Being Libertarian Perspectives serves as a weekly, multi-perspective opinion and analysis piece by members of Being Libertarian’s writing team. Every week the panel, comprised of randomly selected writers, will answer a question based on current events or libertarian philosophy. Managing Editor Dillon Eliassen will moderate and facilitate the discussion.
Dillon Eliassen: Please answer in the affirmative or negative, and provide reasoning for the following question: The conservative and liberty movements will benefit from Milo Yiannapolous continuing to lose access to privately owned and maintained speech platforms. He’s been banned from Twitter, his college campus tour is continually disrupted and he just lost his Simon & Schuster book deal. Conservatives and libertarians are better off with him out of the public eye; he’s become a pariah and his advocacy for free speech is a mask for his desire for flamboyancy and notoriety.
David McManus Jr.: At least from my lens, what he is saying is a complete detraction from libertarian thoughts and ideals, although it’s quite possibly our best tool in sustaining free speech. In the day and age of the left vs right dichotomy, people are afraid of language from both sides and the right wing have been castrated and forced to kowtow to ‘PC culture.’ Regardless of how you view his advocacy, it hits headlines on CNN and is starting to cloud the mainstream media with a puppet from the internet that dances on a whim of what the online communities want. As I’m sure you can all agree, the online anonymity allows people to splurge their innermost thoughts all over a forum and not get arrested for thought crime (yet). So this incredible ability that Milo brings to the table to put a name, face and sense of rationality to the online hub of free speech does help to advance a free thinking society through acceptance and tolerance of other ideas. He is a pawn in a big game of chess, he learned his place, which was playing the role of the contrarian on a massive scale. It just so happened that he jumped the gun and perhaps tried to advocate for something that our culture wasn’t quite ready to discuss as of yet.
Danny Chabino: On the one hand, freedom of speech is exceptionally vital to a free society. However, on the other hand, private groups must be free to select whomever they want to speak and whatever messages and ideas they wish to convey. Otherwise, it is pointless to have such organizations. I don’t particularly like people who stir the pot for the sake of stirring the pot. They tend to be arrogant and obnoxious, seeking only attention for themselves. But, Milo is free to speak whatever he wishes to speak and to associate with whatever group he chooses. Is he good for freedom and for the liberty movement? I don’t really know or care that much. I’ll readily admit that I don’t follow him too closely because I find him off-putting. The voices that put forth solidly logical thought will usually end up being heard. I’m certain that if Milo’s ideas are found worthy, he will be heard.
Charles Peralo: I think the answer to this is simple: The roots to Being Libertarian were Being Banned From Being Liberal. I’d say right now a page, thanks to Billy Bob Clinton, we just barely passed was Occupy Democrats Logic. Both pages were founded due to censorship from a group. Now, Being Libertarian has banned people. People posting spam or maybe sometimes some HEAVILY racist or bizarre stuff. But there’s no Banned From Being Libertarian or no claim we deny people the power to ask a question. Being Libertarian is always open to the left or right to like us and make a point. So… We have some censorship rights here and pages get the right to censor how they wish, the same as universities. The question is between denial of speech or denial of the right to ask a question. BL being at 400,000 followers and ODL being at 350,000 is kind of just proof being rude and just denying some rights to talk creates the problem from the likely reality neither groups would exist if Being Liberal and Occupy Democrats weren’t so ban happy. But we need to actually point out the left isn’t immune to this. One of my best friends got banned from the LP page for saying in a comment “You guys should just nominate Rand Paul.” Also, our own special neck bearded pal from Fresno and our favorite guido with a taxation is theft hat and jersey block people left and right. So… All movements do this. And I’m going to stand up for Berkeley here. Rand Paul goes to speak and gets a standing ovation there, with it being the largest crowd a Republican ever got there. Milo speaks and it’s a riot. That shows this is not really a censorship of the right, because of economics or whatever. There’s clearly a line drawn in how they are different. And why do they stand for Rand and riot for Milo? Because Rand Paul says we need to abolish the payroll tax. He devotes an entire chapter in his book saying the criminal justice system is rigged against black people and our big government economics are making them poor. He says the TSA is bad for wrongly profiling Muslims. He says we shouldn’t bomb the shit out of everyone. He had a plan to make getting a work visa much easier for immigrants. Milo runs around and says transgenders are mentally confused, black people have no real issues that are the police’s fault and he does it all from the perspective and life experience of a 32 year old college dropout who gets joy from riots.
