Milo’s book a bestseller, Regressive Left largely responsible

Dangerous, Milo Yiannopoulos’s new book, doesn’t come out until March 14, but it’s already #34 on Amazon, and #1 in 3 categories. On Friday, based on preorders, it had risen briefly to #1.  Milo was paid $250,000 as an advance by Simon and Schuster, and stands to earn much more than that given the sales.

What’s in the book? It’s hard to tell, for there’s precious little information on the Amazon site, and even USA Today‘s article “What we know (and don’t know) about Milo Yiannopoulos’s ‘Dangerous’ book” doesn’t tell us what it’s about. I suspect it’s a combination of his views and his experiences on his “Dangerous Faggot” tour.

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Those many people who have protested Milo’s appearances will be angered by the Dangerous‘s sales, and Sarah Silverman and Judd Apatow even called for boycotting of the book. What was clear to some of us, however, is that these kinds of protests against Milo merely call attention to him and his message, and are grossly counterproductive. It was after the boycott calls, for example, that the book went to Amazon’s #1 spot.

Those who oppose Milo vocally and publicly, and especially those who call for him to be “shut down”, or censored, are actually responsible for his success. If you want to see a good analysis of this, read Ryan Holiday‘s piece at the Observer, “I helped create the Milo trolling playbook. You should stop playing right into it.” Holiday, an author and marketer, wrote the book Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator, about how to take advantage of the media’s penchant for controversy to sell products and books. (You can hear an interview with Holiday about Milo here.)  Holiday doesn’t much like Milo’s message, but he doesn’t hate the man, either, and certainly doesn’t think he should be censored. I’ll give you Holiday’s diagnosis of the books’s sudden popularity, which I agree with, and his solution to Milo’s problematic message—a solution I largely disagree with.

The diagnosis (quotes from Holiday are indented) is twofold: 1) Milo gets  publicity by being controversial and inflammatory, and that draws him new followers along with new detractors, and 2) attempts to shut him down on college campuses win him additional sympathizers by giving him the moral high ground. Emphases are as in the original piece:

Most brands and personalities try to appeal to a wide swath of the population. Niche players and polarizing personalities are only ever going to be interesting to a small subgroup. While this might seem like a disadvantage, it’s actually a huge opportunity: Because it allows them to leverage the dismissals, anger, mockery, and contempt of the population at large as proof of their credibility. Someone like Milo or Mike Cernovich doesn’t care that you hate them—they like it. It’s proof to their followers that they are doing something subversive and meaningful. It gives their followers something to talk about. It imbues the whole movement with a sense of urgency and action—it creates purpose and meaning.

You’re worried about “normalizing” their behavior when in fact, that’s the one thing they don’t want to happen. The key tactic of alternative or provocative figures is to leverage the size and platform of their “not-audience” (i.e. their haters in the mainstream) to attract attention and build an actual audience. Let’s say 9 out of 10 people who hear something Milo says will find it repulsive and juvenile. Because of that response rate, it’s going to be hard for someone like Milo to market himself through traditional channels. His potential audience is too spread out, and doesn’t have that much in common. He can’t advertise, he can’t find them one by one. It’s just not going to scale.

But let’s say he can acquire massive amounts of negative publicity by pissing off people in the media? Well now all of a sudden someone is absorbing the cost of this inefficient form of marketing for him. If a CNN story reaches 100,000 people, that’s 90,000 people all patting themselves on the back for how smart and decent they are. They’re just missing the fact that the 10,000 new people that just heard about Milo for the first time. The same goes for when you angrily share on Facebook some godawful thing one of these people has said. The vast majority of your friends rush to agree, but your younger cousin has a dark switch in his brain go on for the first time.

and

That’s what’s so misguided about what happened at UC Berkeley [violent protests, largely from outsiders, attempting to get the talk canceled, which were successful]. From what I understand, most of the violence was perpetrated by infiltrators who were looking to sow chaos and destruction. Yet many of the peaceful protesters and organizers have admitted that they too were attempting to shut down Milo’s talk. The last thing you ever want to do is give an opponent the moral high ground—and attempts to suppress, intimidate and revoke constitutional rights do exactly that.

There is absolutely nothing that Milo has said (and more importantly, done) that ought to revoke his First Amendment right to give a speech on a college campus. It’s profoundly hypocritical for the same activists who demanded safe spaces against microaggressions to march en masse and aggressively shut down a nerdy, gay conservative immigrant with a funny name (a minority if there ever was one) until he flees under armed guard. As much as you might dislike what he’s saying—and I personally dislike it a lot—I promise, you are not setting a good precedent by preventing him from saying it. Worse, you’re giving him more people to say it to when the ensuing media coverage explodes.

The solution: Flood his events with peaceful protestors who don’t try to get his talks canceled, and discuss the issues with Milo and his followers.

If you actually want to fight back against these trolls, here’s a strategy to consider: Organize all you want, get as many people as you can to show up at their events, but don’t try to shut them down. In fact, the only thing you should try to shut down are the instigators who try to incite violence. Regain the moral high ground by saying that you absolutely respect their right to free speech.

And then, actually listen and talk to them. To me, the most effective retorts against the alt-right were when Trevor Noah had Tomi Lahren on his show and when Elle Reeve profiled Richard Spencer for Vice. Both came off looking mostly like jokes. Tomi Lahren showed her age. Richard Spencer revealed his movement to be mostly a collection of a few thousand sad dorks. Wale’s Twitter exchange with Tomi was effective too—there was no outrage, no opposition, just teasing.

They say sunlight is the best disinfectant. But it is also what allows you to see whether the emperor has any clothes. And it’s this sad, and often pathetic reality, that the collective hysteria has beneficently covered up in those it’s trying to fight. What should be seen as farce somehow looks like real fascism.

