war, it’s a spiritual war. It’s a fight of good versus evil. The infamous Leftist of the ’60s and community organizer, Saul Alinsky*, who wrote the book Rules for Radicals, said you must fight like all the angels in heaven are on your side and all the demons in hell are with your opponent. Well, I am happy to tell you that I firmly believe that all the angels in heaven, and God himself, are on our side. The Left, as Mr. Palmer** says, has gone so far to the extreme that they are unrecognizable to many, and our universities have become centers of conformity for the Left. They suppress conservatives from challenging their rigid ideology. They will use intimidation against any dissenters—and violence, if they feel that’s necessary. If you are persistent enough, and you are effective enough, they will try to shut you down any way they can, as I experienced at UC Berkeley just a few months ago. Even the president saw what happened! And before I go further into this speech, we should talk a little bit about what happened that day, because it is more than just an isolated incident, as UC Berkeley and other universities would like you to believe. It’s a deeply-rooted cultural problem. And it affects every university—every major university, except for a handful that are explicitly conservative. And it’s an issue that needs to be recognized.

February 19th, 2019, a Real Turning Point for Hayden

“So, on February 19th, I was invited by some conservative students. I was working for the Leadership Institute, and I got assigned to Northern California. I drove all the way from Kentucky to Northern California, and my job was just to help conservative students do demonstrations, recruit members, and host speakers—that sort of thing. It was a wonderful experience. So, on February 19th, we had realized that this Jussie Smollett story was a hoax, and that he made it all up and orchestrated the entire thing just to smear us—conservatives—and try to paint us as a picture of hatred that we don’t really embody. That’s one thing we’ll probably see more of, since there’s a demand from the Left for these hate crimes. And, when the supply doesn’t meet the demand, they have to fill that void, that shortage. So, we found out this was all a lie. And how egregious this was! Not only because we were being targeted but because people who have actually been victims of racially-motivated violence . . . it’s really a disservice to them. The people that, unfortunately, might be victimized like that in the future won’t be believed, because it’s like the boy who cried ‘Wolf!’ So, we wanted to do something about this. We wanted to set up a demonstration to express this sentiment.

I got together with a group of students that morning, and we set up outside of Sather Gate, at UC Berkeley, which is, actually, the infamous site that is the home of the Free Speech Movement. It’s at UC Berkeley, but specifically it took place at Sproul Plaza right outside of Sather Gate. And, at some point in that afternoon, two guys approached our table, and it soon became clear, right when they came up, that they didn’t come to have a discussion, or to ask us about our signs, one of which read ‘Hate Crime Hoaxes Hurt Real Victims’—and what’s really ironic is they accused us of promoting violence, just seconds before using violence against me. And, right when they walked up to the table, I said (I was talking to a student, and I noticed there was a ‘gentleman’—and I use that term lightly—to my right, and I said . . .), ‘Hello!’ and he started cursing at me, and it was at that moment that I pulled out my phone (when I realized that he wasn’t there for any good reason). That’s one thing I always tell the students that I work with, because it’s unfortunate that we have to live like this, but, as Andrew Breitbart once said, every person with a smartphone is a journalist now. So, if this sort of thing happens, it is important to record it. Otherwise, there is no evidence, and it is like it never even happened. And I don’t think many people usually want to get caught doing something illegal on camera, but this guy didn’t care, and it only made the situation worse. But I’m glad I was recording, because it probably would’ve happened anyway. So, as soon as I started recording, one of these guys swats my phone out of my hand, and I go to pick it up and turn around, and he’s flipped over my table and, before I know it, I’m being punched in the face. This guy was easily twice my size. I got one of the only big and strong guys in Antifa***—he found me.

Using Violence Against Conservatives: Too Often, on the Left, This Is Who They Are

“So, this is a perfect example of what the Left has done to our campuses and our culture in general. Our higher education institutions have fostered these people, and, in some cases, intentionally harbored them and promoted this sort of aggression against conservatives. They have created an environment where they think it is perfectly normal to act this way and to attack persons and property just because you disagree with their opinions. There must be a higher standard, especially in academia. Violence, we learn at a young age, isn’t the way we deal with our problems and disagreements. But something really disturbing is taking place, where the Left has abandoned peaceful protest in favor of the very same sort of violence that they once fought against. I like this opinion from a couple of years ago, when students at Berkeley nearly burned down the campus to prevent Ben Shapiro and others from speaking. Her name was Jo Freeman, and she is a Berkeley alum who was active in the Civil Rights Movement. She’s a feminist, but she had this to say, that the violence that she sees against conservatives today reminds her of the same sort of violence that she and other freedom marchers faced in the 1960s, in the South. I thought that was really profound that she would say that, because she was there. And she was right back then, and I think she is right today.

