New Yorker goes Regressive Left, criticizes freedom of speech (Milo’s, of course)

It’s no surprise that the New Yorker, a reliably liberal magazine that doesn’t want to offend its fanbase, has been leaning towards Regressive Leftism. While their criticism of Trump is generally good, their osculation of faith is irritating, but of course for the magazine to state outright that there’s no evidence for God would be, well, too strident, and they either shy away from faith or osculate it. (To be fair, they’ve published one online piece by Lawrence Krauss about militant atheism).

But when they tackled the issue of Milo Yiannopoulos and free speech in yesterday’s piece by Jelani Cobb: “The mistake the Berkeley protestors made about Milo Yaiannopoulos“, they wound up implying that Milo is inciting violence, with the implication being that he should just shut up, or at least shouldn’t be invited anywhere. (Cobb, by the way, is identified by the magazine as “a professor of journalism at Columbia University. He won the 2015 Sidney Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism, for his columns on race, the police, and injustice.”)

What was the mistake that the protestors made? It was, said Cobb, to turn Yiannopoulos into a victim, therefore deserving of sympathy. And that was supposedly why Trump is so popular as well:

The further fact of Yiannopoulos’s fervent support for President Trump is not, then, surprising. Few figures in American history have better weaponized the imaginary grievances of entitled people who consider themselves oppressed than Trump has. This is precisely the reason the black-clad rioters among the protesters at Berkeley who prevented Yiannopoulos from speaking—the school cancelled the event, citing danger to the public—served his ultimate interests. It was a tactical error that ignored everything 2016 should have taught us. As with Trump, who treats every reasonable criticism of his Presidency as another nail in a crucifixion, and his electorate, which eagerly co-signs that sentiment, Yiannopoulos has emerged from Berkeley as both the putative victim and victor. In the wake of the debacle, his book rocketed to No. 1 on the pre-order list in Amazon’s political-humor section. Scott Adams, the creator of the comic strip “Dilbert,” stated that he was ending his support for Berkeley, where he received a master’s degree, because he would not feel “safe” on the campus.

Well, one could make a good argument that Trump’s election had little to do with him seeming to be a victim, and his noises about being “crucified” by the press haven’t won him many supporters since he became President. Likewise, the mistake the Berkeley protestors made was not just to cast Milo as Jesus. True, it did enable some to paint him someone whose free speech was abrogated by irate Leftists—which happens to be true. But I don’t think that was nearly as important as the second reason:as Ryan Holiday argued, the fracas over Yiannopoulos brought him more attention, and hence more supporters. The first mistake isn’t as serious because it didn’t gain Milo many more supporters than he already had: it just gave conservatives another reason to defend him. The second, however, by casting a wider net of attention around Milo, invariably drew in some people who hadn’t heard of him, swelling his ranks. (As for Scott Adams’s claim, well, that’s ridiculous, because Berkeley did all it could to ensure a peaceful talk, and in fact supported Milo’s right to speak while denigrating what he usually says. I’m sure it’s very safe in Sproul Plaza right now.)

Cobb also seems to have bought into the view that everything Milo says is toxic: the political equivalent of alchemy.  Well, that’s not true, for some of Milo’s comments, whether on immigration, feminism, or issues like Black Lives Matter, do bear discussion, despite the fact that he often goes off the rails. While it’s important to Cobb to claim that everything that comes out of Milo’s mouth can be rejected forthwith, without discussion, I don’t agree. Even if I disagree with most of Milo’s views, that kind of speech is protected precisely because it stimulates the kind of discussion that, in the end, will promote rationality. Do we really want to claim that Black Lives Matter is a movement without flaws, or that anyone who questions statistics on wage differentials between sexes must be a misogynist? For that is what Cobb is saying:

No chemistry department would extend an invitation to an alchemist; no reputable department of psychology would entertain a lecture espousing phrenology. But amid the student conservatives at Berkeley—and along the lecture circuit where he is a sought-after speaker—Yiannopoulos’s toxic brew of bigotries apparently meets their standard for credibility. And this recognition is as big a problem as anything he has said in his talks or in his erstwhile existence as a Twitter troll.

