DC Trawler

Re: Milo

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I’ve defended Milo Yiannopoulos when I think he’s right. That doesn’t oblige me to defend him when I think he’s wrong.

Milo has made a career out of provoking people, which is sometimes amusing and sometimes annoying. I think he makes good points about the blinkered hypocrisy of the left, and the rioting we saw when he went to Berkeley perfectly sums up the state of “anti-fascism” in 2017. It just means justifying violence against people who say things you don’t like.

But he also serves as an object lesson. Making yourself a target can reap rewards — TV appearances, speaking tours, book deals, etc. — but it also, y’know, makes you a target. Your every public utterance is fair game. Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of public opinion.

Which is what’s happening to him right now. I’m still trying to sort through the whole thing, and I’m not going to pile on the guy. I don’t know if he’s ever genuinely tried to legitimize pedophilia or pederasty, or if it was just his usual trolling. But I’m not going to defend it, either. If publishers or political conferences or any other private entities decide to distance themselves from him, well, too bad. Them’s the breaks. Live by the troll, die by the troll.

I honestly don’t think anything I’ve ever heard him say constitutes hate speech, because “hate speech” doesn’t actually exist. It’s just free speech that somebody hates. But one person’s right to speak doesn’t constitute anybody else’s obligation to listen.

In sum: I wish the guy no ill will, but this time he’s on his own.