Ron Radosh

Why Are Some Conservatives Still Defending the Abhorrent Milo Yiannopoulos?

Milo Yiannopoulos is neither a free speech martyr nor a conservative. Rather, he is a flamboyant and provocative troll. Ross Douthat accurately describes him this way:

[He is] a gay cross-dressing Catholic part-Jewish Brit who likes to boast about his sexual appetite, favors “ironic” racial and misogynist humor, and not occasionally describes the president of the United States as “Daddy.”

Daily Beast media columnist Lloyd Grove views him as:

… [an] embattled Donald Trump groupie and alt-right provocateur — who usually baits African Americans, Jews, women, transgender people, and his fellow gay men at his various speaking engagements in a merry tone of preening contempt.

Yet, conservatives who should have known better have sponsored him and fostered his celebrity. David Horowitz invited him to be the featured speaker at his Weekend this past November, and notably, CPAC invited him to be a featured speaker at this year’s conference, only to dis-invite him after watching newly released videos in which he defended pedophilia.

Later, Yiannopoulos claimed he never endorsed pedophilia, which he agrees is a crime. However, he had defined “consensual” sex between men and children who have gone through puberty as not being pedophilia.

CPAC chairman Matt Schlapp originally asked Milo to speak about how campus leftists at the University of  California-Berkeley challenged free speech by rioting when he was to appear, causing his speech to be cancelled. Schlapp had said:

Milo has exposed … liberal thuggery and we think free speech includes hearing Milo’s important perspective.

However, once he saw the videos, Schlapp made the judgment that Milo’s comments were out of bounds and CPAC’s board unanimously withdrew the invitation. His board members were angry that they had not been consulted about the invitation, and informed Schlapp that Milo had said on Bill Maher’s HBO show: “I don’t know if I am a conservative.”

For once, Yiannopoulos was telling the unabashed truth. Nothing he stands for is conservative. There is only one reason conservatives have sponsored him: he gets the Left furious to the point at which they mobilize to prevent him from speaking. The logic is simple: if the organized Left is against you; conservatives must support you. David French puts it this way:

People have deep and understandable affection for those they believe are effectively fighting for them. That’s the source of the bond between lawyer and client, between a politician and his base. That’s the source of the bond between Milo and his followers. He is “fearless.” He “destroys” feminists in the same way that John Oliver “destroys” Fox News. Fight the enemy, and your fans will forgive a multitude of failures.

French nails it. Milo might anger and enrage the Left, but this is not a valid reason for conservatives to endorse him. Yet, some use the Left’s hatred of him as the very reason to do that.

David Horowitz argues that, once again, conservatives have folded. Calling Milo “the most effective conservative on campus battling the anti-American identity-obsessed, racist Left,” Horowitz excuses his current rants because Milo has explained that he was a victim of childhood sexual abuse.

Many years ago, the late poet Allen Ginsberg openly supported a group dedicated to defending sex between older men and young boys. NAMBLA, the North American Man/Boy Love Association, is accurately described by Wikipedia as:

[A] pedophile and pederasty advocacy organization in the United States. It works to abolish age-of-consent laws criminalizing adult sexual involvement with minors and campaigns for the release of men who have been jailed for sexual contacts with minors that did not involve coercion.

Ginsberg explained in 1994 that he joined the group “as a matter of civil liberties.” He then proceeded to write that different countries have different age-of-consent laws, sounding much like Milo Yiannopoulos today. Ginsberg explained it as well with an historical parallel, writing:

Western Civilization prides itself on its foundation in classical Greek culture, wherein intergenerational love was a social practice praised by philosophers.

If the ancient Greeks practiced it, why not us?

Most gay groups at the time openly condemned NAMBLA. Wikipedia reports that Gregory King of the Human Rights Campaign said:

NAMBLA is not a gay organization … they are not part of our community and we thoroughly reject their efforts to insinuate that pedophilia is an issue related to gay and lesbian civil rights.

At the time, conservatives were critical of Ginsberg’s position. Norman Podhoretz wrote a well-known article in Commentary opposing Ginsberg’s proposition “declaring that the perverse was infinitely superior to the normal.” Ginsberg, he wrote, had said that he didn’t know how to define what was underage, adding that he himself “had never made it with anyone under fifteen.”

Having once condemned defenders of pedophilia like Allen Ginsberg, why should conservatives now sponsor and promote the antics of Milo Yiannopoulos? Why should we let him get away with painting himself as a victim when his entire career shows that he has been anything but? Defending pedophilia is rightfully considered beyond the pale. CPAC was right to cancel his appearance, as were Breitbart employees to reportedly pressure him to resign, and Simon and Schuster to cancel his book. Thankfully, Milo’s career in the conservative movement has come to an end.