I’ve listened to a few of Milo’s talks, and I don’t agree that they consist solely of a “toxic brew of bigotries.”  But since Cobb sees it this way, it’s easy for him to slide into the trope of “hate speech,” and even into implicitly blaming Milo himself on the violence that ensued before his talk—violence that prevented him from mounting the stage.

Read this excerpt from the last two paragraphs of Cobb’s piece and tell me if you don’t see an implicit exculpation of the protests on the grounds that Milo intended to incite the kind of violence that happened at Berkeley:

Whatever Scott Adams’s hypothetical fears for his safety on Berkeley’s campus, they pale in comparison to the realistic fears that many Muslims have about their places of worship being targeted for arson, as was a mosque in Texas, the day after Trump signed his executive order on immigration, last month, one near Seattle, two weeks earlier, and one in Florida, last September. The Southern Poverty Law Center documented eight hundred and sixty-seven incidents of harassment, many of which involved people specifically invoking Trump’s name, in the ten days following the Presidential election. The largest group of these incidents involved anti-immigrant sentiments, followed by instances of anti-black and anti-Semitic bigotry.

We know or ought to know that, in a hierarchical society, even civil liberties can be used in ways that reinforce those hierarchies. We are witnessing the rebirth of alchemy as a serious endeavor, an undertaking in which we transform abuse into victimhood, billionaires into besieged outsiders, and the vulnerable into vectors of mass danger. It is no more empirically sound than the old mutations of lead into gold—but it is far more marketable. And it is far more dangerous than the inept rogues who showed up on Berkeley’s campus that evening.

I’m sorry, but I haven’t heard Yiannopoulos call for the burning of mosques or illegal harassment. The conclusion that Milo’s talks lead to “mass danger” is ludicrous. It is that claim that’s not “empirically sound”, not Cobb’s view that allowing Milo to speak poses a clear and present danger to society.  Banning Yiannopoulos from an invited talk, as the protestors succeeded in doing, is more dangerous than allowing him to talk, because that erodes the First Amendment, and that erosion endangers America as a whole. As for the violence, Cobb needs to be reminded that Milo is not responsible for it.  Cobb’s aim, to call out prejudice, is admirable, but along the way he throws out the First Amendment along with the baby of bigotry.


h/t: Robin


  1. dd
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Some skepticism regarding Berkeley’s good faith effort to allow Milo Y. a platform?

    “Is Berkeley really looking for the protesters who shut down Yiannopoulos?”

    • eric
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      There are looters and rioting that happens with many large protests at Berkeley. I don’t think the police or the Uni has a very stellar record of catching the perpetrators in general. So instead of “could they do better,” the real question IMO is “are they being intentionally poorer at it than usual, or is this just a standard amount of laxness?”

  2. Posted February 16, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    “The Southern Poverty Law Center documented eight hundred and sixty-seven incidents of harassment, …”

    I wonder, how many of those were actual harassment, as oppose to, say, someone saying something on twitter?

    • BJ
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      Considering most of them were tweets where people said negative things to each other (read the “methodology” of their study because it’s insanity), their definition of “hate incidents” and their credibility have gone way down the toilet these last few years.

      In just a few years, they turned a reliable institution into another SJW-assimilated appendage. Regressives are like the Borg.

    • Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      All of them were. Here’s the link:

      The SPLC at least has learned from the disastrously skewed and intellectually dishonest presentation of stats by TellMama UK, which included online abuse and even comments from abroad. The more you delved at TMUK’s methods the worse they got.

      Frankly, I don’t have time to dig into the SPLC’s methods, but a quick shuftie reveals that it has not double-checked reports to the SPLC. Nor has it looked at trends, neither with the previous time period nor with antecedent post-election weeks.

      • BJ
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        Hey, cut them some slack — they’re trying to create constant panic and raise money, not tell the truth.