Jacob Linker: There’s a difference between saying there’s a right for someone to speak and actively providing them a platform though. BL as a private entity has a total right to decide to limit input from detrimental content providers. Also I doubt we’ve seen the last of Milo.
Baruti Libre Kafele: The truest test of one’s advocacy for the natural and constitutional right of freedom of speech is for one to convey or disseminate perspectives that may be contradictory or disagreeable to one’s social and political views whether they are politically correct or not. Whether I, or anyone agrees with Milo’s views on pedophilia and other topics or not, he is unequivocally making history and getting crucified for all of us to share our idiosyncratic perspectives or views to the world via journalism, blogging, public speaking, etc. His flamboyancy, sexual orientation or courting tendencies should not negate that he has the right to express himself however he pleases.
TJ Eckert: I agree with Charles and Danny to some extent. Free speech is one of, if not the most important, rights to maintain. That includes the ability to pick and choose when in private groups, otherwise private groups lose part of their meaning. While I think Milo should be able to speak when invited by a group that thinks they will benefit from having him, I don’t think he benefits our movement much at all. He is a provocateur, in my opinion, a narcissistic egotist, and isn’t interested in helping anyone really. Like Charles said, Rand Paul can come speak, deliver a message, and even get through to some who would riot for Milo. Why? In my shooting classes we have a saying that if you play stupid games, you win stupid prizes. In my opinion, Milo has been playing these stupid games for a while, and he’s just won his stupid prize. We’re better off without him, and good riddance. The only thing he was ever even good for, if you can call it that, was pointing out how absolutely crazy the left can go to twist their own thinking. Believing that words are actual violence, and actual violence in response was just self defense. But all the baggage he brings with him isn’t worth it.
Bric Butler: I think we are all in agreement that free speech is vital to protect and the only such limitations to be put on it should be in regard to private institutions deciding who they allow to use their venues. Yet this Rand Paul and Milo comparison…I’m not OK with. “In my shooting classes we have a saying that if you play stupid games, you win stupid prizes.” That is overt victim blaming. Same as, “Well what did she expect when she wore such a short dress? Of course she was going to get raped!” Milo might be unhelpful and just being an ass, but that doesn’t mean we should make even small excuses for rioters.
TJ: I’m not excusing riots, nor am I victim blaming. Maybe I should’ve been clearer: The stupid prize is him being dropped from his book deal, and possibly fired from Breitbart. Him pointing out that the left will riot over words may have been his only good contribution. The riots weren’t justified. The case of play stupid games, win stupid prizes is not a victim blame. Much like the kids who think it’s fun to shoot each other with Roman candles, they don’t get my sympathy when they get burned. Milo tried making a career at just pissing off anyone and everyone. Look at his Bill Maher interview. He just had to get a “fuck you” from each panelist, he was literally begging for it. Well, now he’s getting a big “fuck you,” just like he’s asked for.
Bric: Yeah, the Bill Maher interview really kind of finally turned me off from supporting him, before all this other stuff even came out. I think Milo’s problem is he got too famous too fast. Wasn’t able to properly handle it.
TJ: I honestly think his “pedophilia video” is a planned attack on him more than anything. I just don’t really feel bad for him though. He’s not an innocent victim by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t know if he’s the type that would handle it well even if he got famous in other ways.