“Some people would claim that what happened to me isn’t a part of a larger trend, it’s not indicative of a problem that plagues our universities; it’s just a random act of violence. But I think we all know that nothing can be further from the truth, because I’m not the first one to be bullied this way, and unfortunately, I’m afraid I won’t be the last one, either. My incident is a manifestation of an institutional problem, and it’s not just at Berkeley but across the country. It’s really the tip of the iceberg, because most discriminatory acts are not as documented, or as physical, as mine, and they range from academic persecution in the classroom to vandalism to outright assault. If the Left thinks that no one is watching them, then they’ll continue, and they’ll act worse.

The Aftermath of Hayden’s Taking a Punch for All Conservatives: Meeting the President

“So, I’d like to tell you a little bit about what happened immediately after my attack. There were some professors and students who took to social media to celebrate this guy who was a criminal in the eyes of the law, but a folk hero to these radical Leftists and Antifa. But about a week after it happened, I got invited to CPAC after going on Sean Hannity, and I was really reluctant to do that, because my eye was really swelled up, but some people convinced me that it was the right thing to do, that people should see what was done and how the Left is treating people. At CPAC, I found out I was going to go onstage, and that was on Thursday, and on Friday I found out I was going to meet the president, and that was a huge shock to me, I had no idea. I am a huge supporter of the president, so I was ecstatic. So, on Saturday I met the president. And he shook my hand and didn’t realize who I was—he was squinting—then he said, ‘You’re that kid!’ And I said, ‘Yeah, Mr. President, I got punched at UC Berkeley for supporting conservatism and you.’ And he got immediately animated. He pointed over to his aide, John, and said, ‘John, did you see what they did to this kid? It’s ridiculous. Nobody deserves to be treated like that. What they did to you is terrible!’ He said, ‘You’re going to be fine, we’re going to take care of this.’ And he asked me if I had a business card—the President of the United States. And I said, ‘Sure.’ We took some photos. And it was just a brief encounter. There were some other people waiting. When I walked out with the man who had escorted me in, he said to another guy in the executive office personnel that ‘the boss’—that’s what they call him—‘the boss wants him close to the stage for easy access.’ And I realized right then that, oh no, he might call me up! So I had about an hour to think of what in the world was I going to say if he called me up. I came up with a couple of talking points, and it’s the most nervous I’ve ever been in my life, but it was amazing to be up on stage with him, because he let me speak alongside of him during his longest speech. I used this opportunity to talk about one main thing, and that was freedom of speech, and how what happened to me is terrible, and it’s good I’m being recognized, but there are so many other students that don’t get that recognition, and they put up with the same sort of stuff.

Trump’s Pro-Freedom Executive Order

“As I got off the stage, I was so ecstatic that I didn’t even hear the president announce he was going to sign an executive order about free speech on college campuses, and this order would require universities to respect the First Amendment or risk losing federal research dollars. In that announcement, he said this about our young conservative students: ‘You refused to be silenced by powerful institutions and closed-minded critics. . . . You faced down intimidation, pressure and abuse. You did it because you love your country and you believe in truth, justice, and freedom. . . . You’ve fought bravely for your rights, and now you have a President who is also fighting for you.’ We should all be very proud of our president for taking a meaningful action like this, on a very important issue to all of us—freedom of speech. It’s one of the most urgent and overlooked problems in our society today and an important issue for future generations. For a long time, our values have been under siege, and, throughout history, courageous patriots have stood up to the forces of coercion and censorship and indoctrination. This is probably happening even to some of you—intimidation and coercion. It takes many forms, and it’s one reason I’m happy to be here tonight. We are in this fight together, and together I think we can make a difference. The suppression of free speech isn’t just a Berkeley problem, and in fact it isn’t just a California problem, it is a problem at the core of all of our educational institutions. Even at my university back home in Kentucky, I put up with all sorts of nonsense from professors. In fact, I was told explicitly [not to write] about the political economics of happiness, about how the Right and the Left differ, because the Left’s idea of freedom is a material idea—free stuff: The government will provide you food, clothes, shelter—things, but not freedoms. And I think that is the main difference between the Left and the Right. Our idea of freedom is immaterial. We want everyone to have that, and it is impossible to provide everyone with everything in the world to make everyone comfortable, as you would like, so, because of that, their expectations aren’t met, and—[because] it’s impossible—they will perpetually be disappointed. I thought it was really interesting he [the professor] said, ‘You can write about that, but you are going to get a C-, at best.’ So, I wrote about Chinese yoga. And I got an A+, but I didn’t get to write about what I wanted to.