  3. mikeyc
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I agree with your take on Milo’s talks, at least the two I forced myself to listen to. Offensive, yes. Deliberately so. But I didn’t hear it as so much toxic bigotry as nasty, almost juvenile jokes and ad homs.

    However, I do think Cobb has a point with respect to the college Republicans who invite Yiannopoulos to speak. They cannot get away with the claim that Yiannopoulos is there to discuss important (or even adult) topics in conservative thought. They invite him now partly to incite and partly to virtue signal to their own compatriots. They can make no valid pedagogical claims to inviting him anymore. Yiannopoulos himself has seen to that.

    • eric
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      The valid pedagogical goal is to demonstrate the importance of free speech not just in theory, but in the tough cases of offensive ideas. And to show the students that we deal with bad ideas by ripping them apart, not by hiding them from analysis.

      I’d agree that his opinions are so socially bad that make him the Sociology equivalent of holocaust deniers in History or free energy promoters to Physics. But yes in fact, Berkeley groups have invited Holocaust deniers to speak before, so saying he’s that wacked isn’t the equivalent of saying ‘there can never be any reason to invite him.’

      • mikeyc
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        In case I wasn’t clear. Even though I think college Republicans have few* valid pedagogical reasons to invite him, that is not to say I think they should be prevented from doing so. They can hear a talk from anyone they please. I think they can no longer hide behind any reasons other than their wish to incite those opposed to Yiannopoulos and to show other conservatives that they have their own set of virtues. Their real motives need to be made clear, if not be them then by those who oppose them.

        *I do agree agree with you that the free speech issue is one. I would submit that I believe it would be insincere in most cases and anyway can be accomplished in many other ways other than inviting someone whose sole purpose is to incite. Still, it is valid reason in itself and so I here adjust my position accordingly.

        • eric
          Posted February 16, 2017 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

          I believe the Berkeley CRs have pulled other stunts before – either ‘poking the bear’ just to get a rise out of liberals, or intentionally hoping their event will be cancelled so they can yell discrimination.

          The best way to deal with such antics is to allow them their constitutionally allowed speech, and then ignore them. They want to have a White History day or dress in blackface for halloween,* just let them and don’t show up. Or hold a counter-event that is more fun and will draw a crowd away from them.

          *I just made these up as illustrative examples. They are not intend to represent actual events the CRs have held. Though I vaguely recall they did have some sort of white-oriented event a few years ago.

    • Posted February 16, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      They invite him to induce a hissy-fit from the Left.

      The content of his talks is more or less irrelevant because the idiocy and authoritarianism of his those attempting to stop him speak is eloquent enough in itself.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 11:39 am | Permalink


      • Taz
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        They invite him to induce a hissy-fit from the Left.

        And also to poke the administration. How times have changed – on college campuses it’s now the conservative students fighting “the establishment”.

  4. Cindy
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Milo Derangement Syndrome.

  5. Posted February 16, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Opinion and Analysis Journalism, for his columns on race, the police, and injustice.”)

    Let’s pause a moment and reflect that there’s a journalism prize for ‘opinion’.

    That’s like offering a science prize for gut feeling.

  6. Posted February 16, 2017 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    About victimhood. To guys like Trump and Milo, it is the quantity not the quality of publicity that matters. They welcome attention, good or bad. The thing they fear most is being ignored.

    • Cindy
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Exactly. The more people talk about them, the greater their market share. This is one reason why Trump was able to run a successful campaign relatively cheaply – he trolled the press and they couldn’t resist, they had to report on *everything*….

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      A few days ago Jerry suggested “the best way to deal with people like Milo and Spencer […] is just to ignore them completely.”

      Yet here we are, still talking about him.

      • Posted February 16, 2017 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        Yep. The problem is we do not have free will.

      • eric
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        I think we’re actually mostly talking about how to defend freedom of speech from the far left, and Milo comes into it only because his event triggered their latest bout of authoritarianism.