I agree with this only in part. While I think that odious speech should be checked by counter-speech, I’m starting to think that simply ignoring Milo would be more effective than protesting him. Further, I don’t think talking to people like Milo or Spencer or their followers in private conversation will change their minds: after all, their profession is being provocative. Further, putting them on television is only partly effective. Richard Spencer may come off poorly in that medium, or in a profile (I didn’t hear that one, nor Trevor Noah’s interview with Tomi Lahren), but Milo is eloquent and charming, and I haven’t seen him bested in television interviews and debates. Perhaps the best way to deal with people like Milo and Spencer, given that you oppose their message, is just to ignore them completely.

h/t: Jon

118 Comments

  1. Eric Grobler
    Posted February 13, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Dear Prof Coyne,
    I do not know much about Spencer except that he is considered a white nationalist.

    Is it fair to mention them together?
    I do not think they are in the same ideological boat.

    • Posted February 13, 2017 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Milo is not a white nationalist. He’s anti-Islam, and anti regressive left, and while ostensibly at Trump supporter, as far as I can tell, he doesn’t really care. He’s a master self-marketer and troll. *Everything* he does is about self-promotion and making money. Full stop. His ideology is paper-thin.
      He’s riding the Trump & anti-SJW gravy train to fame and fortune, and will say anything he has to to continue being controversial.

      He’s even said that if he were around in the 80s, he’d have been against the religious right, which he claims the left has become with their religion of politically correct multiculturalism, and on that point, I tend to agree.

  2. Mike Anderson
    Posted February 13, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    “There is absolutely nothing that Milo has said (and more importantly, done) that ought to revoke his First Amendment right to give a speech on a college campus”

    There is no First Amendment right to give a speech on a college campus. Go ahead, read the Bill of Rights.

    It’s these mischaracterizations of the response that lend credence to people like Milo, not the response itself.

    The protests against hate speech are a good thing. Hate speech should not be provided a venue in schools. Sure, these protests generate publicity that can be leveraged by the hate promoter, but that is the lesser of two evils. You can’t stop someone from getting exposure if they really want it.

    • Posted February 13, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      It may indeed be a First Amendment violation to cancel Milo’s talk after he’s been invited to talk at a public university, just because of what he might have said.

      Reagardless, it’s still censorship to withdraw an invitation or shut down a talk, regardless of the First Amendment.

      • Mike Anderson
        Posted February 13, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        Again, read the First Amendment. These gross mischaracterizations of things like the Bill of Rights are a common tool of misinformation and hate.

        • Posted February 13, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

          You really need a remedial education in how the 1st is applied. You are really out of your depth here.

          • Mike Anderson
            Posted February 13, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

            Nonsense. The First Amendment doesn’t give anyone the venue of their choice. The First Amendment doesn’t give me the right to teach creationism in science class.

            • Posted February 13, 2017 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

              As I said, you really need a remedial education in the 1st.

              Here’s a hint; the prohibition on teaching creationism in public schools is NOT based on free speech aspects of the 1st.

              • Mike Anderson
                Posted February 13, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

                “the prohibition on teaching creationism in public schools is NOT based on free speech aspects of the 1st.”

                Exactly.

              • Somite
                Posted February 13, 2017 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

                I am glad that we agree on this important limit to free speech. I just think we need one more.

        • Posted February 13, 2017 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

          I’m sorry but you’re being uncivil here. Learn to comment politely, i.e. avoid accusing your host of “gross mischaracterizations” and “using tools of misinformation and hate.” JEBUS.

          • Mike Anderson
            Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

            Point taken.

            • Posted February 13, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

              We’ve gotten to the point where the left is so preoccupied with signalling virtue that they can’t even formulate arguments or communicate honestly anymore.

              As Hitch used to say, “So you’re offended? I’m still waiting to hear your point!”

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 13, 2017 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

        Although the law is not as clear on this aspect of free-expression as it is in others, there is a reported decision holding that Auburn University could not cancel a speech by the Rev. William Sloan Coffin, where he had been invited to speak by an anti-Vietnam-War campus organization.

        The First Amendment right in this instance belongs to the listeners rather than the speaker.

        • Posted February 14, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

          It also seems that (to use a computing analogy) many people fail to understand a “trigger”. (Sorry, this has nothing to do with firearms or “trigger warnings, but with an integrity constraint sometimes used in databases.)

          The way I see it, (public) universities can set policies for clubs (for example, that clubs must disclose outside funding). Clubs in turn have rights once they meet the rules, like having the ability to hold events with outside guests. *Once* (there’s the trigger) one of those is in place, the guests get covered by the First Amendment. (In a way that they weren’t before: previously it was just qua human beings, citizens, whatever.) Sort of an extension of academic freedom (or part of same) to guests.

          Similarly there are FA rules for how universities can set up the policies, but that’s another story.

      • Posted February 14, 2017 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

        Wanker.

        • Cindy
          Posted February 14, 2017 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

          Who you calling a wanker?

          • Posted February 15, 2017 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

            The person who seems to put partisanship above mathematics. If you want to lay responsibility at the feet of any particular group, you have to do that from largest to smallest demographic. Certainly not laying the blame at a small and relatively insignificant demographic. That’s Yiannopoulos style deception for personal political gain.

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted February 13, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      “The protests against hate speech are a good thing.”
      Can you be more specfic? What hate speech exactly?

      • Mike Anderson
        Posted February 13, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        Criticizing people for their sexual orientation or gender, for instance.

        • Posted February 13, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

          If you don’t believe in freedom of speech when it is despicable, you don’t believe in freedom of speech.

