Liberals who have long considered Milo Yiannopoulos the embodiment of the true racist nature of modern conservatism are having a schadenfreude moment over his latest controversy (this time on the subject of underage sex) that has now led to his ouster from Breitbart News, a publication that long supported and endorsed his provocative and sometimes tasteless brand of commentary.
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Let’s be clear: There is no “teachable moment” about modern conservativism that can be gleaned from Milo’s shocking discourse, or his current implosion. He never really embodied any political movement other than one that sought his own self-aggrandizement as a way to undress some of the absurd pieties of political correctness. Indeed, his shtick was shunned by much of the conservative movement even if he spent plenty time attacking Liberal pieties involving race, immigration and gender.
No, the lesson that can be gleaned here is one about the left, which through its fundamentalist orthodoxy, known as political correctness, created a vacuum of Conservative thought in our cultural establishments including much of the mainstream media, and of course in academia.
Milo in all his outrageousness became the voice of opposition, or at least the one that sucked the most air out of the room.
Conservatives have long complained about being denied access to university lectures (or when they were invited to speak, being shouted down by left-wing agitators), the creepy Stalinist nature of speech codes in various cultural institutions (ie academia but also the media, and the arts) not to mention the obviously left-wing slanted coverage of news.
In his dystopian classic “1984,” George Orwell may not have totally predicted the insanity and totalitarianism sweeping our cultural institutions, but he came pretty close. After years of excoriating conservatives as bigots and troglodytes for believing in such "hot button" issues as low taxes and of course the teaching of Western civilization, the left has nullified the true meaning of racism and many other "isms" to include anything that deviates from their stated orthodoxy.
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A swastika painted on a building is clearly a police matter and should never be tolerated. But at the University of Missouri (my alma mater) such an incident led to weeks of protests, hunger strikes and the resignation of the university’s president for a reason that no one can fully articulate. After the election of President Donald Trump, a Yale professor allowed students to skip an exam so they could grieve.
All of which gave Milo his opening. He may or may not believe the crazy stuff he often says (I’m not going to catalogue the litany, which is easy to look up) in his columns at Breitbart News, or his many speaking engagements. But he knew how to get under the skin of the totalitarian left and as his adversaries went low, Milo went lower on those taboo issues such as race, immigration and a lot more.
The left ridiculed religious conservatives, who believed that marriage is between a man and a woman, as bigots. Milo, as a gay man, once wrote on his Facebook page that “Gay marriage is not a ‘civil rights’ struggle. Stop comparing gays and blacks. When gay men are slaves it’s because we begged to be.”
And with that he developed a following, not just among the so-called alt-right fringe variety but also among many college kids who actually saw his outrageousness as the lesser-of-two evils. Here was a gay man, unafraid to speak his mind and make outrageous comments on issues the left and their cowered university administrators deemed too taboo to dissent on.
Again, Milo didn’t debate the corrosive effect of political correctness as I would, or for that fact most right-of-center commentators would, with his truly shocking and at times sickening comments. But in this climate, with leftist gatekeepers oppressing language and culture, and creating an atmosphere where words and actions on certain issues have lost all meaning, he found an audience, and a degree of fame, which was probably his goal all along.
Full disclosure: I know Milo pretty well, and I like him. I certainly don’t condone his statements about underage sex, which he says have been taken out of context. In private meetings, he’s less bombastic and far less offensive than the performance art that appears on the pages of Breitbart or in interviews, like the one that has now threatened to totally unravel his career (as reported CPAC has rescinded his speaking invite scheduled for this weekend, Simon & Shuster has ditched his book deal, and as FOX Business was first to report, he was forced to resign from Breitbart News).
But make no mistake, there would be no Milo without the Orwellian left that controls much of popular culture, making it impossible to have a civilized discussion about certain issues. Milo is a product of run-away leftism that has perverted discourse to the point where words have lost much of their meaning, and has allowed a reckless provocateur to step into the void.
George Orwell is looking down saying “I told you so” with a tear in his eye.