        But think about how little to none of JAC’s article space or the comments have debated his actual social opinions. We really aren’t discussing whether lesbians are evil or whatever it is he espouses. Just the fact that he should be allowed to speak without violent opposition, and how, when he speaks, to best show that we disagree with his message.

        Personally I think the best thing the students could have done is held a big party and advertise door prizes for every Milo event ticket turned in (say, up until his start time +15 min). The students probably couldn’t give away free booze, but if a local bar on Telegraph hosted it, I bet they could have. Bring in your Milo ticket, get a free Blow Job or Sex on the Beach. That seems like it would be appropriate…and effective. 🙂

      • Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink

        And yet look how Jeremy Scahill is being excoriated for doing *exactly this* by declining to appear on Real Time alongside Milo. To be clear, Scahill did not demand that Milo be disinvited; he voluntarily gave up his own platform so Milo could speak, yet he is still being attacked – this time for not wanting to “debate” Milo. So it seems the “just ignore him” trope is not really sincere at all, and that Milo’s apologists feel he is entitled not just to the platform, but to the panel as well.

        • Posted February 17, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

          Your post spurns accuracy. Scahill did not ‘voluntarily gave up his own platform so Milo could speak’. He refused to attend once he knew Yiannopoulos was on the show.

          That’s his right and one can have one’s own opinions on Scahill’s withdrawal but we do need some perspective here. It would be like saying that Dave Rubin was as big an immediate threat as ISIS, wouldn’t it, Godless Mama?

  7. Gnome
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Jeremy Scahill refuses to appear on Real Time this week because Milo will be on.

    Note in his statement he’s regressive on Islam as well.

    • patrick
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      It looks like Bill Maher fired back at Jeremy Scahill for backing out.

    • Aelfric
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      I agree with the general tone of our host’s post here, but I also think Mr. Scahill’s reaction–whatever you think of his politics, is perfectly fine and defensible.

    • sensorrhea
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      I generally like Bill Maher, but needs to stop bringing on provocateurs. He has had Ann Coulter on many times. They add nothing to the discussion. In fact they stop discussion cold intentionally by throwing rhetorical bombs. It’s a waste of time on a show with one hour a week.

      • Cindy
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        Maher and Coulter are friends.

        It’s about ratings.

        I also doubt Coulter’s sincerity. She’s a NY blonde. I think she just writes and says the kind of things she says to take RWNJ’s for a ride. She’s laughing all the way to the bank.

        • sensorrhea
          Posted February 16, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

          I agree Coulter’s probably insincere, but her appearance is just a big waste of precious time on a show that tells more truth than most. (Except about vaccines…)

          I also think he shouldn’t have the kind of comedians on who don’t have much to say but do derail important conversations with wisecracks.

          • patrick
            Posted February 17, 2017 at 7:03 am | Permalink

            I would agree, but I would include celebrities as well. I can only think of the time Bill Maher had Sam Harris on his show talking about Islam and Ben Affleck went nuts.

            • sensorrhea
              Posted February 17, 2017 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

              Depends on the celeb, but yeah.

      • eric
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

        Its ratings, obviously. Milo is on the front page, so shows want him on.

        Though if Maher has him on just once, then at some point in the future we can taunt him with the insult “you can’t even piss off the left as well as Anne Coulter.”

  8. Zado
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Cobb’s likening of Yiannopoulos’s opinions to alchemy and phrenology reveals quite a bit about the way he (Cobb) thinks.

    Btw, shouldn’t the last few words be “along with the bath water of bigotry”? (because the baby is the First Amendment).

    • Les
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      +1 Yes, the baby is the 1st Amendment in the saying.

  9. eric
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    It [the black block’s action] was a tactical error that ignored everything 2016 should have taught us.

    Um, yeah, my guess is the writer is attributing way more deep thought to the black bloc actors than they actually gave. They’re ideologically motivated anarchists; I doubt very much they think strategically about the long-term impact that their violence has.

    No chemistry department would extend an invitation to an alchemist; no reputable department of psychology would entertain a lecture espousing phrenology.

