There are quite a few people who have become extremely agitated that Twitter expelled Milo Yiannopoulos, Breitbart Tech's editor and free-speech provocateur. #FreeMilo has been trending for days. Quite frankly, I'm having a really hard time caring about this.
This happened on Friday, right down the street from me at the University of California Irvine:
To begin with, Milo has always been a very mixed bag for me. I'm of two minds about him and they exist in direct opposition to each other.
On one hand, I love that he infuriates the right people. Safe-spacers, pearl-clutching undergrads, feminist radicals, and anti-free speech activists deserve every single thing he's hurled at them. It's been a divine pleasure to watch these regressive leftists go apoplectic whenever and wherever he shows up.
That he calls his tour of American college campuses “The Dangerous Faggot Tour” kills me. Given the protests and shrieks at almost every venue he appears, many of the students agree and consider him very dangerous. The responses at DePaul University, where his planned talk was interrupted and didn't end up occurring at all, and at UMass Amherst, when he spoke with Christina Hoff Summers and Steven Crowder, perfectly illustrate the lock-step hateful closed mindedness of those who cannot tolerate contrary opinions.
The talk with Summers and Crowder, which continued despite the interruptions, is exceptional. It also introduced a new word to the political lexicon: the Trigglypuff. Here's how she protested the three speakers:
He's fearless, bold, and talks straight into the face of political correctness on a wide variety of topics. And most of the time it's VERY good stuff. His columns at Breitbart reflect the exact same attitude and perspective. Here are a collection of recent headlines, which speak for themselves:
- The Left’s Bloody War on Women: Sending Chicks into Combat Betrays Men, Women and Civilization
- The Solution To Online ‘Harassment’ Is Simple: Women Should Log Off
- Science Proves It: Fat-Shaming Works
- There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women In Tech, They Just Suck At Interviews
- The Left Chose Islam Over Gays. Now 100 People Are Dead Or Maimed In Orlando
On the other hand, there are three things about Milo that definitely rub me the wrong way.
Firstly, the “Daddy Trump” thing drives me nuts, and it has nothing to do with the object of his affection. The idea of a politician as a father figure is utterly distasteful, as is the homoerotic implication. Even if I were to conjure my ideal Presidential candidate (some magical combination of Washington, Paine, Lincoln, Coolidge, Reagan, and Friedman), he would still be someone to hire for the job for a limited period of time (as awesome as they'd be) and NOT my pater familias.
I realize that part of the reason Milo refers to Trump in such a manner is to tweak his haters, but to define an electoral relationship thusly is fundamentally leftist. Nanny staters need a daddy as head of state, and therefore take on the role of nurtured children. To suggest anyone as President Daddy is a non-starter.
He is also WAY too much of an apologist for the alt-right. In March, Milo and fellow “Breitbart” writer Allum Bokhari published a long article titled “An Establishment Conservative's Guide to the Alt-Right” wherein they explain the movement in fairly glowing terms.
Ian Tuttle at National Review summarized the article like this:
But for Bokhari and Yiannopoulos, the Alt-Right consists of fun-loving provocateurs, valiant defenders of Western civilization, daring intellectuals — and a handful of neo-Nazis keen on a Final Solution 2.0, but there are only a few of them, and nobody likes them anyways.
Based upon my experience with elements of the alt-right, admittedly anecdotal, Bokhari and Milo are totally wrong. There have been numerous occasions, primarily on Twitter, where I've run into these folks and it was 100% not fun. They are not merely the “dangerously bright” attention-grabbing juvenile pranksters described in the article. I have friends who've been ganged up on by them, and the vitriolic slurs and threats were light years beyond unseemly.
There was one evening where the profiles of the interactions on my feed were little more than a VERY long series of swastikas. Even despite a flurry of blocks and mutes, I was quickly added to various Twitter lists such as “White Anti-Whites” and “Cucks.”
Lastly, I've grown quite exhausted of his constant references to whom he has had sex with, whom he'd like to have sex with, and the various ways all that sex has been or will be experienced. As a libertarian-minded individual, I have no issues with his being gay or his sex life. It just seems to me that it undermines whatever important point he is making if he also includes in the same sentence a reference to how much he loves one particular intimate act or another.
As far as Milo's Twitter ban itself, of course Twitter is within its rights to ban whomever they want for any reason they want. This is not a 1st Amendment issue. In fact, denying access to whomever they choose IS a 1st Amendment issue. It's their right to refuse service.
On the other hand, they do have a somewhat murky code of conduct, one that is seemingly applied with varying levels of
inconsistency. Supporters of Milo have rightly pointed out that far more egregious activity has occurred on the platform without any repercussion. It's certainly likely that those on the right side of the political spectrum receive more critical scrutiny than those on the left.
But even if the lifetime ban totally proves Milo's point that the left actively tries to silence voices with which it disagrees, it's still not enough for me to get hot and bothered. He's been throwing rocks at their windows from their own front yard, and he and his supporters shouldn't be surprised if they get kicked out. I get that many of his several hundred thousand followers are upset about it, but I'm just not one of them.