Leftists Do Not Create Happiness

“But, you see, it’s pretty much clear as day that people on the Left aren’t happy. And I don’t think they’ll ever be happy, because a lot of them don’t have faith. A lot of them have high expectations, and there is no way to achieve that. Most campuses, when they were established, were built on mottos like ‘truth,’ ‘virtue,’ and ‘wisdom.’ In other words, they were places designed to allow students to pursue knowledge. In order to educate future generations, universities should be places that foster an open exchange of ideas and critical thinking, and not just liberal echo chambers. But over time, Leftists have replaced the values enumerated in those mottos with counter-ideals of tolerance, inclusion, and diversity, yet they themselves are intolerant and exclusionary and hollow. Their conception of diversity, in particular, is superficial at best. They’re tyrannical, they want nothing to do with intellectual diversity, and, instead of valuing the uniqueness of each individual, they would rather see people sacrifice their individuality for the sake of conformity to Leftist dogma. They call themselves progressives, and we all should know exactly what they are progressing us toward—tyranny!

“In America, the very heart of the university’s mission is to prepare students as citizens in a free society, but many have become increasingly hostile to the most basic freedom: freedom of speech. Under the guise of safe spaces and trigger warnings, speech codes at universities restrict free thought and expression. And universities, of all places, should promote free speech and free thought, not suppress it. And our opponents understand the importance of educators in society, and this is why they have taken control of almost every aspect of campus culture. They control classes, what speakers can come to campus, the social organizations, the grades, and even the restaurants and food available on campus. . . . In effect, the Left has weaponized higher education against conservatives. And the one thing young conservative students have left, to fight back, is the First Amendment. But even that right is being quickly eroded. But we shouldn’t fear these people, really. Their ideas are shallow and can’t stand up to honest scrutiny, and that’s why they resort to violence and intimidation. That’s the whole point. They want to intimidate people into submission. People who are confident in their beliefs don’t act like that, they don’t censor other people. They welcome a free, fair, and open debate. But the Left can’t afford that. You know it, I know it, and even they know it. There should be a fair competition in the marketplace of ideas.

The Timeless Wisdom of Our Founding Fathers

“Our Founding Fathers were very brilliant men, and they built upon ideas of wise men who came before them, and they knew that our country would be wiser, nobler, and more successful with the uninhibited exercise of free speech. And, just as they built upon the ideas of men who came before them, we build upon their ideas. And one of these great men who influenced our Founding Fathers was John Milton, the 17th-century author of Paradise Lost. He said, ‘Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue, according to conscience, above all liberties.’ But the Left knows that they can’t afford to allow that. As I’ve said, their idea of freedom is materialistic. They’re always promising free-this or free-that, but never promising the freedom to stand up against their rigid ideology, and they spread their propaganda and expect no dissenters. They try to censor and silence the conservative voice, they sit in their ivory tower, and they ridicule everyday American people like you and me. If they got what they truly wanted, they would put our Constitution through the Great Paper-Shredder and be done with it.

You should not have to submit yourselves arbitrarily to consequences simply for expressing your values. Most of all, you should never, ever apologize to them for your beliefs. It is important for all of us to stand up and speak out and be a bright beacon of hope to others who are lost in the dark. Along the way, if you do this, you will have to make sacrifices. You may see people who are close to you—old friends—give you the cold shoulder. You might even be ostracized by your own community, but in so doing you will meet many more people who are more open-minded and who will probably outnumber the people who turned their backs on you. I know this firsthand, and I’m sure some of you do too. It’s a risk to do these sorts of things, but it is entirely worth it. And we all know that without any risks there are no rewards, but the rewards are boundless. Thank you all for having me here tonight.”


*It was Saul Alinsky who wrote, in his “Personal Acknowledgments,” in Rules for Radicals: A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals, the following words: “Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins — or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom—Lucifer.”

**Mr. Palmer runs the Tea Party Sentinels.

***Although “Antifa” is short for “Antifascist,” Ennio Flaiano reminds us that “fascists divide themselves into two categories: fascists and antifascists.”

Who Is Paul Dowling?

Paul Dowling is an American patriot who believes that individual freedom and minority rights—that only a free republic can protect—are the linchpin of Western Civilization. Paul has written a book on the Constitution, explaining the republican values on which it is based and how they protect against the dangers of a strictly majoritarian system of governance. The book is called Keeping a Free Republic: Learning the Blueprint for Liberty in the Constitution & the Bill of Rights. (It is on sale at Amazon, for $6.49 in paperback and $0.99 as a Kindle download.)

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