    The ACS did, in fact, continue to accept Pons and Fleishman’s presentation requests even years after their ideas were largely debunked. I know because in 1991 I gave a poster presentation at a national meeting and happened to be located near theirs (ironic twist; after being accepted, they chose not to show up).

    And the medical field is even more permissive. AIUI, alternative health care practices don’t just get a place at the conference table, they get classes taught at regular universities.

    So the author is making a very poor analogy here. Both chemistry and medicine are counter-examples to Mr. Cobb’s point, because both fields have dealt with their more wild-haired claimants by letting them speak and then proceeding to debunk or ignore their claims.

    • Cate Plys
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      Interesting point non-scientists would never know, thank you!

    • Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      I always say that the chemistry department shouldn’t bother inviting neo-alchemists because *there are better things to do with their money and time*.

      If student clubs want to waste resources on trolls like M. Y., they can if they want.

      • eric
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

        There are always practical limitations to the number of speakers you can accommodate, papers you can publish, posters you can accept, etc… This creates a requirement to prioritize submissions, typically on some combination of quality and expected interest. And someone’s always going to feel they got unfairly excluded. You must have a thick skin in science. But in general, science is very tolerant of ‘crazy’ as long as it’s accompanied by ‘well executed theory/experiment’ and ‘interesting.’

  10. Posted February 16, 2017 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    So a speach by Martin Luther King Jr. could have been cancelled on the grounds that it incites violence by angering the KKK

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 8:01 am | Permalink


  11. Craw
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    I am finding myself increasingly unhappy with the phrase “Regressive Left”. This is not like “Religious Right” where you find people who will own up to the label. No-one will agree that he himself is part of the “Regressive Left”. These people are in fact simply Progressives who have gone back to their roots. Early Progressives were never friendly to dissent or question. Consider the censorship and political prosecutions of the Wilson administration. Debs.

    A strong streak of repression has run through the Left since the very first faction called the Left, and from which the name derives.
    And clearly it is not just a small or marginal fraction of the Left embracing this, when even the high-falutin New Yorker is part of it.

    The folly is breath-taking though. Just when an opponent takes office, with control of the legislature and most of the states, and is poised to appoint a record number of judges — just then is when they choose to abandon impartial rules and constraints!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Eugene V. Debs was a socialist; the people silencing him weren’t coming from his left. And it certainly wasn’t the right wing supporting his right to speak out; it was people from the left — the Wobblies, “Mother” Jones, Emma Goldman, Clarence Darrow, etc. And it was liberals on the U.S. Supreme Court (over the objections of their conservative counterparts), lead by the great champion of civil liberties Louis Brandeis, who set aside US laws restricting free speech.

      Perhaps you could provide us an overview of the great right-wing advocates of American free expression. It’s bound to be a short list.

  12. ascanius
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Overly zealous SJWs on college campuses is not a major problem.

    Endless hysterical hand-wringing about far-left students triggered by sandwiches diverts attention from the main problem: the on-going suppression and erosion of our democratic institutions by the right-wing.

    • Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      I’m sorry but you can’t say “Pay attention to X when there’s a bigger problem over here.”

      We all do what we can; I happen to deal with both issues on this website. So please do not tell us that YOU know what the real problem is and we should give all our attention to it.

      And in fact, today’s SJWs on campus are tomorrow’s leaders, and they’re already taking power.

      • ascanius
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        when you’re facing an existential crisis, such as the gop’s assault on american democracy, it’s not really productive to complain about the fact that your ally has body odor.

        the same principle applies to the irresponsible carping on clinton’s weaknesses and failings leading up to the election. in the heat of battle it’s not in the strategic interest to concentrate on your ally’s faults or do anything that undermines enthusiasm. emotion not reason propels these movements. that’s one of the lessons that liberals seem to have trouble learning.

        • Cindy
          Posted February 16, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink


          As comedian Jim Jeffries recently explained on the Bill Maher show, Trump is literally Hitler because Hitler didn’t *immediately* start rounding off people and sending them to death camps. Trump is doing exactly what Hitler did – not immediately sending people to death camps, ergo, Trump is Hitler.