        • Posted February 13, 2017 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

          Criticizing people for their sexual orientation or gender, for instance.

          Has he done that, or has he just criticised people for their political attitudes regarding sexual orientation and gender?

          I’ve seen a few Milo videos, but haven’t heard anything I’d actually call “hate speech”.

          Of course that term has now been devalued so much that it means merely “anything I dislike or find mildly upsetting”.

        • Eric Grobler
          Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

          “Criticizing people for their sexual orientation or gender, for instance”

          Sorry Mike that is not specfic enough.

          “Criticising” b.t.w does not imply hate speech.
          If I critisize Islam or Christianity is it “hate speech”?

          Is he against gays? Against the male/female gender?
          You realy need to do better in order to make the “hate speech” argument.

          • eric
            Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

            Does it even matter? The first amendment protects hateful speech, by whatever definition. There is no hate speech ‘crime’ in the US; hate speech is not illegal.

            Mike would have to argue that what Milo says constitutes illegal harassment or criminal incitement in order to have a leg to stand on. Even then, the courts look very dimly on prior restraint. Its likely that you could hand a judge a copy of Milo’s intended speech, it could meet the legal definition of incitement, and the judge would still probably say “he’s allowed to speak; if he chooses to go forward with those remarks, then we’ll talk.”

            • Eric Grobler
              Posted February 13, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

              “Does it even matter?”
              Good point.

              However I get very irritated when people do not take words seriously.
              If you wrongly accuse a person of ‘hate speech’ then you are yourself somewhat guilty of it ironically.

        • BJ
          Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

          So, criticizing people you like is hate speech?

    • Posted February 13, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      There is no First Amendment right to give a speech on a college campus. Go ahead, read the Bill of Rights.

      Eh, you seem to have some rather serious misunderstandings with respect to Constitutional law.

      The First of course doesn’t say anything about college campuses. But it also doesn’t say anything about town squares or the Internet.

      What it does say is that Congress shall not abridge the freedom of speech, amongst other things.

      And for a couple centuries, now, it’s been understood that no other part of government may do so, either — even though the First doesn’t say anything about them. Kinda obvious when you think about it, of course; for the President to go around doing those things forbidden by the First, it’d mean he’d have to do so lacking Congressional legal approval. And, though the First doesn’t mention lower levels of federation, such as states or counties, we’ve similarly understood that they’re not permitted to do stuff that’s so bad that the First had to prohibit it.

      (That’s the abridged version, which doesn’t even mention other relevant Amendments, let alone laws and court decisions and state constitutions and and and and and and….)

      You might be unaware, but the University of California at Berkeley is a government-run public institution. Its administration, faculty, and staff are every bit as prohibited from abridging the freedom of speech as the President.

      The University has reasonable standards for deciding whom to invite and welcome to speak on their campus…but those standards cannot and must not apply to the ideas the speaker may wish to address —

      — else they would be obviously and explicitly and indefensibly be in violation of the First Amendment.

      Besides, it also misses the bleedin’ obvious.

      First, Berkeley is literally home to the Free Speech movement on college campuses. My own granfdather was one of the rabble rousers agitating for the cause, and I’ve got a bunch of his letters and what-not stashed away somewhere that I still need to read through. He would be simultaneously pissed and perplexed by this bullshit going on in his home town.

      And, second…college campuses should be physically safe spaces, yes — but they must also be intellectually dangerous, else what’s the point? If you’re going to college to be comforted by familiar pleasantries, you’re as lost as a 12-point buck deer at an NRA convention.

      So, sure. Go ahead and chant your Big Lie about how the First doesn’t apply to government institutions like state universities. The First, perversely enough, gives you that right.

      But just what the Hell are you thinking of? That the same government is going to protect your right to speak in disagreement of it after you’ve just helped it shut down speech you don’t like?

      And in the day and age of Drumpf, of all times?

      Really. What the Hell are you thinking of?

      Cheers,

      b&

      • Mike Anderson
        Posted February 13, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        “What it does say is that Congress shall not abridge the freedom of speech, amongst other things.”

        Bingo.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted February 13, 2017 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

          And the US Supreme Court long ago extended that prohibition to the actions of all governmental entities — whether within the executive, judicial, or executive branch, and including the agents of state and local governments.

          So what is your point?

        • Posted February 13, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

          Mr. Anderson, read the comment by Ken right below yours. YOU are the one mischaracterizing how the First amendment is actually used.

        • BJ
          Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

          You don’t understand how the First Amendment works. Public universities are an extension of the government. They have First Amendment protection.

          You’re just reading the words you want to read and ignoring all the precedents and decisions made based upon those words.

        • Mike
          Posted February 13, 2017 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

          Mr. Anderson,

          Before you retort back, “But that’s not what the words in the constitution say, see I have my pocket constitution right here.” You should remember that the constitution says that the Supreme Court is the final arbitrator of what the constitution “means” with the words within it, and the Supreme Court has clearly stated it means all branches of government, including state and local.

          You may disagree, but until you get the Supreme Court to agree with your take on the constitution, you are just wrong.

      • Somite
        Posted February 13, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        But teaching institutions have academic standards. There is a reason why creationism or climate change denialism is not taught in universities no matter how much some people wish for it to be taught as an alternative theory.

        They simply do not fulfill basic academic standards. And neither does Milo.

