Nothing happened when Daniel Pipes and Victor Davis Hanson showed up to give a talk on the UC Berkeley campus yesterday.

Nothing at all. No protests, no interruptions, no shouting, no disruptive audience members, no threats, no cries of “Racist!“, no verbal attacks on Israel — nothing.

Which — considering what happened the last time Pipes spoke at UC, in 2004 — is just about the most remarkable news to come out of the Berkeley campus in a while.

Pipes and VDH had been invited by the Objectivist Club of Berkeley to talk about “The Threat of Totalitarian Islam,” which is the kind of topic that usually brings out all the local leftist and Muslim groups. But at this event — not a single protester in sight.

There was tight security at the event, with policemen lining the walls of the auditorium — in anticipation of disruptions that never arose. The third person on the panel (on the left) was Yaron Brook, who was the Objectivist Club representative.

(Photo courtesy of ProtestShooter)
Fellow photoblogger ProtestShooter has also posted a short report about this event, showing the security precautions outside the venue. He also used his nice camera to take some clear shots of the speakers, as seen here.

This is a video of Pipes giving part of his introduction, and another snippet from later in his talk. There was an embarrassing glitch in the sound system, and the Objectivist Club audio technician never could get the microphones to work correctly. As a result, much of the audience had to strain to hear what the speakers were saying, and hence the audio in this video is less than ideal — though I boosted the decibel level, so it should be audible.

My hidden pocket camera, which doesn’t have much zoom, isn’t quite up to snuff when it comes to taking indoor photos under dim lighting conditions. This shot of Pipes is the best I could manage.

(Photo courtesy of ProtestShooter)
ProtestShooter’s shot of Victor David Hanson is a little clearer.

Here’s a portion of Hanson’s speech. Again, apologies for the audio (and video) quality. Note to Objectivists: objectively speaking, you need a new sound technician!

Yaron Brook, with an accent (he was raised in Israel) and some quirky speech mannerisms, was particularly hard to decipher, to be frank.

What has changed at UC Berkeley that this event elicited not a single protester, when in the past (as recently as six months ago) any similar event would have brought out throngs of naysayers?

Did the event simply pass unnoticed because it wasn’t sufficiently advertised? No. Has the climate changed on campus? Doubtful.

No, what seems to me to be the explanation for the unremarkable nature of this event was that the campus is actually becoming de-politicized: fewer and fewer students seem to give a damn about politics of any stripe. Outside the building where the talk was being held, thousands of students could be seen streaming by in every direction, loaded down with science and engineering textbooks, intent on studying. Fancy that! Despite the radical nature of many of the professors in the liberal arts departments, the days of Mario Savio and the Free Speech Movement and mass rallies and riots are long gone. Even when there are protests on campus (as at the two previous events linked to above), many of the protesters are non-students who still hang around Berkeley, dreaming of past glories.