What do Libertarians Stand to Gain by Defending Milo Yiannopoulos?

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Milo Yiannopoulos: Where do we start?

Before we raise our pitchforks and torches, I personally am not offended in any way with what he has to say. In fact, I find it all extremely entertaining. This opinion has nothing to do with hate speech or racism. I heard his statements on his alleged promotion of pedophilia months and months ago on The Joe Rogan Experience, and took it as a partial joke and am surprised it took this long to surface. My opinion on him has little to do with his explosive nature or his comedic tropes, but more to do with questioning what the end goal in all of this is, and how he in any way helps or advances the libertarian message. Is he the next Christopher Hitchens? Or is he just a re-hashed neo-con who doesn’t like the GOP power structure, and is more akin to a right-wing Lena Dunham begging for attention?  I would personally argue that he is far more the latter than a paradigm shifter of society’s problems, and that he does not benefit libertarians at all.

I was introduced to him several years back, and my initial reaction was one of comedic enjoyment. I appreciated how easily he was able to make liberals who thought they had dignified and logical points turn into erratic and scrambling messes in mere minutes. With his abrasively flamboyant and no-holds-barred statements, Milo was able to expose many of our liberal foes as nothing more than sanctimonious sophists who would quickly abandon everything they said about acceptance, and encouraging diversity in thought the second they were faced with a minority that starkly opposed them. However, after hearing respectable long format interviews with him on The Joe Rogan Experience, The Rubin Report and listening to a talk he gave along with Christina Hoff Sommers and Stephen Crowder, I started to realize his entire message is nothing at all but recycled talking points and quasi neo-conservativism but delivered by an openly gay, Jewish immigrant. Dr. Sommers explained masterfully how third wave feminism is not a positive movement for women and is closer to a female supremacy movement than a bid for equality. Milo approached the mic and blew our minds with one statement, “Feminism is cancer.” Funny? Totally. Informative, new or intellectual? Not quite. Rush Limbaugh has said the same things for years. Anyone can do that, given you are okay with a certain amount of condemnation. When listening to him speak with Joe Rogan, it was more of the same: humorous, but not a solitary mind-blowing thought, not a single thing I haven’t heard a thousand times before, albeit he just takes the gloves off, uses foul language and employs ad hominems. But he hasn’t espoused a single bit of knowledge that I nor any other self-respecting non-Leftist hasn’t heard already. Unless he is attempting to attract liberal converts, which I do not think he is.

In addition to not really saying anything earth-shattering, Milo does us something of a disservice insofar he is now to an extent representing libertarians, and much of this may have to do with our lack of promotion in mainstream media and culture, as well as internal failures to market our movement more effectively. Milo often suggests he is fighting for libertarian voices to be able to speak unhindered, as well as alt-right and Republican voices; however I do not believe Walter Block, Ron Paul or Tom Woods are having a hard time speaking at all. He isn’t a libertarian in any way, and has gone to great lengths, like he did in his interview with The Nation, to suggest he doesn’t quite see us in a positive light, stating, “Libertarians are children. Libertarians are people who have given up looking for an answer. This whole ‘everybody do what they want’ is code for ‘leave me to do what I want.’ It’s selfish and childish. It’s an admission that you have given up trying to work out what a good society would look like, how the world should be ordered and instead just retreated back into selfishness. That’s why they’re so obsessed with weed, Bitcoin, and hacking.” To me, this sounds like a John McCain interview. My issue stems from the fact that he is the loudest voice in the room, and he is doing the talking for us. A person who slanders the entire libertarian philosophy is doing the talking for libertarians in the mainstream. But we will risk our necks for him and fully associate ourselves with him just because he mentions libertarianism a couple times? Something seems off about that.

Many of my libertarian peers have pushed back at me and suggested that we have to support his right to free speech. I totally agree. Milo has a right to speak at public universities. He has a right to some degree of protection from out of control rioters. We are forced to fund these institutions and therefore we could demand diversity of thought, no matter how foolish the thought may be. Even the former President of Iran was allowed to speak some years ago at Columbia, and was given the opportunity to talk and answer questions. I believe President Ahmadinejad is a far more offensive person than Milo is.

Milo, however, doesn’t have the right to speak at CPAC, or at a private event or institution. A publishing company does not have to publish his book. Their refusal to do so is not a resistance to free speech; it is a capitalist business decision in which one weighs the risk of releasing it versus the reward. All libertarians should support the right to choose who you enter into contracts with and your right to discriminate as a business or property owner. If private institutions and universities decide to shun him, it is their right, just as it is our right to no longer associate with the aforementioned institutions and universities. This actually works; take a look at the University of Missouri, who’s reckless expansion of rules following a series of alleged racist incidents have led to a drop in applicants.

In short, I do not see what we gain from defending Yiannopoulos so vigorously. We should support his right to speak as much as he wants, but he espouses nothing new, he does nothing to promote free market economics in any way, he supports the police state at every turn and has no interest in scaling back Western influence via militaristic intervention. Milo is a great entertainer, but we gain nothing from going out of our way to defend him. He will be fine without us.

* Nick Verdino is a libertarian and identifies as an anarcho-capitalist, who lives in Chicago, Illinois. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from the University of Akron in Ohio.

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