        • eric
          Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

          This is irrelevant to the question of who student groups can invite to come in and speak. The College Republicans are not the US Berkeley Administration and they don’t have to follow any UC educational mission statement. If they want to invite Bozo the Clown, they can even though Bozo the Clown provides no redeeming academic value. Arguably, that’s just what they did. 🙂

          • tomh
            Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

            Well, the UC Berkeley chancellor agrees; “from a legal perspective, the U.S. Constitution prohibits UC Berkeley, as a public institution, from banning expression based on its content or viewpoints, even when those viewpoints are hateful or discriminatory. Longstanding campus policy permits registered student organizations to invite speakers to campus and to make free use of meeting space in the Student Union for that purpose.”

            Milo plans to return and the school certainly won’t bar him. The first event was cancelled for security, after protests turned violent, and I would imagine the security will be increased the next time. The Daily Cal (school newspaper) had an editorial yesterday encouraging his return.

            • Posted February 13, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

              What’s sad is that the University admin, the mayor and the police didn’t abide by their supposed convictions to protect free speech. The stand-down order in effect gave veto power to the Antifa rioter-terrorists, with the tacit approval of the administration.

              Those black-clad & masked pussies were so tentative in their initial probes of the police line that even a minimal response would have kept the peace. Just grab a few of them and throw ’em into a paddy wagon and watch the rest scatter.

              I hope the mayor is sued into bankruptcy for the assaults & injuries that resulted from those riots.

        • BJ
          Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

          Ah, so you’ve switched your stance from “we should ban speech Somite doesn’t like,” since that hadn’t been working well in previous threads, to “speech that I feel doesn’t have academic value shouldn’t be allowed.” This also will not go well, for one of the same reasons your other argument didn’t: someone has to decide academic standards.

          Furthermore, Milo is not teaching a class, but being invited to give lectures. Lectures by invited speakers have no requirements for “academic value,” and even if they did, it would be extremely easy to argue that Milo’s lectures have academic value. Whether you like that value is a different, and irrelevant, question.

    • eric
      Posted February 13, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      You are getting the issue entirely wrong. It is the College Republicans that have the first amendment right to have their speech given equal respect of the law. It is the College Republicans who could sue the administration – and probably easily win – if UC was to have decided not to allow Milo to speak because they didn’t like his views.

      UC can always say “no student groups can invite speakers any more.” That’s also a legal option. But as long as they allow student groups to invite speakers, they can’t arbitrarily decide the CRs are the one group that can’t, or arbitrarily decide to block the CR from having a speaker when they don’t block other student groups from having speakers.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        Right. Outsiders have no right to speak on campus. But where a public university allows students to invite speakers — creating what is known legally as a “limited public forum” — the school may not discriminate on the basis of the speaker’s viewpoint, and the students who invited him or her have a First Amendment right to hear the speaker.

    • BJ
      Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      You could not be more wrong. Public universities, as extensions of the federal government, are responsible for upholding the First Amendment, and are violating the Constitution if they do not.

  3. Cindy
    Posted February 13, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Except the press can’t resist reporting on Milo. He’s clickbait. Trump was/is also clickbait. If CNN doesn’t report on an inflammatory statement made by Trump, someone else will, and they will lose market share. I suspect that this is one reason why Trump’s campaign was so successful – he is very good at trolling the media, and he got a lot of free press because they just couldn’t ignore him.

    And the illiberal left, by losing their minds every time Milo makes an appearance, is only giving Milo the attention that he craves. In a twisted way, they are promoting Milo, because they just can’t leave it alone.

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted February 13, 2017 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Note that the Milo phenomenon was created by the left.
      Without safe-spaces and radical identity politics the enthusiasm for him would not exist.

      • Mike Anderson
        Posted February 13, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        That’s like blaming the Jews for Hitler.

        There will always be people that hate women (or Jews, or blacks). Blaming the target group, of those that defend the target group, is simply backwards.

        • Posted February 13, 2017 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

          Godwinned

        • Eric Grobler
          Posted February 13, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

          “That’s like blaming the Jews for Hitler.”

          With all due respect, that is a ridiculous analogy.
          Lets get back to current reality – do you agree that todays culture of victimhood and identity politics are unhealthy and that we need to restore some balance and allow an exchange of different ideas?

          • Mike Anderson
            Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

            “do you agree that todays culture of victimhood and identity politics are unhealthy and that we need to restore some balance and allow an exchange of different ideas?”

            I don’t seek to determine what kind of politics people are allowed. There’s certainly a picture of the sheltered student being promoted, mainly on places like breitbart, but I haven’t encountered it. “The right” has been horrified by what goes on on college campuses for as long as I can remember, often predicting apocalyptic results from what the kids are doing, so I tend to take those criticisms with a grain of salt.

            • Alpha Neil
              Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

              “I don’t seek to determine what kind of politics people are allowed.” No, but being the arbiter of what people can say or hear is the next best thing.

              • Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

                I don’t know which is scarier, that Mr Anderson won’t understand your point or that he will.

        • Posted February 13, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

          You’ve taken a comment about ideas (“safe-spaces and radical identity politics”) and treated it as though it were about people (“women or Jews, or blacks”).

          From what I’ve seen Milo’s main target is ideas.

      • Posted February 13, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        Also without the protests, violent or otherwise, he would be nothing more than a fart in the wind bleating to a handful of College Republicans an completely irrelevant. He is very much open about this – he’s *laughing* at the left because they keep him relevant.

        The term “useful idiots” has never been more aptly applied.

  4. bluemaas
    Posted February 13, 2017 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    re ” to ignore them completely ” — —

    Thus … … = SHUNNING and
    is a very old, old pacifist mechanism
    practiced .extremely effectively. by
    Quakers and others (a whole passel
    of such passively resisting entities).

    And as re my using it personally ? with
    ‘situations’ in which I have found myself ?
    Like I’d stated: extremely effective.

