Listen up people, conservatives did not make Milo Yiannapolus famous. Rather, it was snowflake outrage at the mere fact he said it which brought him to my attention. And that’s talking about his comments long before those on child abuse. I didn’t know the dude and prior to a little over a year ago, I didn’t know a Milo Yiannapoulus from a Henry Hippopotamus. Occasionally someone would share a video of his political musings and I thought to myself, “yeah I don’t know if agree with that take.” Then I moved on in my video feed to another clip of students outside his speech burning cars, assaulting people, and rioting at the mere fact he was saying stuff that I myself didn’t agree. It was that moment though I realized people were not just protesting the words that were coming out of his mouth. Because that’s fair game in America. Rather, they seemed to be dead set on his stopping his right to merely speak them. And while many would emphatically support the actual words Milo chooses to use I think the broad coalition of conservatives that got a kick out of Milo were just of the opinion he ought to be able to say them. We looked at him as the canary pigeon in the mine shaft of freedom. As long as he was free from the force of government or a rival political mob, yes you people are a mob, to say those offensive words then America still got some liberty left her yet. And now that he is persona non grata for his words on child sexual abuse, I have to tell you that I still don’t care about Milo. But I do care that the next guy is equally free to speak their mind in the land of free and the home of the brave.
The Fall of Milo
I don’t know whether I find it ironic or tragically appropriate that Milo, the champion of free speech, was taken down by speech itself. In an interview from years past that just surfaced, Milo is chatting with Joe Rogan about all things sex. Milo, who is gay and Rogan who is not I think but just really loves MMA and pot, just start jabbering back and forth in the type of “locker room” style talk one would expect from a Joe Rogan interview. During the interview, Milo admits that at age 14 he had sex with a Catholic Priest he names Father Michael. However, it’s what he says next that has everyone, conservatives included, scratching their heads.
He says that he was not raped. He says that it was consensual and that Father Michael was a good man. He goes on to praise Father Michael for his teaching of the sexual arts and that this is sometimes common with young boys. He makes reference to the age of consent being a sham and so on and so forth. And he even suggests that he, as a 14-year-old boy, was the predator. The conservative world gasps with a collective WTF, but more on that in a minute.
Joe Rogan is a little taken aback and shocked. Rogan calls it child molestation, Milo says its not and then the interview goes wherever it goes from there. This was from awhile back and yet, the video just surfaced today after Milo was invited to speak at CPAC. He was, of course, disinvited and now Milo the mighty purveyor of all words offensive is on the defensive. But I’m not going to defend Milo for his words on child sexual abuse because they were terrible and worrisome if he truly believed them. But I am going to defend free speech all the same. It was never, and it is not now, about Milo for conservatives. It’s about the free speech this country at least used to appreciate as a rare right denied in too much of the world.
Lessons on Free Speech
First, let me first say this is what happens when you put some icon of your movement up on a pedestal. Granted, every movement needs voices and figures but to elevate one so far above the others is just silly and dangerous. The truth is, everyone likely has that secret or statement of the past that would come back to ruin a movement today if it were chosen as that movement’s vanguard. Some of you guys like this blog and share my articles regularly, but just wait till you find out I actually have the corpse of Bea Arthur sitting in a rocking chair Norman Bates style. That whole “Bea Arthur wants her panties back” thing is not a joke. Someone actually took them, she’s pissed and she wants them back. Moving on, I’ll take no more questions about that.
I liked that Milo championed a raw form of free speech, but I never agreed with everything the dude said. Some of it was on point, but I don’t anybody that championed every word he spoke. We just liked the way he was able to push past traditional arguments by caring very little about being offensive. He said things in public that only teenagers say on Call of Duty online and it was amusing at times. The fact that he was taken down by his own sexual proclivities and opinions just means we need to swap out the canary pigeon in that mine shaft of freedom. I think he should be persona non grata for what he said on sexual abuse. But regarding his political opinions alone, if you think I’m about to kill the inner Voltaire in me because the dude championed a horrible position based on his personal experience you got another thing coming. For “I disapprove of what you, but ….” Well, you know the quote so you finish it.
No Free Pass for Milo
I will say this about Milo though. For an adult to advocate and hold the positions on sexual abuse he held is worrisome. But you guys have to remember that’s because we believe what Milo conveyed was, in fact, sexual abuse. And in doing so, Milo whether he wants to call it that or not was admitting his own history of being sexually abused as a child. Having worked in the mental health field for years, is it shocking that a young victim would romanticize his abuser? Is it shocking that Milo would call himself the “predator” in that situation and believe it’s his fault?
The answer is no, because child sexual abuse often distorts their perceptions of sex well into adulthood. The fact that Milo gave the answers he did is exactly while sexual abuse is so terrible. This Father Michael sounds like a piece of trash and the press needs to get to it as to figuring out who this guy actually is. He could be serving with kids right now, and its unacceptable for Milo to sit on that information. I’m okay considering him persona non grata for those reasons above and for offering legitimacy to future abusers. Sorry Milo, you have the right to free speech but you do not have the right to be free from the natural and logical consequences of your words. But back to the politics.
If you found yourself offended by his words, realize that in America your lack of emotional resiliency was not his problem and nor is it mine. And while I type some scandalous things here from time to time, I opt to choose my words carefully for the sake of my fellow man and community. Milo would have been served well to do the same. But the fight for speech is not even about Milo. It’s about all the other voices who are attempted to be silenced by mass cultural outrage. If people are not allowed to speak offense, particularly of a political nature then we are going to start running out of canary pigeons. Talk to people in Europe, even UK and Germany, and they will tell you that even in the western world free speech is never as assured as you think. So pardon me if I choose to apply a little Voltaire to my social outrage. It was never about Milo people, but that’s enough late night musings for tonight. Sorry I have to go, but it’s time to watch Matlock with Bea.
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