          Makes perfect sense to me.

        • Posted February 16, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

          Faults of some allies are of such magnitude that one could reconsider whether it pays to keep them as allies. These Milo-obsessed leftist protesters increasingly remind me of Danish Muslims who rioted over cartoons 10 years ago.

          • ascanius
            Posted February 16, 2017 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

            i agree. i often have reservations about anti-gay folks who claim to support liberal values.

      • eric
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        Well, he *can* say it, it’s just not a valid argument. Unless Ascanious wants to be told that his endless hysterical hand-wringing about right-wing suppression of our democratic institutions diverts attention from the main problem of mass starvation in Africa, or global climate change, etc…

    • Historian
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      You are correct. To divert attention from their subversion of democracy, the right wing attempts to create a false equivalency between those on the illiberal left and the radical right, which now controls the presidency, Congress, soon the Supreme Court and most state legislatures and governorships. The former is few in number and powerless; the latter is many and very powerful. The former is an annoying pimple on the ass; the latter is a metastasizing cancer spreading throughout the body politic. It is the job of true liberals to point this out continuously. They must always challenge every right wing lie.

      It is one thing to point out an authoritarian strain in the far left. This is proper, but it is quite another thing to imply that it even approaches the threat of the far right.

      • BJ
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        And when Obama was in office and had a Democratic Congress for two years, were we supposed to stop talking about the right because they didn’t have all the governmental power?

        Both issues are problems and both feed into each other. If you want to stop the things you’re truly afraid of, regressives pulling this crap is one of many places we need to start. Because the average American citizen sees things like this, shutting down Israeli ambassadors with chants about how Israel will be wiped off the map, and general educational tomfoolery from the left and finds them pretty scary too.

        • Historian
          Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

          “Both issues are problems and both feed into each other.”

          Thank you for proving my point. You have just made the false equivalency I talked about.

          • Posted February 16, 2017 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

            Some may disagree that the equivalency is false.

          • mikeyc
            Posted February 16, 2017 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

            It is not a false equivalency in as much as he did not equate the two except to say they were both problems.

            If that is a false equivalency then missing a bus on the way to a chemotherapy session reflect equivalent problems.

            • Historian
              Posted February 16, 2017 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

              If BJ wasn’t making a comparison between the left and the right with the implication that they represented equal problems then why mention the left at all? It’s like saying underarm odor and being caught in traffic are problems. So what? If he wasn’t making an equivalence then his whole comment was meaningless.

              Also, I didn’t say that we should stop talking about the authoritarian left. People have the right to do that. I was saying that the authoritarian left represents a much smaller threat to democracy than the far right and it behooves liberals to always make this clear.

              • BJ
                Posted February 17, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

                It behooves liberals to debate honestly, to not give the right tons of ammo with their regressive BS, and to stop using whatabouttery every time someone brings up something wrong with anything on their side. Continuing on this path just gives the right more ammo and pushes more people like me away from the left.

          • BJ
            Posted February 16, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

            Please explain how that was a false equivalency.

            Or just answer the points I made.

        • Cindy
          Posted February 16, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

          The right has spent years claiming that it has been ‘victimized’ by ‘libtards’

          So let’s give them what they want, eh?

          I remember the days when I used to criticize Christians for seeking to deprive others of their rights. When they would claim persecution because they couldn’t ban gay marriage or abortion.

          Now I find myself in a position where I am criticizing my fellow lefties for similar behaviour. “Waaahhh, you’re oppressing me by denying me my divine right to oppress others waaah”

          • somer
            Posted February 16, 2017 at 6:15 pm | Permalink


      • ascanius
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink


        Aaron Hanlon, Assistant Professor of English at Colby College, is becoming an important voice challenging that false equivalency as well as the victimhood narrative of college conservatives and the false charge of liberal students being coddled.

        • Posted February 16, 2017 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

          It’s not conservative “victimhood” I’m talking about in this article (and yes, I read Hanlon’s piece); it’s freedom of speech. In fact, I said that the claim of victimhood wasn’t doing Milo any good.