    Blue

  5. FH
    Posted February 13, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    While I agree that just ignoring Milo would be best, I don’t think that’s a realistic option. There are so many people who just love to protest, to show their virtue by coming out and publicly denounce racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and all manner of real or imagined social ills, that trying to convince them to just not do that at all is likely a losing battle.

    Trying to convince the great majority of them to do it in a civilized manner, be there, make their opinions clear but not shut the other side down and thus getting back the moral high ground might possibly work.

    • Somite
      Posted February 13, 2017 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Ignoring Milo would work.

      But it would also help if we focused on exposing the hack he is, rather than in a defense of his free speech.

    • tomh
      Posted February 13, 2017 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      “There are so many people who just love to protest, to show their virtue”

      You seriously think people are protesting racism, etc., in order to “show their virtue?”

      • eric
        Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        At Berkeley? Yes. I was there (lo these many decades ago). Berkeley protests collect all types; the people who believe in thecause, the people who want to be seen believing in the cause, the people who are just curious about what the protest will be like….even people who hope something crazy will happen and they can have a ‘war story’ about being there when the tear gas flew or whatever.

        Going to a protest in Berkeley is kind of like going to watch Nascar…some people might be there because they really like the sport, but a lot of them are there for the potential wrecks.

        • tomh
          Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

          I was there also, in the sixties and off and on since. I found the comment that people merely want to “show their virtue,” to be condescending, if not ignorant, and I wonder what criteria were used to come to such a conclusion.

          • Cindy
            Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

            I saw some more video of the protests at Berkeley.

            One of the protestors, protesting “Nazi” Milo (who is gay, Jewish and has sex with black men), smashed the glass of a Starbucks, shouting ‘death to Zionism’

            “Let’s fight Nazis by vilifying Jewish people”

          • Posted February 13, 2017 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

            These young Berkeley kids are possessed of “Matterism”. They know the history of the school and want to be part of a fight against some big-bad too. In short, they want to matter. (coined by D. Tracey)

            They don’t know that Milo is just a clever troll, and would much rather believe that they are actually fighting Nazis, and because they got into this prestigious school, of course the Nazis they fight are going to be real Nazis. No one is going to fool them.

            Of course it’s about virtue-signalling. This is what young people do to communicate with their peers about conforming to norms and agreeing with their accepted liberal indoctrination. These are the ‘good kids’ after all. Too bad the good kids are part of a religion of multiculturalism that has outlived its usefulness or connection to reality.

            • Cindy
              Posted February 13, 2017 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

              The fellows on the ‘Reasonable Doubts’ Podcast spoke about this phenomenom as well. About how people want to ‘matter’…about how they need to feel that they are making a difference. They spoke about it in the context of evangelical Christians who ‘fight demons’ and ‘save unborn babies’. They explained that we can’t all be Obama. Us ordinary folk lead pretty boring lives and in the end we amount to nothing. We want to feel as if we can make a difference, but not *too* much. Fighting demons and picketing abortion clinics is a great way to 1) feel as if you are making a difference without risking anything 2) signal how moral and virtuous you are without risking anything

              • Posted February 14, 2017 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

                Good point. I was trying to think of examples of virtue-signalling on the right, and that is the quintessential one. Everywhere you encounter collisions between left and right, the right *always* calls out the left for being murderous and depraved baby-killers.

                This way, the right can disavow all their obviously destructive/regressive attitudes vis a vis the environment or indifference to the uninsured,unemployed etc, because they’ve already staked out the most holy ground ever, the LIVES OF THE UNBORN!!!

                It had always confused me that given what the bible says about god being just and merciful, all aborted babies must go to heaven anyway, so I was perplexed that Christians are so hung up on it. NOW I understand. They need the higher moral ground somewhere, and this is the one place where they can claim it.

              • Posted February 14, 2017 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

                That’s a bummer, it looks like that Reasonable Doubt podcast is no more, or only has one more episode.

            • tomh
              Posted February 13, 2017 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

              “These young Berkeley kids”
              Generalize much?

              • Posted February 14, 2017 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

                I should have specified Berkeley and kids from the city as well. I’m sure it was a mix, but I watched the riots in detail (there was a long Buzzfeed stream) and the vast majority of the protesters were very young. There were a few noticeably older people, like that fascist bitch Yvette Felarca (who it turns out is a public school teacher, go figure). But like I said, these are young people that feel impotent and want desperately to fit in and feel a part of something, anything to give their lives meaning. Fighting Nazis sounds almost as good as anything else.

    • Posted February 13, 2017 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      Yiannopoulos is hard to ignore, but it is well worth the effort.

    • eric
      Posted February 13, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      I think there are ways to encourage ignoring him.

      For example, you could hold a big party on campus running at the same time. A college group or local business could even give door prizes for people turning in Milo event tickets.

      Let’s say you’re a restaurant owner who objects to Milo’s speech. If the event starts at 7pm and tickets cost $10 (just for example), then you say anyone turning in their Milo ticket by 7:10pm gets a $15 discount on their meal. If the whole community really dislikes him, then you have many many businesses do this. Milo’s event might sell out…but then he’ll play to an empty room. Which, IMO, will upset him far far more than a crowd of angry protestors will.

      • Posted February 14, 2017 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

        I think young people would get wise to that kind of tactic immediately. The kind of people that go to see Milo aren’t necessarily fascists, racists or xenophobes, but are this generation’s freethinkers & nonconformists.

        The left has become so oppressive and authoritarian that freethinkers, libertarians, classical liberals and conservatives have become the new counter-culture. The left won the culture wars and now have become smug and insufferably self righteous. The people standing up to comment in the Q&A at Milo events are calm, articulate and above all just sick of the victimology of the SJW left. They want to speak openly about their concern about Islam as an ideology, their bemusement at transmania & Bruce Jenner on the cover of Time or whatever as woman of the year, etc. It’s all symptomatic of how badly the left has lost the plot.

