Dude, fellow libtards, you gotta take a chill pill about Milo Yianopalapadoododee, okay? Seriously.
I know he’s a piece of shit. I know he’s a piece of shit that spreads hate and ignorance. I know he’s a piece of shit that spreads hate and ignorance and that he deserves no platform other than his own. But while I support every single protester who shows up to Milo events and peacefully protests with signs and chants, this bullshit of freaking out on people like Bill Maher for having him on isn’t liberal. It’s uber-PC groupthink, and it’s a truly bizarre overreaction to someone who you can most definitely do more harm to his cause by letting him speak, than by shutting him up.
When Milo’s rhetoric is exposed and surgically dissected, like Maher did with him on Real Time, he’s exposed as the shallow, one-dimensional, talking point and rhetoric spewing dipshit we all believe he is. Ultimately, Milo’s kind of a tragic figure because he’s willing to align himself with a political movement that at its core does not agree with who he is, and I think that tragedy comes out in his work. His inner conflicted nature makes it easy to debunk what he’s saying because it’s a lot of verbal smoke and mirrors.
Granted, this doesn’t mean I disagree with Twitter throwing him off their service. What he did to Leslie Jones was disgusting and would be punished by his being expelled from any institution — digital or otherwise — wherein he behaved like such a boorish, racist, twat waffle. Twitter is a private entity and they have a right to cultivate a culture there that reflects their values. Maher has the same right and maybe even duty to expose varied points of view.
Understand that if I were in a room with Milo it’d be hard not to want to reach across the table and smack the shit out of him. But since that’s not possible, and since fascism and censorship are bullshit no matter which political party you side with these days, the best option for defeating Milo, or his much older, female counterpart Anne Coulter, isn’t to cower or to rob them of platforms. It’s to put a mic in their hands, let them talk, and then you ask questions and debate.
You lose 100% of the debates you don’t show up to, and robbing people of a platform is basically you walking away from the debate. I’m not saying Milo deserves an open-ended forum and a microphone to blast his hate speech out into the ether. I’m saying that liberals need to have an idea of the venue in which he’s going to speak. If anyone thought Bill Maher was going to let a millennial, bomb throwing conservative get away with spewing bullshit, they haven’t paid attention to Maher’s show nearly enough.
Part of the reason the right hates the left right now is that they think we’re the ones who are fascists. Yes, we all know that hate speech isn’t free speech, but you have to be willing to let people speak, as long as you can fight back, to put in your views, it’s a fair fight. As soon as someone veers into hate speech, isn’t it easier to shut them down and shut them up with logic, facts, and strong arguments than it is to act like the fascists we think they are when they silence dissent themselves?
I suppose that ultimately what I’m saying is pretty simple, and it can be summed up like this:
- Milo doesn’t deserve and isn’t entitled to a government-sponsored, taxpayer funded platform to spew his abuse and hatred.
- Milo does deserve a space in the public dialogue to make his arguments, but that doesn’t protect outright hate speech.
- Twitter, Bill Maher, and universities around the country each deserve the leeway to decide for themselves what values they stand for, and how to best represent those values.
So please, pretty please, with context and intellectual honesty on top — stop freaking out when progressives give Milo a chance to talk. We can and often do win the fight with the forces of oppression and bigotry through standing up to them, not couching our cowardice in high minded ideas of safe spaces. I’m not opposed to that concept, but Bill Maher’s show isn’t a safe space, and doesn’t have to be. No one owes you a safe space from other people’s thoughts and feelings.
To demand one is to act like Milo and his ilk do. They just want a safe space for their ignorance, so that they can spew it without consequences. We need them to have consequences, and that can’t happen when the left is acting like pearl-clutching school marms every time some bullshit gets spoken by a right-wing troll. Let’s all put our big kid pants on and have some debates, for fuck’s sake.
Freedom of speech is rad; let’s protect it.
Follow James on Twitter @JamboSchlarmbo.