          Did you even read what I wrote? Don’t answer that.

          • ascanius
            Posted February 16, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

            and if you’ve read hanlon’s work he disagrees with you.

            At Colby College, Professor Aaron Hanlon agrees. He’s been watching what he says is an organized campaign to open universities to climate deniers and others who spout views not supported by data.

            “There are particularly well-funded partisan interests vested in the notion that universities as influential institutions that tend to lean left are a threat to conservative political agendas,” Hanlon says.

            On the face of it, making a law that assures anyone can say almost anything at a state school might seem reasonable, but UVA Media Studies Professor Siva Vaidhyanathan argues universities are workplaces, and they must restrict some speech to get things done. You can’t, for example, have students standing up in class, saying whatever they like, nor can you allow faculty members to push a political agenda.

            “I can’t use my office or my computer to, for instance, endorse or campaign for a candidate,” Vaidhyanathan explains.

            That rule would go out the window, he says, if the Landes bill is approved. Aaron Hanlon adds it’s the university’s duty to be selective.

            “People pay tuition to get, if you will, a kind of curated education. When I teach a course, I don’t have infinite time, so I have to choose which material goes on and which to leave off, and I think when it comes to the campus as a whole, administrations are forced to make, and it’s their duty in fact to make similar choices.”

            What’s more, he argues the First Amendment doesn’t guarantee a platform for free speech. You don’t have the right to hear from anyone, anywhere.

            “Campuses aren’t prisons, which means that students are free + to explore the world of ideas both on and off campus. We don’t regulate what they look at on the Internet. If they want to involve themselves with an Alt-Right Nazi group, then they can. Just as well if they want to involve themselves with a fringe left-wing group.”

            If there’s a threat to the First Amendment, Hanlon says, it’s coming not from vocal students or faculty members but from lawmakers.

            “We’re seeing a spate of bills at the state level across the country, not just in Virginia but in Iowa and Missouri and Arizona, that are proposing to put restrictions on the intellectual diversity of the curriculum, the content that can be taught, the types of associations and events students can hold, the tenure and academic freedom of faculty members.”

            The Landes bill was approved by the Virginia House, 76-19, and now goes to the Senate.

            • Posted February 16, 2017 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

              You haven’t read my position, and I’m getting tired of this. I consider it a violation of free speech when someone is INVITED by a campus or a campus organization to speak, and is denied that opportunity. And, frankly, I don’t give a rat’s patootie whether Hanlon agrees with me or not. I’ve also campaigned against these restrictions of academic freedom.

              Now please stop telling me to pay attention to Y rather than X, when I pay attention to both. You’ve said enough, and it’s close to a Roolz violation.

              • BJ
                Posted February 16, 2017 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

                This is not the first time this user has come here to not read your article or understand your positions, and then post to tell you to stop posting about problems on the left.

            • mikeyc
              Posted February 16, 2017 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

              You probably should have cited your source. I’m sure it was just an oversight.

              This post is almost verbatim from a piece by Sandy Hausman at NPR;



    • BJ
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      “Stop talking about this things that makes my side look bad and helps the side I don’t like, when the side I don’t like is also doing bad things.”

      I forgot this is the internet, where only one subject can be discussed.

    • Posted February 16, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink


  13. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    It doesn’t matter whether only some of Milo’s views are repugnant, or all of them are, or none of them are. If he’s duly invited to a campus, he should be permitted to speak. The administration of a public university, as an arm of the state, has no business policing the views of invited speakers or in otherwise establishing an orthodoxy in matters of opinion.

    It is unclear to me from reading Cobb’s piece in The New Yorker that he’s prescribing that Milo should be forbidden from speaking on campus — or whether he’s merely advocating that Milo be mocked as a sham free-speech martyr. If it’s only the latter, I’m sympathetic to what he’s saying. We should all be skeptical of right-wing claims of championing free speech; the right has a horrible history regarding free expression in America (and the further to the right, the worse that record is). This current crop of self-styled right-wing free-speech advocates has yet to show its bona fides when it comes to any but their own ox getting gored.