        I’m with Jerry. The only way to make Milo go away is to ignore him, but the left has already taken the bait, and made him a counterculture hero. I suspect he’ll be around until the left disavows the SJW idiots and starts making sense again.

  6. Somite
    Posted February 13, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Let’s be clear about what speech some people are defending

    • eric
      Posted February 13, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Can’t watch it right now, but if your point was to show highly offensive speech…yes, well, we don’t need the first amendment to protect inoffensive speech, do we?

      • Somite
        Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        That’s precisely its purpose. Protection of hate speech is an unfortunate side effect.

        • eric
          Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

          Protection of speech someone deems hateful is the whole purpose, not a side effect.

          • Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

            Yes. Not a “side effect”. It’s the intent of the law.

    • Alpha Neil
      Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      You can count me as being among the “some people” who defend his right to say these things. He’s an asshole and he has every right to be an asshole. You do not have the right to tell me I can’t hear what he has to say.

      • Somite
        Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        No. But the admins at Berkeley are within their rights also not to give him a platform.

        • eric
          Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

          Again, they can’t take away the College Republicans’ right to invite and hear him, unless they take away every other student group’s right to have speakers too.

          You and Mike A. *DO* know that the University itself did not invite him, right? Because all your arguments seem to be focused on a hypothetical UC administration invite that never happened.

        • tomh
          Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

          “But the admins at Berkeley are within their rights also not to give him a platform.”

          No they’re not, as they are the first to admit. But where does it say the admins are not giving him a platform? Milo has said he will return, but as far as I know, the group that originally invited him has not repeated the invitation yet.

        • BJ
          Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

          Berkely is a public university, and therefore considered property protected by the Constitution. Milo has First Amendment rights there.

          You have argued in many threads now that we should ban speech from people like Milo, but you never answer the questions of who will decide what is and isn’t hate speech, how that will work, what will happen when a new administration that doesn’t agree with Somite’s Council on Unprotected Speech takes over, etc. You continue to fail to see the problems with your views.

          Question: do you believe the BLM protesters who, at one protest, chanted that the only good cop is a dead cop, should be stopped from speaking? What about radfems that say “kill all men,” or regressives who say “kill all white men”? What about regressives who spread conspiracy theories about Jews? Or is it only right-wing “hate speech” that you think should be disallowed?

          • Somite
            Posted February 13, 2017 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

            I’ve said many times that free speech also comes with the responsibility to evaluate speech. I don’t know what is the limit in all cases, but I know for sure hate speech like nazism and what Milo does certainly reaches this limit. See video above.

            • BJ
              Posted February 13, 2017 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

              Stop using the words “free speech” then, because you don’t believe in it. You have never had an answer for the questions I and many others have asked, and you still aren’t giving any now. It’s basically “Somite knows it when he/she sees it, and he/she will decide, so we can all have ‘free speech’ as long as Somite approves of it.”

            • eric
              Posted February 14, 2017 at 7:34 am | Permalink

              I’ve said many times that free speech also comes with the responsibility to evaluate speech

              We do that. Our courts do that. Court can evaluate speech for incitement, for harassment, for slander, heck even ‘fighting words’ is still on the books.

              BJ is completely right; you’ve never addressed how your ideas could actually work, absent some left-leaning authoritarian in charge of speech. And the scary thing is that you seem completely oblivious to the fact that if we implemented the anti-“hate speech” laws you want, they would immediately be used against liberals and used to protect people like Milo given the makeup of the current administration. IMO we should never want to hand the government broad power to censor speech, but to have liberals argue in favor of that power now, of all times, is sheer own-goal lunacy.

    • Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      So the man is crass and offensive and insensitive.

      There is not a single person on this planet to whom that label cannot be fairly and accurately applied by some large number of other people.

      Overwhelmingly, most Americans are considered crass and offensive and insensitive by most Saudis, especially for the way women dress and speak. We, in turn, turn that same consideration upon them for comparable reasons.

      So would you have the American government silence all Saudis when the Saudis express disapproval of American women? Or would you have the Saudi government silence all Americans when we advocate for equality for women?

      Free speech is either for everybody, especially for those whom you most wish would shut up, or it simply isn’t free — and then you’ve gone and broken the cornerstone of peaceful Enlightenment civilization.

      Cheers,

      b&

      • Posted February 13, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        Not sure where you’re going with that moral relativism argument and the strange connection to free speech. What the Saudis do to women simply wouldn’t be allowed under the constitution. They silence their women and force them to cover up.

        Personally I agree with Milo about Islam. We are courting an irrevocable and negative changes to our culture by having unlimited numbers of Muslims immigrate to the U.S. They have values and traditions that are simply antithetical to secular civilization, I would say the same of any religion that puts god and tribe before law & country.

        • Posted February 13, 2017 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

          The discussion is about freedom of speech, not action.

          Saudis and other anti-Enlightenment Muslims are, and must ever remain, free to argue that women should be chained in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant and draped head-to-toe in sackcloth.

          Of course, we must not permit them to actually do that to any women.

          But they most emphatically have the right to speak in support of their positions, no matter how abhorrent those positions might be.

          And you really need to take a step back and examine the reality of immigration, especially in the States. Muslims are a rounding error of the population, and they’re overwhelmingly native-born. And the immigrants, especially the refugees, are far more likely to be pro-Enlightenment and anti-Caliphate than any other class of Muslim.

          Yes, of course. There’re exceptions, and those exceptions are deserving of police attention.

