Shouting down arguments that offend us isn’t taking them on; it’s empowering them, admitting that they have a force which can’t be matched at the intellectual level and so requires a more martial opposition. It’s worth adding that kind of thinking matched with the strength of the state – the police and military apparatuses – becomes totalitarianism. Enlisting that approach to a righteous cause doesn’t change that fundamental truth or mitigate its attendant disruptiveness. Freedom protects us all; its absence threatens us all, regardless of who is wielding power or to what end – after all, these things can be transient.

And yet, shamefully, that’s precisely what the assembled crowd (presumably most or all being members of the Middlebury community) did.