    • eric
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      The sad thing is, I think society could have a reasonable debate on whether or how we want to regulate the release of other people’s PII (which Milo has done). Its not technically illegal, but then again, it really wasn’t a problem until we started storing all our personal information in net-accessible electronic files. So it’s a relatively new social/legal issue. If Milo doesn’t stop at addresses and phone numbers but goes on to SSNs, internet aliases, and HIPA information, what then? How about PIN codes and passwords? It’s all legal (in the US) for private individuals to release that right now. It’s not legal for the government or corporations to release it, and it’s not legal for anyone to use it to steal someone’s identity, but right now if Milo were to release a person’s PIN number, password, account number, etc. and someone else used it to steal money out of their account, Milo would bear no legal blame. Is that the way we want the system to work?

      So, IMO Milo’s doxxing is a timely subject we could use to discuss the role of free speech and the protection of personal information and identity in the internet age. But that discussion is not going to happen, because this ridiculous fight of vs. Authoritarian Left (in the rainbow shorts) vs. Outrageously Sexist Bigotry (in the bleached blond shorts) is overshadowing it completely.

    • BJ
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      What’s unfortunate is that, since I was a teenager during the W. Bush administration, I grew up thinking it was the left that cared about free speech and other Constitutional rights. After a few years of Obama in office and the rise of the regressives, I realized that neither sides extremes (read: the ones that most want to get into positions of power) care for those things — they care when the other side is in power, and they try to strip them when their own side is in power.

      Neither side has a great record on upholding civil rights once they get the power to start stripping them away.

      • Cindy
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        There was a time when the left was not a fan of the Bushes (both Iraq wars) or the CIA (fake WMDs to justify the invasion of Iraq) and of course, the Koch brothers.

        But now, it seems, since all of the above oppose Trump, they are now the good guys, and can do no wrong (according to some leftists, at least)

  14. Posted February 16, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Why do censors fail to recognize the call for censorship for what it is:

    Complete and total acknowledgement that their own position is indefensible.

    The target of your censorship can be correct or incorrect. (In whole or in part, of course.)

    If the target is correct, you have no business engaging in censorship. Your problem is either with yourself or reality, and telling the boy to stop saying that the emperor is naked is not going to change either.

    If the target is incorrect, you should have no trouble demonstrating the folly of the views.

    And if you can’t demonstrate the folly, that’s strong evidence that the error is yours, not your target’s.

    Lastly, as is the case here, your target could well be in error, but you yourself are such a pathetically incompetent rhetorician that you not only can’t argue your way out of a wet paper sack, but you’re likely to vomit on your own friends in the attempt. In such cases, the way to optimize the chances that your side will prevail is to censor yourself.

    Our problem here is that these idjits are too stupid to realize that they keep scoring own goals over and over, and instead get excited every time they see the score light flash….



    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      Well said.

  15. Christopher Bonds
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    What if… what if Milo gave a talk and everyone sat there like a lot of stuffed pigs and when it was over, nobody applauded or asked any questions? How long do you think he would keep doing his thing? Not very long, I think. I believe he thrives on rabble-rousing.

    • Cindy
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      I think that if Milo showed up and said that the sky was blue certain people would lose their minds and riot regardless.

  16. Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I grow weary of hearing that “some of Milo’s comments bear discussion” as if that’s somehow evidence that he’s an important figure in political discourse with original ideas that warrant meaningful examination. Just as even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile, Milo accidentally saying something coherent on occasion is not evidence that beneath his inflammatory exterior lies a brilliant thinker. It’s time to face facts that Milo is precisely what he appears to be: a second-rate attention whore with precisely nothing new to say and precisely zero interest in actual dialogue. And it is *lonng past* time for true intellectuals to stop pretending that anyone who doesn’t want to waste neurons on this professional troll is just a hysterical regressive who hates free speech.

  17. Paul
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Milo who?

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