          But public policy must be proportional to reality…and the reality is that domestic Christian terrorists are themselves a negligible threat and, simultaneously, a far greater threat than foreign Muslim terrorists.

          If you want to actually do something positive to improve personal safety and wellbeing, you could advocate (or engineer or whatever) for better vehicular safety. We’ve got, without exaggeration, a 9/11 happening every month on our roads, with the same number of people dying and the same property value destroyed. Just come up with something that reduces the crash rate by a mere 1% and your positive influence on the country will dramatically overwhelm the combined destruction of all acts of domestic terrorism.

          Cheers,

          b&

      • aljones909
        Posted February 13, 2017 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

        Chomsky said it better than anyone:
        “Goebbels was in favor of free speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you’re really in favor of free speech, then you’re in favor of freedom of speech for precisely the views you despise. Otherwise, you’re not in favor of free speech.”

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Watch this Guardian video on how you and me are responsible for fat people.

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/video/2017/feb/08/poor-people-can-be-fat-too-video

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted February 14, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      That’s the first time I’ve heard Milo speak, and to me, he’s taking the piss!

    • Posted February 14, 2017 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

      Nothing he’s saying hasn’t been said before by the likes of Howard Stern and others like him. This is standard ‘shock jock’ type of stuff. Remember when Howard called United Airlines to try to buy a ticket to the 14th street bridge in DC?

      Milo is merely trolling the cultural Marxists as they should be trolled. Comedians like Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock have stopped playing colleges because the kids have become so humorless and intolerant that they can’t do their material without triggering someone.

      Let’s just pray that these new holy-rollers don’t continue to feel the majesty of their righteous affliction to such an extent that they become the next real Fascists the way Jordan Peterson predicts.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 13, 2017 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Wouldn’t anyone who’s likely to respond to a boycott be unlikely to buy the Milo’s book in the first place?

  8. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    MiYi has yet to donate any of his money to the white male scholarships that he promised.

    • Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      How do you know this?

    • Posted February 13, 2017 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      He did post an update to the site promising something soon by way of announcing scholarship winners or something, but I expect that’s only bc of the pressure he got about the money disappearing.

      Believe me, he would have kept the money if he could have gotten away with it. Milo is a sociopath. During one of his talks recently he basically described the textbook definition of sociopathy in description of himself with utter candor, if not an immediate recognition of the irony.

  9. Kevin
    Posted February 13, 2017 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Milo appears to be a godless libertarian contrarian.

    The left have handed him his success and popularity. It is well deserved.

    If the left wants him to go away then stop paying attention to him.

  10. BJ
    Posted February 13, 2017 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Once again, the far left learns nothing. Milo rose to fame talking about identity politics and the leftist insanity on college campuses. How did his opponents respond? By doubling down on those things.

    They never learn, and I think it’s because they don’t really care about tactics or whether they win; they care about being self-righteous and signalling their virtue to each other. It is their social currency.

    I hate Milo, but the left keeps giving him win after win, and they seem incapable of doing anything but doubling down further and further.

    • BJ
      Posted February 13, 2017 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Clarification: I hate Milo as a person, but I do think he is doing something extremely valuable in exposing what has been going on at these campuses and the far left in general. I don’t know how many people would be aware of all this if he (and some others like him) weren’t doing such things.

      • Posted February 13, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

        Why do you hate him as a person if what he does is extremely valuable?

        Is it because he’s pretending to be a far-right ideologue, or because he’s getting rich doing it? https://s0.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/wpcom-smileys/twemoji/2/svg/1f642.svg

        • BJ
          Posted February 13, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

          It’s mostly his personality. I find him unbearably narcissistic.

          I don’t tend to hate people for their views (even if they’re views I detest) unless those views involve violence (like, “we need to kill all the X”)

        • BJ
          Posted February 13, 2017 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

          And yes, I do believe a lot of what he does is a put-on, riling people up to get attention and make the regressives double down further on their idiocy.

          • Posted February 14, 2017 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

            Yeah, I really think he’s making most of it up. I don’t think he likes Trump, I don’t think he believes in god or cares about abortion either. In fact, I read somewhere that he used to identify as Jewish but then started calling himself a Catholic when he started this Trump schtick.

            As I said before, I think he’s really a sociopath with a nose for self-promotion and controversy.

  11. Posted February 13, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Okay, i’d have to agree that the 1st Amendment does not guarantee one the venue of their choice.

    I would say that Milo is inconsequential and we should probably just avoid him….But that doesn’t mean he won’t get elected President in 2024. We’ve already seen that scenario play out.

    • aljones909
      Posted February 13, 2017 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Milo’s not American. It’ll be Bannon in 2024.

  12. Ullrich Fischer
    Posted February 13, 2017 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    I don’t agree with this assessment. The alt-right has a huge audience and has no problem propelling dangerous demagoguery like this to best seller status all by themselves without help from the regressive left’s inevitably failing attempts to deny him an audience. I don’t doubt that the Berkeley riots helped Milo a bit, but let’s not get carried away.

    • BJ
      Posted February 13, 2017 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      His book orders shot up several thousand percent on Amazon after the riot. And if they didn’t keep pulling this crap, he wouldn’t have anything to talk/write about in the first place.

  13. aljones909
    Posted February 13, 2017 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Don’t the police have the duty to uphold the right of a citizen to go about their lawful business?

    Say people want to go to a church – but there’s a mass protest of militant atheists physically preventing entry to the church. They claim the sermons are “hate speech”.

    Shouldn’t the police take some action?

    • Posted February 13, 2017 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      There is no “right of a citizen to go about their lawful business” enumerated in the constitution. However, the rights of speech and assembly ARE enumerated. That means those rights must be respected and take precedence over people’s abilities to go about their lawful business.