Anna Trove: I used to like Milo. I agreed with him on a lot of issues and liked how he was blunt and uncompromising in the face of SJWs and feminists. However, as he got more in the public eye he just got more ridiculous. His views became giant caricatures. He started saying things like there should be a cap on women in STEM fields, and that birth control makes girls unattractive and crazy. Instead of simply using facts to dispel myths like the gender wage gap, he started promoting his own insane ideas about things. The Bill Maher interview was the nail in the coffin for me. It was painfully cringe-worthy. I absolutely don’t think the liberty movement should be associating themselves with Milo. It is not beneficial for us. Did anyone else hear in the Maher segment Milo said something like “I’m a liber-” but Bill cut him off? He has distanced himself from libertarians in the past (thankfully) and I hope he continues to.
Nima Mahdjour: Yes, conservatives & libertarians will continue to benefit from the establishment’s attempts to prohibit his free speech. No, I don’t think they’re better off without him in the public eye, but we don’t know since he’s just been getting more and more publicity from the smear attempts, especially this past month.
David: He’s really just the exodus king. If you take him away from one place (Twitter), he’ll find another way to come back bigger and better. You take away his spotlight and you give the spotlight to another spot. He will march them all towards a new platform. He’s kind of like hosting pornography on your website, he’s big business for whatever platform he’s on, but you’ve got to deal with the morality and the consequences of hosting a provocateur. He and Trump are two sides of the same coin – ridiculously offensive and for that reason they’ve inspired a new counterculture, but at the same time, they are in no way libertarian. Libertarians are grasping at straws to tag their ideology onto his likeness, but within a societal context, he’s doing us proud on our only shred of common ground.
John Engle: Milo has helped to normalize and propagate a brand of populist conservatism that has hijacked many of the people who would have once been found in the liberty movement. It hardly seems likely that his public censure will do much to bring all those people back, but it at least removes from that strand of thought one of its most able propagandists. Free speech is obviously fundamental. And odious though I find much of what he says (and claims to believe), I’m no great fan of de-platforming. As a general thought though, this is not a classic no-platform case since the moves have been made due to revelation of new information, so in the presence of that information no invitation may have been forthcoming in the first place. That said, it is interesting how quickly so many groups moved to distance themselves from someone who has said some provocative, even hateful things. It’s a decent case study of how uncomfortable provocation makes many people. Simon & Schuster was clearly desperate for a way to cut ties after the bashing they have received over the past several months and this is a face-saving opportunity for them.
Dillon: The freedom to express one’s self does not exist in a vacuum. Like the Second Amendment, there is a functionality required to exercise this natural right. An individual must own a gun for his right to bear arms to have any real meaning. The First and Second Amendments are not as abstract as other entries in the Bill of Rights, such as the Fourth, Fifth and Tenth Amendments, as those exist regardless of your behavior and interaction with others, and the application of those Amendments to you. Yes, you exercise your free speech when conversing with friends, or yelling at passers-by on a street corner, but to use your speech to effect change, tools and infrastructure are needed for your speech to be entered into the public domain. i.e. TV, radio, the Internet, printing press, etc. Milo’s speech will no longer be discursive since he’s been banned from Twitter, he’s resigned from Breitbart, he’s forced to cancel his college campuses speeches, his book’s been cancelled, etc. Milo has essentially squandered his right to free speech by prioritizing confrontation, flamboyance and provocation; he fell into the style over substance trap and he’s paying a price for it. He’s become radioactive; Milo made choices regarding how he would exercise his right to speech that caused not only those ideologically opposed to him to try to stifle him, but those normally predisposed to his beliefs are now shying away from him. In some ways, he’s made it more difficult for conservatives and libertarians who can make valid arguments and have important things to say due to guilt by association. Milo’s reaping what he has sewn. He spent so much time portraying feminism as “cancer.” IRONY ALERT: Milo’s the cancerous entity now, having expended so much time and effort arguing that Muslims, feminists and other groups who are the subject of his ire should be forcibly removed from society, but he has proven to be the most effective in causing himself to be removed from society.