      That’s not to say that no accommodation can or should be made – in your example, the authorities could reasonably keep protestors far enough away that access to the church is not blocked. So long as speech and assembly rights are not unduly burdened there are accommodations that can be made.

      The point is that whatever solutions the authorities come up with they MUST respect the speech and assembly rights of the protestors and must not constrain them beyond basic public safety issues. The police should only take serious action if violence or threat of violence is apparent or imminent.

      IMO

      • Posted February 13, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        Note in proof (forgot a sentence)…after this “…in your example, the authorities could reasonably keep protestors far enough away that access to the church is not blocked.”,

        I meant to include this;

        The rights of the church members to assemble must also be protected.

        bad edits. sorry.

    • BJ
      Posted February 13, 2017 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      Interestingly enough, this is the second time that police have stood by and watched while anti-Milo regressives have assaulted innocent people: this time at Berkeley, and once a few months ago in Chicago where a woman literally came on stage and threw a punch at him.

      Of course, every time, no charges are filed, the university administration takes no action against the students, and nobody is held accountable. Can you imagine if it was right-wing students doing these things?

      • tomh
        Posted February 13, 2017 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, I can imagine. What do you think would be different?

        • BJ
          Posted February 13, 2017 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

          Let’s see, there would be arrests, the administration of the university would expel any students involved, and the media would be all over it every single time. This Berkeley case is the first time the mainstream media has reported on these riots after dozens of them.

          • tomh
            Posted February 13, 2017 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

            “there would be arrests, the administration of the university would expel any students involved”

            Sure, because the police in America are known to be so left-wing. That sounds like your imagination running wild. Or Breitbart’s.

            • BJ
              Posted February 14, 2017 at 7:33 am | Permalink

              Ah yes, the old “this person doesn’t agree with me, so he must be a Breitbart reader” (which also implicitly says that I’m an idiot). I’m neither a Breitbart reader nor and idiot, thanks. I just happen to read about things. Read about the stories I brought up and get back to me, instead of bringing up platitudes.

              • tomh
                Posted February 14, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

                Ah yes, the old,I can’t give an example of the “dozens” of unreported incidents, so just go read up on them. Thanks, and adios.

              • BJ
                Posted February 14, 2017 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

                Tom, reading this blog alone over the last year should give you enough examples. A simple google search of ” violent campus protests against Milo Yiannopoulos.” Clearly, you would rather pretend I must be a right-wing nut. If you’re not interested in discussing things, don’t ask.

      • eric
        Posted February 14, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink

        The police in Berkeley have tear gassed many left-wing student protests in the past, and I’m sure they will again in the future. I very much doubt their holding back had to do with some secret liberal sympathies.

        Personally, I think the administration asked them to hold back this time because they anticipated that the ratio of troublemakers to peaceful protestors was going to be very low, and they didn’t want the police to do violence to a lot of innocent kids just to get a handful of anarchists.

  14. wildpomegranates
    Posted February 13, 2017 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Wild Pomegranates.

  15. Cindy
    Posted February 13, 2017 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    The woman who was pepper sprayed in the face at Berkeley was not even wearing a MAGA hat. It was a parody hat “Make Bitcoin Great Agai”

    And herein lies another problem with ‘punching Nazis’. Mistaken identity!

  16. Igor
    Posted February 13, 2017 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    I pre-ordered the book. Can’t wait.

  17. Posted February 14, 2017 at 3:32 am | Permalink

    Let’s not overlook the forest while examining every tree. The Social Justice Warrior faction (regressives, intersectionality, woke culture, tumblr snowflakes etc) are the thought police, and have shown that before.

    They don’t care about reasons, they only rationalize. They also wanted Richard Dawkins to get on with gardening and stop tweeting, because they disapproved of his opinions. They invented block bots, and used that on people that didn’t even bother them, and rationalized it away (later versions blocked based on whom you follow on twitter). Great many people found they were “shived” which is when you are blocked without ever having interacted with the person.

    Whatever argument they attempt to make is dishonest to the core, as betrayed by their own movement’s legacy. They want to preach their ideology, but won’t tolerate dissent, and they say so themselves. Remember “shut up and listen” which was their actual slogan. These people can afford that rhetoric, because they are ironically the priviledged. If they genuinely believed in their “oppression” they’d never argue in favour of censorship. In other words, their dishonesty has a Mandelbrotian structure and repeats itself on every level you look at.

  18. aljones909
    Posted February 14, 2017 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Last week at Oxford Brookes University:

    “A talk by controversial English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson about free speech at UK universities has been cancelled after hundreds of students planned to protest the event.”

    https://tinyurl.com/hrgj2cq

    Spiked online published it’s 3rd report on free speech restrictions at UK universities.

    “Our survey, ranking 115 UK universities … shows that 63.5 per cent of universities now actively censor speech, and 30.5 per cent stifle speech through excessive regulation.”

  19. Posted February 15, 2017 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Ignoring Milo likely would be the most effective method. In Internet lingo, don’t feed the troll. If he doesn’t incite the level of controversy he’s used to, he’ll have to change tactics to remain relevant, maybe even exchange ideas. The first time I ran across Milo was in his series, “Ten Scientists Who Are Actually Stupid.” He grossly misrepresented primary sources he had linked to in his articles (probably assuming his fans wouldn’t bother to fact check him.) I started writing a letter to him since his articles have his contact info, but after looking up who he was and what his schtick is, I felt it best to leave it alone. Since then, I’ve ignored him altogether and the only time I hear of him is when the regressive left creates a kerfuffle. Don’t feed the troll; it’s that simple.


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